Breeding Guidelines

IDHA Breeding Guidelines

When is a breed an actual breed and not a type? I would hazard to say, when we have successfully bred our type to type and get our standard consistently. That might be a bit simple, but the truth in essence. Lately, we have fielded many questions from new owners, long time breeders and the general public: Just how do you properly breed a Drum horse? I can tell you what Drum horses aren’t. Drums are not a large Gypsy. They are also not simply a ‘cross’. Creating a new breed doesn’t happen overnight or within one generation. It can take years and several generations to achieve the desired horse that meets a set standard. We, as Drum breeders, are at the beginning of our breed journey.

In the world of science, we talk about generations and label them F1, F2 and F3. So, let’s develop an idea around these F generations. In breeding, an F1 is the first cross (the first generation).  The F2 would be the cross of two F1 offspring and F3 would be the cross of two F2's. Since we are not dealing with an established breed, this way of breeding will not help us produce a horse that will ever meet our standard. Instead producing lots of short Drums with more Gypsy characteristics than the Drum horse we are endeavouring to breed. To continue on breeding as mentioned above, the horses produced would all technically be 50% Gypsy. We need to breed back to our Clydesdale’s, Shires and any Foundation Drums we produce that have minimal gypsy in them.

One idea that the ‘ADHA’ kicked around was that a foal from a Drum to Drum breeding would not have to worry about the Gypsy %. Breed a Drum to a Drum and you get a Drum. Now, whilst that would be correct if we were dealing with an established breed, it will not work when trying to create a new breed.

Remember, we are at the beginning of our Drum breeding and need to work out the best formula for taking the best qualities from our three foundation breeds and develop these into a completely new breed - The Drum Horse!

The following scenario would be based on the original idea of the ADHA, to "not to worry about the Gypsy % if you are breeding a Drum to a Drum"

  • 15hh Cob stallion x 17hh clyde mare - produce an F1 Drum filly (Maisy) that is  16hh (50% gypsy, 50% Clyde)
  • 14.2hh cob stallion x  17.1 hh shire mare - produce an F1 Drum colt (Sam) that is 15.3hh (50% Gypsy, 50% Shire)

So far, so good.  Now, let’s cross

  • Maisy and Sam and we get:    15.3hh F2 Drum filly (Sophia) (50% Gypsy, 25% Shire, 25% Clydesdale)
  • We've found a good F2 stud colt for Sophia, Frank:  16.1hh F2 Drum colt (50% Gypsy, 50% Clydesdale. Frank is a second generation Drum, coming from two F1 parents who were both 50% Gypsy and 50% Clydesdale.)

Their off spring is a filly named "Lettie" - a 16hh filly with the following %:  50% Gypsy, 37.5% Clydesdale, 12.5% Shire. And although an F3 generation has been accomplished, the resultant F3 foal will look much a Drum with 50% Gypsy – there would be no difference from and F1 to an F3 generation. Not all of these horses will make standard.

So here is another idea: Base the F generations on the % of Gypsy. An F1 has 50% Gypsy, an F2 has 25% - 49% Gypsy and an F3 has less than 25% Gypsy

Henry - F1 Drum Stallion (50% Gypsy, 50% Clydesdale) Ana - F1 Drum Mare (50% Gypsy, 50% Shire) Teddy - F2 Drum Stallion (25% Gypsy, 75% Clydesdale) Trina - F3  Drum Mare  (12.5% Gypsy, 50% Clydesdale, 37.5% Shire) Keeper - F2 Drum Stallion (31.25% Gypsy, 50% Clydesdale, 18.75% Shire) Chloe - F2 Drum Mare (37.5% Gypsy, 62.5% Shire) Shire Clydesdale

Okay, let’s have some fun!

  • Ana x Shire: Gives us an F2 foal (25% Gypsy, 75% Shire)
  • Henry x Clydesdale:  gives us an F2 colt named Teddy (25% Gypsy, 75% Clydesdale)
  • Teddy x Shire:  Gives us an F3 foal (12.5% Gypsy, 37.5% Clydesdale, 50% Shire)
  • Henry x Trina – Gives us an F2 colt named Keeper (31.25% Gypsy, 50% Clydesdale, 18.75% Shire)
  • Keeper x Clydesdale:  Gives us an F3 foal (15.625% Gypsy, 75% Clydesdale, 9.375% Shire)
  • Keeper x Chloe:  Gives us an F2 Foal (34.375% Gypsy, 25% Clyde, 40.625% Shire)  An F2 cross because of the Gypsy.

For breeders that want to continue breeding towards type and standard, this is the way of getting to that F3.  This does not diminish the F1 Drums that have been bred so far. We need all the F1 Drums and many more to give us a large gene pool from which we can build on, as they are the Foundation for the entire Drum as a breed.  So keep breeding them!

At some point, we need to look for the prize – the horse that can consistently produce a foal that will meet the standard - one that breeds the characteristics of a good Drum horse true every time.  There are F1 Drums out there that can rival an F2 and let’s be honest, not everyone wants a 17hh horse!  The F2’s fall into a nice 16hh range.  Do we know this for sure?  No, but we have to start somewhere.  Right now we are breeding a type that is considered a cross.  Let’s work towards breeding a breed!  This can take 10, 20, 30 years or more.   But we have to make the leap from type to breed.

The IDHA will continue, with your help, to move the Drum towards breed status.  We are more than happy to answer any questions you may have on the breeding guidelines and we welcome a discussion.