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Windt im Wald Farm
Geauga County, Northeast Ohio
since 1995


For over a hundred years the "Romany" people of some isolated British and Irish islands, most of whom do not read or write, have been breeding draft-type horses built strongly enough to pull their green-roofed, ornately painted house-wagons that some might compare to the Conestoga wagons that paved their way across mountains and the American frontier in the nineteenth century. Like the Beduoin tribes who bred Arabian horses in the desert and the Nez Perce Indians that originated the Appaloosa breed, the so-called Gypsies have committed their horses' pedigrees to memory. There is no current registry in Great Britain or in Europe dedicated to the Gypsy horse, although those English owners that may want to register them can choose the British Piebald and Skewbald Society or the British Pony Society. Although many Gypsy Vanner type horses are Piebald (black and white pinto) or Skewbald( any other color spots on a white background), the Gypsy horse can be a solid bay, black, or grey, or even Palomino. The base parentage of the Gypsy horse is the Shire/Clydesdale cross.

So how does one distinguish the difference between a Spotted Draft Horse and a Gypsy Vanner? The Spotted Draft is very often the product of a mating with at least one parent that is Percheron and Belgian, and it does not have any feathering on its legs. The Gypsy Vanner horse MUST have feathering that originates at the knee, and the more feathering the Gypsy horse possesses, the better. Since this feathering is a recessive trait, it is very easy to breed out, requiring two generations with at least one Shire or Clydesdale parent to regain the trait.

Diane Jones
Windt im Wald Farm

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