drum horse breed

The Drum Horse Breed: The Ultimate Guide

Image courtesy of Flikr

The Drum Horse, or Cavalry Drum Horse, is a pretty awesome horse breed.

We’re about to embark on a captivating journey into the remarkable characteristics, rich history, and versatile nature of this extraordinary horse.

From their regal presence to their docile temperament, these horses are sure to capture your heart.

A Brief History of the Drum Horse

First, a little Drum Horse history to whet your whistle.

These amazing equines got their name from the important role they play in traditional events. You can still see them strutting through the streets, carrying a rider and a set of kettle drums as part of the Band of the Life Guards processions.

They gracefully navigate through bustling crowds, all while the rider has their hands full – quite literally!

To keep things under control, these clever horses were trained to respond to reins attached to the rider’s feet. Talk about a unique way of steering.

But that’s not all.

Drum Horses have to be remarkably tall and strong to handle the weight of those silver kettle drums during long processions. Plus, they need to possess a sensible, calm, and good-natured disposition to willingly respond to this unconventional form of guidance.

To achieve the desired traits, breeders cleverly combined the Clydesdale, Gypsy Cob (Gypsy Horse), and Shire breeds. The result? A magnificent equine companion – large, docile, and blessed with a genuinely good-tempered nature.

In the present day, both the International Drum Horse Association and the Gypsy Cob and Drum Horse Association proudly serve as registries for this exceptional breed.

These organisations help preserve and promote the lineage and heritage of these incredible horses.

Drum Horse Characteristics

One of the standout qualities of Drum Horses is their remarkable temperament. It’s a trait that’s highly sought after.

Drum Horses need to remain cool and composed amidst the hustle and bustle of large crowds. They exude a calmness that makes them comfortable in such vibrant and energetic environments.

Drum Horses are also as docile as can be. This level-headed riding horse is a dream to guide through bustling throngs. Imagine effortlessly steering a gentle giant as you navigate through a sea of spectators.

Well, with the Cavalry Drum Horse, that’s exactly what you get.

They have a unique ability to remain calm, responding obediently to the rider’s subtle cues.

Let’s not forget about the drumming!

It takes a very special horse to tolerate the resounding beats emanating from the silver kettle drums strapped to their backs. With a cooperative and easy-going nature, Drum Horses exemplify the perfect harmony between power and serenity.

Their unrivalled combination of calmness, docility, and tolerance make the Drum Horse an absolute pleasure to work with.

Whether it’s parading through busy streets or performing in grand ceremonies, the Drum Horse’s extraordinary disposition shines through.

Image courtesy of wikimedia

Uses And Breeding

Although it’s mainly used for ceremonies, the Drum Horse makes an excellent riding companion too.

Drum Horses possess a gentle and cooperative nature, which translates into a smooth and comfortable riding experience.

Their calm temperament and willingness to please make them well-suited to riders of different skill levels.

Whether you’re a beginner taking your first steps into the equestrian world or an experienced rider seeking a reliable mount – the Drum Horse is the perfect choice.

The breed’s sturdy build, strength, and endurance also make it ideal for ridden disciplines like dressage. Drum Horses can showcase their elegance, responsiveness, and precision, executing intricate movements with grace and poise.

Drum Horses are mostly bred in the UK. However, there are breeders and enthusiasts in several other countries too, including the US.

How Big is the Drum Horse?

The mighty Drum Horse stands at 16 hands or even taller. They’re built to handle some serious weight too, as they proudly bear drums that can tip the scales at a whopping 300 pounds or more!

With such a demanding task at hand, Drum Horses have a robust and powerful stature – exemplifying strength and resilience.

When it comes to size, this breed can truly leave an impression. Sometimes weighing in at as much as 2,000 pounds, they command attention with their sheer mass.

It’s no wonder they’re capable of shouldering the significant load of those drums during ceremonial processions. If you’re going to make horses carry that much weight, then they need to be pretty big!

Drum Horse Colours And Markings

The colourful world of Drum Horses is a sight to behold.

They have solid, pinto, or roan coats and their solid coats are usually black, bay, buckskin, grey, chestnut, dun, and palomino.

The most common coats are skewbald and piebald pinto.

The wide variety of colours is a result of the breed’s Gypsy Horse, Shire, and Clydesdale bloodlines.

As with lots of other draught breeds, their feathering should cover their entire hooves and should begin over their fetlocks.

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Grooming Requirements

Proper grooming is essential for the well-being of Drum Horses, though their impressive size can pose a challenge.

Regular attention is needed to maintain their long manes and thick feathering. This is typical of many draft breeds.

If you own a Drum Horse, you might find it helpful to use stools to access the horse’s elevated back and manage its glorious mane.

Braiding the mane can be an effective way to keep them tidy and more manageable. Even the heavy feathering can be braided if you like.

Diligent cleaning and thorough drying of the feathered areas are crucial after exposure to rain or mud. This helps to prevent issues like scratches.

Remember, a well-groomed Drum Horse is a happy and healthy companion!

Diet and Nutrition

Drum Horses are fairly low-maintenance when it comes to their dietary needs. With a well-balanced diet of quality forage and suitable horse feed, these equine beauties can thrive.

Still, it’s important to be mindful of your draught horse’s weight as they tend to gain weight easily.

To prevent issues like obesity and founder or laminitis, you might need to limit their access to lush pastures.

By carefully monitoring their grazing and ensuring a controlled diet, you can help your Drum Horse to maintain a healthy weight and overall well-being.


Do Drum Horses have any health or behavioural issues?

The Drum Horse’s extraordinary disposition means that it doesn’t tend to have any behavioural issues. Luckily, this very special horse is also remarkably healthy, and it doesn’t have any breed-specific health conditions.

What ridden disciplines can Drum Horses be used for?

Drum Horses have the versatility to excel in a range of ridden disciplines including dressage, show jumping, eventing, and even leisurely trail riding.

They can gracefully perform complex dressage movements, soar over show jumps, and confidently tackle the challenges of eventing.

Were Drum Horses used in King Charles III’s Coronation?

They sure were!

The most famous Drum Horse used in King Charles III’s Coronation was Major Apollo. He was once a humble yearling purchased for just £500 but stood proudly at the heart of the grand Coronation procession.

Do Drum Horses have a rank?

Yes, Drum Horses are ranked as Majors. This makes them the most senior animals in the army. So, make sure you salute the next time you see one!

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