WHAT IS A DRUM HORSE?

 The answer to this question has two answers...Two very
different answers that are both correct in their own truths
and yet have caused confusion upon each other.

Definition #1: A Drum Horse is a horse, any horse, that has
                 been appointed a position in the Military /
                Calvary / Mounted troops and Regiments to
                carry heavy kettle drums and a drummer (rider).
                The name for this horse reflects it's job not it's
                breed heritage.

Definition # 2: A Drum Horse is a
breed of horse that began
                     to be developed as a
Breed in the United
                    States of America in the early 2000's.
                   Clydesdales, Shires, Freisians & Gypsy Cobs
                    are the four breeds that are allowed to be bred
                   together to produce a Drum Horse with a
                   MINIMUM of 7/8 of ANY combination of
                   those four breeds and must display pinto
                   coloring. To be registered as a Premium Drum
                   Horse- foals born on or after 1/1/2006
                   MUST contain a minimum of 1/8 Gypsy Cob to
                   be approved as Premium . All Drum Horses are
                   required to be a minimum height of 16 hands
                   high. They are a heavily feathered, quintessential
                   heavy riding horse with a calm disposition,
                   along with the agility, movement and
                   athleticism to excel in a variety of ridden and
                  driven disciplines.

             
These are two totally different "horses" that happen to have
the same name....one as a job description and one as a breed
name.                     
Let us deal with the history of the horse that has been
formally & traditionally called a "Drum Horse" throughout
history as a
JOB TITLE  first.

Archaeological evidence from excavations indicate that drums
of one kind or another have existed for around 30,000 years.
The marching or military drum as we know them today, were
brought to Europe by soldiers returning from The Crusades .
Drums were used in the military to strike fear into the hearts
of the enemy. The resolve of fellow soldiers would also be
strengthened ...for as long as the drums continued to sound,
the fighting soldiers knew that  the Colours or flags/banners
were still safe.  Drum beatings also became a means of loudly
confirming the order of the Commanding Officer's vocal
orders that would often times be drowned out in the mêlée
of battle.
>Please visit this link for
A Brief History of the Military Drum
leading to the Evolution of the Pipe Band Drumming.
     File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat  version:    
http://www.hpb.dk/artikler/gb/Young_and_Chatto-History_of_the_
military_drum.pdf.

Since prehistoric times horses have played prominent roles
in warfare. "Coupling them with military music has resulted
in a tradition of horse-mounted military bands that spread
throughout Europe and followed British, French, Portuguese
and Spanish colonization to Africa, Australia and North
and South America."  (as quoted from Mounted Musicians
February 2004 By Bruce P. Gleason, Ph.D) Please visit this
link to read the article on Mounted Musicians.
http://www.ngaus.org/ngmagazine/mountedmusicians0204.asp

Obviously the horses used in battle (mounted military) had to
be well trained, strong and dependable horses. Size seemed to
help to for what better an intimidation than to have beasts
over 1000 pounds charging in upon you. The horses used to
carry the drums however had to be of substantial size for
the kettle drums used were heavy ...usually made of  copper
or silver. The combined weight of the drums and rider
(Drummer)could easily exceed 300 pounds hence requiring
a horse of size and strength. This horse also required an even
calm temperament and willingness to maneuver with the
slightest of commands, which for the horse carrying the drums
meant being controlled by leg aides and cues rather than
actual use of the reins. The reins were attached to the stirrups
for the Drummer needed his hands to beat the drums.
Draft horses, draft type horses, Baroque horses, and basically
Any horse of stature, intelligence and a calm (unflappable)
nature were perfect candidates for use as the Drum horse.
Horses used to carry the Drums were usually over 16 hands
high.

(Click on a thumbnail to view a larger picture of the a "Drum
horse"to better see the reins attached to the stirrups. Then use
your back button to get back to this page. )












Please visit these links below to read about the "Drum Horse"
(the horse that caries the drums in the mounted infantry )
and the regiments that used them.





























"Traditional Drum Horses" throughout history have not been of
any one particular breed (although the draft and draft type
horses proved to be excellent for the job). The history of the
"Drum Horse"....named so because of it's Job...has been well
documented in both script and pictures. The later being easily
viewed as collectible post cards.   





