A Horse of a Different Color
Farm & Ranch Living|December / January 2017

The journey of an Irish Traveller’s horse breed from England to a farm in Central Florida.

Debra A. Trichilo

While on a business trip to England in 1995, Dennis Thompson and his late wife, Cindy, spotted a gorgeous black-and-white stallion standing in a field. They soon found themselves involved in an odyssey that changed their lives forever. Within two years they’d introduced a new breed of horse, the Gypsy Vanner, to North America and established the Gypsy Gold Horse Farm.

The story of the Gypsy Vanner horse in North America begins at the Thompsons’ picturesque farm, located off a dirt road in the Horse Capital of the World, Ocala, Florida. The farm boasts 40 acres of land covered in Spanish moss-laden oaks, as well as a 14-stall show barn and 19 paddocks occupied by Gypsy Vanner horses. According to Dennis, who owns, inhabits and runs the farm, the name Gypsy Gold was inspired by an old Irish Traveller (or Gypsy) adage, “Gypsy gold does not clink and glitter; it gleams in the sun and neighs in the dark.”

The stunning stallion that the Thompsons spotted in 1995 was part of a team—mostly mares—owned by a Traveller, who invited the couple to his camp. There they learned of the passion his culture had for these striking horses.

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