Tinker (horse)

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A brown and spotted tinker

A brown and spotted tinker

Important data
Origin: Great Britain and Ireland
Main breeding area: mostly Europe
Distribution: widespread
Stick measure : 135–160 cm (Tinker), under 170 cm (Irish Cob)
Colors : all; Record check preferred, albinos undesirable
Main application area: Draft horse and riding horse

Tinker , Irish Tinker or Gypsy Cob are names for horses of the Irish Cob breed and other horses of a similar type, which are not recognized as Irish Cobs. In the US they are known as Gypsy Vanners . It is originally traveling as work animals Tinker ( Tinker ) in the UK and Ireland used horses avancierten in the 1990s in Central Europe to fashion horses. In Germany, the Tinker is a breed recognized by the FN , for which Irish Cobs can also be registered. Tinkers have characteristics of pony, warm-blooded horse and cold-blooded horse, in the overall picture the physique of a cold-blooded draft horse is predominant.

Background information on horse evaluation and breeding can be found under: Exterior , interior and horse breeding .


Tinker in different colors

Tinkers are strong workhorses with a rather compact, strong-boned physique. Their appearance is not uniform; common features are the pronounced fetlock hangings , the lush long hair and the often appearing rams heads , which are not desirable in breeding. The coat colors of horses are also very different, with piebalds more common and lightened colors only rarely.

Irish cobs are described as small, compact, muscular, and well-proportioned horses in a square format of imposing appearance. The short, straight back ends in a well-muscled, wide croup. Your straight head with large eyes and broad forehead should be carried upright. A compact, not too short and muscular neck and strong shoulders are desirable. The hooves should be at least partially covered by the hangings and large enough to carry the weight of the Irish Cob without any symptoms of excessive strain. Typical coat colors are black horses, browns, foxes, palominos, grays and graver-haired as well as piebalds in which white is combined with one or more of these colors. Irish Cobs, which have a white markings outside of the legs, head and lower abdomen, are called Colored ; with a white mark on the lower abdomen they are called splashed or blagdon .

According to the breeding standard of the Irish Cob Society ICS (see below) the Irish Cob is bred in the following sections:

  • Section A: Horse (height 160 to 170 cm)
  • Section B: Small horse (height 149 to 159 cm)
  • Section C: Pony (height 128 to 148 cm)

The breeding association regulation of the FN sets the breeding goal for the Tinker breed at a height of approx. 135 to 160 cm, larger animals are called Irish Cob .

Irish Cob Part Breds can be any color and size. However, they must have proven to have at least 30% Irish Cob blood or show at least 60% visible Irish Cob traits.

Interior and use

Tinker (black pinto) galloping

Tinkers were originally the draft and work horses of the sedentary population, as higher social classes often preferred monochrome horses. Tinkers are robust and easy-to-feed and are characterized by a balanced character, intelligence, curiosity and occasionally stubbornness. Aggressive behavior is not tolerated in Irish cobs.

Tinkers are less suitable as show jumpers or dressage horses for competition sport due to their physique; They find assembly difficult. Since they were originally bred as draft animals and not as riding horses, they tend to have soft backs and poor back muscles. Sometimes tinkers are offered as weight carriers because of their imposing appearance. However, in most cases, they can only carry 50 to 60 kg and need a good back exercise. Their high erection and poor ability to gather also contribute to the fact that many Tinkers tend to have swaybacks or back damage. With regular back training, however, they are reliable riding horses and partners. They are able to walk and trot with perseverance, have lively, expansive movements and often surprisingly good galloping and jumping abilities. Tinkers are frugal, reliable horses for pulling and riding purposes and are considered good therapy horses .

The breeding goal of the Irish Cobs are "all-rounders".

Breeding history

In the country of origin of the Tinkers, the traveling people ( travelers ) did not care about the breed of their horses. So were Dales ponies and draft horses, such as Shire horses or Clydesdales , crossed. In addition to the lush curtains, the sturdiness of the horses, their pulling power and their character were important to the travelers . It also contradicted them to register horses or have them registered. The history of the origins of the Tinker seems to contradict every conventional idea of ​​breeding, although the historical truth is difficult to determine in the multitude of rumors and stories. The aversion and discrimination against the traveling people, which is still strong today, was also carried over to their horses. The word "Tinker" or "Tinker horse" in the parlance of the Irish and English describes the horses and their breeders rather derogatory. Why the name "Tinker" came to Germany and the Netherlands in connection with these horses is not clear. It is possible that foreign horse dealers bought the piebald horses as "Tinker horses" cheaply from horse butchers in England. The travelers themselves used different names depending on the region, for example Cob , Colored Cob , Traveler Horse , Vanner or Gipsyhorse . One of the most experienced horse traders in Ireland, whose grandfather Dan Connors already led one of the largest traveler clans in Ireland, said in an interview that in early 1900, piebalds were bred for the first time. The first piebalds were called "magpies" by travelers. It is believed that the targeted breeding of a piebald around 1900 was related to the sale of a larger herd of pied Trakehner to Ireland.

