In the mountains of Colorado we are breeding a “Superior” horse.
They are intelligent and breathtakingly beautiful. They are surprisingly athletic and very versatile; winning in the show ring in English, Western, Driving and even Jumping competitions.
In fact temperament is part of the breed standard. The touch of pony adds a quick, intelligent mind. Their calm, sensible nature is doubtless derived from the Draft Horse component also used in creating the breed. These horses love their people and we love everything about them. That is why we are breeding are Gypsy Vanner Horses.
Although we have always owned and enjoyed horses, we had not breed many of them. Instead, we turned our breeding efforts to llamas in 1979. (They can be viewed at sharpllamas.com) We are excited to bring our experience and passion as breeders to this amazing breed of horse.
Ranching is a family affair.
All of our children grew up on the ranch caring for animals. Our daughter Kate is especially passionate. We love our llamas but as with many girls she wanted horses, especially after seeing Gypsy Vanners. She is very involved in Superior Stables helping to select our horses, grooming, training, riding, driving and showing them. She also took many of the photos, helped to design and manage our website.
We discovered Gypsy Vanners while on a trip east to visit friends from the llama industry in Georgia . From beautiful Bell Reid Farm we went to Florida where we visited Dennis Thompson at Gypsy Gold. We were completely smitten.
As we began to select our breeding stock we discovered that there was debate, sometimes heated, about what to call these horses. According to friends in both the US and UK, the “van” portion of the Gypsy Vanners’ name is based on the original purpose for which they were bred and indicates their quality as breeding stock. The nomadic originators of the breed needed a small draft horse to pull the family home, the vardo or van. Only the most reliable and best quality of the Gypsy family’s Cob horses was chosen for this task. The quality of their horse and vardo demonstrated their wealth. The old adage “a Gypsy’s gold does not clink and glitter in the sun it neighs in the dark”.
We decided to keep our own program’s direction close to what we observed as the direction being taken by the breeders we visited in the UK at that time. Some day we hope to be a source of large, outcross breeding stock for them. Intending to be neither elitist nor exclusionary, we are proud breeders of Gypsy Vanner Horses. We think that championing the right name is far less important to the breed than having a clear vision of what it is.
Our mission is: To breed and sell only the best Gypsy Vanner Horses.
- To keep our horses healthy and happy.
- To train them and show them so they can represent their breed to the best of their ability.
- To educate anyone who will listen about the Gypsy Vanner Horse
- We call our company Superior Stables and add “not a boast… a promise”.
To begin our herd we purchased an embryo from Gypsy Gold. Doug asked to have a Rose baby sired by B.B. King created for us. That cross had not been done before or, as far as we know, since. We did not know how well he had done until Kralisi was born.
On the same trip we saw a photo of V.V. Violetta. One look at her baby photo next to her dam Tessa, taken by Mark J. Barret, and we knew she was what we were looking for. We appreciated her compact shape and her amazing presence. Apple was the next horse we purchased and although she has been replaced in our herd by her Hustler filly SSFR Anna, Apple will always have a special place in out hearts. Then came our unicorn mare Bobbi, the lovely Romana and the The Irish Black Faced Mare. Like potato chips we could not have just one.
My trip with Kate to England and Wales in 2008 was amazing. We spent time with the Prices and visited many other breeders. All welcomed us with open arms and took time from their busy lives to show us around and answer our questions. We had a great time trying to discover the parentage, or back breeding as it is called there, of some of our horses. We did track down Apple’s sire and visited Traveler’s sire. Perhaps the most exciting was finding Hustlers maternal grandparents and learning about his early life. We continue to make progress finding out the parentage of our horses through friends we made there and the evermore helpful attitude of the Gypsy breeders in general.