Rhapsody in Blue

 Parnell's Leannan at 5 years of age.

Parnell’s Leannan at 5 years of age.

Just like Gershwin’s song is an iconic part of the early Jazz movement, our own Rhapsody in Blue, Parnell’s Leannan, has become a symbol of the Irish Rose. This exceptional stallion has been breeding since 2010 and now has several full-grown offspring to show off his impeccable ability to sire outstanding horses.

Check out some of his foals in the pictures below, and be sure to call Parnell’s Irish Cobs to ask about available breedings.

Leannan in 2014, beautiful in many shades of Blue.

Leannan in 2014, beautiful in many shades of Blue.

Breeding Potential

Cormac mac Airt, 2012 Son of Leannan

Here at Parnell’s Irish Cobs, we believe that careful breeding is everything. That is why, when we offer Lee (as he is known around the farm) for breeding, we offer only the best. This stallion has plenty of hair and feather, and while these are extraordinary perks in any Gypsy Vanner, the saying is true that “you do not ride the hair.”

This is a good thing, too; Leannan also passes on his exceptional build, beautiful head, and strong neck, short back, and agile frame. To top it all off, his foals are as sweet and inquisitive as he is. Lee spends his time doing rides, drives, and jumps, and enjoys his  days in the pasture with his pet donkey, Tully.

Si Gaoithe, 2010 daughter of Leannan

Si Gaoithe, 2010 daughter of Leannan, being ridden by her new owner.

His foals have also shown that they are able, easy-going, and personable. The oldest two are now under saddle and trained for trail rides, and we are sure that the rest will achieve greatness.





What about That Blue Gene?

A young Leannan driving.

A young Leannan driving.

Caoinlean, a 2010 gelding out of Leanann.

Caoinlean, a 2010 gelding out of Leanann.

Each year, Leannan’s color changes, going from almost black as a youngster, to a lighter blue/grey now that he has reached his prime. His distinct dapples, passed down from his sire Clononeen Dunbrody, are easy to spot when you head to the farm. Lee passes his distinct grey color about 50 percent of the time. His foals with the grey gene have all arrived with a flashy Tobiano pattern that will grey over time, but a solid blue/grey is always a possibility if the mare is solid or is heterozygous for the tobiano gene.

Meadbh,  Leannan's 2012 daughter named after the famous queen in celtic mythology. Check out that blue/grey tobiano and cute head set.

Meadbh, Leannan’s 2012 daughter named after the famous queen in celtic mythology. Check out that blue/grey tobiano and cute head set. All offspring  photos were taken by  sassy sister ink


Blue or not, your next foal from Parnell’s Leannan is sure to be a showstopper. Your colt or filly will stand out in the show ring for their conformation, on the jump course for their ability, and on the trail for their quiet and eager nature. We can’t wait to hear from you. Let your breeding program can reach its full potential with Parnell’s Leannan.

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Meet Aengus

AengusIf you see something running through the tall prairie grass, breathing heavily, do not be alarmed; it is just Aengus, our latest addition at Parnell’s Irish Cobs. With a stocky body, brindle coloring, giant floppy cheeks, and plenty of love for anyone who wants to play, Aengus the Boxer mix has easily settled into his role as a farm dog.

Finding His Way to the Irish Rose

Charlie and Jan recently realized that while Nuala, Cahir, Donkey, and the rest of the hoofed animals were always nice to Fin, their Irish Lurcher, he needed another dog around to keep him company on his adventures out in the back pastures or to take naps with him in front of the wood stove.

Then they found Aengus. Aengus is a rescue dog from a shelter in San Diego, and he has traded in his life as a stray beach dog to become a farm hound. Visitors to the farm may be reminded of the dwarf and elf duo, Legolas and Gimli, from Lord of the Rings. Fin has a long, sleek body type, with expressive eyes, and has a knack for stalking squirrels. He is very much like an elf from a Tolkien novel. If Aengus were a mythical creature, he would be a dwarf – stocky, fun-loving, and probably found with a flagon of ale.   Despite the difference, they are fast friends and spend hours playing together.

When he is not playing with Fin, Aengus is usually eating, sleeping, or learning a lesson from one of the cats. He is slowly learning his way around horses, and it will be fun to watch him grow into his own as the summer progresses.

Aengus: More Than Just Beefy

Ok, so he is a little beefy, but his name actually comes from Irish legend. According to Irish mythology, Aengus was one of the Tuatha de Danann. He was the god of love, poetry, and youthful inspiration. William Butler Yeats paid tribute to him in his poem, “Song of Wandering Aengus,” where he endlessly searches for his lover. There are also many kings, nobles, historical figures, and fictional characters with the name.

