Rules and guidelines 2017


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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) andhalt.
  • 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.

The Clydesdale Horse Society fully endorses the following Guidelines on Ring Etiquette issued by the British Driving Society (BDS). Guidance for judges should be regarded as adhered to as appropriate and in keeping with policies on Judging issued by the Clydesdale Horse Society.


As directed by the BDS Judges Committee (Updated April 2019)

a) These guidelines have three important objectives.
i) To give guidance and recommendations to all Judges, especially to Trainee Judges and those intheir first few years as a judge. These should be read in conjunction with the Rules for theOsborne Refrigerators BDS National Championship Qualifiers and Horse of the Year ShowQualifiers etc. in the BDS Yearbook/HOYS Show Rules. It is not intended to be a comprehensiveguide but to assist in the smooth running of Driving Classes.
ii) To provide a reference for those who will have had long experience in the showing world, butwho might like to refresh their memories on various points.
iii) To provide some guidance as to what should be expected of an exhibitor/owner - just asimportant for the smooth running of the class which is effectively a partnership between the
competitor, judge and show.

a) Judges should judge the class as seen on the day with an open mind, and whilst as individuals willhave personal preferences should all have similar values as to standard of turnout. No considerationshould be given to previous performances.
b) Judges must familiarise themselves with the show schedule and be fully conversant with the rules fortheir classes and any qualifiers to be awarded. The schedule is the contract between the competitor
and the show, and so is the document which specifies the rules by which the class is to be judged.The only exception to this is where a show has formally notified all competitors of any rule change.
c) Judges should be polite, diplomatic and convey a pleasant disposition towards competitors withoutengaging in a personal conversation and should not make detrimental remarks about any turnout. IfJudges are approached by an exhibitor after judging and asked for a reason for the placing of aparticular turnout, this should be given. The reason is 'in the opinion' of the judge as that is what itis. Any criticism should be constructive aiming to help the competitor. Heated discussions are nonproductive and should be avoided.
d) Judges must not accept any outside influence in particular from a steward or competitor.
e) When officiating, judges should avoid talking to people at the ringside at any time, either immediately
before, during, or between classes and at no time must they enter the collecting ring area andconverse with competitors.
f) Judges should not consult a catalogue/programme until the completion of the day's judging.However a copy of the schedule of classes should be on hand as these state the terms of judging. (Ifthe schedule is a bulky one, tear out the pages with the relevant classes).
g) Judges MUST NOT enquire as to the breeding of any animal, but it is acceptable to ask its age.
h) Judges SHOULD NOT judge an animal with which they have had previous connections as an owner,breeder, trainer, producer or exhibitor. Judges SHOULD NOT accept entry into their classes of aturnout exhibited by someone with a family or business association. It is ultimately the competitor'sresponsibility as they will have seen the name of the Judge in the schedule. If for some unforeseenreason there has been a change of Judge, and when there has been no time to notify entrants before
the day, thereby causing this problem to arise, it is still the competitor's responsibility to withdraw.
i) It is recommended that a Judge does not accept judging appointments at more than one or two showsin the same locality in any one year or at the same show in consecutive years.
j) Once a judging appointment is accepted, every effort should be made to fulfill that engagement as oncethe schedule is printed the show should notify every competitor of a change of judge. In the event that
it is necessary to withdraw, a judge should immediately notify the show whose responsibility it is to finda replacement.
k) Qualifiers Paperwork - it is the responsibility of the judge to ensure that qualification paperwork iscompleted legibly and returned as requested. Failure to do so will penalise the qualified competitor
as they will be unable to compete at the finals when qualification cannot be confirmed.
l) SOCIAL MEDIA: A judge must not express his/her views on specific animals/exhibitors/judges or theirjudgement via any form of social media via the internet. The BDS Social Media Policy applicable to
all Members is appended to this document.
m) To summarise, judging is not merely a question of equine knowledge and experience, but alsodiplomacy, dignity & common sense!

a) Stewards are appointed by the show to manage the ring on its behalf. Judges judge the class. Judgesshould advise stewards what to instruct the competitors e.g. change the rein, line-up etc.
b) Stewards should advise the judge on the time available for judging, any other show instructions andthe judge should comply with this advice.
c) Many stewards are voluntary, some do not have much driving knowledge, but without them the showcould not run so their efforts should be respected by both judges and competitors.

a) Whether driving equines is for pleasure or business, exhibitors should act in a manner which isacceptable to judges, stewards, the show at which they are competing, fellow competitors andspectators. This applies at all times in and out of the ring.
b) To ensure the smooth running of the class and to make it a pleasurable experience for all thoseinvolved (competitor, judges, stewards, spectators):-
i) Make sure you arrive at the ring in plenty of time for the class.
ii) Listen to the instructions from the steward. Do not leave the ring until instructed to do so. In theevent that you wish to leave the ring, first ask the steward for permission to do so. A Judge hasthe right to ask a competitor to leave the ring and will give an explanation as to why.
iii) Do not attempt to influence the Judge/Steward by offering any information regarding your ownor others turnout.
iv) Respect fellow drivers e.g. when being asked to execute the changes of pace. Overtaking shouldbe avoided if possible or performed with care. Space can be found by circling and making full useof the ring.
v) Even if you do not agree with the judge's decision, the show ring is not the place to show dissent.The judge will be pleased to briefly explain the reasons for their decision after the class.
c) Exhibitors/Owners are responsible for the welfare of their equines whilst at the show.
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Judging Guidelines Final CLv4b-15/4/19 Page 3 of 3
d) A reminder - Excessive speed will be penalised by the judges.
e) Remember to carry any paperwork that may be required e.g. Osborne Refrigerators qualifiers cards.
This will help the smooth running of the results and show.
f) All exhibitors should behave in a sportsmanlike manner which will ensure the enjoyment of allconcerned.
a) It is the responsibility of the exhibitor/owner to ensure that his equine is fit for the class in which it isto be competing.
b) It is suggested schooling aids e.g. draw reins are not used on the showground and definitely not in thering.
c) Rein attachments Only single reins for a single turnout excluding where double reins are used to aid
the driver e.g. a disabled or young driver. Artificial aids of any type are not acceptable. Tongue tiesare not permitted in the show ring.
d) Judges should take the weather/ground etc. conditions into account when asking competitors toexecute any manoeuvres.
e) In addition to general welfare, Judges should also consider the welfare aspects of turnouts that maybe:
i) Over bitted.
ii) III-fitting harness or carriage that may cause rubs or sores.
iii) Asked to pull excessive weight ratio.
iv) Fit to do the job (may include show drives).
v) Excessive use of the whip.
vi) Condition and weight of shoes.
vii) Lame, or in a condition unsuitable for competition. Judges have the right to ask exhibits to leavethe ring in extreme cases but are advised to consult the show organiser/chief steward/or vet if atall possible. (This should be done via the ring steward). A vet is the only official who can formally determine a lame equine in the event of a query/dispute.
f) Irregular rhythm should be penalised in judges' result placings.

a) An objection by a competitor relating to a class should be made in accordance with the rules stated inthe relevant show's schedule.
b) A serious complaint about/from a BDS member/BDS Judge MUST be made in writing and sent to theBDS Office. The BDS will investigate in accordance with the Society's regulations.Let BDS members stand for the best in sportsmanship as well as in horsemanship.Let us compete for the enjoyment of driving and take winning or losing in our stride.We hope these guidelines will assist Judges & Owners/Exhibitorsto have many happy and enjoyable driving seasons.