Grown Here at Home: How the women at Bedford County farm care for Gypsy Vanner horses

Gypsy Vanner horses are a small draft breed. At one farm in Bedford County, they breed, train, and show them.
Published: Sep. 6, 2021 at 7:35 AM EDT
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GOODVIEW, Va. (WDBJ) - Blue Ridge Gypsies is a horse farm in Goodview run completely by women. They’re holding it down every day to keep the horses in tip-top shape.

One horse is having an ultrasound to see if she’s pregnant.

“Usually in horses you can do that as early as 14 days after they have been bred, and actually you want to do it that early because you want to rule out the probability of them being pregnant by twins,” said veterinarian Paula Horteloup.

“With most horses, about every 21 days or so they go into season. Our breeding season in Virginia is pretty much May through September,” said Meg Scheaffel, owner of Blue Ridge Gypsies.

Gypsy Vanner horses have several distinct features, especially their long hair.

“When we groom, we try to keep all their hair in braids because it helps to keep it from getting pulled out and getting super dirty, so we don’t have to wash it all the time. We keep their manes braided, their tales braided, and another big part is their feather. Because it’s so close to the ground, it gets dirty in an instant,” explained Farm Manager Hailey Alger.

The horses have a consistent training schedule.

“They’re just like humans. We’re trying to build muscle, but we’re also trying to build cardio and stamina. Right now they have about three to four shows a year. That is to qualify them for nationals and qualify them for finals for their breed,” said Trainer Nellie Gibson-Gaither.

Gyspy Vanners are well-rounded horses.

“They’re very versatile. They’re strong horses, so they can be a working horse. They also are very good in the show ring. In dressage, they can pick up their feet very, very nice,” Meg said.

Plus, they’re just so sweet.

“They are very, very calm; and I just think they’re beautiful horses,” said Meg.

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