Gypsy Horse Breed Standard
This particular standard was taken from the GHA. All registries for this breed, whether they call the breed a Vanner, Cob, or just Gypsy Horse, have the same visual standards, but the wording will vary.
The overall general appearance of a Gypsy Horse is that of a powerful, heavy cob type with characteristics of its draft horse origins, coupled with an abundance of flowing mane, tail, and leg hair known as feather. Medium to heavy bone and well-muscled with a broad, sturdy, compact body. Known for their kindness and intelligence, tolerance and patience, as well as their tractable nature and sensible and willing disposition, the overall appearance of the Gypsy Horse should reflect these characteristics. A powerful, agile, well-balanced horse, with good depth of body and heart room, the Gypsy Horse is well suited for riding or driving.
Gypsy Horses average between 13hh-15.2hh. Heights outside this range, above or below, are acceptable.
HEAD & EYES
The Gypsy Horse should have, by "GYPSY DEFINITION" a "SWEET HEAD", meaning without coarseness, in proportion and fitting well with the overall balance of the horse. The head is neat, noble, expressive, relatively strong without coarseness, and in balance (proportionate) with the body. Bite should be even. Throat latch slightly deeper than lighter breeds. Should be refined enough to allow proper flexing at the poll. The ideal head presents a fairly straight profile (not overly roman-nosed or dished) and good width between nostrils. Forehead is broad between the eyes, which are bright, alert, kind, and well-placed. All eye colors are acceptable. Ears are neat, well-set, and often slightly in-curving.
The neck should be medium long, strong and muscular. A well-defined neck that is in proportion to the back length and well set, tying into a good sloping shoulder. Stallions should display a well arched crest.
SHOULDERS & WITHERS
The shoulders should be deep, powerful, and well-sloped, with withers reaching well into the back.
The back should be well-muscled, flexible, and short-coupled relative to the overall body size and substance; mares may have a slightly longer back than males.
CHEST & BARREL
Sturdy and deep, the chest should be broad allowing allowing for a large lung/heart cavity. The chest should be covered with ample muscle, the muscle forming an inverted "V" as it ties into the forearm along the bottom of the chest. The barrel should be deep with well-sprung ribs and a solid covering of muscle. Ribs should not be visible. Barrel should tie in strongly to the loin, appearing compact and powerful.
LEGS, HOOVES, & MOVEMENT
Hocks should be well developed and large, well set with plenty of bone. The hock set should be that of a pulling horse, but not as extreme as a modern draft horse, not to be confused with "cow hocked". Pastern angle should be well matched with shoulder angle. Forearms: Set square, with well defined joints, clean cannon, flat knee bone, the forearms will be short and muscular. Feet, Legs, & Joints: The very best of feet and legs, with flexible joints, showing quality with no coarseness The cannons should be short and display flat bone and well defined tendons. Large, round feet with well developed frogs, the hoof is hard and strong, with wide heels. Shown in natural foot or shod. Movement: The stride should be correct, supple and powerful. Showing good implusion from behind, demonstrating powerful drive. Flowing, effortless in appearance. The horse's movement should be natural, not artificial in any way.....in keeping with it's history and breeding. Some have higher knee action than others, it's way of going can vary from short and economical to longer, reaching strides.
Hindquarters are muscular, powerful, and well-rounded displaying, using, the coloquial expression an "apple butt" (shape). Good length from the point of the hip through the haunch; should balance the shoulders. Tail well set on, carried naturally while at rest and in action.
Mane, forelock, and tail should be ample to profusely abundant. Double manes are common, but not required. Feather on the legs should be from the knees and hock joints down and covering the entire hoof. Hair and feather may vary from straight and silky to coarser and sometimes wavy. Abundance of hair and feather is an important and beguiling characteristic of the Gypsy Horse.
COLORS & MARKINGS
All colors, markings, and patterns are acceptable. In the Gypsy Horse breed, the saying, "A good horse never comes in a bad color", has never been more true.
DISPOSITION & CHARACTER
The Gypsy Horse should be, above all else, a strong, kind, (very) intelligent partner that works willingly and harmoniously with its handler. They are also described as mannerly and manageable, eager to please, confident, courageous, alert, and loyal with a genuine sociable outlook. The Gypsy Horse is renowned for its gentle, tractable nature and sensible disposition.