Beauty is as beauty does (& your kid is spoiled and useless)

Why would you spend $12,000 on a horse when you could buy a beautifulHyacinth macaw?  I mean, it’s about as useful.  Sure you can’t ride it, but maybe the 13 year old who doesn’t pay any attention to her horse would be mesmerized with her new plaything – at least for a few minutes.

Gypsy Vanner Gelding

Brooklyn is a 6 year old black and white gelding whose 13 year old owner does not pay any attention and he needs a new home. Rides and drives, good for ferrier, loads good, stands for bath, and my 5 year old daughter has been riding him for 2 years. Brooklyn  is beautiful, he has two blue eyes and loves little kids.  I’ve been giving pony rides on him lately, and he loves the attention.  I have to many horses and I’m tired and need to spend less time doing barn chores and hang with my kids more.  I am very negotiable at this time.  I need him to go to a good home so I will need referances from a vet or ferrier that this beautiful guy will be taken care of.

That’s why you don’t buy kids a pony for their birthday! No matter how much they beg you!  Horses are a privelege to be earned.  That means lessons, stall cleaning, catch riding – prove that you’re committed to doing whatever it takes to ride and be around horses.  Because if you can’t do that, how do you expect to be the sole owner of, and 100% responsible for, a horse of your own?

I know the common theory is to price horses on the higher side to avoid the KB’s but isn’t $12,000 a bit much? Especially for a horse who’s chief claim to fame is the fact that it’s a Gypsy Vanner?


Did I miss the memo or something? Why are these horses being priced so high?  Do you remember the one that I included in the rank the fuglies post? That one was $14,000, if memory serves. Seriously, if you search for Gypsy Vanner’s you’ll find horses ranging from $4,000 to $14,000.  And yet, if these horses were Thoroughbreds, or any one of a number of other breeds, exhibiting the same level of “skill” as these horses, they’d be selling for peanuts.

PS.  That $14,000 horse is listed as being 1.5 years old and a “beginner/family propect”.



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Posted on April 17, 2012, in Bad Horse Ads and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 72 Comments.

  1. She needs to spend more time going over 4th grade English classes, too. Glad to know he’s a gelding, he is frightfully ugly.

  2. As a UK resident, I find it kind of funny that these “Gypsy Vanners” (we call them Irish Cobs, Gypsy Cobs, or just cobs) are so highly prized in the US. Here they are common riding school horses as they have wonderful calm temperaments, and can carry a variety of sizes of rider. Yes, they don’t have the best athletic ability as they were bred to pull wagons not to jump over fences.

  3. Why do people think blue eyes are a selling point? They generally creep me out…despite the long-term issues…

    • rockin rc ranch

      What long term issues do blue eyes cause?

      • sorry for the snarkness, but is your Google-finger broken?

        • rockin rc ranch

          No, it is not broken. I have had paint horses for 30 years and have never once had a problem with a blue eyed horse, nor have I ever read anything stating that blue eyes have anymore issues than brown eyes. I have never read an article or study that stated they did and I have read MANY equine color genetics books, and NONE ever said a word about blue eyes being inferior. Just wondering where that info came from. Is ypour google finger faulty?

          • Gamblin to Impress

            I too have had a paint for the last 14 years and he has one blue and one brown eye (well, technically 2 brown eyes if you want to go the sarcastic route). He has never had any issues with his blue eye. The ONLY issue I have ever heard is about pink tissue around the eyes being more sensitive to sunlight. And forgive because I am not vet or scientist….But the relationship to blue eyes seems only that blue eyes tend to be more common in horses that lack pigment in the skin around the eyes. Therefore it would be more common to see “issues” in the blue eyes even though I don’t believe it actually has anything at all to do with the blue eyes themselves, rather the pink skin around the eyes.

            • rockin rc ranch

              That is exactly what I have read as well. Just a squinty horse issue on sunny days if they lack pigment around the eye, and that isnt even a constant truth. I have a paint with a bald face and he never squints. Guess he doesnt think he needs “shades” to be cool, lol.

