Practical, adaptable, good-natured and multi-talented – the gypsy cob is worth its weight in gold. Stephanie Bateman investigates their growing popularity
As the name suggests, traditional gypsy cobs were originally bred by Romany gypsies to pull their bow-top caravans all over England and Ireland. They needed to be powerful, hardy, fearless and intelligent to cope with life on the road, yet docile enough to be handled by all the family.
“They have since found their way into the hearts of the non-traveller community who recognise their adaptability and suitability for many equine disciplines,” says Andrea Betteridge, founder of the Traditional Gypsy Cob Association (TGCA). “Today, gypsy cobs are one of the most honest, hard-working and gentle breeds in the world.”
Andrea set up the TGCA in 2005 to form a verifiable studbook to recognise the breed, and to create a place for non-coloured traditionals in the show ring. Now a breed association approved by Defra, the TGCA holds the studbook for traditional gypsy cobs.
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