The Gypsy Vanner is a brightly-colored heavily-feathered horse that gets it's name due to the simple fact that it was a horse bred and owned by the gypsies. It is called Gypsy Horse, Gypsy Cob, Gypsy Vanner, Irish Cob, Coloured Cob, Tinker Horse, and Romany Horse to name a few.
There is much speculation as to the origins of the "Gypsy Horse" and there are varying opinions as to what breeds were used to create the horse of today. Most agree that the ancestors of the Gypsy Horse were cold-blooded. Often you will hear that Shire and Clydesdale provided the bone and feather and Dales Pony or Fells Pony provided the smaller stature. Some suggest that there is Trotting Horse influence as well, improving upon the endurance of the draft breeds. It has also been said that the Friesian breed and a pacing breed known as the Gallower may well be involved in the make-up of the Gypsy Horse.
What is known is that the Travellers have developed and maintained this breed of horses over hundreds of years. Through selective breeding they have created a breed of horse that is not duplicated anywhere else in the world. Theirs is a small, hardy draft horse with flamboyant color and feather, and a calm and intelligent personality. Thanks to their rich tradition of oral history the owners of these horses can often trace their pedigree back through the years.
Today while many Gypsy families have settled in communities, many still live the traditional life of a traveller living in their bow-topped wagons and moving from place to place. Local people still regard Gypsies with curiosity and suspicion. They maintain a very private life rich with culture and tradition.