Training a Gypsy Vanner

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Training a Gypsy Vanner

This is a discussion on Training a Gypsy Vanner within the Draft Horses forums, part of the Horse Breeds category
  • How to train what is a gypsy vanner horse
  • Gypsy vanner how they move

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    08-21-2013, 04:08 AM
Training a Gypsy Vanner

A whole new experience coming my way!

Went and rode for a new client who owns a Gypsy and a Fox Trotter. The gypsy and I got along well, but he's definitely different than other horses I have ridden. I've ridden a Shire x QH and a PMU Draft/Pony, and he reminds me of them. Lazy kinda, hard headed, but an absolute love. He's green by all means but a good boy.

I worked a lot on just getting him soft, moving off my leg, etc. Haunch turns were very hard for him. I was just asking for half or quarter turns on the fence. He did okay but not great. Sidepassing was alright but not great. Forehand turns were best but still need refining.

He also has issues softening vertically. He will go laterally great but downward we barely got anywhere with. I was thinking side reins or checking him up for a little while. His teeth are fine. I check up my cowhorses at work all the time but something about doing it to a drafty horse feels...wrong. LOL. I have no idea why.

So what do you guys think makes draft breeds different than others? Besides the obvious...Any advice you can give me on them?
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    08-21-2013, 09:12 AM
I rode a green gypsy vanner for a while and the biggest thing that made that horse different was how stubborn she was! If they trust/respect you as the leader, they're awesome, but if you can't prove to be the one in charge they'll take advantage of you every time they want to grab a bite to eat etc.

I don't think using side reins are going to fix the real problem, if you want him to stretch try ground poles and more leg, less rein. What discipline is he being used for?
    08-21-2013, 09:30 AM
I would gain trust through groundwork and then work up from there.gypsys are amazing horses but you do need to be the leader.if you establish that then your experiences will become easier.
    08-21-2013, 09:31 AM
Super Moderator
The main use of the gypsy cobs/vanners in the UK before they exploded in popularity was in riding schools and trekking (Trail riding) centres where they'll go all day for any level of rider but never expected to do more than walk trot canter usually in a line of other horses
Heavier horses do take longer to get fit than your average horse but there's no excuse for laziness
All horses even within a breed differ but our Gypsy type (who is very energetic) takes a lot longer to learn things than other horses I've had but she gets there in the end - if we rush her she gets stressed and over reacts to pressure
Gypsies can do anything another horse can - OK they wont go to top level in dressage or eventing but they will give it their best
For now I suggest you concentrate on general fitness work, lots of exercises to encourage flexion and suppleness. Get out of the ménage as much as you can - they were bred to work and enjoy trail riding - you can do a lot of schooling while you are out like that and they are less likely to get bored with it
Clava likes this.
    08-25-2013, 05:03 AM
The ones I've known (and like Jaydee said, you can't get out of bed in the UK without stepping on one) are very sweet, willing horses. It takes a fair bit of work to get them supple, as they have those huge thick necks, are upright through the shoulder, and it's not as easy for them to flex. Most are built really front heavy and won't get off the forehand as readily as your nice, reining-bred QHs.
    09-27-2013, 05:37 AM
I have a GV gelding who is 4/5 yrs old as I have found out he can be a little stubben we were told that he wouldn't pick his feet unless he had a twitch on. He would not go in a menarge or be schoold. Well two weeks later he picks his feet up without a twitch he goes into the menarge and does schooling a little he has got a very nice trott when he wants to lol but I know it will take time I want to do showing in hand next year as well as carting .
    09-27-2013, 06:36 AM
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I would ride and train a cob exactly the same as any other horse.
Stilton likes this.
    09-27-2013, 01:05 PM
Super Moderator
Majority of these canners are conformation ally poor to go in a correct outline. They are usually thick through the jowl which makes it hard for them to come down correctly on the bit.

They were bred to pull caravans, thus straighter in the shoulder, often cow hocked, bigger heads and as said, thick through the jowl.
    09-27-2013, 02:11 PM
With drafties, IME, it's easier to work on their vertical flexion later on, after they've got good, solid impulsion from very light leg. Because many of them are "lazy", the impulsion is the hardest part.

When I was dealing with starting Rafe, I had to work really hard to hypersensitize him to all my cues, which often could have been construed as being mean to him if seen by an outside observer. I would get after him hard whenever he was sluggish to anything I asked of him and I skipped over much of the force progression. I would take it right to about 8 if he didn't respond to 1.

I would give him very light leg and if he didn't respond, I'd take in with the over-under. If I picked up a rein a little and he had that feeling like he was grudgingly obeying, I'd bump him firmly in the mouth, give him the heel and/or the over-under until he was almost jumping whenever I'd pick up the rein.

Then, when he was almost over-reacting whenever I'd ask for anything, I started to ease off and let him mellow out. Now, he's nice and soft and responsive to light cues from both rein and leg.

In his turns, he's still pretty slow but I'm accepting of that because he's turning correctly and keeping his pivot foot planted. I can start asking for more speed later if necessary.
Wallaby and WesternRider88 like this.
    09-27-2013, 03:13 PM
Super Moderator
Originally Posted by Foxhunter    
Majority of these canners are conformation ally poor to go in a correct outline. They are usually thick through the jowl which makes it hard for them to come down correctly on the bit.

They were bred to pull caravans, thus straighter in the shoulder, often cow hocked, bigger heads and as said, thick through the jowl.
I'm hoping that the 'canners' was a spelling error - though sadly that's where many of them used to end up because a lot of them don't make for good riding horses
Sorry bad taste but I had to say it.

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