People, Vision, Species

The name “Gypsy Vanner Horse”, like “American Quarter Horse” can be broken down into 3 parts. The group of people responsible for the breed, the vision or purpose of the breed, and the species of animal.

American Quarter Horse

Photo by Scott Smudsky

Gypsy Vanner Horse


Like the word American, Gypsy is an umbrella term for people.

In Great Britain & Ireland the word includes people called Romany,  Irish and Scottish Travelers, Didikoi, Carnies, Bargees and more.  

There is a lot to know about the word Gypsy, it conjures up, romantic campfires and caravans or is a cultural slur, “you gipped me”. 

 Your journey to a better understanding of the people and their horses begins here at, The Vanner Blog. 

  Like American’s with their Quarter Horses, Gypsies had a vision for their Vanners!


Vision is what your mind can imagine

In the 1940’s, Americans had a vision for a horse that could run the fastest quarter mile. 

Today,  The American Quarter Horse or Quarter Horse is an American horse breed.  

Soon after World War II, British and Irish Gypsy’s had a vision for their perfect caravan horse or vanner,

Today, The Gypsy Vanner Horse or Vanner Horse is a British/Irish Gypsies horse breed. 

 A small Shire with more hair, a draft horse body, more color and a sweeter head (more refined head) was their vision. The Body type, not color, is most important for a Vanner Horse.

The Road Sweeper - Classic Gypsy Vanner Horse Conformation


Species refers to a group of similar organisms that are able to reproduce.

Humans are a species and so are dogs and horses and chickens!

Vanner Horse vs Gypsy Horse – The correct name for your Vanner

When referring to an American Quarter Horse, you would say “Quarter horse” for short. You describe the breed using the vision and species, and leave out the name of the people responsible for the breed.

Most people would not understand what breed of horse is being described if you shortened the name “American Quarter Horse” to “American Horse” rather than “Quarter Horse”. American’s own a variety of horse breeds, this short hand name does not specify which one you are talking about.

The same logic applies when referring to a Gypsy Vanner Horse, or “Vanner Horse” for short. Gypsies are a group of people, referring to a “Vanner Horse” as a “Gypsy Horse” is not specific.

The Vision is essential when referring to a breed, it is not a “Gypsy Horse”.

It is a “Vanner Horse” or a “Gypsy Vanner Horse”.