MHB Gypsy Ponies, LLC
Purebred Gypsy Ponies 10-13hh
An Interview with Mr Fred Walker, internationally renowned breeder of class Gypsy Cobs
30 minutes with Fred Walker of Walker’s Gypsy Cobs, Northants, England.
Married to Liza, they have 5 children, a large herd of quality Gypsy Cobs that would be the envy of any serious breeder
Q. Fred, what was your first memory of horses?
Old Sham - When my Grandad, the well known legendary Fred Walker bought him back from Ireland, I remember him being a cracking horse. He was easily memorable - he had a short docked tail. He served 20 mares a day, was homozygous and the Great Grand Sire to the Billy Gaskin Mare.
Q. When did you first get involved with cobs?
My Dad gave me the original Peach mare when I was born. She was by Eddie Allcock's Black Horse, and out of Queenie Pony. She was the start of my horses and breeding.
Q. Favourite Foundation Cob - up to 15 years ago?
Pixie Horse - he was ahead of his time. He was owned by my Dad and bred by my Grandad. Pixie Horse was 13.3hh and by The Lob out of a daughter by The Sham. One of my Grandad’s original mares was The Chick Mare. She was the Great Granny to him. Pixie Horse was out of Commanchee Mare, and most of my Dad’s breeding stock was influenced by him. Some of his daughters were the first to go abroad.
Q. Person who has influenced you the most?
My grandfather - Fred Walker the legend. I was brought up with my grandfather and lived in a wagon until I met Liza. My grandfather was a proud man, very strict and a straight talking man. He was dedicated to breeding cobs for purpose - not just to look at. He kept cobs for all the young men and handed these quality
cobs to his younger family and friends. He liked breeding around the 14hh mark. He traveled to Ireland regularly, as he found cobs seemed heavier there, but the English ones had more quality. 12-14 years ago there was talk of breeding smaller cobs. He decided to retain his bigger wagon cobs, but wanted to move with the times. He bought Hugo Boss off Eathel Lee and covered most of his mares up to 14.2hh to bring the size down. He was a popular man, with friends all over the world. He was a very strong family man. He loved
to eat belly of pork with a drop of whiskey, and with no teeth he could chew through a good steak!
Q. Current favorite Cob?
My stallion Valentino. Now an 11yo, homozygous 12hh.
FRED WALKER'S VALENTINO ~ A LIVING LEGEND
Q. Have you ever Worked with Cobs?
We have always lived and breathed horses. Grandad always had bigger mares to pull waggons 14.2hh - 15hh. Generally all of our horses were 14hh and under. Lion King brought the size up.
Q. Tell me about Lion King?
My Grandad’s vision was to bring a fresh new bloodline into our herd. On one of his regular trips to Ireland to see a colt he had bought, he heard about this young colt, the Lion King. Grandad bought him off Josey Connors as a 10-11 month colt. I had never seen anything like him in my life. When he was 12 months old, his hair could cover a Ford Escort car tire entirely - he was the heaviest horse I have ever seen.
Q. Favorite Fair?
Appleby - King of all the Fairs
Q. What makes a good cob in your eyes?
Sticking true to type. A good head, ears, neck, back and good foot. More and more feather if you can get it. Only 3 colors for me - Skewbald, Piebald and Black.
Q. Best Size Cob?
13hh - because you can go either way - up or down in your breeding program.
Q. Silky Feather or Sweet head?
Q. The Future?
The breed will go downhill if we don’t work hard to protect the true-to-type cob that all the old breeders worked so hard to do for us. A horse can come in any size, but we must keep the power.
(Interview done by Gypsy Cob Register - offered here courtesy of Fred Walker's permission)