ne of the most common questions, asked of any Gypsy Horse owner, is "But what can they do?" The quick answer is anything you want them to do. They were in the old days, obviously first and foremost, a driving horse, having enough weight and bulk, to pull the very heavy caravans in which the Gypsies lived and travelled.
However, little by little, these flashy, feathered horses, sometimes referred to as Gypsy Cobs, Gypsy Horses, Gypsy Vanners, Tinkers, Irish Cobs, to name a few, found their way into the favour of the general public. They are certainly known to as being terrific riding horses, for young and old alike. They can now be seen in the show rings of the US, UK and many other countries, showing the rest of the equine world, just how incredibly versatile these horses can be.
Several have become noted Dressage mounts. Others incredibly good jumpers. You will find the Gypsy Horse competing in Point-to-Point, Cross Country, following the hounds and even used as Polo mounts. Many young people in the US found these horses to be game for rodeo events and even though some old rodeo people smirked at first and whispered behind cupped hands, they had to admit the Gypsy holds his own. There are even a few now, who are being used as very handy cutting horses, for owners who before, would never have used anything but a Quarter Horse with a lot of "cow". Lately they've had to eat their words, when Gypsy Horses are seen to be just as fast and can turn on a dime, as handily as many Quarter Horses. Gypsies are used for weddings and even funerals, pulling carriages and hearses. Others are finding great favor as vaulting mounts, since with their solid nature and broad backs, they are perfect for that endeavour. Still others have gained fame as reliable mounts for the handicapped. As the general public ages, many don't like to ride, but still wish to do something with a horse. They have found that driving is a wonderful hobby and these horses were absolutely made for it. We see the breed in the shafts of all kinds of wonderful carriages, carts, coaches, drays, waggons etc. in the shows these days. Even pulling sleighs in winter for many owners. And yes, they'll happily pull your plough on Friday, pull a waggon-load of kids for a hayride on Saturday and then take your child into the show ring on Sunday!
If you are so inclined, you can still purchase or even have built, wonderful real Gypsy Caravans and drays. Should you wish to travel and at the same time, have charge of one of these great horses, you can take a caravan holiday in Ireland and wander through the country lanes, with your confident Gypsy Horse at the helm.
In the last couple of years, the Gypsy Horse has been seen, proudly taking part in The Rose Parade, in Pasadena, California. Many have also participated in other parades, throughout the United States - and they always are a crowd favourite!
So what can they do? Just about anything you fancy asking of them. They definitely are NOT - just another pretty face!