The Pheno Vanner


phe·no·type (plural)


  1. the set of observable characteristics of an individual resulting from the interaction of its genotype. comes from the same root as the word “phenomenon” or phenomenal”

The Phenotype of the Vanner Horse was inspired by two stallions soon after World War II. Selective breeding began to achieve a specific look and continued virtually unknown outside the world of GRT (Gypsy/Roma/Travelers) until the phenotype (the look) of Cushti Bok inspired research that revealed the genotype (the genetics) of an unrecognized breed – the GYPSY VANNER HORSE 

Click on Cushti Bok GV00001 to see multiple examples of the Vanner phenotype that lived in the heads of all GRT who created their breed.

The photos included in this library were chosen because of their stellar representation of the Vanner breed. The library was created to assist in developing “an eye” for the look of the Gypsy Vanner horse.

Cushti Bok

Disclaimer: I do not know all of the owners of the horses included. If you see your horse and would like your or your farm name advertised – or your horse removed – please email with a screenshot of the photo.

In 1995 approximately 20% of the horses raised by British and Irish Gypsies had the phenotype  and genotype born from the Vanner vision while 80 % were a type of horse with smooth legged genetics, often  Connemara or Irish Draft. When asked to guesstimate the Vanner breed’s population in 1998 Fred Walker, said:

 “about 2000, but those aren’t all good ones”

Some called Fred Walker, “King of The Coloured Horses” due to his lifelong focus, passion and dedication to the Vanner vision. The well known Romany historian Gordon Boswell is one. Fred Walker maintained the genotype (genetics) born from the phenotype (the look) that inspired the Vanner breed soon after World War II in an unbroken chain from 19 years old until his passing at 78. Fred knew all, and owned many of the breeds greatest sires and dams over those 59 years. The Lob Eared Horse, The Lion King and The Eagle Mare are three.  

Fred called us every two weeks for years. 

“I don’t drink and I don’t smoke – you are my vice, I spend my money on you”, Fred would say. We would talk about the Vanner breed for 1 1/2 to 2 hours every two weeks – the knowledge he shared with us was priceless. 

Fred was the last to choose between Romany Horse and Gypsy Vanner Horse and with Fred the choice became 100% Gypsy Vanner Horse .

Click the image below to learn more about the name Gypsy Vanner Horse.

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