          • There is apparently an increased chance of Uveitis in blue-eyed horses.

        • haha…it would seem if your google finger was working and not programmed to only type stupid bitchy replies at someone who was merely asking a question [of someone else, not you], you might know that there are not additional problems with blue eyes, it’s the pink skin around the blue eyes. [for those who have pink skin. my boys has two blues and a solid black face].

  4. Same reason ugly Friesians go for so much. You must not have gotten that memo either, i.e. “The more hair, the more expensive.” Barf. I’ll take my hairless, athletic, sound OTTBs any day over a hairy monster whose conformation would make my 8-year old cringe.

    • oh formyponies, so so with you on that! and have you ever ridden a Frieshan? EGAD worst trot EVER. They all were meant to be Driven, not ridden.. Gypsy’s and Frieshans. I just attribute it to being black and hairy too.. they are both so trendy. What is sad is the poor fugly 1/2 Frieshans and Gypsies being bred. UGH. Just because they are the “in” thing and people think they can sell them for more bucks.

      • hmmmm… yes…. all those Friesian dressage horses, many at upper levels, must just be winning because the judges are blinded by the majikal hair. Way back when they were used for the Haute Ecole, the high school dressage. There are plenty out there that are fabulous riding horses with wonderful trots and even *GASP* normal canters! Not all are the driving type. And don’t judge a breed based off the crap backyard breeders are pumping out. formyponies… I’m not sure the conformation of an OTTB is anything to brag about, at least not the ones I’ve been around. The racing industry isn’t exactly known for breeding robust, conformationally correct horses anymore. Holy crooked knees batman.

        • I don’t think she was knocking all Friesians. Just ugly, bad conformation ones where the owner charges more based simply on the breed.

          • I was mostly replying to kidsnhorses comment that ‘Frieshans’ were all meant to be driven, not ridden because EGAD! worst trot evar! My only comment to formyponies was on the conformation of many OTTBs. Hope that clears that up!

        • By saying “ugly Friesians” rather that just “Friesians” I’m pretty sure formyponies was specifically criticizing the horses produced by the “crap backyard breeders” you mentioned, not the entirety of the breed. I doubt anyone here would contest the notion that there are excellent Friesians, but there are also many substandard Friesians being bred and used in a context that makes them fodder for this blog. Its just like people saying they have seen or worked with Gypsy Vanners worth thousands of dollars, but the one in this ad seems to be vastly over priced.

          • I was mostly replying to kidsnhorses comment that ‘Frieshans’ were all meant to be driven, not ridden because EGAD! worst trot evar! My only comment to formyponies was on the conformation of many OTTBs. Hope that clears that up!

        • Depends on the bloodlines. I have helped several people find Stunning Stunning OTTB with the kind of breeding that will keep them sound for decades. I bought a Nijinski/ Hail to Reason mare who is Unreal, another is the Deputy Minister son I pick up this fall. Then there is the Holy Bull son, the AP Indy / Seattle Slew son, Chop Chop/ Private Account mare, Round Table/ Lord at War mare, Runnaway Groom daughter I just missed. . . . . . . .if you know what you are looking at and know a few trainers, you can pick up $150,000.00 worth of horse for 1/100 that price. And Yes they are Sound as a Kruggerrand

      • A well bred cob can be a joy ride, I ride 3 and they are all very comfortable and easy to ride

  5. OMG! And not only is the kid in a bike helmet (STOOPID), there’s another picture on the ad where she’s standing on him. Bahahahahaha! Darwin at his finest …

  6. And the bike helmet isn’t even adjusted properly so it will be useless when she hits the pavement. Argh!

  7. It’d be useless anyway. Bike helmets aren’t rated for the same force riding helmets are. Adjusted properly or not, they are NOT a safe alternative to an ASTM-SEI approved riding helmet. Poor child 😦

  8. I also live in the UK and the prices of these animals shocks me! You can pick them up for nothing here.

  9. rockin rc ranch

    Its about supply and demand. The supply of Gypsy Vanners in the US is relatively low and the demand is higher than the supply, so the prices reflect this. In the UK the supply is very high and demand is low, so the price is low. Here a AQHA or APHA is pretty common but may not be in the UK so chances are they would be a higher price over there.

