Draft Ponies

I had an inquiry today about how can small draft ponies be developed under 40″ and maintain abundant feather such as is seen in the presently developed gypsy horses.  They tied this question to general draft pony type which is related but somewhat of a different idea.  If you search on the internet for American Draft Pony you will find a registry devoted to the idea which has a small following; and most of the people working on that are using welsh and Percheron crosses to get a pony I believe targeted for size around 50″ tall.  There is also a farm specializing in Clydesdale ponies, I haven’t looked very hard at that but did note it the other day.  If you have time and are interested you can probably find information on the internet.

Coates’ gypsy pony mare half Shetland

gypsy horse miniature cob

gypsy pony mare half Shetland

This cute grey pony mare is one of the first pictures of “littles” the gypsy folk in Britain shared with  me and the world via the internet about three years ago.  I remember Amy Coates sharing a set of pictures on the old Harlequin forum describing this nice mare as half Shetland, she did not mention what gypsy horse was the sire.   But on the present Coates family sales site there are a couple of smaller horses offered for sale…http://www.gypsyhorses.co.uk/

Now, this pony is an example of good feather quality coming thru on just the first cross (F1).  I believe that ponies of British Island foundations are more likely than others to let strong feather traits develop in the first cross to a gypsy horse.  You must understand that the gypsy horse itself is developed from a mixture of breeds, none of which usually carry on average as much feather as a “good” gypsy horse is expected to exhibit.  For example, the average Fell pony has feather, but certainly not to the extent that the most famous gypsy horses display.   Genetically, the feather factor is very complex and my understanding is that there is probably more than one gene driving the expression of the trait.  Plus, no doubt there are modifiers that come into play, and the modifiers on genes are less understood than the responsible genes that are not identified as of yet!  So, there is a variable way feather gene is expressed and cannot be totally predicted.  But like most any trait breeders choose to emphasize, if you keep choosing for that trait, you can bring it more into focus; i.e. breeding the heaviest feathered individuals together for several generations has created the very heavily feathered gypsy horse.

3 year old Haflinger/Gypsy cross

gypsy cob cross

3 year old Haflinger/Gypsy cross

For instance, this is Aladdin, a beautiful son of the gypsy stallion, Lively Leo, and out of a Haflinger mare.  Haflingers do not usually express much feather but there are some who have fairly heavy fetlock hair.  At any rate, Aladdin has a generous expression of feather for an F1 pony (He is for sale and is of a good riding size at 13.3).  Aladdin is owned by Jennifer Rose in California, and her website is http://www.jennerroseranch.webs.com.

I have seen pictures of a welsh cob/gypsy horse cross in Australia or New Zealand I believe, who also has at least as much feather as Aladdin has, possibly more.  He looks “pure” gypsy already and is just the F1 as far as breeding effort.  Many welsh cobs have quite a bit of feather, similar to Fell/Dales ponies. Shetlands, altho not having usually the “feather” or extended fetlock hair onto the backs of their legs, as expressed on many British ponies, certainly have a hair factor with the thickness or fuzziness established, and I believe this “fuzz” factor lets expression of the feather come thru more than you might expect it to.   I have seen pictures of a couple of tiny 27-28″ miniature horses lately that have a much more feather than average for their breed, and this is the kind of pony that can be expected to produce excellent results in the F1 generation.  Breeders should strive to make wise choices in breeding stock!  Find the traits you want to produce in the animals you start out with!

Mustardseed Legionaires Destiny, 27 inch tall miniature horse stallion

miniature gypsy horse

Mustardseed Legionaires Destiny, 27″ tall miniature horse stallion

This little cutie is shown at Azarial Miniatures at Meadowind Farm in Pennsylvania.  Now, this picture might be deceiving to some because he is being shown in winter time and his greyish color is from being body clipped; he is a black pinto.  And I am not trying to say he  has any “gypsy” blood at all, he is a registered miniature horse.   But they have left the winter heavy leg hair and WOW! does he look like a miniature gypsy horse or what!  Just 27 inches of eye appeal.  A short legged mini stallion becomes very baroque looking!

The fact is, many of the gypsy breeders in the UK have small stock.


