Breeding for the future of the breed.

History of the Gypsy Cob continued..

The Gypsy Horse breed as it is today is thought to have begun to take shape shortly after World War II ended. When the British Romani had first begun to live in vardoes around 1850, they used mules and cast off horses of any suitable breed to pull them.  These later included "coloured" horses, piebalds and skewbalds, which had become very unfashionable in mainstream society and were typically culled. Among these were a significant number of coloured Shires. Many of these ended up with Romani breeders, and by the 1950s, they were considered valuable status symbols within that culture. Spotted horses were very briefly in fashion around the time of World War II, this pattern was derived from an infusion of the English Spotted Pony and this coat pattern can be found in the breed to this day. However, the spotted horse quickly went out of fashion in favour of the coloured horse, which has retained its popularity until the present day. The initial greater height of the breed derived from the influence of both Clydesdales and Shires, both of which possess feather. Feather became and still remains highly valued in the Gypsy Horses.
In the formative years of the Gypsy Horse, the Romani bred not only for specific colour, profuse feather, and greater bone, but also for increased action and smaller size. To increase action at the trot, they turned to the Section D Welsh Cob, the Dale Pony, and Fell Pony to add a more animated trot to the breed without loss of other desired traits. Another trend in breeding was a steady decrease in height, a trend still present among many Romani breeders. In the 1990s, the breed's average height still was in excess of 15hh, but horses of 14.3 to 15hh, were beginning to be viewed as more desirable, primarily for economic reasons as the Romani travelled less.
The breed most used by the Romani breeders to set not only the reduced size but also the type of the modern Gypsy Horse was the Dales Pony, described as "thick, strong, active yet a great puller". The Dales, a draught pony, preserved the bone, feather, and pulling capabilities derived from the Shire and Clydesdale breeds but in a smaller and therefore more economical package. The Dales and, to a lesser extent, the Fell Pony interbred with the Shire and Clydesdale provided the basis of today's Gypsy Horse.
In its native Great Britain, the Gypsy is still being bred by a number of well-established Romani breeders, many of whose families have done so for several generations. And the trend of breeding down in size continues with 11- and 12hh horses now common. Except for special occasions, these horses are typically not being used for their original purpose, pulling a living wagon, but are instead for riding ponies, hunters and light harness, they are viewed in terms of heirloom bloodlines and are a source of great pride to the Romani people.

Please note as there are very little written records, so some versions of their history may vary..