Orana Wildlife Park Media Release - Exquisite Rare Equines Move to Zoo

26 February 2014

Orana Wildlife Park will welcome a rare horse breed called the Gypsy Vanner tomorrow. “Gypsy Vanners have immense beauty. They are mystical, fairy-tale like animals and totally different to other domestic horses. They are characterised by their magnificent leg feathering and stunning flowing manes. There are only a very small number of these animals in New Zealand so most people will not have seen them” says Orana’s Chief Executive, Lynn Anderson.

“The arrival of the fillies, named Gypsy Royal Crystal Princess (‘Crystal’ - 2 years) and Gypsy Royal Pearlescent Painted Lady (‘Pearl’ - 1 year), is the start of an outreach partnership with the Gypsy Royal Stud. The animals will be managed as part of the Stud’s breeding programme; foals would be displayed at Orana before returning to the Stud.

Crystal and Pearl are lovely young animals. They will be regularly groomed and walked around the Park giving visitors the opportunity for chance encounters with the beautiful rare horses.” 

Lynda Boulton of Gypsy Royal Stud adds: “The breed resulted from crossing a Shire horse with a Dale pony. The Gypsies bred the horses for pulling their living wagons. Our Stud was established in 2009 after careful selection of foundation breeding stock imported from the USA. Our aim is to breed the finest quality Gypsy horses available with verified superior bloodlines. Gypsy Royal Stud is unique in that every Gypsy horse we own is DNA verified to world class stallions. The sire of Crystal and Pearl is a horse called The Lion Prince. His pedigree can be traced back for 11 generations, to one of the original Shire horses that was used to create the breed!

“Gypsy Vanners are a wonderful breed. They are a smart and willing horse that will perform any task. Gypsy Vanners love pleasing people and will try harder than any other breed of horse to do so. They are affectionately referred to as ‘Golden Retrievers with hooves’” adds Lynda.

The arrival of the Gypsy Vanners co-incides with the departure of Muffy and Jimmy, two Shetland Ponies, who will move to the Stud. There they will be used to teach young foals ‘manners’.

“Muffy and Jimmy were originally circus animals before being donated to Orana. They are both over 30 years of age and have lived at the Park for more than fourteen years. Their new home will be a wonderful retirement setting and allow them to enjoy their twilight years away from the public gaze” concludes Lynn. 

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