    As for kids getting a pony on their birthday vs taking lessons, working in a stable, ect. I think it depends on the kid. My kids have horses and have never taken a formal lesson, worked in a stable, or anything like that, but I am a meany mom and I make them clean their own stalls, saddle their own horses, feed the horses and so on. 😉

    • Exactly, look on a UK horses for sale site and you probably won’t find a well broken Quarter Horse for less than the equivalent of $7 or $8k.

      This pony has been broken to ride and drive, is obviously pretty patient with children, which is all a lot better than a 6yr old that’s been left in a field. However, I agree with all the posts saying they could have put a little extra effort into his presentation.

      And, out of interest, quality gypsy cobs do make this kind of money in the UK as well. I rode a wonderful 16hh one who did side-saddle, cross country, re-enactments etc. He was a fantastic and one of the best horses at the stables. They are very intelligent and can turn a hand to most disciplines (just not to a high level). They’re a fantastic breed for anyone who wants to have fun and try out lots of different things.

      • Yes, one of the great appeals of the Gypsy cob is the breed’s versatility. They are quite happy to pull a cart, do light farm work, do riding lessons or pop over a few jumps.

  10. He looks like a sweet fellow, and fitted up/conditioned he looks like he’s make a great hubby or kids horse. but $12K? Not on your life sweetcheeks! You got took if you paid that much for him for your rotten kid.

    And jeez, would it have killed them to groom him up a little before taking phtos? Or at least straighten the saddle pad? Love the witches knots in the forelock that will take a ton of baby oil to get out…

    • I was just thinking, wy in the hell did they get a horse with SO MUCH hair, if they’re not even gonna bother to brush him??

      Oh wait, it’s because Gypsy Vanners are magikal…

  11. Furthermore, that Gypsy horse in the ad is pretty badly bred for the breed. In the UK, that would be considered a low-grade horse by both travellers and non-travellers. Is this the state of GVs in the US?

    • No.

      There’s some damned nice looking ones in the US.
      You just usually don’t see them in this type of situation.

  12. Honestly, if you can sell a horse for that much, why would you not take advantage of it? You can only get that price if there are buyers, and apparently there are plenty. This post honestly just seems mean for the sake of being mean, kids losing interest is a pretty common thing and I don’t really see anything wrong with the ad. Kid’s got a helmet on, horse is gelded. What’s the problem?

    • I don’t think this post is just being mean, I think they are trying to point out how this rather unremarkable pony is listed (and potentially worth, to the right buyer) significantly more money than other highly accomplished and well bred horses. You can argue the value of a child-safe fugly versus a more flightly show horse if you like, but I don’t think that is necessarily the point of this post.

      Also, to nitpick, I disagree with your statement that there isn’t really anything wrong with the ad. The kid is wearing an improperly fitted bike helmet, which is not equivalent to a riding helmet, and is riding on pavement with a stone wall, scrap pile, and piece of heavy farm equipment near by. If this normally bombproof pony were to suddenly spook the girl, who hasn’t developed a proper seat or leg position yet, could be seriously injured. Yes, anyone who rides in the most ideal conditions could still get hurt, but I think the sellers could take a few more precautions.

  13. I love my Gypsy : ) That’s all I have to say.

  14. I HAVE seen several magnificent Gypsys that I “might” be tempted to spend $12K on… but this isn’t one of them. He’s too course – more fit for the plow than the show ring. Wonder what they paid for him. Looks like his saddle is sitting on his withers and the girl looks sooo happy to be sitting on him (not). But I guess I wouldn’t be either if I was forced to have my photo taken while wearing a crooked bike helmet, shorts, and rubber wader boots. Wonder who taught her to hold her reins upside down. But look at the background, it’s beautifully landscaped, nice deco, and an expensive fence and yellow skid steer. Money has been spent at their house for sure.