Some scholars suggest that the name Aengus derives from the Gaelic words for “excellent” and “strength” or “vigor.” Celtic translations say that it means “one choice.” Even if this handsome dog has a big name to fill, we are sure that he will do it with fervor, a wagging tail, and maybe even a little drool. Make sure you give him a healthy scratch the next time you visit the farm.


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A New Year’s News Flash From Parnell’s Irish Cobs

The Irish Rose is periodically petticoated with layers of snow and sunshine this time of year. The herd is enjoying some R and R as the quiet days of winter keep rolling through. The first few days of 2014 are upon us -and if they are anything like 2013- we have a big year ahead.

 Many of Parnell’s Irish Cobs went to their new forever homes in 2013, and there was plenty of jumping, driving, Western riding and other horsey things happening here on the farm. So we thought we would fill you insince we last posted to our blog.

New Beginnings

Four of our horses found new homes in the late summer and early fall of this year, and all are predicted to blossom with their new families.

rose collage

Rose and her herd mates. Janet also writes an amazing blog! Don’t miss it. http://sassysistersink.wordpress.com/

The gorgeous Roisin has been the dream horse for Janet B. since she first came to visit the herd several years ago. This past summer, her dream came true, and she took Roisin home with her. Rose now lives with several other Gypsy horses from Parnell’s Irish cobs including two of her own offspring, Cormac mac Airt and Caoinlean.



A new future is dancing in for our party girl, Ceilidh. This little filly is the first foal out of Parnell’s Lisdoonvarna, and was sired by our ownfabulous stallion, Parnell’s Leannan. Sam and Alesha H., the owners of Parnell’s Laoise, took to her home with them this fall. We are thrilled that she is staying in Coloradoand we can’t wait to see her in the show ring or playing with her new family.

A future full of wide open spaces, herding cattle and watching the stars in Wyoming came true for Parnell’s Brenna and Parnell’s Aibreann. Cissy and Steve G. took them to their new home in Wheatland, Wyoming. They plan to use them for sorting cattle and trail rides.

Abby races to Wyoming.

Abby races to Wyoming.

You can adR944_016_0008lowresd a new beginning to your herd as well. We are offering breedings to our incredible dapple blue/grey stallion, Parnell’s Leannan, for  2014. Do not miss out on this opportunity to add exceptional confirmation, color and bloodlines to your breeding program. He has six exceptional offspring who all  display his incredible virtues.  

Views from the Vardo

vardo 2

 vardo 1New for 2014, we are offering our 1920’s  bowtop Romany Gypsy wagon for sale. This beautiful and authentic green wagon was imported from Ireland and painted by the famous English Gypsy wagon painter, Tom  Stephenson. It is sure to wow at any horse show, parade or even in your backyard when houseguests come over.  It is completely functional and ready to be pulled by your favorite Gypsy horse. To learn more about this wagon, or to check out video of Parnell’s Nuala pulling the bowtop wagon in the Denver St, Patrick’s  Day Parade, please visit our website or call us for more details.

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Dark as a Raven, Kind as Gypsy Horse

Brenna (Center), Abby and Liz munch on grass.

Brenna (Center), Abby and Liz munch on grass.

Parnell’s Irish Cob’s stunning green Gypsy Vardo makes the mind wander.  It is easy to imagine it camped out at night, the adult Romany talking over the campfire as the children play under the watchful eye of their Gypsy Vanners. These horses maybe tired from pulling the wagon, but they are still happy to babysit.   They stand quietly as children climb on their backs, play with their tails and run around their legs.

Brenna out for a sunset stroll

Brenna out for a sunset stroll

All of the horses on the farm would enjoy this job, but none more so than Parnell’s Brenna. Her big expressive eyes go soft when she is groomed, and she seems to listen when people talk to her.  Just like any good family horse, she takes on new challenges with a thoughtful and calm sensibility that is exemplary of the Gypsy Vanner breed.


Brenna westernBrenna has recently been started under saddle. Her sweet disposition and intelligence make it seem as though she has been at it her entire life.  After trying her hand at both English  and Western  this mare continues to wow.  She is practical and shows potential to make an excellent trail, family, driving or pleasure horse.

A True Beauty

Brenna walkingBrenna’s name in Gaelic means “Dark like a Raven”, and just as her namesake suggests, she is mostly black with a few bright patches of white, including one spot over her rump that resembles a flash of lightening.  She has incredible feather that flows with her as she moves. Like all gypsies, she has plenty of mane and tail.

