Gypsy Horse Journal Article
Summer 2010

The Gypsy Horse Association is pleased to announce a new division within its studbook. Called the Gypsy Heritage Division (GHD), it registers the Drum Horse and the half Gypsy. A majority of GHA’s members either own or breed these, and so the GHD represents a significant expansion of membership services. The half Gypsy and Drum are rapidly growing in popularity; they represent an extension of the breed’s capabilities while retaining its endearing qualities, in other words, breeding for a purpose. As the numbers and popularity of these horses grow, the keeping of accurate records regarding them will be extremely important. This and the promotion of the Drum and half Gypsy are the GHD’s mandates.

There are, in general, four basic types of horses created by crossing with the Gypsy.

One has a Thoroughbred, Morgan, Arab, Gaited, or Walking Horse parent. These breeds display energy, sensitivity, stamina over distance, and speed over short distances. This type is typically placid yet alert and can be a saddle or cart horse of finer bone. It is a beautiful, well-muscled performance horse with added bone, calm disposition, proud arched neck, refined head, and the natural high tail carriage of a more spirited horse. It excels in a variety of upper level sport horse events, jumping, and driving competitions, and a Gaited or Walking Horse parent may contribute its ground-consuming gait and knee action.

A second type is created with a Paint, Quarter Horse, or Stock Horse parent. Athletic and balanced, it possesses natural intelligence, beauty, more muscle and bone than most light saddle horse breeds, the Gypsy’s docile temperament, agility, speed, a refined head combined with a stout build, and long flowing mane and tail. An ideal family partner in pleasure riding and driving, showing, ranching, rodeo, and trail riding, it can also compete in combined driving and the lower levels of dressage.

A third type has a Fells, Dales, Welsh, Shetland, or Hackney Pony parent. These breeds are hearty, displaying tremendous stamina, and are good natured, willing, adaptable, and intelligent. Most possess lush manes and tails, and the Fells and Dales Ponies have feather. The Gypsy contributes its gentle demeanor, size, bone, color, and hair to this cross, which is growing in popularity as a sport pony with great suspension and elasticity. Well suited for youth riders doing dressage, hunt seat, jumping, or eventing, it is also an elegant driving pony with creditable action.

The Drum Horse has Friesian, Shire, or Clydesdale parentage. These breeds possess strength, size, courage, a gentle spirit. lush hair, and feather. The Drum Horse is a flashy, colorful, willing, and versatile athlete. With its larger frame, it is capable of participating in disciplines such as dressage, jumping, or pleasure. The Gypsy/Friesian Drum is a powerful driving horse displaying elegance and animated movement.

The GHA is proud to welcome these wonderful horses possessing Gypsy heritage. Please see GHA’s web page at for more information.

By Debbi Howard, Member, Board of Directors, GHA