The Gypsy Wagon Lifestyle

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  • Probly not much use, but i know they're are places in the south of Ireland, that rent out Bowtops...best bet would be to get in touch with them, and ask, good luck...once iv got a bit of cash, and im not up to me eyes in it, its the life i want to lead, was going to build one once...ah, the dreams...


    :patch:

  • lol... yes the only problem with the idea of getting in touch with them, is that i dont know who they are. :p

    If you could by any chance mention a frew names of such companies they would be easier to track down :p

    Peace bro :hippy:

  • I remember when I was little a friend had an old bowtop in one of her fields, good as new it was. We used to sleep in it whenever I stayed round and it was so comfy and peaceful. I thought, wouldn't it be ace if we just strapped a horse to it and took off. *sighs*.
    I have a friend who makes furniture, maybe i'll go ask her what she thinks of making one of these.
    My grandfather always did say we had romani gypsy ancestors.

    The biggest cause of trouble in the world today is that the stupid people are so sure about things and the intelligent folks are so full of doubts

  • Ex don't give up your dreams! I'm sure if you walk that direction it could be done! That's a great dream actually, I'm gonna have to nick it ;) I wonder if I could make one on my boat-building course

    Sorry... not much help with the search ;)

  • I've been searching on here for anyone that actually lives in one of these? several comments that there are a growing number at gatherings but does anyone have one or know someone who has one ...I am interested in costings against the running costs of a van? How best can it be taken to Europe? I have had a horse in the past and know it's not cheap to keep, but grass along the road is free!


    With the busy roads of today I had thought of towing bowtop with a small tractor?


    How many on here spend longer periods of the year in Europe?


    Soo many questions!!!


    Thanks meantime :)

  • This would be an awesoem thing to do. I've been looking at vans for some time but only now have i considered a gypsy wagon. I'd like to know more though about the upkeep of a horse i.e what they eat, how easily you could get them vet help..parking :eek:

  • Quote from Naeni

    This would be an awesoem thing to do. I've been looking at vans for some time but only now have i considered a gypsy wagon. I'd like to know more though about the upkeep of a horse i.e what they eat, how easily you could get them vet help..parking :eek:



    i have a couple of friends that lived horse-drawn for 10years. they had a good reaction from most people unlike when they had busses. everyone always loves the horses and they were often slipped a few quid from people stopping to pet the horses and chat to them. learning how to keep a horse is not that difficult and nor is getting a vet as long as you have some money and even if you don't there are charities that will help. finding park-ups is a lot easier than when you have a vehicle, although you may still find yourself on grass verges often depending on where you are. the worst thing about being horse-drawn is traffic. people have no idea how to drive past horses especially when they are in a rush. my friend iain tells his story on my website, i've copied and pasted it here for you to read :hippy:

    Had a nasty experience in '95 in Wales. We were plodding down the (busy) road, managing ok, but tossers still endangering us, when the traffic started to back up and ground to a crawl. "Suits us" we think, "Fine!" Then the feds turn up, tell us the main road's been closed ahead & traffic's been redirected via a single-track road. They tell us we can have to go down the closed road though, to avoid causing more problems. Big, long ,dead-straight road, tall trees all around, we can finally hear the birds singing and taste air rather than burning hydrocarbons. Nice, if a little eerie, too quiet like. We round a corner and there are the blue flashing lights. Feds, ambulances, fire engines the lot, surrounding two smoking, wrecked cars. As we pass by, clip-clop, clip-clop, the ambulancemen are removing twisted burnt figures from one of the cars. A bloody mess is smeared across the road we're walking on, that leads to a large, unidentifiable lump of flesh smashed against a tree. Absolute silence, except the sound of the horses hooves, the muffled grunts of the rescue crew, the quiet sobbing of one of the policewomen and the indifferent birds. My friend Iris is 7years old, she sits on the trolley watching silently with huge eyes. It seemed like an eternity before we finally moved out of sight. A fed had walked beside us for a bit, told us a Porsche with 2 people in it had overtaken a car on the bend, and ploughed head-on into another car carrying a lady & her 3 kids coming the other way. All had died at the scene. We carry on, down this quiet Welsh road in a daze until...we re-join the diverted traffic. Absolute fucking chaos! We were nearly taken out several times in the first few moments, wankers that had had their pointless schedules delayed by the accident, trying to get past the other wankers that were slower! The thing is oi reckon, when they get into that state, they don't even know what they're seeing when they come across a wagon until it's too late. We had cars sliding sideways at us with their brakes locked-on, then screaming abuse at us cos they'd scared themselves that badly. To cut a long story short, less than an hour down the road, we had one car full of dickheads too many overtaking on a blind bend in order to cut 0.2 minutes off their journey. We put 2 axes into the side of it & a brick through the rear window, they stopped to make something of it, only to find 3 of us screaming flat out down the road at them, armed with the metal bars we used for tethering the horses! They changed their minds, and beat a hasty retreat. Now I'm just TOTALLY a non-violent person, I've never started a fight in my life (police excepted, but that's several other tales and they always started it anyway!) Episodes like that left me drained and sickened, NOT the idea I had of a quiet, nomadic lifestyle!