Brenna has officially been retired from the breeding program and has taken on her new job as a riding and driving horse.  She is currently for sale to her forever home, where she will make the perfect companion for that special someone. For more information, or to meet this incredible mare in person please contact us. We would love to introduce you.

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Epic April

DSCN0138 (2)April has been one heck of a month at Parnell’s Irish Cobs! So instead of devoting this blog to one or two horses the herd is simply going to have to share all of their exciting news together.

A Month for Learning .

first day in the saddle

Si Goaithe looks great in a saddle.

Down in Longmont, on the nick named “Irish Rose south”, Parnell’s Si Gaoithe grew into quite a beautiful young mare, and it was time to put on her grown up saddle and learn to ride. It turns out she is a natural.

Cahir learning to ride.

Cahir learning to ride.

After plenty of attention, care and preparation her owners climbed in the saddle.  She took the new challenge with a calm collected attitude exemplary to her pedigree. No bucking bronco here, just an intelligent mare learning the basics.  We are very excited to watch her progress in the coming months.

Si Goaithe then inspired her mother and grandmother to follow suit.  This month our gorgeous mostly black mare Brenna and the striking and sassy Cahir are also learning how to ride. Brenna shows how lovely a gypsy horse can look in a western saddle.  Cahir, on the other hand, is already starting to show exceptional potential in the English saddle. Both took to the saddle and bridle with the quiet inquisitiveness that we love about the breed. Watch for updates of all the new things they learn on our website and Facebook page.

Brenna looks out over the arena before her ride.

Brenna looks out over the arena before her ride.

Leaping High

Lee takes the fence.

Lee takes the fence.

Over in the arena, the jumps have been set and the courses planned. Lee and Abby are hard at work mastering the art of jumping. Our stallion has become a lean mean jumping machine and seems to grow more and more handsome with each passing day.

DSCN0108 (2)

Airbreann jumps with a fantastic back drop.

Aibreann is also jumping as much as possible. She has learned flying lead changes and jumps over oxers as if she had done them her entire life. Move aside Warmbloods and Thoroughbreds, we have something black and white with lots of feather joining you over the fences.


Rose arrives at her new home.

Rose has a new family. 

It was bittersweet, but we are proud to announce that Rose has gone to her new home in Longmont. Although we will miss her big brown eyes and sweet personality, we are happy to see her off to the perfect home. In fact, she has gone to live with her two sons Cormac and Caoinlean as well as three other gypsy horses from Parnell’s Irish cobs at, you guessed it, “the Irish Rose of the South”.


Cahir and BrennaSome much needed moisture arrived at the Irish Rose. Two wet heavy feet of snow fell over the farm leaving the ground as white and fluffy as a gypsy horse after a good bath.   Although Nuala, Abby and many other horses that are on the riding scheduled felt a little jilted by the snow, as it melted they found a different activity to enjoy: mud wrestling. After turnout earlier this week, Charlie came down to find Liz and Abby looking like this:



They enjoyed themselves.


After the last of the snowdrifts melt and the mud dries up, new things are on the horizon.  Bright green grass is already tempting the herd over in the pastures, and longer days mean more time to ride, drive and partake in all of the things gypsy horses love.  We are all looking forward to a fantastic summer. and many new activities to come.

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Living the Dream: Keelin goes home with her very own teenage girl.

For many gypsy horses the  perfect fairy tale ending is to go home with their very own teenage girl; For Parnell’s Keelin this ending came true. Earlier this month, Keelin left Parnell’s Irish Cobs to go to her forever home in Windsor, Colorado. She is now proudly owned by a horse crazy, 13-year-old name Isla.

Keelin and IslaBefore going to her new home, Isla had been riding Keelin here at the Irish Rose.  This lovely mare, whose name means “beauty that only poetry can describe”, demonstrated that her beauty is way more than skin deep.  Keelin and Isla soon rode together in English and Western, and the two even got to practice their groundwork.

Unlike many first encounters where horse and rider test each other out sometimes, Keelin and Isla demonstrated that they were a match made in heaven. They quickly bonded and seemed to work well as a team as they walked, trotted, and cantered around the arena. In the years to come, we are excited to watch this dynamic duo in action. Isla currently rides both English and Western and participates in a show team here in Northern Colorado. She is excited to get Keelin in the  ring and display the incredible versatility of her new gypsy horse.

Grace, Isla and Keelin

Grace, Isla and Keelin

However, Isla does not get to keep Keelin all to herself.  This cute and friendly mare has also charmed Isla’s mom, Fiona, and sister, Grace. All three will enjoy taking turns grooming, riding and spending time with Keelin.

Grace even drew a picture of Keelin.

Grace even drew a picture of Keelin.

