We asked subscribers to send us their great horse pictures, and in addition to the lovely Reggae, we also received the one below that a horse lover captured off the internet.
She’s a smasher, as they say in London’s East End. She is Rawnie, a Gypsy Vanner mare.
History of the Gypsy Vanner
Until recently, British Gypsies, known also as Travelers, traveled throughout Great Britain in brightly colored, intricately carved horse-drawn wagons called “caravans.” Gypsy breeders envisioned an extravagantly colored, heavily feathered horse to pull these bright wagons as well as complement them.
According to the breed’s American discoverer, the Gypsy-bred horse called the Vanner is the embodiment of that vision. Two stallions of Irish origin are reported to have originated the breed around 60 years ago. One stallion, known as Sonny Mays, was sired by a colored Irish stallion on a mare owned by a Traveler. The second, called The Coal Horse, was born in Limerick, Ireland. These two stallions sired most of the foundation stallions of the breed.
The American discoverers of the breed were Dennis and Cindy Thompson. While driving through the English countryside in 1994, they glimpsed an extravagantly feathered black and white stallion and stopped to inquire about him.
Two years later, they imported the first two Vanner mares and founded the Gypsy Vanner Horse Society, the breed’s registry. For further information on the American discovery of the breed, see Gypsy Gold’s web site gypsyvannerhorse.com.
Rawnie’s name is a gypsy word meaning “Great Lady.” Photograph © Mark J. Barrett 2004.
You can see more of Rawnie at www.vannercentral.com/Rawnie.html