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  © Copyright  Romanygenes 2007--2020 Design and Web Layout  © 2007-2020 S.J.Day All Rights Reserved


Copyright RomanyGenes 2007-2020 Design and Web Layout S.J.Day All Rights Reserved

Black Forest Shires & Gypsy Horses

Thanks to Jeff for permission to use some of his Pictures from his own website"Black Forest Shires & Gypsy Horses"is North America's largest importer and breeder of Gypsy Horses (aka Gypsy Vanners, Gypsy Cobs, Irish Cobs, etc.)


There’s an old saying, which goes “Gypsy Gold does not clink and glitter, it gleams in the sun, and neighs in the dark”.  This proverb believed to be from the Claddaugh Gypsies of Galway refers to the magical relationship between gypsies and their most treasured objects, their horses.


     For nearly 100 years, the Gypsies have bred and used colorful cob horses to pull their ornately decorated carts and living wagons thru the country lanes of England and Ireland. The horses they used were heavy boned and feathered horses, which are strong, sensible, docile, and incredibly hard working. The beautiful colors of these horses were not only pleasing to the eye, but also made them instantly recognizable, which helped to prevent them from being stolen or swapped discretely for inferior horses. The heavy feather on their legs, along with long flowing manes and tails added to the overall flash and flare long associated with the misunderstood and usually discriminated-against gypsy people.


 In the U.S., the various types of gypsy horse have come to be known by several different names. Irish Tinker, Gypsy Vanner, Gypsy Cob, Irish Cob, Romany Horse and the like, are all names used to describe the type of horse which gypsies have bred and used in the British Isles for generations. Although many horses of similar type are bred indiscriminately in Europe, the most sought after type of gypsy horses are bred by generations of gypsy families which have prized and guarded bloodlines that produce the highest quality horses imaginable.  The Gypsy horse is quite rare in North America, numbering under 2000 individuals.


     Gypsies, Romany folk, or Travelers as the mobile ones are called, still exist, and are alive and well in the British Isles. Many have gone to a more modern lifestyle of motor homes and nice travel trailers, occasionally even going for a more traditional lifestyle of owning homes and land. In spite of all of the modern pressures of life, there are still some Romany people that hold out for the old ways of traveling the countryside with horse and wagon, settling down for a bit here-and-there when the work is good. Although many people of gypsy heritage no longer travel, many still breed these horses as a way of keeping tradition alive. In fact, the wealth of a person of gypsy heritage is still largely judged by the size and quality of his herd of colored horses.


     Traditionally, the gypsy horse is involved in every aspect of family life, faithfully pulling the caravan wagon by day, while still being amenable and patient enough to teach the gypsy children to ride when the day is done. The horses are tethered at the campsite with the family caravan when they are not working, in all types of weather. They live, and thrive on only the grasses that happen to be growing along the side of the roads. The heartiness and exceptional disposition of these horses are their trademarks. They are known for being one of the most docile and gentle horses in the world.


     The Gypsy Horse is a hearty little draft horses which usually stand between 13 and 15.2 hands. Their exceptional stamina allows them to go all day at a steady trot while pulling a loaded living caravan with the whole gypsy family. They are sturdily built with solid bone and, in order to be a “traditional gypsy horse”, they must have a good deal of feathering and hair.  The Gypsy horse comes in all colors, with the most common being the "pinto" patterns, piebald and skewbald.  Although they have been bred for a particular type for generations, they are originally descended from several draft horse and pony breeds, namely the Shire, Clydesdale, Irish Draft, and Friesian horses along with Dales, Fell, and Connemara ponies.


     If you are looking for a horse that is known for soundness and sanity, that will be a faithful companion to your family, and is incredibly versatile, the traditional gypsy horse may just be the perfect horse for you! Their compact size and sturdy build makes them incredibly strong animals, capable of carrying and pulling a great deal more weight that a light horse of similar height. They have proved to excel at every discipline imaginable in the equine world, from competitive driving to dressage and western sports! The traditions of the gypsies and the magical persona of these incredibly family oriented horses make for the perfect “horse for all seasons”.


     Black Forest Shires and Gypsy Horses is North America's largest importer of these rare and beautiful horses.  We have a long list of happy buyers for which we have found the perfect horse.  We offer the largest selection of available horses ANYWHERE, and can have them brought right to your door!  We let you choose your horses, and have all prices and types of horses available.  We personally spend thousands of hours each year with the gypsy breeders of these rare and magical horses, finding the best of the best stock, most of which are not available anywhere else in the world!  For more info on having us find you the perfect horse, check out the SALE PAGE.


     Along with breeding traditional sized gypsy horses, BFSGH is the original North American Breeder of the larger, rare and beautiful British Drum Horse.  For all the details on this type of horse made famous by the Queen of England, see our drum horse page.

Best Wishes,

~Jeff Bartko

Black Forest Shires & Gypsy Horses


1-877-237-4473 (toll free)

719-495-4993 (local & international)

Click on image below to enlarge.















    Gypsy Horse Gifts, Equipment, and Artwork also available from Jeff's site see below.


Lorenzo : the Flying French Man...

by alatebo

Click link above to watch amazing Horse vidio.


The Road to the Great English Horse Fair

June, 2004

 In early 2004 Jeff decided that he wanted to buy a good bowtop wagon and drive to the big summer horse fair in his own turnout this year.  After a great hunt, we found a proper English Gypsy Bowtop Living Wagon, and, after a good bit of negotiation, purchased it.  The discussion then began as to what horse would be the best choice for Jeff to use.  He needed something that was big and sturdy enough to pull a big wagon on his/her own, and dead broke enough to accommodate an American who was new to driving a horse on the wrong side of a busy road.  The best possible choice to fit this bill was the good gelding, "Bowtie".  Jeff didn't get much time to actually work Bowtie before they set off on their 5 day, 60 mile journey across the North of England.  Everyone assured Jeff that this Bowtie would do the job perfectly, even though he and Jeff had barely met.  We would come to learn over the next 10-or-so days that Bowtie is quite a well-known gelding among gypsies in England, as everyone knows the best using horses.  

Jeff and Bowtie had confident fans all over England cheering them on for their epic journey.  Their journey made history, as Jeff was the first American to ever drive a proper gypsy wagon all the way to the largest gypsy horse fair in the world.  The journey would be made with a few of our gypsy friends also traveling the route.  Below are a few pictures from Jeff's great adventure with our bowtop wagon and "Bowtie the Wonderhorse".  Jeff.

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Black Forest Shires & Gypsy Horses

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