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Irish Cob / Irish Tinker horse
cold-blooded horses (part pony / warm-blooded horses)
Height at the withers:
130 – 145 cm
striking long hair and feathering on the legs, sturdy physique, strong head and neck, signature small beard
Colour of coat:
predominantly dappled horses
friendly, fearless, calm and good-natured
earth-bound, powerful movements
Ireland and Great Britain
recreational riding and carriage driving, hippotherapy, dressage
Did you know? In the past, these horses were mainly bred by royals who preferred single-coloured animals. Hence, dappled horses were often gifted to travellers passing by.
Tinker horses are also known as Irish Cob, Irish Tinker horses or as Gypsy Cob horses in the USA. They originate from Ireland and the UK. There they were used as draught and working horses by tinkers. These craftsmen travelled about, repairing boilers and pots in different households. They also earned money by selling different goods they carried around with them. They transported their goods for trading on wagons for which they needed strong draught horses. Irish Cobs were particularly suited for this purpose: They not only had an extremely sturdy physique, their dappled coat also made them unique and distinctive, which helped recognise the horses from a distance. It was these benefits that breeders wanted to preserve – which is why they started breeding different dappled horses by also crossbreeding with powerful cold-blooded horses such as Clydesdale or Shire Horses. In the 1990s, Tinker horses also became more and more popular in other countries. However, in Germany, they didn’t become an independent breed until 2005.
Their distinctive long hair, especially their lush mane and feathering give these sturdy horses a unique appearance. Large eyes with a faithful look and their distinctive beard are also typical for this breed. Most Tinker horses are dappled with a wide blaze. Rarely, they also come with a plain-coloured coat in white, black or brown. Overall, these Irish horses come in a variety of different looks and even feature characteristics of warm-blooded horses and ponies.
Tinker horses are strong and particularly reliable and eager-to-work horses that are still used as working and draught horses today. Nowadays, they are also popular recreational and sport horses. Tinker horses distinguish themselves by their intelligence, their well-balanced nature and the fact that they are oriented towards people. These small cold-blooded horses are extremely calm, which is why they are reliable companions for many riders. At the same time, they are very loyal: Once you have won the heart of a Gypsy Cob horse, they will be loyal to you their entire life. Due to their gentle character, the good-natured animals are also highly popular hippotherapy horses.