Ridden Guidelines


  • Shows affiliated to the Clydesdale Horse Society should run their Clydesdale Classes in accordance with the society’s rules and regulations.
  • The judge(s), both ridden and conformation, wherever possible, should be selected from the Clydesdale Horse Society panel. In the event that it is not possible to select a ridden panel judge the society recommends that the Hunter, Working Hunter, Riding Horse or M&M ridden judge from the light horse section joins the in-hand judge for the judging of the ridden section of the class.
  • Horses should only be stripped and trotted up when there is a conformation and a ridden judge. Conformation and riding judging should take place simultaneously. In this situation the class should be judged using the Marks System, 50 marks are allocated for ride/manners and 50 for conformation / type. Where there is an equality of marks, the ride/manners marks take precedence over conformation.
  • Where there is a single judge, the ride/manners of the horse should take precedence over conformation, but conformation must be considered.
  • A judge must never judge any horse that is or has been owned, bred, produced, or exhibited by them.
  • If, in the opinion of the judge, a horse is unsound, the exhibitor shall be given the option of withdrawing the horse from the class or being placed at the bottom of the class.
  • The judge may require that a horse which constitutes a danger leaves the ring; the judge’s decision is final.

Dress code for riders

  • Turnout should be natural, traditional and smart, similar to that worn in a hunter or mountain moorland class.
  • It is recommended that riders of Clydesdale Horses wear tweed jackets, shirt and tie, cream or fawn breeches or jodhpurs. Plain long black or brown boots. (Juniors 16 and under may wear jodhpur boots.) Leather / string gloves.
  • Hair ribbons and bows kept to a minimum.
  • No ear rings, body studs or visible jewellery should be worn.
  • Must wear a hard hat - a skull cap or hat according to the current BSI or European Standard.
  • Whips/canes must not exceed an overall length of 76 cms (30 inches) and if they are misused, in the opinion of the judge, the rider may be sent out of the ring.
  • Spurs should not be worn.
  • Above all riders and their grooms must, at all times, present themselves in the show ring neatly and smartly dressed.

Horses Turnout/Showing

  • Black or Brown tack, clean and well fitting.
  • Plain bridle with cavesson noseband and plain browband with a snaffle or traditional double / pelham riding bit. No bitless bridles or Liverpool bits.
  • English saddle with plain leather or webbing girth.
  • Numnahs to be discreet. No bright colours.
  • All ridden horses should be four years old or over.
  • Shoeing should be of a traditional nature and indicative of the nature of its use. If bevel shoes are worn screw in studs must be fitted.
  • Tail plait and wool and flights optional but for Health & Safety reasons no standing wired flights.
  • A fall of horse or rider in any class will result in disqualification. The rider must not remount in the ring.
  • At shows where there is not a ride judge a stand / individual show will be required. Riders will be required to give a short individual show at walk, trot & canter or set show lasting approximately 2 minutes. Change of rein and lengthened strides in canter at the judge’s discretion. Rein back, (optional) and halt.
  • At all times the rider must be courteous to others within the ring, leaving plenty of space for other horses. Where necessary riders should circle to create more space.  The impression to aim for is good manners, smart, workmanlike, safe and comfortable.