Just like all graduations and promotions, it was bittersweet saying good-bye to Keelin.  Although we were sad to see her leave, we are excited for her new beginning and can’t wait to watch her grow. It puts a smile on our faces to picture Keelin and Isla riding off into the sunset for a perfect happily ever after.

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Ceilidh The Show Horse?


It’s hard to believe that baby Ceilidh is now four months old.  This baby Gypsy Vanner makes strides every day.  However, Ceilidh’s mother, Lisdoonvarna, has been aching to get back under saddle to join, Abby, Keelin, Lee and the rest of the herd in the riding circuit.  We can’t say we blame her either, this mare can do anything! Not only is Liz a  stupendous driving mare, she also rides English,  and western, jumps,  goes bareback, and  makes a big  impression at parades.

Away We Go

IMG_20130219_091915So we thought it was time Liz showed Ceilidh some of the thrills of getting under saddle. At first, Charlie led Ceilidh alongside mom. Our little girl was thoroughly fascinated with Gretchen’s feet in the stirrups and kept reaching to smell them  as if to say, “Mom what is that person doing way up there?”

Unlike many young horses that would have spooked at every passing obstacle, Ceilidh walked quietly forward. This is calm, level headed approach to new situations is a highly prized virtue in the Gypsy Vanner. Along with exceptional conformation, this easygoing take-on-the-world personality is something Parnell’s Irish Cobs breeds for.


IMG_20130219_085328 After a couple of quiet laps around the arena, Ceilidh was let off the lead rope. She gingerly followed her mother around the arena, a little unsure of herself.  Trot poles, jump standards and the mounting block seemed so peculiar and unnecessary to this little Gypsy.

“Why is mom going over those poles and what is that weird thing on her face?” She seemed to be asking.

Even her Sire, Leannan, looking on from his pen seemed to be offering words of encouragement to his littlest daughter. It is fun to compare the two side by side.  Just like her father Ceilidh has bright eyes, a perfect short back and lots of spunIMG_20130221_110201k and personality. Perhaps Lee gave her a bit of encouragement because Ceilidh’s initial hesitation gave way to sheer joy. She raced around the arena showing off her sweet moves and playing with passing tumbleweeds.

Energy spent, we took both mother and foal back to join the rest of the herd. We are all quite pleased and can’t wait to get Ceilidh and Lisdoonvarna back in the ring again soon. Perhaps this little filly will make you the perfect show horse. Keep checking back to see what she’s been up to.


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Jumping January

Abby warming up before she jumps.

Abby warming up before she jumps.

Winter took a brief reprieve this week as the prairie sun melted off most of the snow leaving only a few  patches scattered around the fields. The arena was perfectly dry and ready to be ridden in; what better way to celebrate then setting up a few jumps.

Out Comes Abby

After pulling out the poles and standards, brushing out manes and feathers, grooming shaggy coats and saddling up we were ready to jump. The first horse to show her skills was the high flying Aibreann.

Abby is a gypsy that lives for learning new things and showing off how awesome she is. If you show her a trick  she will try to master it. Jumping is by far one of her favorite things.

Even as Sarah warmed Abby up around the arena her eyes lit up at the sight of the jumps. However, like a good gypsy horse, she held her excitement in check and stayed calm and focused. She jumped each fence like a pro and happily cantered between them looking for the next thing to jump.

Our Handsome Stallion

Lee's glamor shot.

Lee’s glamor shot.

Our  stallion, Leannan was up next.  If these two horses were people, Abby would be the star athlete and Lee would be the prom king. He has a soft mouth and likes attention, but prefers basking in the limelight rather than cantering up to fences. It felt more like we were taking glamor shots in the late afternoon light than taking epic sports pictures. Despite this, Lee gave his best effort and got all of his blue body over the fences with style. One of the cutest things about watching Lee Jump is seeing him tuck his  knees so perfectly under himself as he goes over the jump.

Abby warming up before the jumps.

Lee  jumping the cross rail.

After we were all finished the  horses were rubbed down and put away. It was a successful day of jumping  we cannot wait for spring so that our jumpers can continue flying over the fences.

To see more of our jumping gypsies  check out our website:  http://www.parnellsirishcobs.com/.

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Winter Wonderland

Snow falls on Gypsy Horses Here at Parnell’s Irish Cob

The snow starts to fall and Ceilidh seems perplexed.

The snow starts to fall and Ceilidh seems perplexed.

After a couple of false starts and a frost or two, snow has finally stuck at the Irish Rose.   While this may not seem like anything news worthy, after one of the driest years recorded in Colorado history a few inches of snow have all of us on the farm rejoicing.

