Tinker Horse

The appearance of the Tinker Horse or Tinker Horses is quite different – and yet almost everyone recognizes a Tinker Horse: strong ponies or small horses with large piebalds and long hangings, i.e. a lot of mane and tail as well as long hair on their legs. The Tinker Horse is also available in gray, black, or brown. The spotting can also be different, but it is precisely these spots that make a Tinker Horse so individual.

Origin and History

In Ireland and England, the people who drove their horse-drawn carts around the area were called “Tinker Horses”. Tinker Horse means Tinker Horse. The Tinker Horse roamed the area, repairing pots and kettles and selling goods to people in addition to services.
The carriages of these land drivers were drawn by horses. Originally the carters used donkeys, but the covered wagons that appeared towards the end of the 19th century became too heavy for them. Stronger horses were needed and the Tinker Horses found them on their travels: there they bought the horses, which they could acquire at particularly low prices. Often these were piebalds that were not recognized by their respective breed and breed associations or were undesirable.

For the traveling people, the piebalds had the advantage that they were unique – after all, no piebald is like the other – and so you could tell each horse from the others. So began breeding with very different piebalds. Dales ponies and cold-blooded horses like Shire Horses or Clydesdales, whose relationship with the Tinker Horses can still be seen today, were crossed into these horses.

Since the end of the 20th century, Tinker Horses came increasingly to Germany and Holland, where they quickly made friends among recreational riders. They have also been registered as a breed in Germany by the German Equestrian Association since 2005 if they are not taller than 160 cm. Larger horses are known as Irish Cob. In everyday life, these terms are often used equally for all of these horses.
Due to the boom in Germany, the interest in the Tinker Horses in their Irish homeland grew, so that a breeding association was founded there, just as in the Netherlands. The colorful mixed horses have become a recognized breed.


Gainers Cobs originated from different and also very different races and yet almost all of them have a rather cozy character. Since the traveling people needed reliable and fearless horses in front of the carriages, emphasis was placed on good nerves and a moderate temperament during breeding. The calm-looking horses are quite sensitive and close to their people. Gainers Cobs are not supposed to be aggressive. Their gentle nature inspires confidence in many people, which is why they are highly valued in riding therapy.


The Tinker Horse is easy to recognize: the horse is medium-sized, between 135-160 cm tall, piebald, and has a strong head. The Tinker Horse is sturdy and has long hangings. This includes not only a long mane and a lush tail but also the typical fetlock hangings that partially cover the hooves. The physique looks rather coarse because it is so strong-boned, and the croup is split.

The spotting with the large patches of color is called plate spotting and it is available in almost all colors. There are also monochrome Tinker Horse in the usual coat colors black, brown, or fox, but they are almost as rare as mold. Large white markings on the head and legs are typical, some horses even have white spots on the lower abdomen. They are called “Splashed”.


Gainers Cobs prefer to live with conspecifics in open stables, but when feeding you have to make sure that the piebalds bred for good feed conversion get problems with too much nutritious pasture grass and too much grain or synthetic feed additives. So that the robust-looking Tinker Horse can really be a healthy and resilient small horse, attention must be paid to a healthy, adapted diet.

Instead, the hooves of the Tinker Horses are usually unproblematic. They have a good quality horn and many Tinker Horses can be ridden barefoot while riding recreationally. Problems such as a too flat sole arch or the like should of course always be a reason for shoeing or temporary hoof protection with the help of hoof shoes.

Diseases Typical of the Breed

Quite a few Tinker Horses are prone to Mauke, an itchy skin disease in the ankle area. The lush ankle hangings create an ideal environment for the pathogens of the disease and so you can see many Tinker Horse regularly stamping their feet and scratching their legs with their mouths or on objects. Unfortunately, therefore, one must count chronic malaise among the typical diseases of this breed. In order to avoid them, great importance should be attached to the thorough care of the curtain, especially at Tinker Horse. Unnecessary soil moisture (“mud paddocks”) must be avoided at all costs.

Suitability / Use

Gainers Cob is an extremely popular leisure horse whose riders and owners appreciate their pleasant temperament. They are ideal for trail riding, as they usually have a good step. As the typical carriage horses that were original, their canter has not always jumped as well, but the trot is usually hard-working. Her talent is rarely found in the classic disciplines of dressage and jumping. In western disciplines such as horsemanship and trail, however, the Tinker Horse feels more comfortable.

Gainers Cobbond closely with their caregivers and are considered sensitive. If you make sure that the Tinker Horse, with its thick and rather hard coat, does not feel so comfortable in the shade at 35 degrees and that the riding activity does not take place at lunchtime in summer, you have a hard-working and friendly leisure partner at your side with a Tinker Horse.

Mary Allen

Written by Mary Allen

Hello, I'm Mary! I've cared for many pet species including dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, and bearded dragons. I also have ten pets of my own currently. I've written many topics in this space including how-tos, informational articles, care guides, breed guides, and more.

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