(Please click on the thumbnail below to view a larger picture
and use your back button to get back to this page)   

The
Mounted
Band of the
Royal
Lifeguards
3rd Dragoon Guards
"The Rout of the White Hussars"
by Rudyard Kipling
As you can see in the many pictures of "Drum Horses"
above....they seem to be a variety of breeds and mixed
breeds. Some of the pictures denote certain breed
charatoristics...such as several of the gated breeds.
Others look like Belgian, Clydesdale, Shire, and crosses
of them. What we call Spotted Drafts here in America
and the Europeans call Colored horses also seem to be
used as a "Drum Horse". Once again this is a
Job Title
and nothing more.A "Drum Horse" was/ is a type of
horse....Not a Breed in this case.






            (^These horses display characteristics
               of Gaited Breeds)












(^These horses display characteristics of Belgians,
Clydesdales, Shires and crosses as well as Spotted
Drafts & Colored Horses.)
So the Traditional Drum Horse... or British Drum Horse
as they have been called, is NOT a
Breed of horse but
rather just the Job name for a horse that is used to carry
the Kettle Drums and a Drummer in the mounted infantry .
The horse can be ANY breed of horse as long as it fits the
criteria needed to perform it's job of being the horse that
carries the drums in the military band.
The horse that carries the drums needs to be a docile,
intelligent, willing horse that is of stature (usually no less
than 16hh) capable of carrying the weight of the drums
and a rider (drummer). Possessing an unflappable nature
is obviously a key element since there will be two drums
played loudly upon it's back.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Henry McGilchrist
the Kettle
Drummer of the
3rd Kings Own
Dragons 1774 –
1810

 Now...the "Drum Horse" as a BREED.

 The Drum Horse as a breed was in fact inspired by
 the recent use of the Job titled drum horses that were  
 heavily feathered, such as horses that were produced
 from Shires that were crossed with Dutch Warmbloods
used as mounted military drum horses in the Queen of
England's Regiments. The Shire crosses were usually
Pinto in coloring and flashy. High colored Clydesdales
are also used as a mounted military drum horse.
If I recall right....several of these high colored, flashy,
heavily feathered horses were given as gifts to the Queen.
In 1988 the Queen Mother presented the Queen's
Royal Hussars  with a new mascot, a grey Clydesdale
Drum Horse called Peninsula.
It is these horses that inspired the Gypsy Cob & Drum
Horse Association to establish
a breed called a Drum
Horse
honoring the name of the job that those heavy
feathered horses of inspiration perform.


The Drum Horse Breed Standards (as taken from the
GCDHA Breed Standards web page) is as follows:

PURPOSE OF THE BREED:

The purpose of the Drum Horse is to develop the
quintessential heavy riding horse utilizing the bloodlines of
the Gypsy Cob, Shire, Clydesdale and Friesian. The ideal
Drum Horse would display the calm disposition, profuse
feathering and pinto markings reminiscent of, and inspired
by, some recent working Drum Horses in use by HRM the
Queen of England's cavalry, along with the agility,
movement and athleticism to excel in a variety of ridden and
driven disciplines.

(NOTE: Many times people ask the GCDHA if they can
register a horse that is a non-feathered spotted draft. The
answer to that question is no; the horse must be a blend of
one or more of the above mentioned heavily feathered draft
breeds because feather is a recessive gene, and a mark of
the Drum Horse breed in America. The only way to preserve
the heavy feathering of the Drum Horse is to breed heavily
feathered horses to other heavily feathered horses. Breeding
a smooth legged horse to a feathered horse will result in a
smooth legged or lightly feathered horse, which would not
meet the Drum Horse registration requirements.)



DRUM HORSE STANDARD OF CONFORMATION

Size
Minimum 16hh and upwards. For regular registration
status, the smaller of the 2 parents must be at least 15hh.

General Appearance
The overall appearance of a Drum Horse should give the
impression of intelligence, kindness, strength and agility.
The Drum Horse is considered a heavy riding horse and
should display the athleticism to allow for a pleasant day of
hunting, hacking or other ridden discipline. The ideal Drum
Horse should also excel at driving. They should be a large
well-muscled horse of either medium weight or heavy
weight, with good quality bone, a sturdy body, kind
expression and abundant hair.

Disposition
The Drum Horse should be, above all else, a kind and
willing partner. It should display an intelligent character
and docile temperament with a calm and sensible attitude.


