Drum Horse Breeds: The Most Majestic Creatures You’ve Never Heard Of

Drum Horse Breeds: If you’ve ever had the opportunity to witness the Queen’s Household Cavalry in action, chances are you’ve observed the Drum Horse in the spotlight.

This majestic breed is known for its strength, power, and friendly demeanor, which are essential for its exceptional performances during the Queen’s processions. Nowadays, these impressive qualities have made the Drum Horse a favored selection for riders worldwide.

Breed Overview

WEIGHT: 2,000 pounds

HEIGHT: 16 hands and up

BODY TYPE: Stocky, heavy draft

BEST FOR: Parades, riding

LIFE EXPECTANCY: 25 to 30 years

Drum Horse History and Origins

The Drum Horse breed derives its name from the traditional task it performs. Historically, these horses carried a rider along with kettledrums during the Queen of England’s Band of the Life Guard processions. These majestic horses would parade through crowded streets, making an impressive sight.

What made these horses even more remarkable was that the rider had to play the drums while steering them. Uniquely, the reins were attached to the rider’s feet for control. To meet the demands of this role, Drum Horses had to be exceptionally tall and strong to bear the weight of the drums throughout lengthy processions.

Moreover, they needed to possess a sensible, calm, and good-natured temperament to willingly respond to the unconventional rein steering method. To achieve this combination of traits, breeders typically crossed Clydesdale, Gypsy Cob, and Shire breeds. This careful breeding resulted in large, docile, and good-tempered horses that left a lasting impression during the processions.

In modern times, the Drum Horse continues to be recognized and preserved by both the International Drum Horse Association and the Gypsy Cob and Drum Horse Association, which serve as breed registries.

Drum Horse Breeds

Drum Horse Size

This robust draft breed measures at least 16 hands in height. Due to their requirement to carry drums weighing 300 pounds and more, they possess a sturdy and commanding physique, often reaching weights of up to 2,000 pounds.

Breeding and Uses

The Drum Horse serves both traditional roles in processions and parades, and it remains a favored riding horse. They continue to be bred in both the UK and America.

Distinctive Qualities of the Drum Horse

The Drum Horse is notably recognized for its exceptional temperament, which is highly sought after. These equines possess a remarkable sense of serenity, making them at ease even in large gatherings. Their amiable nature makes them effortlessly manageable by riders amidst crowded situations.

Moreover, Drum Horses exhibit remarkable tolerance towards the loud drumming sounds emanating from their backs and surroundings. These qualities combine to create a cooperative and amiable horse, making them a pleasure to work with.

Feeding and Nutrition

Drum Horses generally exhibit an easy-to-maintain physique and thrive when offered quality forage and supplemented with a concentrate feed to address any nutritional deficiencies. Due to their tendency to gain weight easily, owners may need to regulate their access to lush pastures to prevent issues such as obesity and founder.

Common Health and Behavioral Concerns

The Drum Horse is renowned for its overall robust health and lacks any breed-specific ailments. This well-mannered breed is generally compliant, making them easy to train and collaborate with.


Drum Horses will benefit greatly from regular and thorough grooming, but this can be challenging due to their large size. To access the horse’s back and mane, owners may need to use stools.

Like many draft breeds, Drum Horses require extra grooming care because of their long manes and thick feathering. Some owners opt to braid the manes to keep them neater and more manageable.

Heavy feathering can also be braided. Owners must be diligent in cleaning the feathering and ensuring it dries properly after exposure to rain or mud. Neglecting proper grooming can lead to issues like scratches.

Drum Horse Breeds

Champion and Celebrity Drum Horses

Any Drum Horse performing in the Queen’s Cavalry gains celebrity status, representing centuries of tradition and discipline upheld by the Royal Family.

Is the Drum Horse Suitable for You?

With its size, the Drum Horse proves ideal for larger riders who require a bigger breed. Its temperament also makes it easy to handle, making the Drum Horse a great companion for most intermediate and advanced riders.

How to Adopt or Purchase a Drum Horse

While Drum Horses are relatively rare in the United States, they can still be found for sale occasionally. Be prepared to spend $10,000 and above for one of these horses. When making a purchase, it’s advisable to have a vet conduct a pre-purchase examination to ensure the horse’s health and identify any potential issues that might affect its usability.


The Drum Horse is a majestic breed with a long and distinguished history. These horses are known for their strength, power, and friendly demeanor. They are also highly trainable and make excellent riding horses. If you are looking for a large and gentle horse, the Drum Horse may be the perfect breed for you.


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