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Horse Breeds
First Posted Nov 12, 2009
Sep 17, 2010

Drummer Horse Breed


Countries of Origin: England and Ireland


Historically, Drummer horses were not actually a breed, but rather bred to perform a job and used by the Queen of England's Band of the Life Guards. They were used in British Regimental Cavalry for parades, ceremonies of state and royal processions. They had to be strong to carry kettle drums (each drum weighed approximately 90 pounds) that were made of brass or silver as well as the rider. The total weight the horse must carry could often approximate 400 pounds. In fact, the Calvary Drum Horse is recognized worldwide parading in its regiment. Historically the horses were geldings with coloration of piebald or skewbald. However solid colors are also acceptable.


Today, in the United States, the Drum Horse is being recognized as a breed. The desire to preserve the Drum Horse characteristics, as a breed, was championed in the United States in 2000. There are specific standards:

  • May be a combination of Clydesdale, Shire, Gypsy Cob or Irish Cob (Gypsy Vanner)
  • It cannot be more than 7/8 of any one breed
  • It must be at least 1/8 Gypsy Cob.
  • Forward moving
  • Must perform walk, trot and canter
  • Must have good balance
  • Must have good character
  • Must be willing

The stud book, of course, will remain open, as it is with the establishment and standardization of any new breed.


The Drum Horse must have an even and calm disposition as this horse must perform among screaming crowds where anything can happen! The horse must be agile and strong, have good bone, be well muscled, be athletic, of medium to heavy weight, have feathering on the legs, an abundant main and tail, be forward moving, have elegance and grace, and can be any color-although traditionally they were piebald or skewbald. They are usually 16 h or more. Their neck has a natural arch, their ears cleanly shaped and well set, their head proportionate to the body, with a strong jaw and broad forehead, the chest should be broad and muscled. The muscle along the bottom of the chest should appear in an inverted "V" shape as it ties into the forearm. The back should be short and muscled, the barrel should be well sprung. "The legs should be set squarely under the body, straight, with clean joints and plenty of dense, flat bone. Forearms and thighs should be well muscled. Hindlegs should display clean and well defined hocks that are broad, deep, flat and wide when viewed from the side. The Drum Horse may or may not exhibit the influence of the draft horse hockset. Pasterns should be long enough to allow a proper slope of about 45 degrees from the hoof head to the fetlock joint. Feet must be sound and substantial with a generous, open heel." Drum Horse (An excellent site) They must be highly responsive to the cues of the rider. Just think, the rider is playing the kettle drums so who is reining the horse. The rider's feet rein the horse. The reins are attached to the rider's feet and the horse responds by foot reining.


The Drummer Horse is used as a heavy riding horse as well as for driving.

For More Information:

Drum Horse An excellent site.
American Drum Horse Association
What is a Drum Horse Anyway?

Horse Breeds