  15. Something tells me that this family fell for this latest-thing breed as part of a nouveau riche syndrome, and/or the now-13 year old insisted (read whined) that she just had to have a living My Little Pony. I can’t help wondering how long the Gypsy horse fad will last – how long before the effort of keeping that lush mane and tail tangle free and all that feather clean begins to pall, and its smallish size and limitations in the show ring (as someone has already pointed out, it’s a drafter, not a hunter, jumper, dressage or speed games type) outweigh the plusses of calm temperament, cute looks and exotic-seeming origins. Is this the Shar Pei of the horsey world? (Remember them, the flavour of the month “wrinkle dog ” of a few years ago?)

    • Hair maintenance isn’t that much work, just brush out with a detangler and you’re done. We don’t spend much more time on the cob than on the tb we have.
      Function wise a decent cob can do pretty much anything. We do dressage with ours, my sisters 14’2 cob can jump 1m easily ad I suspect once old enough mine will a well. They are incredibly versatile and can do just about anything – I am talking about a decent one, not a fugly

  16. Johanna Ramazzini Abouheit

    Well I love my Gypsy colt and I spend some what of some money on him, but I think it doesn’t matter about how much you spend on a horse… There’s people that don’t want to spend that much on a horse and that’s understandable, but there are some that love them and don’t really care how much they spend on them…… Enough said……….

  17. Haha I think they may have been royally fleeced by whoever sold them this horse, by the looks of that completely ungroomed “$12000 horse” they are probably not even horsey people.

    A simple bath, brush, feeding the guy up a bit so he doesn’t look so scrawny, some properly fitting tack and a nice photo from the side where you can actually see his conformation, preferably in a show get-up and he would look worth ten times as much as he looks in this picture. He looks like a $50 nag from the auction with poorly fitting gear and owners who know squat about horse husbandry…

    If they spent six weeks getting him into some kind of decent shape (i.e. exercise to get some muscle tone happening) he might even look like he is kinda related to those gypsies that actually do fetch that sort of money in some countries.

    Honestly, I am almost %90 sure that these people are not horsey, because judging by the background, they do have the cash to turn him out icely if they knew how.

  18. Please excuse my ignorance- What is Catch Riding?
    I also noticed the look of joy pasted all over the rider’s face.

    • Catch riding is just whenever you pick up a ride on whatever horse whenever you can. And that rider I believe was the ad writers younger daughter – not the 13 year old who had grown tired of the horse

  19. Quit judging something that you are not intimately knowledgable about. You do not know this familily’s circumstances or background, whether it be “horsey” or not. I think the fact that they helmeted the child, in the first place(even if its not what we seasoned horse people know is wholly appropriate) is not to be frowned upon. It is an opportunity for education.

    If you do not own a Gypsy, or wish to run in that circle, don’t slam it from the outside. We all know each breed has its charms that enamor us.

    This little guy needs more attention…that is obvious from the Picts and what the sellers stated. So why rip on them more?

    Honestly, I do not understand the benefit of slamming a rather honest ad….a breed..

  20. I’m a bit with JenV on this one. The horse looks in good condition and they’ve probably just hauled the kid off its bike to take the photo. Sure it’s bad she’s wearing a bike helmet, but at least she’s wearing a helmet and I’m guessing she’s not off to ride the Tom Quilty in that outfit. They’re trying to sell him on to a good home and I guess that’s reflective in the price, don’t knock them for trying to get good money for him if that breed is in high demand in their country.

    Could you try to focus your blogs a little more on people who deserve your scorn? And I do love your scorn! What about a follow up on that story that’s still haunting my dreams – the hackney horses in South Africa that have their heads tied to their necks with baling twine for hours a day? I still feel sick when I think about that and would love to know what’s being done. Or those poor bloody TWH animals and their horrific soring issues.

    • You can’t please everyone 😉 As for the Hackney Stud – I’ve been keeping an eye on their website but there hasn’t been a significant update. I was thinking of emailing them to see what was happening. It sounds, from their other posts/investigations that the laws in South Africa are a million times worse than the North American ones so I’m not sure there’s much more they can do. :S

  21. I’m in the uk and you can pick up a decent coloured cob/gypsy vanner weanling for around £500

  22. fatladyridesagain

    Maybe the price is a misprint, and they meant $1200?

