Here is a simple but comprehensive checklist of items you will need to know if considering buying a Clydesdale:
1. Ask to see the CCHS registration papers, and verify that is the horse you are looking at, and that the owners listed on the papers are the ones with whom you are speaking.
2. If there aren't any registration papers, and it is an adult horse, it is unlikely papers will be available, in which case you can consider it to be a draught horse, rather than a registered Clydesdale.
3. If it is a foal, born within the current season, it is possible that it may be registerable, providing that the breeder is a current member of the CCHS, that they own the mare it was out of, that she is registered, and that they either own the stallion which is the sire of the foal, or that they have a service certificate for the service which produced the foal.
4. The stallion, being the sire of the foal, MUST have a current Certificate of Inspection for Unsoundness. This form is requested from the society, and must be completed by a qualified veterinary surgeon as he/she inspects the stallion, and then it is returned to the society. This must be done prior to the stallion being used for breeding as a youngster, and again after five years of age.
5. The clydesdale you are considering buying must be branded. You should check these, and confirm that they match what is on the registration papers. In all states of Australia, the breeder's stud brand is placed on the nearside shoulder of the horse. In Qld, the numbers frequently go below that, but in other states the numbers go on the offside shoulder. In Qld, now, the offside shoulder is allowed for numbers, also. "The numbers" refer to something like 4 over 3 which would mean that horse was the fourth one born at that stud in the year 2003. It could also mean 1993, or 1983, but the visual difference between a foal, a ten-year-old, and a twenty-year-old is relatively easy to discern.
6. The numbers 1 over 6 will mean the first horse born in the 2006 foaling season, even if the horse was born in February 2007, it is still considered to be the 2006 season. Each breeding season starts on the 1st of August ("The horse's birthday"), and ends on the 31st July the following year. Although it may sound ridiculous, a foal born on the 16th July in 2005, is technically (on paper), one year old on the 1st of August 2005, even though in reality is would be just two weeks old. That is what happens as the new breeding season begins.
7. If the horse is older than a foal, and the papers have not been completed, then the processing of them will most likely be significantly delayed, and various criteria must be met to prove to the society that there is nothing fraudulent involved with the late paperwork.
8. If the horse does have papers, or is a foal yet to be registered, but which can be registered, then the current owner or breeder will need to complete the papers, identifying you as the new owner/purchaser, and it is the SELLER'S responsibility to lodge these papers with the CCHS, as well as to pay the relevant ownership transfer fees. Some vendors have made a habit of just giving the papers to the new owner/buyer, and telling them they have to send them off for processing, and pay the fee. This is not right.
9. You, as a new owner, will receive the new papers, registered in your name, shortly after then have been processed. When the new stud book is printed, (currently triennially) the transfer to you will have been recorded in it also.
10. Check and confirm the brand and the dual numbers on the horse with those on the paperwork. In Qld, branding is a legal requirement of the DPI, as well as being a requirement of the CCHS.
11. It is a good idea to worm the horse as soon as possible after getting it, and arrange for a hoof trim, and give it some leading practice, and maybe a wash, and tie-up, so you can see how it reacts and behaves, and so you will be less-likely to get a surprise when you are in a rush to get something done at the last minute before your first show.
12. It would be useful to learn to and practise plaiting the tail, and then the mane, at a time when you are not under any time constraints. There are useful instructions in the book "The Clydesdale Horse, A Resource Book" published by the NSW Branch of the CCHS a few years ago, and available from us for $33.50 including postage. Frequently, members of the CCHS will help you learn to plait as well- just ask!
13. Many local agricultural shows in Qld have classes for heavy horses. Some have only led-in classes, while others have working classes also. Some will specify that the classes are specifically for CCHS registered Clydesdales, others will state just Clydesdales, others will state Heavy Horses, in which case mixed breeds can compete together-Clydesdales, Percherons and unregistered heavy horses. Generally speaking, any horse may go in harness or working classes, but the led-in classes are more specific to the individual breed. If in doubt, ask the secretary of the show society, and read the catalogue.
14. Most shows have an "enter on the day" system, but some don't. The shows which require pre-entries are
the "Foal Show" (CCHS Qld Branch Junior Championships) on the first weekend of June or last
the Queensland Royal Show (the Ekka) which is on the second week of August, but entries close in late May,
the Toowoomba Royal Show, held close to Easter, but entries close in early February,
the “Clydesdale & heavy horse field days” (Clydesdale & Heavy Horse Field days Association) on the first weekend of May, where entries close on 1st March,
and the Working Draught Horse Expo at Jondaryan, on the Queen's Birthday long weekend in June, where entries close on the second Friday in May.