Height The height as measured at the withers will normally be between 13.2 hands to 15.2 hands although there may be individuals outside this range.
Simply stated, larger or smaller versions of the identical conformation profile and standards are all equally acceptable.
Unique Characteristic The body, mane and tail hair coat of the Gypsy Vanner may vary from smooth straight and silky to slight waves and curl yet fine.
One of the unique characteristics of the breed is the abundance of feathering found on the rear of the fore and hind legs, starting from the knee and hock and extending down and over the hooves.
The natural feathering is the term to describe the excessive amounts of long hairs on the lower legs, hence the term horse feathers.
The leg feathering provides natural protection to the legs from the weather and working conditions.
The profound hair covering the hooves is referred to in the singular “feather”.
The horses should have long natural flowing manes and tails, only trimmed or braided for neatness of appearance when being shown.
The forelock should be full and long covering the eyes, as a natural sort of protection.
The natural Gypsy Vanner may have a beard, whiskers and muzzle hairs.
These are often trimmed or removed in preparation for competition in the show ring.
Temperament The temperament of the breed is reflected in its personality and willingness to cooperate with man when given tasks.coming from a cold blooded background, the breed should be relaxed, mannerly, and respectful of its environment.
Their willingness should be expressed in their innate attitude of being capable of serving as a riding and driving animal.
When evaluating temperament, gender must be considered.
Granted, from time to time individual horses will not display exemplary behavior, the reason needs to be determined, and if this behavior is innate, with the horse having a propensity for vicious and unmannerly behavior making it unsuitable for practical use, the individual could be considered a poor representative of the breed.
Gender The gender characteristics of the Gypsy Vanner Horse are of vital importance to maintain quality within the breed.
Stallions must resemble the male, masculine characteristics within the breed, having presence [“a look at me attitude”], curiosity, muscling, and pride, yet always controllable and willing.
Mares must reflect the quality and highly feminine qualities.
The attitude of the mare is critical in the raising of her foal, as the foal will learn by example; the mare should be easy-going, sensible, and willing.
A stallion three years of age and older must have two fully descended, normally shaped testicles.
The ability to observe the descended testicles may be dependent upon environmental temperatures.
Stallions under the age of three may be difficult to observe due to development and maturation of the individual. 2 Gypsy Vanner Horse Society [GVHS] © Head The overall impression of the head conveys an image of intelligence.
It‟s size, shape and structure is proportional with the remainder of the anatomical regions.
The refinement and delineation of facial features as well as the definition and shape to the lower jaw all contribute to the image of the head.
The forehead must be flat and broad.
The frontal facial bone should be flat to slightly convex, as it blends into a muzzle with sufficiently large nostril openings for the free exchange of air.
The lips should be tightly closed.
A pleasant, intelligent head must be the trademark of the breed.
Ears The size, shape and position of the ears reflect the horse‟s personality as well as desirable characteristics of the breed.
The length and width of the ear should be proportional to the head.
The shape should be moderately wide at its middle, providing adequate space for collection of noises and sounds.
The originating placement of the ear should be with a slight forward slant, with the ability to rotate from a forward alert position to a backward defensive maneuver, such as pinning the ears.
A mare‟s ears tend to be a bit longer then the stallion, whose ears are short and shapely.
The ears contribute to the overall image of the horse, Eyes The expression and placement of the eye convey alertness, intelligence and kindness.
The eyes must be prominent, placed on the outer edge of the head to maximize the ability of the horse to see peripherally as well as with forward binocular vision.
The eye should be large in its external structure and appearance.
The distance between the eyes should be wider than the base of the ears, and located about 60-65% of the distance between the poll and the muzzle.
The color of the eyes will vary according to the color and color pattern of the horse.
Partial white and dark color combinations are acceptable, along with a white sclera.
Bite The point where the central incisors meet must be equal and even as viewed from the side.
A slight deviation is possible without fault if the teeth vary no more than one half the width of the tooth‟s surface.
The slight deviation could occur with either the upper or the lower jaw.
The accuracy of the bite may vary according to age, and the dental maturation due to the growth and development of the pre-molars and molars.
As the premolars and molars move into location, the alignment of the jaw could vary during this process. Neck The set, length and arch of the horse‟s neck are very important to its use and athletic ability.
The neck serves many vital functions all associated with its ability for lifting, elevation, flexion, and lateral movement.
The length of the neck needs to be sufficiently long for the horse to graze without shifting foreleg positions or standing with an offset foreleg position to enable the ability to reach the ground.
Conversely, the neck should be sufficiently long enough to elevate the head for the horse to survey its surroundings, as a defensive posture.
The neck should be sufficiently long enough for the horse to shift the horse‟s body weight into a balanced frame, thereby placing more body weight 3 Gypsy Vanner Horse Society [GVHS] © proportionally on the hind legs than normal, enabling the ability for impulsion from the hindquarters.
The neck should rise upward from a well sloped shoulder, departing sufficiently above the point of the shoulder.
The underline of the neck should be inwardly rounded, following a parallel line created by the arch of the upper neckline [crest] from wither to poll, while the underline tapers into the throatlatch.
The definition of the jugular groove should be prominent.
The upper neckline [crest] should be arched and well muscled in both the mare and stallion, with more prominence desired and expected in the stallion.
When standing at the rear of the horse, the neckline from the top of the withers to the poll must be a straight line, with only slight deviations.
The upper neckline must demonstrate power, strength and flexibility.
