Drumhorse Postcard c19031

This postcard and the accompanying photo on which it is based show a horse of palamino colouring indicating the usual practice of having a horse different from those ridden by the rank and file. There is a difference in the bridle and shabraque used on this horse with that in the older photos. This bridle is ornate, having three ornaments on the white browband and the same on the nose band. The centre of the crossed pieces has a large star badge similar to the officers helmet badge. The martingale straps are also ornamented. The shabraque is blue, edged with gold lace that has a thin edging of red. The device in the two corners is similar to the one on the officer's shabraque of 1888. I can find no reason why the shabraque was changed.

The drum banner is buff with the Bays badge embroidered and LUCKNOW on a scroll beneath. The crown on the banner is Victoria's crown while on the shabraque it is the Guelphic crown. The drummer's uniform is the dress tunic with pouchbelt and musicians' white aiguilettes. His helmet is the 1871 type which has been coloured all yellow but in fact the star and 2 of his badge should be silver.

In his article in the bulletin of the Military Historical Society Vol XIII, Feb 1963, R G Harris says that this bridle and shabraque were adopted shortly before the Boer War. Another photo in Regiment magazine dated c1912 shows the same horse furniture on a white drumhorse but with a different, updated, drum banner that includes the 1909 motto and 4 battle honours.

Photo of Drumhorse c1903

The photo on which the postcard is based comes from an album compiled by Percy Sumner. He wrote under the photo that it was taken before 1905. The bridle appears lighter in colour here than the black leather one in the postcard. There is no stirrup rein here which makes us wonder how the horse was controlled on the march. Earlier images show a stirrup rein used on the simpler bridle.

Regimental details | Musicians and Drumhorses


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by Stephen Luscombe