About minigypsy1

Farmer's daughter raising 6th generation children on Block Farm in west central Illinois. Breeder of Australian Shepherd dogs for 30 years now, applying lifetime knowledge to establishing a new breed of pony, the miniature gypsy horse.
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16 Responses to Draft Ponies

  1. Mick says:

    Yes, ponies, mini horses, mini drafts. Interesting MB

  2. Kati says:

    The clydesdale draft pony is exactly what I have been looking for. I will follow up and discover more. Thanks for your site.

    • minigypsy1 says:

      Kati! I may have just the ticket for you, especially if you are interested at all in getting involved in the future of the miniature gypsy horse. Yesterday a bay colt with all black legs and a small smart blaze face, was born here at Bellbottom Farm and I think he is going to be under 36″ tall with heavy feather for the first generation….In Other Words! I think he is going to be a spectacular pony! And color of a Clyde, with heavy draft qualities and feather, what more could you want! I offer him for sale for $1000……

  3. minigypsy1 says:

    Thank you for response, Kati. I do know of a couple very nice gypsy horse youngstock that are bay and around 13 hands in case you want the look and can’t find it otherwise. And I myself have a bay filly born this year 3/4 gypsy to make 12 hands, she is superior quality I am trying to figure out whether she is true roan or not, only a few white hairs peeking out so far.

    • bree says:

      Hi. I am in Australia and interested to know about the mare to stallion size and how the covering takes place?
      I don’t want to go down the ai path due to cost, however would live a gypsy foal from a Shetland who is 8.3hh. Stallion is 14.2hh. I would imagine this covering would injure the mare? I have been crossing my gypsy stallion with heavy Draft mares with amazing girl results and would love to look at the other end of. The scale with the little ones for quiet kids ponies.
      Cheers bree 🙂

      • Joy says:

        Surely it makes more sense to breed a small stallion to a bigger mare? The poor pony might end up having to give birth to a foal far bigger than her body is built for which could be very dangerous for the mare.

      • minigypsy1 says:

        Well you have a point where …a program needs a plan. I had to start from the ground up. In the UK and Ireland, they have a good spread of ponies with cob qualities that we do not have in North America. So I hope that at some point, people will feel confident enough about the program here, to invest in bringing over some good little stallions. We do see several 12 hand size range fillies coming on being born here in USA from other imported stock, so…yes, the market needs to develop where people have confidence that they can breed and have buyers for the miniature gypsy horse. But people in North America DO LOVE the truly miniature size horse…so I feel that it will continue to develop and come about…it just takes time

  4. minigypsy1 says:

    Hello Bree. I’m so sorry it has taken me some time to get caught up with you, I missed your post in my emails during a very busy weekend and now just got back to seeing it today.
    I would not personally use live cover with the Shetland and a 14.2 cob. I think if you have faith in the research that was done a century ago, with the Shires on ponies and carrying producing live foals, your Shetland should be able to do it because she only can contribute small genes and the environmental effect of growing the baby in utero works for her. However, if she has a filly and you keep the filly to go onward with the program, that filly has a 50% chance to have a too large foal for her with a cob that is also average or bigger size. I would find a small cob stallion for the filly, no more than 12 hands and from small horses himself or proven to throw small babies, to reduce your chances of oversize baby. With a 12 hand cob stallion you at least decrease your risks significantly that the filly’s big genetics from her sire, would match up with big genetics from the stud you breed her to…..

  5. Sommer says:

    I used to be recommended this website via my cousin. I’m now not positive whether
    this post is written by means of him as no one else recognise such special about my problem.
    You are amazing! Thank you!

  6. Cat Hill says:

    How is this project coming along? I found it looking for pony sized Gypsy’s. I have an appaloosa pony mare and her daughter that I would love to try a breeding to a Gypsy. They’re both between 11 and 12 hands.

  7. minigypsy1 says:

    Cat Hill…you are welcome to call me any time with the cell phone number ending 0181 as noted above. You had asked earlier I did not see the question about the bay colt born in 2013. I did retain him for my own program and am very glad to have decided that way. I was disappointed at the time I do not prefer to load my herd with bay color, but he is an exceptional little stud and I need to build a page for him here on the blog…I just don’t seem to find the time to get to the blog like I should. Sparky is his name and here he is on display in March 2015:

  8. minigypsy1 says:

    Please join us for conversation and planning strategies for the future of the mini gypsy horse, at the new group on Facebook: International Gypsy Equine Association

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