Hair
Mane and tail should be long and thick. Abundant feather
should start at the knees and hocks, preferably with some
hair running down the front of the leg as well as the back.
Feather should be soft and silky but may be straight or
curling, and should cover the hoof. Docking of tails is not
permissible*. Trimming of any mane, tail, or feather is
frowned upon, unless required in a discipline in which the
horse in question competes. A small bridle path is allowed,
as is the trimming of facial and belly hair if so desired.

(*Mature Horses registered with the GCDHA will be
grandfathered on the docking rule. Rule applies ONLY to
foals born after 2004.)

Color
Regular registered Drum Horses may have any base color
but must express an obviously pinto pattern which may
include sabino, overo, or tobiano markings (or combinations
thereof). Frame overos are allowed but discouraged. To
determine the minimum amount of white, for eligibility,
draw an imaginary line from elbow to stifle. The white must
be above this line (excluding the head) and be a minimum of
10 inches in length. If the white is in a long, narrow pattern,
the length must be at least 14 inches and the width a
minimum of 3 inches

Movement
When in motion, the ideal Drum Horse should move with
action, power, grace, and agility. Head carriage and
collection should appear natural, not overly exaggerated or
forced. Movement should be free, straight and square with
ample impulsion. Knee action should be somewhat snappy
but a long, free moving shoulder should allow the ability to
reach forward in a classic extension. The horse should move
up under itself with a smooth, powerful stride, should be
light on the forehand and exhibit 3 good gaits. The Drum
Horse's movement should be suitable for a variety of ridden
and driven disciplines.

Head
The head should be in proportion to the body, neither too
large nor too small, with broad forehead, generous jaw,
square muzzle and even bite. The ears should be cleanly
shaped and well set on. The eyes should be large and set
well apart with an intelligent, kind expression. Eyes can be
any color, and blue eyes shall not be penalized. Both convex
and straight profiles are acceptable. Stallions and geldings
should have a masculine appearance to the head, and mares
a feminine appearance.

Neck
The neck should be substantial and well muscled with a
defined arch. It should be clean through the throat, not too
short, and tie in well at the shoulder and withers. Stallions
may exhibit a masculine crest in proper relationship to the
size and thickness of neck.

Chest
The chest should be broad with ample muscle. The muscle
along the bottom of the chest should appear in an inverted
"V" shape as it ties into the forearm.

Shoulders
The shoulders should be deep, powerful and of a correct
slope to allow for ample, free movement.

Withers
Withers should be average in height, not too high, with a
generous layer of muscle.

Back
The back should be short and supple, well muscled and tie
in strongly at the loin.


Barrel
The barrel should be deep with well sprung ribs and a solid
covering of muscle. The flank should be as deep as the girth.
The loin should be strong and tie into the croup with a
smooth, well muscled appearance.

Hindquarters
Smooth and rounded across a long croup, with a medium to
high tail set, long hip with wide pelvis and well muscled
thighs and buttocks.

Feet & Legs
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.

CLASSIFICATIONS:

These rules and changes are effective 1/1/2005.

Regular*- Pedigree must contain a minimum of 7/8 Gypsy
Cob, Shire, Clydesdale or Friesian breeding (in any
combination). No full blooded Gypsy Cobs, Shires,
Clydesdales, or Friesians may be registered as Regular. The
horse must meet all of the physical requirements of the
breed as put forth in the Breed Standard, (and must be of
*pinto coloration). The smaller of the 2 parents must be a
minimum height of 15hh.

*If horse submitted for registration is a foal born on or after
1/1/2006, the foal's pedigree MUST contain a minimum of
1/8 Gypsy Cob to be approved for Regular registration.

Note: For registration in the Regular Category, horses must
be vet certified to stand a minimum of 16hh on or before
their 5th birthday. Any horse whose application for
registration is submitted without a Height Certification, or a
growing horse with a current certified height of less than
16hh, will receive temporary papers until such time that a
Height Certification form is submitted that certifies the horse
is at least 16hh. Any horse that will be bred before their 5th
birthday should submit Height Certification before breeding
for purposes of registering the foal in the proper category.

Breeding Stock (previously called Appendix) - Pedigree must
contain a minimum of 3/4 Gypsy Cob, Shire, Clydesdale, or
Friesian breeding (in any combination). (Full blooded
Shires, Clydesdales, or Friesians will be issued an
Identification Number rather than a registration certificate.)
The horse must meet the physical requirements of the breed
as put forth in the Breed Standard. The amount of feathering
on a Breeding Stock horse may be somewhat lighter than
that of a regular registered horse, but must be consistent
with a horse who is a minimum of 3/4 Gypsy Cob, Shire,
Clydesdale, or Friesian. Breeding Stock horses may be solid
in coloration, and/or may have been bred from one parent
who stands less than 15hh tall.

