by Cori Hilsgen
St. Joseph resident Sharon Krebsbach’s passion for horses began when she was 9 years old and her father surprised her and her siblings with a horse named “Freddy.”
Freddy was a paint horse who their family owned for 10 years.
Growing up on a farm outside of St. Ansgar, Iowa, her childhood revolved around Freddy as she rode, groomed and enjoyed his company.
Krebsbach and her husband, Mark, currently own one of the few Gypsy horse farms in Minnesota. Others are also in Elk River, Duluth, Hutchinson, Isanti, Melrose and elsewhere.
The Krebsbachs have two children, Vanessa and Travis, whom Sharon wanted to grow up with horses similar to how she did. When the couple was first married before the ranch was established, they purchased two Arabians, Zeb and Zel, and they have had a horse or two with their family ever since.
During Sharon’s search for a good riding horse, she was introduced to the Gypsy horse breed. In 2006, the breed was still very new to the United States and it was rare to see or hear much about them.
She said the Gypsy horse is a newer breed in the United States. The first Gypsy horses were imported from England and Ireland in 1997. They can be classified as a small draft horse and can be any height. Gypsy horses are known for their docile temperament and hair on their legs, also known as feathers.
Sharon was so charmed by the Gypsy horse’s docile temperaments, trainable minds and a love for people that she abandoned her search for a riding horse and purchased a Gypsy horse named “Rosie’s Latte.”
“Latte began my passion for the breed,” she said.
The Krebsbachs established “Rosie’s Gypsy Ranch” 12 years ago. To honor her father, Raymond Rosenberg, and the passion for horses that he inspired in her, Sharon named their horse farm “Rosie’s Gypsy Ranch,” after her father whose nickname was “Rosie.”
The Krebsbachs currently have about a dozen Gypsy horses. They usually breed their horses in the 13-hand to 15-hand range measurement. Each hand equals 4 inches so a 13-hand horse is 52 inches tall.
The traditional color for Gypsy horses is known as a black and white tobiano that resembles a dairy cow. Rosie’s Gypsy ranch specializes in solid in pattern with one color on body of colors such as silver dapple, buckskin, bay and black.
Katie Hembree, a trainer, runs “KD Performance Horses” and works out of Rosie’s Gypsy Ranch. Hembree, who has been working out of their barn for six years, trains their horses and brings them to horse shows, county fairs, horse expos and other events around the state.
Rosie’s Gypsy Ranch horses have won several major awards or placements including a five-star rating for their stallion, Gold Medallion, three belt buckles, several grand champion and reserve champion, a gypsy mini vardo for the Vincent Gelding Program and others.
Because the Gypsy horse breed is smaller in numbers throughout the United States, the Krebsbachs, Hembree and the horses travel farther for Gypsy horse shows. They have traveled to shows in Florida, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas.
Sharon said they participate in the Minnesota Horse Expo the last weekend in April each year. They have also participated in the Draft Horse Halter competition at the Stearns County Fair, which is the last weekend in July.
They also plan to participate in a horse show in Minnesota run by Gail Shrine Events. These events take place throughout the country.
The Krebsbachs and their horses will need to place in two shows to participate in January Nationals.
The Feathered Horse Classic North had its first show in September 2017 and will run again Sept. 1-2 at the Simons Arena, Cannon Falls.
“All of these events and shows are spectator friendly and we encourage those who are interested in the Gypsy horses to come, watch and meet our wonderful breed of horses,” Sharon said.
Besides operating the ranch, the Krebsbachs also run a commercial painting business, “Mark’s Wallcoating.”
Rosie’s Gypsy Ranch is at 12564 CR 160, St. Joseph. For additional information and to view more photos of Gypsy horses, visit the Facebook page Rosie’sgypsranch or call 320-363-4714.