Article for The Paisley Pony
November/December 2008

The Gypsy Horse Association, incorporated in February ’08, is pleased to join The Paisley Pony as a regular contributor. More than simply a registry for the Gypsy Horse, GHA was founded to provide a supportive and nurturing environment for Gypsy Horse owners and enthusiasts, irrespective of whether they call their horses Vanners, Cobs, Tinker Horses, or Gypsy Horses. GHA is member directed and member focused, and, in this end-of-year issue, we thought it only fitting to recognize some of our members’ triumphs and highpoints from GHA’s first year.

The number of Gypsy breed shows is rapidly growing. The Gypsy, small and with a tractable temperament, is relatively easy for an amateur to show. The first 2008 show in which a GHA member farm appeared was the Royal Melbourne Horse Show (National Equestrian Centre, Werribee Park, Australia). There, the first Gypsy Horse classes ever held in Australia occurred in May, and member farm Kintara Gypsy Cobs took both the Gypsy Cob Championship and Reserve Championship as well as firsts in the Stallion, Mare, Colt, and Filly classes. There is a small but rapidly growing community of GH owners in Australia, and two, including Kintara, are GHA member farms.

In the U.S., the Gypsy show year began in May ’08 with the National Gypsy & Drum Horse Classic (Lexington, KY). In its second year, the National hosted about 70 horses.

There, in one of the brightest moments of the show, GHA member Robin Hale fulfilled a five-year-old dream when she took delivery of her first Gypsy Horse, bay and white colt Glenfiddich, and then promptly won a 1st place with him in the Gypsy Color Class.

Also showing were Golden Signature Farm (Hutto, TX), Bootleg Express Farm (Union Fork, VA), Silver Feather Gypsies (Bluff City, TN), and Shamrock Farm (Smithfield, KY), who fielded the Champion Gypsy Gelding, Billy O’Brien. Also at the National, New Jersey’s Blarney Stone Acres, one of the oldest Gypsy breeders in the U.S., showed its dressage-trained Sailor, who placed 1st in the Dressage First Level Test 1 class.

One of the oldest running Gypsy breed shows is held at the Oregon State Fair. In 2008, sixteen Gypsies attended, one of whom was GHA member Helen Halderman’s talented gelding Jazz It Up, the Champion Gelding of the show. Also participating was Orcas Feathered Horses, whose lovely mare Cloud was Reserve Champion Mare.

Participating in Ohio’s Buckeye Gold Cup Gypsy Vanner Show & Futurity Event was Power Paint Gypsy Farm, which racked up a number of firsts and seconds: EBV Airwalker placed first in the Stallion halter class out of 4 entries and second in the Color class out of 19 entries; Clononeen Cash placed second in the Senior Mare class, while 10 months pregnant no less; and Pretty Penny not only placed second in the North American Bred class out of 17 entries but was Grand Champion Mare.
On October 18th, Golden Signature Farm showed in the Texas Draft Horse and Mule Association’s Annual Show where Gypsy Horses provided the biggest turnout of any breed with 30 present. GSF chalked up an impressive set of wins with the seven Gypsies it showed. Two-year-old GSF Golden Splash won 1st place in the Stallion under 2 Years Old Class and then went on to be Champion Gypsy Stallion of the show. The Champion Stallion is chosen from among the first and second place winners of the Stallion under 2 Years Old Class and of the Stallion 3 Years and Older Class. To win the title Champion Gypsy Stallion, Splash not only placed over stallions his own age but also over the adult winners of the three-years-and-older class.
Another highpoint for Golden Signature Farm was GSF Fallon’s 1st place in the Weanling Colt Class. Fallon was sired by GSF’s homozygous tobiano stallion Keebler and, of GSF’s horses at the TDHMA show, Fallon was the only one bred by GSF. Such a win reflects well on the quality of a farm’s breeding program.
Two of GSF’s horses were recent purchases from Lucky Charm Ranch (New Pine Creek, OR)--SR Just Bucking Around (“Buck”) and SR Jackpot. Buck and Jackpot placed 2nd and 3rd, respectively, in Geldings of All Ages, and Buck was Reserve Champion Gelding of the show.
In its third successful year, the Feathered Horse Classic, held in October in conjunction with the Georgia National Fair (Peery, GA), hosted about 80 Gypsies, Friesians, and Drums. Beginning her show career was J-Lo Haven Farms’ BellaDonna Lilly. One of the youngest in her classes, she displayed impeccable manners throughout her first show. And what a first show! This year, one Saturday’s attendance at the Georgia National Fair numbered 450,000, and up to a third of attendees typically visit the horse barn. Stands were packed during the one-day FHC.
Although its five GHs between them won six ribbons at the FHC, Silver Feather Gypsies’ brightest moment occurred when two-year-old SFG Summer Rose, bred by SFG and now owned by Stillwater Farm (NC), made Grand Champion Mare.