  23. I don’t believe for those of you who say that the kid looks miserable/unappy/etc, that she is pouting or frowning. In the first picture, she’s making a face, like she is mid-..something. It’s not a frown. The second picture she is clearly smiling…for those of you who didn’t bother to look.
    And to those knocking the price tag….tell me you wouldn’t slap $12k on him if that’s what ‘people’ are paying. Cause if anyone says ‘I don’t care if other Vanners are selling for that much, I think he’s only worth $3k, so I’m gonna sell him for that’, you’re a liar full stop. A horse is worth what someone’s willing to pay, and if Vanners are selling for $10k, then people are going to ask $10k…it’s the buyers that are determining the market. If NOT ONE Vanner sold for more than $800, then guess what? They’d be priced at or around….wait for it….$800.
    Is it really that hard to understand?

  24. WOW! Ok, I respect the fact that these horses aren’t so common in the US, so that’s why the prices are so high. Supply and demand and all that.

    I’m from Ireland, and theses horses are everywhere. The mediocre ones sell for next to nothing at horse fairs. In fact, there’s a field FULL of them about 15 minutes away from my house. They belong to the gypsies, or “travelling community” if you want to use the politically correct term. I live very close to several gypsy camps as we call them here. Haha! I think I need to set up a business selling these “Vanners” (cobs) to rich Americans! I’ll make a fortune!!! 😀

    In all seriousness though, horse fairs in Ireland are a pretty rough place. I wouldn’t want to be a horse at one of these! I guess you could say they’re similar in status to low end horse auctions in the states. Usually (?) the horses are well taken care of, but people do such idiotic things to them!!! Take a look for yourself! Horsemanship at it’s worst! >_<

    Yes, that is a horse tied to a GLASS door with a lose foal a few meters from the road…

    Sigh… makes me ashamed to be Irish…

    Note the idiot trying to load the big horse into the pony size trailer at 2:18 in this video, and the kids kicking the frightened pony at 2:56.

    Smithfield is the most famous horse market in Ireland. It's held in Dublin on the first Sunday of every month.

    • It’s not the first time I’ve seen this fair featured in a place dedicated to bad horsemanship, but that first video… HOLLY HELL! The is a horse TIES TO ANOTHER HORSE’S TAIL! WTF???

      • Tying horses in a line by the tail is not so outrageous – “hitching” pack train horses/mules in this manner is accepted practice in Canada and the USA.

  25. Brooklyn was sold to a show home in upstate NY, then he must have been resold to someone with young children as a family pet in Canada. You can barely recognize him in his current condition. Here is Brooklyn in the condition he should be in – Now he is nothing like the healthy, vibrant horse he once was. Horsey people or not, his current condition is unacceptable!

    • Flipping heck! It’s hard to believe it’s the same horse. I hope he can find his way to a home that will enjoy him and give him love. I ride an Irish Tinker here in Germany and he’s an absolute gem – will do anything you ask of him and is as steady as a rock, even when he’s scared.

    • HOLLY CRAPPY! That’s the same horse??

    • Goes to show what happens to a horse in the hands of morons.


    • Wow!!! He looks 10 times more valuable in his show condition photos!

      Kim, are you associated with the farm that bred Brooklyn? I’d be curious to know if they would be interested in buying him back to retrain and resell.

    • Gamblin to Impress

      But the horse is listed in the ad as being 6 years old…if he is the same horse, he should be 8 years old now. Not to say it isn’t. The markings are very similar, but it is difficult to see the same horse in there. But have no reason to believe it is not him. But if he was such a wonderful stud, why was he gelded and sold? (Not that he should not have been, just seems quite a series of events)

    • I pulled up both pictures side by side. In my opinion, they are NOT the same horse. Many GVs have the same type of pinto markings (just look at those videos from Ireland!) and the shape of his flank marking, although similar, seems to have a bit more of a sharp point lower down towards his belly than the softer point on the breeder’s pic. I think it’s just a mis-identification. And honestly, Brooklyn is not an uncommon name. I’ve known several draft horses (various breeds) named Brooklyn, several games horses (QH and Paint and even an Appy), and a few ponies. So I think it’s mearly a coincience that these two horses look so much alike and happen to be named Brooklyn.