    there is more pictures and other stuff about travelling lifestyles on my website CLICKY!

  • I've spent this year travelling with a horse (Juno)



    And two wheeled cart (pic taken from the net but mine is similar to this one)



    and sleeping in a tent, which I appreciate isn't the same thing as living in a gypsy wagon but still, the same principles apply.

    First and foremost, there is a hell of a lot more traffic on the roads these days than there was when horse and carts were the norm. Therefore, you need a horse who is 100% sensible and bombproof in traffic, and you need to be capable and competent to drive a wagon/cart and able to cope in an emergency and be able to detach the horse from the cart without risking injury - I'd suggest you took lessons at a riding school before you comtemplated driving a horse on your own, it's not always easy.

    Grass, as someone said, is free along the road, but if a horse is expected to pull a heavy wagon every day, it will need hard food as well as grass. We tend to stop at a feed merchants every few days and buy sample sized bags of food, rather than lugging a huge bag of food with us - you want to minimize the load for the horse as much as possible.

    Most 'gypsy' horses (cob types used for pulling heavy loads) will have strong feet and not require metal shoes, but will need their feet trimmed every 6-8 weeks. You can learn to do this yourself, but I would advise you to get this done by a blacksmith at least at first. Cobs generally grow a thick coat for the winter and don't need a rug to stay warm, but I would recommend a lightweight waterproof rug for HEAVY rain or snow.

    Although a horse could feasibly pull a cart all year if it was kept fit and looked after properly, I would personally want to give it a break (Juno has a break in the winter and has a stable and paddock), so you would have to consider that.

    I can't tell you about the specifics of living in a wagon as I've never owned one, but I imagine it wouldn't be hugely different from a smallish bus/van.

    Hope that helps some ... :)

    I've been tripping from sipping the dripping dirty water tap,
    i've been thinking i'm drinking too many drinks all by myself.
    I've been poking a voodoo doll that you do not know I made, for you, of you.

  • most horedrawn folks build their own wagons, get to the green gathering and any one in the horsey field should be able to help, if not i know 2 blokes in Worcestershire who build vardos. When i built my last waggon from scratch it cost me about £1500, so once all painted you can double the price. My first waggon cost me £1500 and and that was built on a really pretty dray, it's a case of being in the right place at the right time, But most importantly, you need a good pulling horse and a good set of harness.
    A bowtop i built.

  • oooooooooo i have a open lot wagon well its my pars!!! I love going away to horse fairs in it,, such excitment, Appleby is the only one i really go to though,, My trusty cob maggie pulls us all the way up there bless her!!!

  • firstly...to hire ones in Ireland..I think you can down in Kilarney, Kerry.
    Secondly..£1500 was the price range of one fro sale at the big green gathering when I was there a few years back. It was really beautiful. It might be worth popping there and going to the traveller site where there are loads of horse drawn carriages for advice etc.

  • There is a book about making model waggons, if i remember righty there aren't any measurements, but it shows how to pretty much build a full size waggon. It's quite a useful book if you're looking to build a vardo. But as drays come in various sizes there are no true measurements any way, it all depends on money, dray size and what sort of waggon is being built.