Queen's Drum Horses Inspire New Breed
Historically, the term “Drum Horse” was given to large horses (17 hands or taller) that carried two kettledrums during ceremonies for the Queen of England. Inspired by the beauty of those heavily feathered military horses, 21st century horse breeders have created a new breed of Drum Horse that’s on its way to become an official breed.
  Specific long-term breeding is required, says Rebecca McKeever, secretary of the International Drum Horse Association. Shire or Clydesdales are bred with a Gypsy horse, and then bred to other Drum horses. The more than 300 Drum horses in the IDHA registry must be between 12 1/2 and 50 percent Drum. They must be at least 16 hands and feathered, which refers to the long hair that hangs from the horse’s cannon bone and covers the hoof. Drum horses also have very full manes and tails. And, of course, they are strong enough to carry more than 300 lbs. of drums and rider.
  Colorful horses are the most desired. Bay and white or black and white spotted are traditional, but other brightly colored horses, such as silver dapple or palomino are also sought after. But all colors are accepted as Drum horses – solid or spotted.
  “They are so amenable. They learn easily and move easily,” McKeever says. “We want a riding draft horse.”
  U.S. Drum Horse owners compete with their horses in dressage and jumping. They use them to pull carts. And some owners, such as McKeever, train them to wear drums. By going through special training, they get used to noises and strange objects.
  IDHA members are located all over the U.S. in hot and cold climates – Drum Horses require the same care as Clydesdales. McKeever lives in Texas and uses fans to keep her horses cool during hot weather.
  Because they are feathered, Drum horses require extra grooming.
  “In Texas we are on sand, so we keep the feather oiled so hair doesn’t break off,” she notes. Wood shavings are used for bedding.
Because there are so few of them, registered Drum horses sell for an average of $5,000 to $10,000.
  McKeever invites people interested in the breed to contact her and to check out the IDHA website, which includes information about upcoming feathered horse events in the U.S.
  Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Rebecca McKeever, International Drum Horse Association, 33822 Bluff Dr., Coarsegold, Calif. 93614 (ph 559 676-7990; admin@DrumHorseAssociation.com; www.drumhorseassociation.com).

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2013 - Volume #37, Issue #3