The Lion King

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Much has been rumored, referenced, and written about The Lion King. All the hyperbole and chatter can be summed up with a statistical look at his progeny. According to the two largest Gypsy horse and Gypsy Vanner horse databases, no other Gypsy or Gypsy Vanner horse sired more U.S. registered foals than The Lion King from the time of his birth in 1996 until the time of his death in 2008. Only three other stallions, Cushti Bok, Latcho Drom, and The Gypsy King, have sired as many foals as The Lion King. The notable difference is The Lion King only lived to be 12 years old and sired most of these registered foals while living in the United States for the last four years of his life. It is unknown how many more foals he sired during the first eight years of his life, but anecdotal stories show that the European breeders valued his genetics just as highly as do American breeders.

The Lion King’s story began when breeder Fred Walker selected the ideal parents: the famous “PO Mare” as the dam and “Son of Robert Watson’s Old Horse” as the sire, who sadly died at the age of two and as a result did not breed many mares in his short life. The pair were bred in England, but The Lion King was born in Ireland, then brought back to England when he was just one year old. He was subsequently bought by Fred Walker, his original breeder. More than one author has described The Lion King as the most highly feathered and haired stallion of any Gypsy horse or Gypsy Vanner horse ever born, including the legends in Europe. In 2004, he was imported to America by Jeff and Christine Bartko of Black Forest Shires and Gypsy Horses.

Though worthy of legendary standing simply on his own, The Lion King’s true legacy is in his ability to pass on to his foals the physical attributes most desired by breeders: the phenomenal feathering, impressive hair length, textbook conformation, and classic Gypsy build that none could match. His name continues to be advertised in the genotype of every foal, grand foal, and great grand foal that owe their feathering, long hair, stature, athleticism, and even their personality to The Lion King. His genetic contribution to the Gypsy breed remains highly desirable and sought after and is invaluable to any breeding program.

Lion King’s Notable Foals Include:

  • Blue Mountain Tiger
  • The Lion King’s Leo
  • D’jango Jazz
  • LK’s Legacy
  • Aislan of Lion King
  • Timone of Lion King
  • The Road Sweeper (US)

Pedigree

  • The Lion King
    • Son of Robert Watsons Old Horse
      • Robert Watson’s Old Horse
        • The Roadsweeper UK
          • The Coal Horse
        • Scrapper
    • The PO Mare
      • Old Henry
        • The Sham Horse
          • Sonny Mays Horse
      • Old PO Mare