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Drum Horse Breed Description

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Breed Organization

International Drum Horse Association IDHA

Native Country

Other Names

Adult Height
16h or Taller

Adult Weight
Medium to Heavy Weight

General Description

The Drum Horse is a combination of any of the following breeds: Shire, Clydesdale, and Gypsy Horse, where no single breed listed above exceeds 87% (7/8) of the total make-up and the percentage of Gypsy Horse blood does not fall below 12.5% (1/8).

The overall impression of the Drum Horse should be one of an elegant heavy horse of great strength and agility. The Drum Horse is a heavy riding horse, and should therefore display the athleticism to allow for competitiveness in all ridden and driven disciplines. The Drum should be a large, well-muscled horse of medium to heavy weight, with good quality bone, an athletic body, a kind expression, and abundant hair (including heavy "feather" on the legs).

Size: The Drum Horse should be a large, athletic animal capable of excelling in a variety of equine disciplines. To achieve this goal members are encouraged to select breeding stock of a size that will help ensure their Drum Horses will reach the desired mature height of 16 hands or taller.
Disposition: The Drum Horse should display good character and be a willing and sensible partner.
Color: Drum Horses may have any base color, and may be solid or colored. There is no preference given to colored horses over solid colored horses.
Hair: Mane and tail should be natural and abundant. Feather is a required characteristic of a Drum Horse. Feathering should preferably begin above the fetlock joints, and start at the back of the knee and hocks, as well as run down the leg to cover the entire hoof. Feather should be silky and soft, and may be either straight or curly. Trimming of the mane, tail, and feather is not desired, unless required for a discipline in which the horse in question competes. Clipping or trimming of bridle paths, belly hair, jaw and ear hair is permissible and up to each individual owner/breeder. Docking of tails is not permitted*. (*Docking rule applies ONLY to foals born in the United States and horses already registered with the ADHA.)
Movement: The ideal Drum Horse should move naturally, with forward impulsion and presence, during all three gaits:
1. Walk: Horse should walk flat with a straight four-beat, ground-covering gait. Stride should be consistent and balanced.
2.Trot: The trot should be coordinated, straight, and balanced. There should be two distinct beats in which front and hind legs are moving diagonally. Action at the knees may be snappy and naturally animated, or regular and extended. The Drum Horse should use his hind end well, and hocks should be powerful and work close together.
3.Canter: The canter should be a fluid three-beat gait, exhibiting balance, cadence and strong use of the horse's hindquarters.
Head: The head should be attractive and in proportion to the body. The forehead and poll should be wide, but not so wide as to lose the appearance of overall proportion to the length of the head. The muzzle and jaw should be square, and tie in cleanly to the rest of the head. The upper and lower lip should meet, and the horse's bite should be even. The ears should be attractive and in proportion with the head, and carried alertly. The eyes should appear expressive and kind, and should be an appropriate size in relation to the horse's head. Eyes may be any color. Both convex and straight profiles are acceptable, given they are appropriate for the horse's body type.
Neck: The neck should be long, well muscled, and in proportion to the horse's frame. Throat latch should be clean, allowing for good flexion at the poll. The length of the neck should be well proportioned in comparison to the length of the back, and should tie in smoothly at the shoulder and withers. Stallions may exhibit a masculine crest in proper relationship to the size and thickness of neck. Mares should have a more refined, feminine head and neck.
Chest: The chest should be deep and as broad as the shoulders, balanced in appearance compared to the rest of the body.
Shoulders: The shoulders should be set far enough apart to allow for each front leg to be centered under each point of the shoulder. Shoulders should be level and in balance with each other. The slope of the shoulder and the slope of the pastern should ideally be the same angle (as close to a 45-50 degree angle as possible).
Withers:Withers should be average in height (not too high or low) and well-defined, with a generous layer of muscle. They should be sloping, and preferably lie further back than the elbow, to allow for greater scope of motion in the forelimbs.
Back , Loins and Croup: The back should be strong and in proportion with the horse's overall frame and build. The back should tie in well with the loins, which should be wide and strong on the mature horse. The loins should lead fluently into the croup, which should have a slight downward slope. The croup should not be short or steep/pointed, nor overly round.
Barrel: The barrel should be well-rounded with long, well set ribs. When viewed from the side, the bottom length of the horse's barrel should be approximately the same length of the back, or slightly shorter.
Front Legs: When viewed from the front, front legs should be set parallel to each other and far enough apart to allow one hoof width in between. When viewed from the side, legs should be straight to the fetlock joint. The knee should be slightly wider than the leg itself, and "flat," as opposed to "round," in appearance. The cannon bone should be half of the length of the forearm. Pasterns should ideally be the same angle as the shoulders.
Back Legs:When viewed from behind, the back legs may be straight or display a "draft horse hock set," but should not be cow hocked. When the horse is standing square and viewed from the side, the hind legs should be set directly under the hindquarters, with the point of the hock directly beneath the point of the buttock. The hock should be flat in appearance, and ideally a little higher than the front knee. The cannon bone in the rear leg should be slightly longer than in the front legs.
Hooves: Hooves should be large enough for soundness, stability and weight-bearing, but not exaggerated in proportion to the horse's build. Heels should be open, and hooves should be well shaped to provide long years of sound use.


Actually named after a "job" performed by the horse, The Drum Horse is an important member of the Queen of England's Band of the Life Guards. These horses carry two large solid silver kettle Drums, plus a fully outfitted rider, through crowds of thousands, during the Queen's processions! The fact that the Drum Horse can remain quiet in large crowds of people while being controlled entirely by reins attached to their rider's feet is a testament to the Drum Horse's extraordinary disposition.

The Calvary Drum Horse is one of the most popular and recognizable members of the regiment. Although Drum Horses are usually piebald or skewbald in color it is not uncommon to see them in solid colors as well.

Drum Horses must be strong enough to carry the weight of the large kettledrums and the drummer, often in excess of 300 pounds. They must also remain calm and sensible in crowded environments during ceremonies. It takes a very special horse to fill such a prominent role in the Queen's Household Cavalry.


Slightly lighter than their fullblood draft counterparts the Drum Horse makes a talented athletic mount which can compete successfully in many ridden disciplines. In addition, Drum Horses are well suited for taller heavier riders that need a horse with more substance and height, but still want a calm, level headed riding horse. Because of their quiet nature, some Drum Horses may even be suited for pleasure driving.


Drum Horses are being redefined for use internationally in various ridden and driven disciplines. They combine the size and stature of the Shire and Clydesdale with the color and hair of the Gypsy Horse to create an animal that possesses the best traits of each breed. Slightly lighter than their full-blood draft counterparts the Drum Horse makes a talented athletic mount which can compete successfully in many ridden disciplines. In addition, Drum Horses are well suited for taller heavier riders that need a horse with more substance and height, but still want a calm, level headed riding horse. Because of their quiet nature, some Drum Horses may even be suited for pleasure driving.


No breed specific health issues were found.

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