Bill and Wendy Ricci’s piebald (black and white) mare Kuchi occupies a special place in history as the first Gypsy Vanner born in America.
These small but powerful horses have selectively bred by the Romani people of Great Britain and Ireland for generations. The word "Vanner" is defined as “a horse suitable to pull a caravan.” The ideal Vanner resembles a small Shire, with more feather (leg hair), a “sweeter” head (more refined) and more color, although sturdy conformation is traditionally valued more than color.
The breed owes much of its recognition to Dennis and Cindy Thompson, who brought the first Vanner horses to America and established the world’s first registry for selectively bred horses, The Gypsy Vanner Horse Society.
Kuchi was foaled on March 18, 1999 and is the only offspring of the famous mare Bat. Bat and Dolly were the first two Vanners imported to North America, arriving on Nov 24th 1996. Kuchi’s sire, The Gypsy King (the second stallion ever imported to America), was also immortalized as a Breyer model. The Gypsy King, Cushti Bok (America’s first stallion, whose name means "good luck") and Kuchi’s grandfather, The White Horse, were the best stallions the Thompsons found during their journey to learn about the Romani and the Vanner breed.
© Mark J. Barrett
Since Bat is now deceased, Kuchi became a valuable asset as she was one of the closest sources of her mother’s and grandfather’s blue ribbon bloodline. She has represented it well, as a grand champion halter horse as well as winning performance classes in dressage, driving and all-breed competitions. Kuchi makes celebrity appearances, and her beautiful image can be seen in books and calendars.
Kuchi went on to produce twelve gorgeous foals of her own, all of whom helped further the Vanner breed in North America. She is now enjoying retirement as part of the family at Cherry Creek Vanners.
Kuchi was immortalized as a Breyer model in 2009.