As the Snow began to fall baby Ceilidh seemed perplexed and excited while the rest of the herd munched happily on their snow covered dinners.  After night blanketed the prairie, snow covered the ground and magic continued to fall.

rose in the snow

Rose looks out over the white world after playing in the snow.

When we woke up the following morning, a winter wonderland awaited us.  The horses all seemed a little extra wild with the cold beneath their feet to keep them going. Gypsy Vanner Horses look extra whimsical in the snow. Their long manes and feathers seem to match the wisping snow that flies by when the breeze picks up. The strings of hair on their chins and classic gypsy horse mustaches had grown tiny icicles.

Dashing through the snow

Lee Trots through the snow.

Lee Trots through the snow.

Like many other horses, the herd of Gypsy Horses at the Irish Rose were feeling a little extra rambunctious because of the sudden weather change. Rose jumped and kicked at the air as breakfast was being served. In the afternoon as the snow stopped and the wind picked up. Leannan pranced in the snow and looked even more handsome then normal with his dapple grey coat accented by the bright blue sky and the white snowy ground.

Ceilidh and her companions got in on the action as well.  They rolled and played in the snow bringing a smile to anyone who saw. We can’t wait to get more snow and rumor has it that a white Christmas and New year is on the way.

Ceilidh does a snow dance.

Ceilidh does a snow dance.




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Of Hobbits and Horses

Gypsy Vanner Horses: the Hobbits of the Equine World

Keelin enjoys her reflection after the rain storm

The wait is almost over: the prequel to The Lord of the Rings–entitled The Hobbit–is due out in theaters this December.  As we savor the anticipation of once again enjoying the fantasy world of J.R.R. Tolkien’s imagination, we can’t help but notice the eerie similarities between our wonderful Gypsy Vanner horses and the stout, humanoid creatures we have come to know as Hobbits.

Furry Feet and Resilient Nature

Photo from Sassysistersink

Thick, and covered with fur, Hobbits and Gypsy Vanner horses are famous for their incredible feet.  Both Hobbits and Gypsy Vanners were bred to have exceptionally tough feet so that they don’t have to wear shoes. They can walk for long distances without getting achy.

Gypsy Vanners and Hobbits also possess an unusually docile nature and are capable of enduring a long work day or a great trek over rocky terrain without getting cranky.  Not to mention,They hold up under pressure.

Short in Stature but still Striking

The average Hobbit is three feet six inches tall, and enjoys a big meal several times a day. Hobbits would fit right in with our herd of Gypsy brood mares, who are shorter than the average horse but have healthy appetites.  While many people imagine that Gypsy horses must be large–like a draft horse–they are usually only between 13 and 15 hands high.  This puts them closer to the size of a small light horse or a big pony.  They also love a good snack, so bringing extra carrots and other goodies to the pasture is always welcome.

Let’s Hang Out

When we think of Bilbo Baggins, Tolkien’s main protagonist, we picture him sitting on a hillside with a few of his Hobbit friends: eating a snack, reading a book, swapping good stories and just enjoying the company of his mates.  It is too bad he didn’t have a Gypsy horse.

When you walk out into our pasture, Nuala, Cahir or Brenna will probably come up to keep you company and are always looking for a good scratch. Our Gypsy horses, who behave like thousand-pound teddy bears, are just as happy hanging out with you as they are hanging out with each other.

Ceilih Makes a friend.

Playing with the Kids

Once the famous Hobbit Sam returned from his adventures with Frodo Baggins, he was happy to settle down and enjoy his life with his family and a huge gaggle of children running around his home. In fact, most Hobbits appear to be strong believers in being kid friendly. There were always kids running around Hobbiton and the Shire.

When children come to visit the Irish Rose Farm, the Gypsy horses exhibit this same gentleness and tolerance for their high-spirited energy and youthful curiosity.  The Gypsies are fascinated with our pint-sized people and always come up to say hello. Because Gypsy Vanners were originally used as hard- working pullers during the day and babysitters for all of the Romany children at night, the breed seems genetically inclined to be kind and gentle.

Patience and Hard Work 

Lee going for a drive.

In the Shire, Hobbits work hard: cultivating their gardens, brewing beer, and doing woodwork.  Hobbits carry out their tasks with gusto and passion. Similarly, Gypsy horses take on their jobs with enthusiasm and zest and are ready to learn.  Abby has taken eagerly to jumping and other jobs. Keelin will even follow her rider to the mounting block and wait keenly to go for a ride.

Would you like to discover these and other Hobbit characteristics in our horses? Peruse our website, check out our facebook page and, of course, head to the Irish Rose for a visit.

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