The Reserve Champion Stallion of the ’08 FHC was The Pelton Vanners’ new stallion, D’Jango Jazz. A homozygous tobiano son of the late Lion King, Jazz represents an extremely valued bloodline. We suspect that Jazz will prove a formidable sire and show horse in the years to come.

Up to now, we’ve reported member participation in GH breed shows and in GH classes.  However, we consider GH competition in open shows to be of even greater value in proving its worth to those unfamiliar with the breed. Therefore we’d like to especially recognize those member farms who have shown in open shows.

One such was Blarney Stone Acres’ stallion Sailor, who, during 2008, competedin recognized dressage shows at First Level with scores in the 60s. It will be most interesting to see how high in dressage Sailor can successfully compete.

Not surprisingly, the Gypsy excels at driving, and three member farms are showing the driving world what the Gypsy can do. In September, Villa Vanners’ stallion Romeo, a rare palomino, was Reserve Champion Single Pony of the elegant Nashoba Carriage Classic (Germantown, TN). Novice driver and owner June Villa herself drove Romeo in the Double Jeopardy Class, a timed obstacles class in which drivers switch in mid-class.

A Romeo son, BellaDonna Gypsy Farm’s Cash Man in Red, competed in open driving classes at the North Carolina State Fair. Shown by trainer Alphonzo (“Fonz”) Hargrove of Southern Pines, NC. Cash took 1st place in the Reinsmanship Class, 2nd in Timed Obstacles, and 3rd in the Cones and in the Pony Pleasure Driving Classes.

Another member farm entering the driving world with its Gypsy is Tennessee’s Rivendell Gypsies, the lucky owner of an imported gelding named Bowtie. Ron Cowan of Rivendell has started Bowtie in driven dressage, and Bowtie is excelling. At the Carolina Carriage Club’s 2008 Pleasure and Dressage Show (Tryon, NC) held in September, Bowtie and Ron won not only a plethora of blues and reds but also the Championship in Training Level Dressage. We expect to hear more of Bowtie, who epitomizes the honesty, soundness of mind, and athleticism typical of the Gypsy Horse.

Lastly, we applaud those members who attended expos around the country throughout 2008. In July, Villa Vanners and Silver Feather Gypsies did BreyerFest 2008. Its theme was Global Gallop, and the Gypsy Horses, with their origins in the British Isles, fit in perfectly. Also in July, BellaDonna, Mountain View Gypsy Vanners also of North Carolina, and Silver Feather Gypsies attended and showed at the North Carolina Equine Extravaganza.

In October, Golden Signature Farm attended the Bluebonnet Horse Expo (Austin, TX) where GHs provided the Grand Finale of the Parade of Breeds. GSF is to be applauded for its support of this expo, whose proceeds go toward horse rescue.

In November, GHA member farms Blarney Stone Acres, Chocolate Horse Farm, Hearts ‘n Horses Farm, Painted Hills Gypsy Farm, and Snow Eden Gypsies showed off their horses at GHA’s first ever Equine Affaire, the Massachusetts EA. The three EAs are the largest horse expos in the U.S., and GHA intends to have a presence at all three. Please join us for the upcoming Pomona, California, EA on January 29 through February 1, 2009.


BellaDonna Gypsy Farm's Cash Man in Red, a bright chestnut blagdon stallion, sports his ribbons won open driving classes at the North Carolina State Fair. Cash was shown by trainer Alphonzo ("Fonz") Hargrove of Southern Pines, NC. Photo (c) BellaDonna Gypsy Horses. 


Owner Danni Showers of Kintara Gypsy Cobs (Kalgoorlie, WA, Australia) proudly shows off her mare Tia, Grand Champion Gypsy Cob of the Royal Melbourne Horse Show in the first Gypsy Classes ever held in Australia. Photo (c) Kintara Gypsy Cobs.


Blarney Stone's Sailor, Gypsy stallion, ridden by Mary Jo Wicker. Sailor placed 1st in the dressage First Level Test 1, National Gypsy & Drum Horse Classic, May 4th, 2008. Photo (c) Fran Scott


Accompanied by trainer Rachel Nicely, owner and novice driver June Villa of Villa Vanners pilots Romeo through the cones of the Double Jeopardy Class at the Nashoba Carriage Classic. In this class, one driver drives the horse forward through the cones and then the second driver, in this case, June, drives him back through the cones to the starting point. Photo (c) Erin Woodcock.


Desi Meurer of Golden Signature Farm rides GSF Aurora in the Costume Class, National Gypsy & Drum Classic, May 4, 2008. Photo (c) Fran Scott.


Robin Hale and GSF Glenfiddich place 1st in the Gypsy Color Class, National Gypsy & Drum Horse Classic, May 4th, 2008. Gordon Boswell of The Gordon Boswell Romany Museum (Lincolnshire, England) , honored visitor at the show, looks on. Photo (c) Fran Scott.