It was only with the advent of tinker fashion in the 1990s that interest in horses grew again in Ireland, so that a breed association was required. In 1998, at a time when these horses were already rated and registered as tinkers in Dutch and German breeding associations, the Irish Cob Society Ireland Ltd. was founded. (ICS) founded. The Irish Cob Society Ireland Ltd. has meanwhile been registered by the European Union as the official breeding association for the Irish Cob breed and its studbook now includes over 4000 recognized and another 4000 unrecognized Irish Cobs and Irish Cob Part Breds. Irish Cobs can be purchased outside of Ireland through the European Check Breeding Association (ECHA) or the branches of ICS Ireland Ltd. The ECHA breeding program differs from that of the ICS.

From ICS Ireland Ltd. are permitted for crossbreeding, provided they meet the Irish Cob breeding standard, Irish Cob Part Bred, Irish Cob Crossbred, Irish Piebald and Skewbald, Skewbald and Piebald, Irish Sport Horse, Gypsy Cob, Colored Horse and Tinker as well as Shire, Clydesdale and Welsh Cob mares that measure less than 170 cm, come close to the Irish Cob standard and contribute to the Irish Cob breeding program. Particularly good Irish cobs can achieve the status of an elite mare or an elite stallion.

Until 2005, the Tinker were not a separate breed in Germany , but were listed as a breed type in different stud books of the breed associations. Since 2005, a uniform breed standard for "Tinkers" has been in place for all breeding associations working together at the FN ; Since then, Germany has kept an "origin studbook" for Tinkers alongside the Dutch. If a breeding association wants to breed Tinker in another country, it must adhere to the specifications of the FN or the Netherlands. The German Pinto Zuchtverband eV (DPZV) had tried again and again since 2003 to achieve a common standard. Despite some meetings with the ICS from Ireland and the German breeding associations, this goal has not yet been achieved. The largest stocks of FN-recognized Tinkers are listed in the Rheinisches Pferdestammbuch eV, the Bavarian Breeding Association for Small Horses and Special Horse Breeds eV, the Breeding Association for German Horses (ZfdP) eV.

These data are to be determined by trained surveying teams in the next few years.

THAICS eV in Germany is now continuing these efforts on an international level. The aim of this association is to ensure an initially nationwide and later international, electronic data collection and data exchange. THAICS would like to enable registrations and entries independent of the breed association in cooperation with the ICS in Ireland. The data obtained about the Tinker and Irish Cobs are intended to answer many open questions about genetic diversity. A comparable research work was carried out at BOKU Vienna from August 1, 2002 to July 31, 2005.

For centuries there have been established tinker markets that take place once a year. The best known are the market in Appleby , England , held in mid-June since 1685 , and the October market in Ballinasloe , Ireland . The enormous increase in exports in recent years has led Irish Tinker breeders to buy some German offspring with lots of hangings in order to cover their own needs.


Due to their origin and their original use, the metabolism of the Tinker has been optimized to obtain the maximum energy from meager feed and at the same time to use as little energy as possible. Due to the fact that the nutrient content of the roughage has increased (usually ryegrass), continental European roughage can often be seen as concentrated feed for the tinkers.

In relation to other horse breeds, tinkers react particularly to easily digestible carbohydrates, i.e. starch and sugar (grain, molasses, pomace, juice feed). They have a tendency to react to too much sugar with lymph deposits and thereby appear thicker than they actually are.

supporting documents

  1. ^ Breed description of the Tinker Horse and Irish Cob Society Germany eV
  2. Jörg Hesser: Keeping and feeding large and small draft horses correctly . Ed .: Hans J. Schmidtke. Special horse feeding. Crystal Verlag GmbH, 2016, ISBN 978-3-95847-101-6 , pp. 44-47 .


  • Christiane Slawik and Heike Lauger: Tinker Ponies. Ireland's cool piebalds. A breed portrait. Cadmos Verlag, ISBN 3-86127-352-7
  • Ulrike A. Pollay: Tinker pony. Views of a horse. Cant Edition Verlagbuchhandlung , ISBN 3-9806622-1-7
  • Sylke Hütter: The Irish Tinker or The Colored Cob of Gipsy's Type (paperback). MFB Eisenacher Verlagsgesellschaft, ISBN 3-931431-13-4

Web links

Commons : Tinker  - album with pictures, videos and audio files