Where Drums Began.

As a Board Member (Vice President and Promotions) I had the Pleasure of writing this history.

Drum Horses were inspired after a “job” the horses performed. The Drum Horse is an integral member of the The late Queen of England’s Band of the Life Guards. These Drum Horse is required to carry two large solid silver kettle Drums and plus a fully outfitted rider. The queen’s processions travels through of crowds of thousands upon thousands of people. The Drum Horse’s extraordinary disposition.
is shown by the fact that ,the Drum Horse remain quiet in large crowds of people whilst being controlled entirely by reins attached to their rider’s styrrups.

There is a book called “All The Queen Horses.” Which states that the The late Queen Elizabeth used colored shire horses as her Drum Horses. When the Shire registry decided to not allow color Shires. The queen found other horses for her Procession. Rumor has it she then stumbled upon Galway Warrior.

Jeff Bartko states Galway Warrior’s original papers show his name was, “Beauty.” It also shows the owner as HRM the Queen (Her Royal Magesty the Queen). Galway Warrior’s Sire was Edingale Mascot (18.3 hands, winner of the National Shire Horse show on several occassions.) He was orginally purchased to work as a drumin the procession. He was trained and slated to be gelded. Obviously this did not happen. It is unknown whether he was used for breeding while living in Hampton Court Palace. 

Court Palace. In 1992 there was a fire at Winsor Castle which placed The Crown in financial Jepardy. A decree from parliament followed required the monoarchy to pay taxes as result of the financial hardship. The damaged costed the monarchy £36.5 million. Subsequently they decided to sell Beauty A.K.A Galway Warrior. He was sold to an English Women who showed him as a stud. Jeff Bartko of Black Forest Shire and Gypsy Horses. saw a magizine called Heavy Horse World and Beauty caught their eye while in the United Kingdom.

In 2002 Chew Mill Guiness, Son of Galway, arrived to the U.S.A and went directly out of quarentine to his new owner Zeigler’s of Old Mill Farms. Chew Mill Guinness was bred by John and Frances McCormick of Chew Mill Farm in England. Guinness was shown Saddleseat in the UK and in the U.S.A. Guinness appeared in many parades, events and shows. When wasn’t showing he was standing as a stallion.

Several months after Chew Mill Guiness was imported, Jeff Bartko Charted another plane to import Gyspy Vanners. Jeff had a full plane and decided to pull two vanners off the plane in order to bring Galway Warrior. Jeff gave him a barn name as “Warrior”. In 2003 Galway Warrior was the first Drum horse to be featured at Breyerfest. Galway Warrior is still one of the most influential Drum Horse stallions. He lived out his life with Jeff and his wife until he passed on July 2, 2009.

The ADHA started to try and direct the Drum Horse type toward a Drum Horse Breed. There was discussion on what breeds to include. The Founders believed that the Fresian was more of a baroqe horse and a very different build. They are not considered a heavy feathered breed. Since feather is a recessive gene, and thus would change the outcome of the breed’s physical attributes. This led to creating a more concrete direction for the Drum Horse breed.
Under the ADHA, a standard was born: The Drum Horse is a combination of any of the following breeds: Shire, Clydesdale, and Gypsy Horse, where no single breed listed above exceeds 75% (3/4) of the total make-up and the percentage of Gypsy Horse blood does not fall below 12.5% (1/8).


Thank you Jeff and Rhonda for all your input and what you did for the Drum Horse breed!





Where They are now.

According to the IDHA a Drum Horse is a combination of the Gypsy Horse and Shire and/ or Clydesdale, where the Gypsy Horse does not exceed 50% of the total make-up or fall below 6.25%. Horses with greater than 50% Gypsy or less than 6.25% Gypsy will be placed in the Foundation Drum Book.

The IDHA maintains three separate Stud Books:

Foundation Horse Book: A purebred (registered) Clydesdale, Shire, or Gypsy Horse or a cross of a (registered) Clydesdale and (registered) Shire.

Foundation Drum Horse Book: A horse that contains Clydesdale and/or Shire and where the Gypsy percentage is greater than 50% or less than 6.25%.

Drum Horse Book: A horse that contains Clydesdale and/or Shire with a minimum of 6.25% Gypsy, but not to exceed 50% Gypsy.


F1 Drum Horse: A horse that is Clydesdale and/or Shire and exactly 50% Gypsy
F2 Drum Horse: A horse that is Clydesdale and/or Shire and 25% to 49.99% Gypsy
F3 Drum Horse: A horse that is Clydesdale and/or Shire and 6.25% to 24.99% Gypsy.
Premium Drum: This horse can be an F1, F2, or F3 Drum Horse. It is a horse that by his/her 7th birthday is 16hh or greater and is height certified by a vet or an IDHA representative.


The purpose of the Drum Horse as a breed is to develop a new heavy horse breed that utilizes the best attributes of the Shire, Clydesdale, and Gypsy breeds, while focusing on breeding for athleticism, agility, and performance ability for all ridden disciplines.

The inspiration for the Drum Horse is the working horses still found carrying riders and heavy kettledrums in the Queen of England’s cavalry.