Thank you for taking time to read our very first blog using WordPress.com. We are commited to education and promotion of one the worlds newest breeds thanks to the Travellers or Romany Gypsy People. The breeds foundations include the Clyde and Shires of England Scotland crossed with native English ponies, the Fells and Dale. Given the pony hardiness and the gentle strength of the draft, we have a happy blending of characteristics. The Gypsy is a draft, it is gentle, it is very smart, and it is colourful! And so we begin….with some thoughts on the name Vanner.
GYPSY VANNER HORSE
WHAT’S IN A NAME?
You may ask, what is in a name? The answer is everything! In England, when one vacuums the carpet it is referred to as Hoovering! When you are about to sneeze, you reach for a Kleenex. The Brand Name becomes so well known that all other like products take on that identity. This brings us to the term ‘Vanner’. It refers to a very unique breed developed by the Travelers or Romany Gypsy culture. Though the Travelers did not use the term Vanner it has become a brand or common name in America.
When we returned from England with three horses, we arranged for our vet to examine and give any needed vaccines. He arrived and as we were walking into the barn, he commented “oh, I see you have Vanners”. Not knowing whether to break out mask and gloves, I responded, “I do?” Laughing, he told me what little he knew as he had seen one at a training barn. That evening I researched the name and sure enough, there it was along with information about a private organization called Gypsy Vanner Horse Society. It seems the first of this new breed where brought into the states by a couple from Florida. Captivated by their charm and uniqueness and given their history by a Traveler, they assumed they would be importing the very first of their type and breed; however, it was not long before others made the trek across the pond to follow suite. Dennis Thompson gave the breed the name, Gypsy Vanner , and began promoting them everywhere, including us as trademarks and model horses. As its popularity grew, so did the organization. It became a not for profit registry, the GVHS;, and as one organization cannot be all things to all people there are now several registries, GCDHA, GHA, and the GHRA and a show organization the GSHA. There are also many small clubs and groups today that continue the work of letting the world know about their special horse, the Gypsy Vanner, Gypsy Cob, Gypsy Horse, or Irish Tinker.
As the Thompsons began importing carefully chosen examples of the breed, promoting , and marketing, there appeared a sort of magical synergy among horse lovers. Everyone wanted to see them but the only opportunities were at big expos, farm tours, and parades. The crowds were intense at the Equine Affairs and other similar venues. Prices were just as high as the interest. But the common thread was the question asked…..Is that a Vanner? Or may I see the Vanner? Whether everyone who owned the breed liked the name or not was irrelevant, because it now had a brand name…Gypsy Vanner.
Today, you can find them at shows, expos, parades, doing Dressage, Western Pleasure, Jumping, a few compete in Cutting contests, and many are great driving horses. Whatever you call them, the name Vanner is not going away and it seems to me we should thank those whose vision enabled the public to become very attached to a wonderful, magical horse known as a Vanner!