Note: For registration in the Breeding Stock Category,
horses must be vet certified to stand a minimum of 15hh on
or before their 5th birthday. Any horse whose application for
registration is submitted without a Height Certification, or a
growing horse with a current certified height of less than
15hh, will receive temporary papers until such time that a
Height Certification form is submitted that certifies the horse
is at least 15hh. Any horse that will be bred before their 5th
birthday should submit Height Certification before breeding
for purposes of registering the foal in the proper category.

Light Horse Crossbred*- Horses with one parent that is a
registered Drum Horse or Gypsy Cob, and one parent of any
light horse breed. (4 photos of light horse must be provided
with foal's application) May be of any coloration.

*Crossbred stallions are not eligible for registration, so colts
must be gelded prior to submitting an application for
registration.

Heavy Horse Crossbred**- Horses with one parent that is a
registered Drum Horse or Gypsy Cob, and one parent of any
non-feathered draft breed (ie, Percheron, Belgian, Spotted
Draft, American Cream Draft, or Suffolk). The non-Gypsy
Cob/Drum parent must be of obvious draft horse type (4
photos of draft horse must be provided with foal's
application) and may be of any coloration.

**Fillies/mares from this division are eligible for a
breeding-up program to produce foals that are 3/4 Drum
Horse and eligible for Breeding Stock registration, OR foals
that are 7/8 and eligible for Premium registration. Stallions
are not eligible for registration, so colts must be gelded prior
to submitting an application for registration.


REGISTRATION REQUIREMENTS:

Any horse seeking Drum Horse registration with the
GCDHA must either be:

*The offspring of two regular registered Drum Horses,

*The offspring of one regular registered Drum Horse and
one Breeding Stock registered Drum Horse,

*Or meet the breeding and physical requirements as
described below:

In order to register a stallion or mare as a regular Drum
Horse, the bloodlines must contain a MINIMUM of 7/8 of
ANY combination of the following breeds: Friesian,
Clydesdale, Shire, Drum Horse, and/or Gypsy Cob. Effective
Jan. 1, 2005, no full-blooded Shires, Clydesdales, Friesians
or Gypsy Cobs may be Premium registered as Drum
Horses. Foals born after Jan. 1, 2006 must be a minimum of
1/8 Gypsy Cob. The horse must display pinto coloration, and
physically meet the Drum Horse Breed Standard as
published.

In order to register a stallion or mare as a Breeding Stock
Drum Horse, the bloodlines must contain a MINIMUM of
3/4 of ANY combination of the following breeds: Friesian,
Clydesdale, Shire, Drum Horse, and/or Gypsy Cob, AND
the horse must also physically meet the Drum Horse Breed
Standard as published. Pinto coloration is not a requirement
for Breeding Stock registration. Breeding Stock horses must
be at least 15hh tall by their 5th birthday.

Note: Horses registered as Drum Horses may not be dual
registered as a Gypsy Cob/Vanner, either purebred or
part-bred. Such dual registration will be cause to cancel any
Drum Horse registration.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Queen's_Royal_Hussars
Bays Drum Horse 1904
KDG Drum Horse 1897
A Note About the Drum Horse
and Why the GCDHA Recognizes it as a Breed Type:

The Gypsy Cob and Drum Horse Association believes many
people will fall in love with the Gypsy Cob but prefer a
larger horse. This desire for a larger horse could,
essentially, jeopardize the future of the true Gypsy Cob, here
in North America. By endeavoring to develop a breed known
as the Drum Horse, we can celebrate the colorful history of
the horses that have performed this job and still provide a
larger Gypsy “type” horse while preserving the heritage and
future of the true traditional Gypsy Cob.
It is our intent that by using the name Drum Horse, there
will be a clearer distinction between the traditional horse
bred by the Romany people and the larger horse bred more
for utilization as a heavy riding horse. Our goal is to develop
the larger type horse as a breed while retaining the same
willing disposition and overall appearance of the Gypsy Cob.
The genetics of the true traditional horse can thus be
documented and protected while breeders of the larger
horse are provided an open, documented and honest
medium for promoting and marketing their horses.