  26. Don’t knock the disinterested 13 year old to hard. It may be that she had no interest in the horse in the first place. I get so many parents looking for their kids 4-H projects, sometimes the kids don’t even come to look at their animals before buying. It is the parents wanting the kids to do it. I will not sell even a chicken if it is for the kids and they are in the car playing video games while mom is buying animals for them. Grr

  27. I take back what I said about a “nouveau riche family”! The appearance of the surroundings is deceiving – note that the raised planter has nothing but weeds in it, and the fence is not as snazzy as it looked at first glance. The address in the ad tells me that it is a First Nations community, and unfortunately, most First Nations communities are characterized by poverty. I doubt that 4-H has anything to do with this situation, and I’m sure that the 13 year old is *not* a “spoiled little rich kid”. I’d venture to say that the present owners are probably not very knowledgeable about horses, except in the rough-and-ready way we saw in the Smithfield Fair vids. How a horse apparently this expensive found its way to this setting is a mystery. I certainly hope he gets upgraded, and soon.

  28. Did you notice that Brooklyn was a stallion in those pictures? Given that he’s a gelding now, he’s never going to look quite as good as he did as a stallion. Still, the lack of muscle, weight loss, and poor mane condition makes a horse loose value. If the owners paid 12k for him, they should think about knocking the price down a bit or send him off for a tune up and some shining.

  29. I would be sick if I was his breeder ( and know what he looked like when he left my farm ) and then suddenly see him in that photo today. I’d go get him. Just goes to show you what the right care, feed, conditioning, and grooming can do to make or break a horse – and his marketability. Doesn’t look like the same horse.

  30. Has anyone contacted the breeders about him?

    • His breeder is in the UK so unlikely they will try to get him back. He was brought over with a group of young colts with the intention of gelding most for show and family homes. When he went to NY, it was on the provision of being gelded. It would take less than a month to get him back into shape (barring any underlying or hidden medical issues). It’s a perfect example of laziness IMO. This breed as a whole are very easy keepers but you can’t neglect the basic essentials. Grab a brush and spend 10 minutes with him. Be sure he has access to quality food and clean water. In fact, most Gypsy Horses tend to be too fat if left to their own devices. Proper care is certainly not too much to ask if you are accepting the responsibility of any animal addition to your family. The original NY client got Brooklyn for nearly 1/2 of what they are currently asking for him which in his current state is about what he should be priced at. 4k-6k at the most. He’s just short of what we would consider a rescue case 😦

      • I second you on the brushing and combing. I used to know a traveller who lived in a wagon- I say wagon, but his camp consisted of a vardo-type caravan, a kitchen cart (with electric refrigerator and gas stove) and a two-wheeled cart- pulled by two Irish cobs and a shetland pony. The cobs were well looked after (good weight, feet trimmed and shod etc) but it made me sad to see their long manes and tails tangled into dreadlocks.

  31. You have successfully made fun of this family, who wanting to buy their daughter a horse, chose a Gypsy vanner. Gypsies are known for being a good beginners mount.
    He’ s a gelding. Nobody is breeding him & they have a helmet on their kid. The saddle is a quality circle Y saddle and their using a snaffle bit…Were you having a bad day?

    ***To import a Gypsy Vanner to the US did cost upwards of $10,000.00. That’s where the high prices come from. Until recently most Vanners were imported. Now you know.

    Are you running out of fodder for your blog? If you are I would be more than happy to help you out….our classifieds are filled w/ some good stuff and I have some horsey issues near and dear to my heart that could promote some self awareness for riders.

    Why don’t you promote what you love instead of bashing what you don’t understand….Or how about understand it before you publicly humiliate somebody…Geez.

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