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How Much Do Gypsy Horses Cost? 

The Gypsy Vanner is one of the most sought-after horses. Known by names such as the Irish Cob, Tinker horse, or Gypsy cob, it’s a beautiful, loving, and playful breed. In addition, Gypsies are capable carriage horses originally bred for Irish travelers. 

But they’re also some of the most expensive horses. Though a young colt costs around $4,000, mature stallions are much more expensive, often reaching $40,000. Read on to discover the top factors affecting Gypsy horse prices, 2024 asking prices, and Gypsy horse ownership costs. 

Gypsy Horse History and Origin 

The Gypsy horse originates from Ireland. The earliest traces reveal that Irish and Great Britain travelers relied on the Gypsy to pull wagons in the 1800s. However, it was not a breed as such. Instead, “Gypsy” merely referred to a type of horse from various bloodlines. 

That changed after the two world wars when breeders decided to produce a smaller, more appealing breed to replace the Shire. So, they crossed the original Gypsy horse with the Irish Cob, a feathery breed with a long back and large head.

The result was a more refined, heavily feathered breed with more color and a “sweater head.” It was the perfect caravan horse. 

Locals continued to call it the Gypsy Horse. Until two Americans, Dennis and Cindy Thompson, traveling through Great Britain, took an interest in the breed and renamed it the Gypsy Vanner. The first Gypsy Vanner arrived in the US in the 1990s.

Factors Affecting Gypsy Horse Prices 

Gypsy prices depend on many factors, from aesthetics to your location. However, five main factors affect the asking price;

  • Conformation: You’ll always pay more for horses that closely conform to the breed’s defining characteristics. For instance, a true Vanner is a powerful, draft-like horse with a refined head, arched neck, and feathery lower legs. 
  • Age: The Gypsy matures at 6-8 years, hitting their prime at around 10. Therefore, stallions and mares in this age group are highly sought after. Younger horses and older ones above 20 years sell for much less. 
  • Color: Gypsy associations are very specific about the coat patterns, making the color a critical price factor. Piebald and skewbald Gypsies are the most common colors and, therefore, cheaper. Meanwhile, palomino and grays are rare and cost more whenever accepted. 
  • Bloodline: Gypsies from superior bloodlines are a goldmine and sell for a lot of money. For example, descendants of the Gypsy King are highly sought-after, given he was an award-winning dressage horse of a high pedigree. 
  • Training: If you often wonder why show horses are expensive, the main reason is training. Show training costs up to $2,000/month. Yet, some horses require training for the better part of the year. Sellers often transfer the costs to the buyer. 

How Much Does a Gypsy Vanner Horse Cost?

Gypsy Vanner Horse

A Gypsy horse costs $4,000 to $30,000. Younglings cost as little as $1,500. Indeed, you can acquire a Gypsy foal under one year old for just $150 in Ireland, though the importation costs exceed $7,500. Similarly, older Vanner horses aged 20+ often cost under $3,000. 

But a mature Vanner gelding in his prime costs at least $4,000, depending on the health, training, and pedigree. 

Stallions are more expensive than mares, and geldings are costlier than regular males. But the price differences are minimal if other factors remain the same. High-potential bloodlines cost $10,000 to $20,000 more. 

Highly trained Gypsies, especially show horses, are the most expensive. For instance, a registered, broken stallion aged three years costs $7,000, assuming no special talents. But an unregistered, unbroken stallion of the same age and pedigree costs $4,000 or less at auctions. 

Highly trained show Gypsies cost at least $15,000. But the price increases dramatically if the Vanner has a record in the ring. One good performance in a recognized event can push the price beyond $40,000. Meanwhile, a good show record stretching back two or more years can easily move the asking price to $100,000+. 

Breaking Down Gypsy Vanner Ownership Costs

Cost TypeCost
Initial Purchase Cost (Average)$4,000 to $30,000
Initial Purchase Cost (Foal in Ireland, + Import)$1,500 + $7,500 Import
Initial Purchase Cost (Older Vanner, 20+)Under $3,000
Initial Purchase Cost (Mature Vanner Gelding)At least $4,000
Initial Purchase Cost (Stallions vs Mares)Varies, minimal differences
Initial Purchase Cost (High-potential Bloodlines)$10,000 to $20,000 more
Initial Purchase Cost (Highly Trained Show Gypsies)At least $15,000
Initial Purchase Cost (Show Gypsy with Good Record)$40,000 to $100,000+
Boarding (Full-service)Up to $2,000/month or $24,000 yearly
Boarding (Self-care)$200 to $400/month
Boarding (Pasture)$400 to $600/month
Feeding (Annual, Hay + Grain)~$3,400/year
Feeding (Annual, Supplements + Water)~$400/year
Vet and Farrier (Routine Care)~$300/year
Vet and Farrier (Emergency Vet + Insurance)~$700/year
Equipment and Supplies$250 to $1,000+
Training (Basic, Non-show)$3,200 to $4,000/year (2 days/week)
Training (Show and Racing)Over $36,000/year ($100+/day)