The length, shape and ability for the horse to use the neck determine its natural athletic ability.
It must be remembered, the Gypsy Vanner necks tend to be shorter with more powerful muscling than many breeds, due to the genetic selection for these horses to be used in draft related activities, strong necks that easily fit the philosophy of form to function. 4 Gypsy Vanner Horse Society [GVHS] © Body The overall impression of the Gypsy Vanner‟s body is one of harmony and muscular proportionality with all of its collective anatomical regions.
The balance and proportions go from the point of the shoulder to the buttock, point of the hip to stifle, wither to elbow, and foreflank to rearflank, and length of the back in relationship to the coupling and croup to tail head.
All from the profile view provide a balance and proportionality, with the blending of the anatomical regions.
From the front and rear views, the width of the point of the shoulders, the spring and shape to the ribs, width and development of the chest, width of the hips, width of the stifles, definition of muscling in the rear quarters and stifle region and shape to the hip and croup, contribute to the balance and harmony, and more importantly the powerful athletic ability of the horse.
In viewing the body of the Gypsy Vanner, the muscle structure must convey the image of an athletically muscled horse, with smooth round muscles.
Short, bunchy, bulky muscles are not desired.
Likewise, the amount and size of bone should be substantial and yet, refined.
The substantial bone must reflect the workmanlike image of a draft animal, to sustain loading and stress.
The limbs of the horse should clearly exemplify defined joints in the leg, in proportion to the diameter of cannon and pastern bones.
The knee, hock and fetlock should be very obvious junctures of the leg structure, all proportional to the substance and muscle of the body.
Shoulder The shoulder is an important attachment point of the neck and the forelegs.
Therefore, it is one of the most important anatomical regions impacting upon form to function, providing a natural „home‟ for the collar and hames, as well as the ability to flex forward for the extension and reach of the movement at the walk and trot.
As viewed from the side, the shoulder should have an angle of 50 to 55 degrees, with deviations observed +/-5 degrees.
The angle of the shoulder can be viewed from the most prominent [center] point of the withers with an imaginary line being drawn to the point of the shoulder.
When a base horizontal line is added to the point of the shoulder, the angle of the shoulder should be apparent.
The shoulder angle of the Gypsy Vanner tends to be more toward the vertical [90 degrees] due to the historical genetic selection of a shoulder to be easily fitted to a draft collar.
In partnership with the angle of the shoulder is the arm, the bone connecting the point of the shoulder with the elbow.
The length and angle of attachment of the arm to the elbow joint affects the shoulder‟s ability to lift and move the forelimb for ward for all gaits.
A long arm is more desirable, resulting with the placement of the foreleg under the center of the body, closer to its natural center of gravity.
It is undesirable to have legs appearing to attach close to the point of the shoulder, as this affects stride and support of the body by the forelimb.
The shoulder must be covered with sufficient muscling to protect the shoulder while allowing the horse to have the full ability to perform as a powerful athlete.
Withers The withers are the departure point of the neck up, and forward, as well as the jointure of 5 Gypsy Vanner Horse Society [GVHS] © both shoulders [scapulas].
The withers should be prominent with sufficient muscle cover to protect this jointure.
Horses with round withers are not desirable as this affects the ability to provide the proper position for harness.
Back and Coupling/Loin The Gypsy Vanner‟s back starts at the withers and goes toward the tail, until it reaches the last lumbar vertebrae.
The topline of the back must be short and strong, with a slight curvature allowing the horse the ability to become „round‟, flexible through the middle upper body.
As the back terminates at the last rib, the coupling/loin area connects the back with the croup.
The coupling/loin area adds to the horse‟s strength and lateral flexibility of the body.
The length of the coupling/loin area will vary but must be proportional and balanced to all other anatomical regions of the horse.
The proportional length of the combined back and coupling/loin of a horse is important in establishing a strong, athletic topline.
The length of the coupling/loin area is often confused with the observation about the horse‟s “back”.
A short, strong coupling/loin is usually associated with a “short back”, while a longer coupling/loin is associated with a “long back”.
When in actuality, the length of the back remains the same, the true variable is the length of the coupling/loin, hence, the descriptive terminology is incorrect.
Mares may have longer coupling/loin areas than stallions, which permits greater capacity for expansion of a pregnancy, giving the mare a “broody look”.
Croup/Hip Blending from the coupling/loin region toward the rear, the croup follows the dorsal topline to the Gypsy Vanner‟s tailhead.
When the croup is combined with the back and coupling/loin, the three anatomical regions make-up the region referred to as the topline.
The croup serves as a point for visually measuring the length of the hip and to define the amount of muscling in the hindquarters.
When viewed from the side, the mid-line of the croup should be rounded, with a gentle slope and long, with a tail setting high on a powerful hindquarter.
From the rear, the muscles from point of the hip over the top to the other point of the hip, coming back to the tailhead, must be round, wide and reflect powerful athletic ability.
The strength of the hindquarters defines the breed as being a small draft horse, a horse designed for strength and power, but with class, presence and style.
To establish the length and angle of the hip, an imaginary line from the point of the hip is drawn to the tailhead.
The length of this imaginary line should be slightly longer than the overall length of the topline.
The point of the hip and the tailhead should be on a horizontal line which defines the length of the hip.
If the tailhead is lower than the imaginary horizontal line from the hip, the hip/croup will be approaching too steep an angle for the Gypsy Vanner.
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