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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Wait - What Was THAT???

This past weekend we experienced freakishly warm weather here in Missouri. When I saw the temperature was supposed to be 70 or above, my thoughts immediately turned to riding. Hmm, where could I go? I got in touch with my friend and hurrah, she wasn't busy and said I could come over and swing a leg over LiRoi! Even though I knew we'd only be walking, I was very glad I could go. "Leafy" is the Giant Warmblood guy I wrote about here. I volunteered to help if he needed clipping, which I had a feeling would be necessary; he's always been hairy, but with the development of Equine Metabolic Syndrome he has really turned into a yak. Last winter was so mild that he had to be completely body-clipped at least twice and he's never blanketed.

I turned onto my favorite road going towards my friend's farm and felt my spirits lift. As usual, my head was on a swivel taking in all the properties that I pass on the way. One is my old H/J lesson barn, and the others are private establishments, but all have pastures with horses in 'em so I like to check things out.

I was zipping past this one place when I suddenly caught sight of Something Different. This farm had been for sale for a long time, and it's really gorgeous: you can see the real estate listing here (those of you on the East or West coasts feel free to laugh yourselves silly over the price.... I know what this place would run in your neck of the woods!). At any rate, the For Sale sign was missing and instead someone new clearly had moved in. Because guess what I thought I saw grazing???

One of these:
Well, okay, maybe the horse wasn't rainbow-colored but it sure as heck looked like a Gypsy Vanner. :-) I did not have time to stop and investigate, but planned to do so immediately upon leaving my friend's farm...

Sure enough, we found poor LiRoi sweating all over his shaggy and curly self. His leg hair gets so long he practically has feathers and the rest of him is not far behind. My friend broke out her two pairs of Oster A5 clippers and a half-dozen freshly-sharpened blades and we went to work. Oy! I should say tried to go to work... it was slow going. The damp, thick hair was not very cooperative. I managed to get his chest and between his front legs done but my arms got really tired and the clippers really hot. All we wanted to do was maybe a little trace clip; he's really not being ridden and we just wanted to give him a bit of relief as the weather is not supposed to cool down for another 10 days at least.

We gave up and threw a bareback pad on Leafy, and I climbed aboard for a little walking "trail ride" around friend's farm. She saddled up her other horse. I hoped that the dear boys would behave themselves as I'm not exactly in riding shape, and all I had was the leather loop on the front of the pad if things went south (it's a western-cinched Parelli bareback pad - no stirrups - actually very nice). Fortunately, the horses were fine and we had a nice little ride.

As soon as I left I made a beeline for the driveway of the suspected Vanner home. Sure enough, while LiRoi has fake feathers, these horses have real ones and they are indeed Gypsy horses!
 Pasture to right of driveway - mares and youngsters
Well, hello little fuzzball. Can you even see where you're going?
I've only ever seen one Gypsy horse before, so I was very intrigued. I know that the Brits are laughing all the way to the bank over the stupid Americans who think dime-a-dozen hairy cart horses are The Coolest Things Ever, and the fact that some of us are willing to pay astronomical prices for them, but I must admit, they are pretty neat.
 There was another bunch of horses in the left-hand pasture:
All told, I counted 18 horses, a pretty sizeable herd. I hope that the owners know what they're doing and aren't planning to make a million bucks riding the new trend. I was curious to see some prices so found this page on Equine Now:
None of these are from this farm as the city is wrong, but yep, they're definitely up there compared to what, say, AQHA babies sell for around here (not much). Like I said, I hope the farm does well and I don't see a herd sell-off some day. Regardless, it was a lot of fun to see these horses!


  1. Gypsy Vanners ARE fun to see! I was driving through rural (read: middle of nowhere farmland) Minnesota to go to my family's cabin, and I saw one on someone's farm. I started gesturing and babbling excitedly, I don't think my husband understood my enthusiasm but he was nice about it. I was so surprised to see a Gypsy Vanner out there! Usually it's someone's Quarter-Paint-backyard horse cross.

  2. I am so happy that you got a chance to ride. The weather was perfect for you. Is this the farm behind our old house?



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