Besides the purchase cost, you must begin preparing for the ownership expenses early. The following breakdown outlines the most important costs.

Boarding Costs

Horse boarding can be expensive, though some facilities offer cheaper, hybrid plans. Full-service plans are the most expensive, costing up to $2,000/month or $24,000 yearly. Unfortunately, only a few people can afford that without straining their paychecks. So, most owners opt for self-care and pasture boarding. 

Self-care facilities offer shelter only, leaving the remaining care responsibilities on the owner’s shoulders. But they’re a lot cheaper. Plans start at $200/month, reaching $400 in high-end facilities. 

Meanwhile, pasture boarding facilities provide shelter, pasture, and water, leaving the owner with grooming and veterinary responsibilities. So, it’s slightly better than self-care but not as convenient as full-care services. The prices range from $400 to $600 in most facilities.

Feeding Costs

Feeding

Like other horses, Gypsies are heavy feeders. A single Vanner can consume 30 pounds of hay daily before mentioning the grain, supplement, and salt requirements. Then, you also need to account for 2.5 to 8.5 liters of water. 

A 50-pound bale of hay costs $4 to $15, depending on the quality and your location. So, assuming a 30 pounds/day consumption rate, you should set aside around $5/day or about $1,700/year for hay alone. Quality hay costs slightly more. 

Grains often cost the same amount. This means an additional $1,700/year. Then, you can add at least $300/year for salts and supplements and at least $100 for the extra water bill. 

Vet and farrier services 

Gypsy Vanner horses are hardy and don’t fall sick often. Nonetheless, you must budget for routine medical care. Additionally, you can never go wrong with equine insurance and must anticipate emergency health problems, such as equine metabolic syndrome. 

Consider a $300 annual budget for routine care or slightly more for younger and old horses. An additional $500 for emergency veterinary visits is sufficient. Meanwhile, equine insurance policies start from $200/year. 

Farrier costs depend on the quality of the services. A $250 annual budget is sufficient on the lower end. But you’ll need much more, often up to $1,000, for show horses and sickly Gypsies. Speak with your vet for additional advice. 

Equipment and supplies 

You need a tack as soon as you buy a horse. Otherwise, you may be unable to ride or drive. Additionally, you need handling and grooming equipment and supplies to take the best care of your horse. 

A good tack costs $250+, while a high-quality one could set you back $1,000+. Alternatively, you can purchase the items one by one. But this is an even more expensive route. The saddle alone can cost $300+. Then, you must also buy a saddle pad, helmet, stirrups, and lunge line. Speak to your friends and family and check online for quality second-hand tacks.

Handling and grooming equipment includes a halter, lead ropes, mane combs, body brushes, curry combs, winter blankets, and sweat sheets. Meanwhile, feeding equipment includes feeding pans, water troughs, and water heaters. These can cost an extra $1,000. 

Training Costs

Training

Finally, training costs often escape the minds of most horse owners. Yet, it’s one of the most expensive ownership expenses. 

Most trainers charge a flat rate of $40 to $50 per day for basic training. So, the total depends on how long the horse stays in training. Two days a week of training is sufficient for high-pedigree non-show horses. But you can do it twice a month for pet horses.

Problems begin when you sign up your horse for shows and championships. Show and racing horses must remain in training for the rest of the year. Moreover, the training fees are higher, typically $100+/day. This translates to over $3,000/month. 

