It’s all about “Going back to the well”.
Feather is a rather mysterious gene. I believe it has several variants or strains that are intermingled within the gypsy horse population. Some strains are known to “skip” generations. There are variations in texture and durability, and length and thickness. So the basic truth is, you have to keep breeding for heavy feather factor in order to produce desired “wow” factor.
Now, we add in the challenge to change the size, looking for small individuals while maintaining the feather factor. As with anything, it will be a process of give and take.
My first small stallion was a thoroughly heavy 13 hand cob, Lex (Cold Fusion). Altho, I had actually invested in pony mares bred to The Toymakker (14 hands) before this, because at this earlier time Toymakker was the smallest advertised gypsy stallion in the USA, in 2006. And I was thrilled to get two daughters from him, one 12.2 same height as her dam; and one 11.2 hands, from a 45″ pony mare. And then when the smaller mare produced a son from Lex who is staying 11.2 hands, I was just amazed and grateful! My plan was coming about much quicker than I imagined possible.
So in 2012 we had babies from The Executive (12.3hh). I did not want to breed Lex daughters back to their sire. I was fortunate to obtain “Mr. X”. And he is exceeding expectations so far as well! His first crop produced “Tiny” who as a yearling has kept on track to stay about a yard tall. Tiny is a nice quality pony for any reason and is headed to his new home in Maine. I have his older brother who I have decided to use in 2014; there is no reason for me to keep both brothers. I have Tiny’s new little brother 3/4 gypsy who is also very amazing and will mature about ten hands and figure strongly in future breeding plans. So, Tiny will likely become a gelding altho I had hoped someone would believe in him enough to use him to start their own program as he would be very appropriate to use with small purebred gypsy mares to bring the size down while maintaining feather quality into that generation.
In 2012 I invested in our next step stallion, Wyatt, who is unrelated again as far as I can tell (except for farther back in the pedigree). He is just a bit smaller in height, not over 12 hands, and he will likely offer another variation of small cob genes that will produce amazing babies by the time I figure out which way to cross back and forth the mini X mares produced (F1). Wyatt’s foals in 2013 have been very impressive; he has earned a reason to keep around for a time, with his very tiny bay colt expected to mature 34″!!!
In 2012 I had the first F2 filly produced from Mr. X and my Toymakker daughter “QT” that I expect to mature 11.2 hands like her brother Doc. She is another revelation and I put an equal value to her existence as I do to her sister from my wonderful Bellbottom Truffles (Mr X purebred daughter here will likely stay about 12.2hh.) Mr. X is producing simply beautiful small stock more than large although the first two babies out of my bigger pony mares will be bigger than their moms (and these moms and babies have both found new homes in 2013 and their new owners adore them.)
Australia has its own program established to support a plan for “breeding up”:
I also found the story about how the famous Teddy O’Connor horse interesting:
Actually I don’t feel the mini gypsy effort needs to go to the lengths of five crosses to get breeding stock established. I am seeing very satisfactory results with TWO….that begin to reveal the future of the American Miniature Gypsy. Worthy of working with. And I have confidence that my 7/8 youngstock produced will be awesome.
This year the 2013 crop of babies produced a 3/4 bay filly which is a very affordable girl with feather to start your own program with your favorite mini stallion to keep F1 fillies to build from. And by the time a few years are gone by I will have produced more nice small stock to work with, as well as there are scattered in the USA a few other small stallions that I know of. Superior Stables and May Day Acres both had small 12 hand range stallions for sale this year, and the 11 hand tall Risk was imported to Wisconsin.
So far (in 2012), the GHA registry in Georgia probably offers the closest thing to what we may need as far as gypsy horse registration efforts with their part-bred or “heritage” section. I can only hope that people start to organize with me and we can approach any preferred registry with offering them the opportunity to have a new source of business, by establishing a separate stud book for our efforts. ****FLASH UPDATE JULY 2013*** The American Miniature Gypsy Registry has opened in Michigan. Please see their website:
GHA offers DNA verification of sire/dam as a basis for those wishing at this time to establish those records. As the new registry develops I believe it can grow into a little business that can deal with world wide concerns as the new breed continues to grow.
The American Draft Pony registry in Ohio is also a wonderful first step solution to establishing paperwork for your horse. I hope that it will find value for people wanting to utilize it for horses who may have lost registration priveleges such as “growing out” of limits in miniature horse registries or for those mini’s who have lost paperwork for whatever reason. But in actuality the new registry in MI also offers this service, but certainly if there are ponies out there who have used the ADP registry in Ohio that information can transfer into the new effort.
I believe that with an organized approach, the American Shetland Pony registry in Morton, Illinois will work with us if people choose to pursue that avenue for show opportunities. I have contacted them a couple different times and it is more an issue of numbers to justify new business.
The pinto association offers another avenue for showing your miniature gypsy horse, as well as any open local show including county fairs. They are already set up to utilize information from the GHA, and other gypsy horse registries.
Here is an example of my plan:
I have a 39″ tall daughter of Cold Fusion. I will breed her to The Executive and plan to keep a well feathered pony filly of approximately 11 hands tall. (actually in 2013 this mare produced a very nice colt that will mature ten hands!) At that point, I may choose to breed that filly to one of the better half mini colts produced, taking a chance that the feather factor may “nick” and produce another generation of well feathered filly. If I were really lucky, the mini size factor will connect and that generation will give me a 36″ range filly well feathered. (note that in 2013 a colt was born that I expect I will be able to do this with whenever I get such a filly born from this mare, and it matures. So many years to work with!)
My other option is to breed the 11 hand 3/4 bred filly (QT’s Filly I call Emmy) to Wyatt (or something else smaller at some point, imported gypsy stud) and hope for the next generation to be 11 hands and amazingly feathered and cob looking. If my magic water on my farm is at work, the baby might even mature below 11 hands! At that point I would feel THAT generation is fairly pure and will produce or at least put a good heavy feather factor into anything it is bred to. But many more people will be interested in taking those 11 hand range feathered cobs and using them for breeding stock vs. the current available 12-13 hand range cobs, don’t you think?
If I have a 12-13 hh range (HOPEFULLY) in the USA gypsy mare to work with, and I breed her to my favorite mini stallion, (which people are reluctant to deliberately breed for a cross-bred with a gypsy mare) the mare’s size will pull the maturity size of the baby up towards her size vs. keeping it more like the height of the stud. Say the stud is 30″ tall. The mare is 50″ tall. Added together, 80 inches divided into two, may get you a 40″ tall baby (I feel it may be more). But still, 40″ is pretty fair. So, you still have the same decisions to make from that generation, how will you “go back to the well” for feather factor? Because the feather is what it is all about, after all. You might try a crossbred colt from me and see what can be gotten. But the feather factor will more likely not pull for heavy growth vs. going back to “clean legged” from 50% of it’s genetic make-up. But maybe that 25% chance of good feather factor coming thru will work! If it matches up with the size so much the better. Truly what we need more of is small mares, and the most efficient way to get them is using small mares. Then once we have several well feathered small colts produced from small mares we will be getting somewhere.
Thank you for taking the time to read and study my information.
Here is a picture of my small half gypsy mare and her little 2013 3/4 gypsy colt: