What are Drum Horses?

Drum horses are a very rare type of riding draft horse, which are used for ceremonial duties in many countries but, most famously, in Great Britain:

Drum horses are traditionally part of the Trooping the Colour ceremony on Horseguard’s Parade in London. This parade occurs every year on the second Saturday in June to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth’s Official Birthday.

A large contingent of British troops take part in the ceremony in formal dress uniform and each year the Queen rides past the soldiers to inspect them. Her Majesty has performed this official duty every year since she became Queen (except for 1955, when the parade was cancelled due to a national railway strike). Until 1986, she performed this duty on horseback, but now takes part in a horse drawn coach.

During the ceremony, military music is played by the Massed Bands and Corps of Drums of the Household Division. Some musicians play on horseback, and this includes the mounted cavalry drummers of the    Band of the Blues and Royals   and the Life Guards Band The cavalry drummers must control their horses on parade using their feet!

Drum horses stand out in these parades, as they are typically pinto draft horse breeds with heavy ‘feather’ (hair) on their legs. As well as having to be supremely calm and well-behaved under stressful and noisy parade conditions, these horses must be comfortable and well-trained to ride and able to carry the rider and two large, ornate kettle drums on either side of the saddle. This can easily lead to a weight of over 400 lbs per horse.

Up until the 1990’s, the Queen herself had a royal Drum horse breeding program. Probably the most famous of her Drum horse stallions was the fabulous Galway Warrior who was imported and resided in USA with Black Forest Shires & Gypsy Horses until his passing at the incredible age of 26. Our very own Drum horse colt, Imperial Samson, is a son of Galway Warrior, and we hope he will mature to be a fine example of the Drum horse type.

Galway Warrior (courtesy of BFSGH)

Galway Warrior is a son of the legendary 18.2 hh, 2300 lb black Shire stallion Edingale Mascot. Mascot was a highly influential champion Shire stallion and was brought to the USA in 1984 by Fox Valley Shires.  Mascot is one of the premier foundation sires of many Shire horses bred in the USA today.

Typically, Drum horses are bred from the large, feathered draft breeds: the Shire and Clydesdale. Given the duties these horses had to perform, retaining the size and substance of these two draft breeds is essential. In addition, quality of movement and responsiveness under saddle is also key. A top resource on drum horse history is the Household Cavalry Info site.



Imperial Drafts and Drum Horses
986 G Avenue
Alta Vista, Kansas 66834

Telephone: 402-419 6059
Email: carocbr@cyberhorses.com

Site by CR Equine Sites.
Content maintained/updated by Imperial Drafts and Drum Horses.

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