Characteristics of a Gypsy Horse 

Experienced equestrians can identify a Gypsy Vanner with tier eyes closed. But the following are the defining characteristics if you’re new to the breed;

  • Size: Gypsies are short by horse standards. Mini Vanner horses mature at 13.3 hands, Classic Vanner horses reach 15 hands, and Grand Vanner horses grow to 15.1 hands tall at the shoulder. The Classic Vanner is the most common.
  • Weight: Gypsy Horse associations have no weight limits. Nonetheless, most registered Vanner horses are between 1,100 and 1,700 pounds. The weight mainly originates from their muscles and dense bones. 
  • Colors: Gypsy Vanner horses are not colored. Instead, piebald (black and white) coats are the most common. alongside skewbald (brown + white) coats. However, you may occasionally encounter odd colors, such as Blagdon (solid + white splash). 
  • Temperament: Gypsy horses are people-pleasers. They possess an innate kindness unseen in other horses. Also, gypsy horses maintain very close family ties and are excited to travel with the family. Rarely do they throw a tantrum. 

There are many other defining characteristics of the Gypsy Vanner. For instance, real Vanner horses boast a heavy build, large bones and a thick mane and tail. The heads are more refined than regular draft horses, with the forehead broad and eyes kind. Blue eyes are common in Irish Gypsies but not in their American counterparts. 

Also, the Gypsy has a short, muscular back, deep girth, and well-sprung ribs. Muscular hindquarters and a smooth croup round off the impressive features. 

Read: How Much Does a Palomino Horse Cost?

Gypsy Horse Uses

Vanner horses are incredibly versatile. The original Gypsy was primarily a carriage horse, specially bred for long-distance travelers. However, the modern Gypsy has evolved into a jack of all trades, excelling in multiple disciplines. 

For instance, the Gypsy’s deep body and strong back make it a great option for riding and driving. A calm demeanor and kind personality guarantee a great time on the saddle. Besides riding and driving, Gypsies happily pull carts and carriages.  

You should also consider the Vanner when shopping for a pleasure horse or a family pet. Their small size makes them more approachable to kids. In addition, Vanner horses are potent therapy horses thanks to their calm nature. 

The Vanner’s physical attributes, particularly the muscular body and powerful, agile gait make it an exceptional dressage horse. These qualities also define great jumpers. 

We’ve also seen Gypsy horses dancing at weddings. This can be a source of revenue for owners. Furthermore, the Gypsy horse is common in military parades as a symbol of traditional housekeeping. 

Where to Buy Gypsy Horse

The Gypsy Vanner Horse Society (GVHS) is a great place to begin your search when shopping for a Gypsy horse. 

Established in 1996, it’s the official registry of the Gypsy horse in the US. Luckily, unlike other horse societies, GVHS always has a few Gypsies for sale. More importantly, they’ll happily guide you to other resources if they can’t find the Gypsy of your preference. 

The Gypsy Horse Association (GHA) also offers breeding and sales services. Check out their website to try your luck. 

Besides the associations, there are a few dozen breed-specific Gypsy Vanner horse farms in the US where you can find young and mature Gypsies for sale. Verify that it’s a registered farm. Then, reach out to book an appointment. 

Finally, you’ll never miss a few Gypsies at open markets and equine auctions. Search the best markets via social media or equine magazines. Then, get an experienced trainer to help you evaluate the horse before buying. 

FAQS

Why Are Gypsy Horses So Expensive?

Gypsy horses are expensive mainly because they’re rare. There are only 10,000 Gypsy Vanner horses worldwide, making the Vanner a status symbol. Additionally, Gypsy Vanner horses are beautiful, versatile, and friendly. These qualities further increase their demand. 

Can You Ride a Gypsy Horse?

Yes, Gypsies are exceptional riding horses. They’re strong, friendly horses that guarantee a pleasant time on the trails. Moreover, Gypsy Vanner horses are strong, short horses suitable for heavy riders. Their calm demeanor makes them ideal for beginners and even kids.

Wrap up

The price tag on Gypsy horses can swing a lot. It’s all about what you’re looking for—be it a family pet or a top-notch show horse.

You might pay a few thousand or shell out more than $30,000. But remember, buying the horse is just the start. You’ve got to think about their food, care, and vet bills too.

Doing your homework and chatting with trusted breeders is key. Buying a Gypsy horse? It’s more than just the cash. It’s about joining a community that loves these stunning creatures. 

Dr. Noman Tariq

Dr. Noman Tariq

Dr. Noman Tariq, a seasoned veterinarian with a DVM from ARID University and an MPhil in Animal Nutrition from UVAS, specializes in equine health. His deep passion for horse nutrition and well-being drives his work, offering invaluable advice for horse owners. Dr. Tariq's expertise ensures horses lead vibrant, healthy lives.
You can read my full bio here

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How Much Do Gypsy Horses Cost?