Equine Journal Article
October 2009

Five-year-old Laken Adkins had an event-filled July. On the 25th, she and parents Tabatha and Travis Adkins of Bootleg Express Draft Farm (Union Hall, Virginia) attended the Figgsboro Annual Horse Show. Located in Franklin County, Virginia, it had around 600 entries and 77 classes, in 4 of which Laken competed, bringing home the blue in one and pinning in the others. 

After acing the leadline class, Laken showed the Adkins’ eight-year-old GH mare Tara, first in halter and then under saddle, by herself. Laken, the youngest handler in the halter class, placed 3rd out of 6 entries. She then rode Tara in the 12 and Under Walk Only Class and placed 4th. This was her first time in an arena by herself.

Finally, she and Tara entered the Walk Only - Any Age Class. Proud mother Tabatha Adkins describes what happened. “She and Tara were absolutely perfect! Tara walked at a perfect pace and Laken never batted a nervous eye. She turned her gracefully and was the first one to line up at the judge in a perfect stance.” Laken placed 1st over 4 other entries with more age and experience, taking the blue and a cash prize. Tabatha expressed pride in Tara, who epitomizes the kindness and trustworthiness of the Gypsy.

Previous to the Figgsboro show, Laken and Tara had attended BreyerFest on July 17-19 and ridden in the Gypsy demos there. Accompanied by her father, she paraded Tara around the large indoor arena in which BreyerFest’s breed demos are held. Mother Tabatha rode alongside her on another Bootleg mare, Daisy of BXF.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary this year and held at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, BreyerFest is dedicated to the model animals, primarily horses, which Breyer Animal Creations has produced since 1950 and to the horses which inspire them. This was a special year because a Gypsy, WR Ranch’s Kuchi, was made into a Breyer model.

Representing the Gypsy Horse at BreyerFest 2009 were not only the Adkins but also three generations of the Tidwell family, owners of TNT Gypsy Horses (Griffin, Georgia). TNT showed its up and coming five-year-old stallion GCC King of the Road (“Roady”), reportedly a Sid’s Good Stallion son, and its lovely black blagdon Brian Boru daughter Moira.

With attendance in excess of 5,000/day, BreyerFest poses many challenges to the horse handler. TNT’s Toni Tidwell proudly describes how both her horses, but in particular her young stallion, handled the chaos. “He [Roady] had baby carriages ram him, people walk right behind him and he was the perfect gentleman. He stood in the middle of horses of a drill team several times (they came up around him . . . .). When there was a runaway . . .Roady stood still and did not react to all the stress and hysteria. I could not be happier with a horse in my life.”

From Wylleen May of West River Gypsy Horse Farm (Custer, South Dakota) comes a similar report with regard to her strawberry blagdon stallion Ruari, who participated in the Gold Discovery Days parade on July 25. Wylleen states, “Nothing bothered him, not the fire trucks, or the marching band or the other equines.” West River also had two youngsters in the parade—Jezebel (“She is a princess . . . just ask her.”) and the “always unflappable”Callahan, who challenges West River’s trainer to find something that will spook him. 

The experiences of these Gypsy owners are a testament to the gentle demeanor of the breed. Besides its breathtaking appearance, the Gypsy Horse typically displays a kind and easygoing temperament that, with proper training and handling, makes it ideal for owners of all ages and skill levels.

Upcoming is the Massachusetts Equine Affaire, to be held on November 12-15. GHA will have a booth in the breed pavilion and a breed stall where members of the public can interact with a Gypsy Horse in person. To see other upcoming events, you’re invited to GHA’s web site at www.gypsyhorseassociation.org.


Picture 23
TNT Gypsy Horse's Shelbe Harry on stallion King of the Road (L) and
Diana Kreismanis on Moira (R) at BreyerFest 2009

Travis, Laken, & Tabatha Adkins of Bootleg Express Draft Farm, at Breyerfest 2009

Laken Adkins of Bootleg Express Draft Farm, at Breyerfest 2009

Click HERE for a PDF of the actual Equine Journal article.

Five-year-old Laken Adkins (front), of Bootleg Express Draft Farm,
performing in her first horse show, the Figgsboro Annual Horse Show

Five-year-old Laken Adkins beams after her first horse show, the Figgsboro Annual Horse Show.

2009 BreyerFest's Gypsy Horse demo

The 2009 BreyerFest Gypsy Horse Group after the Gypsy demo

Picture 28
Tabatha Adkins of Bootleg Express Draft Farm on Daisy of BXF at 2009 BreyerFest

Ruari @ the parade_2
West River Gypsy Horse Farm showed its strawberry blagdon stallion Ruari at the
Gold Discovery Days parade, Custer, South Dakota, July 26.