In the Rolling Green Hills Just Outside Shelbyville, a Drum Horse Colt Frolics in the Peaceful Pastures of Clearview Horse Farm

by | Jun 2021

ACCORDING TO the nursery rhyme “Monday’s Child,” people born on a Tuesday grow up to be gracious, agreeable, refined, and polite in manner or behavior. It might apply to horses as well, or at least it does for Remington, the new Drum foal born on April 20 at Clearview Horse Farm. In the early hours of a Tuesday morning, in a pasture cushioned with soft Spring grass, the colorful colt quietly made his entrance into the world. Although Clearview Horse Farm owner Marie Lloyd Campbell had been waiting for this moment, it still came as somewhat of a surprise. “I woke up one morning, and there he was,” Marie says. She explains that many times, mares will give clear signs that they are ready to foal, but in this case, she was discrete, and the signs were subtle. However, once you learn about the characteristics of this breed, the details of the colt’s birth make perfect sense.

Remington is a special breed of horse known as the American Drum Horse, a breed known for its laid-back temperament. His mother is a Clydesdale mare named Dixie, and his father, a Drum stallion named Raddison. Historically, the Drum horses in England were bred to be war horses. They carried the drums in the Queen of England’s various regimental bands and processions. In addition to two silver or brass kettle drums, each weighing approximately 90 pounds, the stout horses carry a fully outfitted rider. The riders steer the horses with reins attached
to their feet, so their hands are free to play the drums. As you can guess, a Drum Horse must have an exceptional disposition and remain calm and quiet amidst the banging of the drums and hustling and bustling of huge crowds. They are still used by the Queen of England today.

IT’S IN THE GENES

A Drum horse is a cross between a Shire, a Clydesdale, and a Gypsy Vanner. “As a child, I always had Gypsy Vanner Horses,” Marie shares. “When I got older, I preferred that kind of breed. They’re sturdy, calm, and bomb-proof. They are also considered “cold-blooded” as opposed to “hotblooded” like a thoroughbred.” Gypsy Vanner horses originated in England and Ireland. They are built like a small draft horse and were used to pull gypsy wagons. When they are bred to a Clydesdale, they get more height. The result is a very docile breed with an easy gate. A typical Drum Horse stands approximately 16 hands or more with a long flowing mane and tail and a feathering of silky hair that begins over their fetlocks and covers their entire hooves. Drum horses are highly versatile athletes suitable for many disciplines, including Dressage, Hunter, English/Western Riding, Jumping, Eventing, Driving, Trail Riding, and Parades. “They’re always colored,” Marie adds. “In other words, they’re always black and white or brown and white.” Many horse breeders breed specifically for color, structure, or performance. However, for Marie, her breeding program is all about disposition. “I breed for temperament,” she says. To get a registered Drum horse, you have to have a registered Clydesdale mare, which brings us to Dixie, Remington’s mother. But before Dixie came into the picture, there was Raddison, Remington’s father, and before that, was the beginnings of Clearview Farm. So, let’s back up a few years to the condensed version of how it all started.

THE STORY OF CLEARVIEW HORSE FARM

In 2006, Marie, originally from Manchester, England, purchased a farm in Shelbyville
and set out on a mission to create a welcoming place for people, horses, and dogs. Starting with a small structure originally on the acreage, Marie developed the farm into a top-notch equine facility complete with a professional indoor show arena, a lighted outdoor arena, an extreme trail course, and two barns with 110 stalls. Fifty-two of the stalls were imported from England. Monarch, a company that builds similar stalls for the Queen of England’s Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace, crafted the Victorian-styled stalls. Adding her special English touch, Clearview Horse Farm became Marie’s home away from home, where today, she welcomes horse enthusiasts from all over the world.

As the farm began to take shape, Marie started looking for the perfect Drum Horse stallion. One day, while searching the internet, she came across a promising candidate. “By the time I got around to getting back with the sellers, he was sold,” Marie recounts. “I was really disappointed, but the lady who offered him for sale kept my number.” As fate would have it, the story wasn’t over yet. It turns out that the gentleman who had bought Raddison as a surprise Christmas present for his wife wanted to return his purchase. Even though they loved the horse, his wife did not want a stallion. “A month later, I got a phone call from the original owner saying the people who had bought Raddison felt he was too much of a nice horse to geld, and they had returned him to her. So, he was back up for sale.” At that point, Marie knew it was meant to be. “He’s just been an amazing horse. This past weekend, at the USDF (United States Dressage Federation) Show in Conyers, Georgia, Raddison won first place in Classical Dressage. We’re very excited about that.”

As Marie made plans to begin her own Drum Horse breeding program, Raddison was the obvious choice for a strong foundation. “I started thinking it would be great having a few of his babies because he is so good-minded, so quiet. He’s a perfect gentleman,” she comments. From there, she began the search for a quality Clydesdale mare. In Wisconsin, she discovered just what she was looking for in a mare that previously pulled in an eight-team hitch in big shows and competitions — Dixie was her name. Building a breeding program from the ground up takes time. “I’m still first- generation,” Marie says. “It took me three years to get Remington. The first couple of years, we tried artificial insemination (AI), but nothing stuck. So I decided I would just let Raddison work it out for himself. I put them out together in the field, and bingo, he got her in foal. He knew what to do. I just let nature take its course. It’s been an interesting and educational journey,” she adds. If all goes as planned, Raddison will have another Drum Horse foal on the ground next Spring, with Clydesdale mare Joselyn.

Due to their easygoing nature and versatility, Drum horses are becoming more and more popular. There are a few breeders in America who have been breeding Drum horses for generations, but for the most part, they are still a relatively unknown breed in the States. To see this special breed up close, take a drive on Highway 231 towards Fayetteville, and pull in the gravel driveway that leads to Clearview Horse Farm. See if you can spot Remington and Dixie out in the pasture. You might even catch Marie out working with the youngster. “He’s already learning about the basics. We are starting on the groundwork now, putting on a halter, leading him around. He is just so wonderful, laid-back, and confident. He makes it easy,” Marie says.

To keep Clearview Horse Farm running smoothly, it takes a lot of dedicated workers. “Ronnie Campbell, my husband, manages the farm, hay, etc., and I manage the barn, events, and guest rooms,” Marie shares. She also sings the praises of her loyal customers and the staff members, who all play essential roles in the Clearview Team.

To learn more about Clearview Horse Farm, visit the website at clearviewhorsefarm.com. -GN

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