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HorseShowCentral > Horse Breeds > Drum Horse

Drum Horse - Horse Breed & Info

Characteristics of the Drum Horse
Drum Horse Article and Photos Copyrighted - see credits below

Traditionally the Drum horse has never been a breed but a type of horse either bred, or selected for use, to perform a particular job. A drum Horse is a horse that carries two large kettle drums, plus a rider. Regimental Drum Horses were well known, highly valued, and used through the last several hundreds years by many military regiments around the world.


In the distant past, Drum Horses were most often light horse breeds, although they had to be strong. Kettle drums were made of brass or silver. On parade, through vast crowds, Drum Horses were always present during processions in England and the cavalry Drum Horse was always the most recognizable member of any regiment. Also, there was often a lone Kettle Drummer used to head a regiment going into battle, sounding a significant cadence as he led the regiment into the enemy lines.

Drum Horses are not guided the way a rider normally reins a horse. After all, the rider had to use his hands to drum the drums. Instead, reins are attached to the rider’s feet and the horse must obey and stay calm in the midst of huge noise and in the case of the lone drummer, the horrors of a battlefield.

Colors were usually piebald or skewbald, although it was not uncommon to see solids.


Today the Drum Horse is being recognized as a breed in the USA and promoted as a heavy riding horse.

The standards of this new breed state that the horse may be a combination of Clydesdale, Shire and Gypsy Cob (or Irish Cob). The horse must not be more than seven-eighths of any one breed but must be at least one-eighth Gypsy Cob. The horse is required to move forward with good impulsion and presence in all three gaits (walk, trot and canter) with balance, good character and willingness.

The Drum Horse as a breed displays the overall look of an elegant heavy horse, possessing agility and strength, allowing use as a riding or driving horse of many disciplines. This is a well muscled horse of medium to heavy weight, with good bone and heavy feathering on the legs. Mane and tail should also be abundant. Any color is acceptable

Drum Horse events are scheduled year round, and the membership is growing. The stud book of course will remain open, as it is with the establishment and standardization of any new breed.

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You may also wish to visit these HSC site pages:

Gypsy Cob Horse
Irish Cob

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