9×12 watercolor enhanced colored pencil on satin finish Arches watercolor paper. Original available.
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The Irish Cob is a breed of horse with its origin among the Irish Travellers, or Gypsies, of the British Isles. In the United Kingdom, it is usual to refer to them as “traditional coloured cobs”, or “piebald/skewbald cobs”. These horses are also called a Gypsy Cob (USA ), Irish Tinker Horse, (in Germany and Netherlands), Irish Cob, Piebald (in Ireland), or Gypsy Vanner (USA). Bred for strength and docility. The typical horse measures 14.0 – 15. hands.
A proper cob is a heavy carriage or cart horse heavy enough to pull relatively large loads. The idea of the Gypsy Vanner/Cob being “bred for centuries” is not completely accurate. For as long as Gypsies have been around, they have bred whatever type of horse that best suits their needs. The availability of horses may have contributed to this, as well as breeding different horses to achieve desired results. Thus, the planned breeding of “Vanners” is a relatively new concept.
Because the term “Tinker” is considered a slur by travellers, the term “Tinker Horse” is not generally used by English-speakers to describe the horse.
Characteristics There is no set color standard for Cobs, although the most common are piebald and skewbald, two variations of pinto coloring. The typical “Gypsy Vanner” or “Drummer” horses are known for their abundance of hair and “feather” (long hair starting at the cannon bone and flowing down over the hooves).
Their build is powerful and compact, with a short neck and back. The chest is broad, the hips are heavy, and the withers are round. They must have what is called a “sweet head”, which refers to the balance of the head to the rest of the body. Vanners must also have excellent endurance, and be able to go long distances without tiring.
They are also well known for a gentle, kind temperament suitable for a horse pulling a caravan and frequently around small children. They are sometimes referred to as “golden retrievers with hooves”. Because of this, they make good riding and show horses.
These horses can now be found in pony sizes. (information from Wikipedia)