Clydesdales as Riding horses? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 06-16-2019, 10:57 AM Thread Starter
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Clydesdales as Riding horses?

Hello, I'm new to this forum and would like to ask about owning a clydesdale.

I have around 13 years of riding experience and have ridden clydesdales on Hacks many times.

I'm 18 years old and looking to purchase my first horse. Obviously I've worked on a yard and have plenty of experience in horse care.

I would just like to know if Clydesdales are a good breed of horse to own and compete on? What would my limits be while taking part in a ridden competition? I enjoy cross country so would that still be an option?

I'm Scottish, live I'm Scotland and I've always felt some kind of spiritual connection to these gentle giants.

I wouldn't be a super serious competitor and so this horse would also be my companion and trail rider.

I'd love to hear what you can tell me about them.
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post #2 of 7 Old 06-16-2019, 11:17 AM
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Some shows in the UK have Clydesdale classes. Clydesdales are known more for their strength than their jumping, so cross country could be a problem. It could all depend on the horse, though - you might get lucky and find a fantastic jumper.

I have heard that while they are sweet, they can also be lazy. They have less speed and drive than a lighter breed built for running and jumping.
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post #3 of 7 Old 06-16-2019, 11:22 AM
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Clyds would limit you if you want to do something like Cross country. They generally don't have the stamina or agility to handle the questions on a cross country course.


You do see TBxDraft crosses being more successful at lower levels, so you can look in that direction.
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post #4 of 7 Old 06-16-2019, 11:56 AM
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Agree with ApuetsoT. A Clyde/TB cross would have some of the characteristics you like, but would likely be much more agile for cross country. A lot of those crosses make nice, athletic mounts.
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post #5 of 7 Old 06-16-2019, 02:24 PM
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Clydesdales can do most things any other horse can do but if you want a horse to do cross country then I would personally look for something that’s bred to do the job easily.
I have a Clyde cross that looks like a mini Clyde other than she’s shorter in the leg, she’ll give jumping her best but she has to try a whole lot harder to achieve less than a more purpose bred horse.
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post #6 of 7 Old 06-16-2019, 02:36 PM
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Agree with what's been said. While they aren't a riding horse that doesn't mean they can't be ridden, however you will be limited. I'd be careful with a cross, unfortunately even the best bred ones are a flip of a coin since draft horses are built so differently then other horses, that said there are some nice ones and if your main goal is a companion and trail horse then it's not that big a deal. Since you have experience I would try to find some that you can work with first hand to get a better idea of the breed.
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post #7 of 7 Old 06-16-2019, 03:12 PM
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I used to ride a Clydesdale when my own one was lame. He had no problem keeping up with the other horses as long as it was at a basic level. He regularly hacked out with Highlands and Warmbloods and was used by another girl as a lesson horse.

Originally, he was part of a driving pair but when one was sold on he was at a loose end and riding him seemed to be the best option, given that he was pretty sensible. He was at his best as a hack though, his attempts at jumping was limited to very small logs and he struggled with dressage, even though he took part in a competition at a local show. Their size and conformation makes it very difficult for them; remember they've been bred to plough, to fit into the furrows and work in harness.

The one thing that stayed with me was that his paces were very different to ride. His trot was huge and almost flung me up, while his canter was like a rocking horse, more up than forward. They were very tiring to ride. Plus, if i'd to dismount I'd never have got back on given his height and if he decide to spook or run i'd wouldn't have a hope of stopping him. Schooling was very important to keep him listening at all times.

I'd suggest that you have a go before you buy but even better would be looking for a Clydesdale cross. A friend had one. He'd all the looks and height, just with a lighter build. He often went hunting and cross country.

Good luck
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Last edited by Caledonian; 06-16-2019 at 03:28 PM.
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