In a Nutshell


Cowboy Dressage® World South Africa (CDWSA) is the South African Affiliate of CDW and has been mandated to overseeing CDWSA.

Tests offered as per CDW
Cowboy Dressage® Partnership on the Ground (In-hand)
Cowboy Dressage® Walk/Walk Tests
Cowboy Dressage® Challenge Tests
Cowboy Dressage® Normal Tests
Cowboy Dressage® Freestyle Tests
Cowboy Dressage® Liberty Tests

Tests offered and in testing is the SA CD Utility test based on the CDW Challenge Test.

All Show Rules and Regulations are published below. Please make sure that you have read and understand them.  Certain dispensations have been granted to CDWSA, therefore this document to be read together with the Cowboy Dressage® World General Rules and Regulations.

Special allowance for English tack in the AMATEUR classes has been made in Cowboy Dressage® World South Africa. Please see attire and tack rules in addition.


  • Soft feel/light contact is the guiding principle of Cowboy Dressage® World South Africa.
  • It is a wordless, intimate communication within the partnership between horse and rider/handler.
  • Soft feel/light contact is not only sending message but having the sensitivity and awareness to feel the message the horse sends back.
  • The timing and use of the release, relaxation, preparation and execution are the basic fundamentals of soft feel.
  • Soft feel/light contact does not mean throwing or pitching the reins away and allowing the horse to carry himself on the forehand.
  • Soft feel/light contact is achieved when the seat, hands and aids are used correctly.
  • Soft feel/light contact is the end results of all aids in proper use, balance, rhythm and partnership.
  • Since soft feel/light contact is the mission of Cowboy Dressage® World South Africa, it will be scored with emphasis on lightness, harmony, finesse and partnership as a priority.
  • Balance, cadence, carriage, control and performance are additional areas the horse and his rider/handler will be judges and scored on.
  • Soft feel/light contact will be the TIE BREAKER in ALL Cowboy Dressage® World South Africa classes. If there is still a tie, the Partnership score will be used as Tie Breaker. 

The following attire (clothing) will be applicable to all Cowboy Dressage® World South Africa classes:

  • Long or short sleeved western style shirt with any type collar. Shirts to be tucked in.
  • Western type attire (shirts & jeans) compulsory in OPEN classes. If riding in English tack, it is strongly suggested that western shirts be worn with jodhpurs.
  • Necktie, kerchief, bolo tie or pin (At show committee discretion: in very hot weather the kerchief or scarf may excluded).
  • Black, navy or cream or white jodhpurs OR black or navy jeans (jeans preferred).  
  • Long or short riding boots with jodhpurs or western boots with jeans.
  • Riding skirts will be allowed with western boots.
  • Gaiters, chinks or chaps optional.
  • Gloves optional.
  • Waistcoat, show jacket or school jersey or tracksuit top in cold weather.
  • No hoodies.
  • Approved Safety Riding Helmets are mandatory for all riders under 18 while riding on the show grounds. Adults above 18 may choose to ride in Stetsons, at their own risk.  CDWSA strongly suggests protective head gear.
  • Stetsons may be worn with for in-hand classes & prize giving.

The following tack regulations will be applicable to all Cowboy Dressage® World South Africa classes:

  • No flash, drop or crank nosebands allowed, only cavessons with 2 finger space between the flat leather or chain curb strap and jaw of horse.
  • No Martingales or tie downs.
  • Western Bosals (Hackamores) are permitted for Cowboy Dressage® World South Africa
  • NO mechanical hackamores or other bitless bridles.
  • A standard dressage whip may be used in Cowboy Dressage® World South Africa classes.
  • Legal western shank bits / Myler-type or snaffle bits allowed.
  • No slip bits or gag bits.
  • English saddles allowed in AMATEUR classes, although CDWSA would prefer western tack.
  • Western saddles compulsory in OPEN classes.
  • Any type western reins to be used. With English bridle, normal English reins.
  • No horse may be ridden or shown in a rope halter. Lead rein to be leather – no chain section.


  • No horse or pony may do more than 4 ridden classes per day and 4 PS on the Ground Classes per day.
  • The onus is on the rider to ensure that he/she and his/her horse/pony have entered in the correct classes.
  • Horses and ponies may compete together in all classes.
  • A horse or pony may compete in the same class with two different riders as long as the 4 ridden classes per day is not breeched.
  • Voice commands are allowed as long as softly spoken.
  • Callers may use a microphone.
  • Buddy horses are allowed around the arena if standing quietly. Riders may be either mounted or unmounted.
  • Two hands allowed with a curb or snaffle. If a rider chooses to ride one handed, they may not switch to two hands at any time during the test.  It will be marked as an error every time there is a hand switch.
  • ALL tests to be ridden sitting.
  • Posting (rising) is optional in the free jog only.
  • Riders are allowed to pet their horses as reward during and after tests.
  • Judges are allowed to meet with riders BEFORE classes commence should it be requested.
  • You must be older than 18 to ride or manage a stallion in any class or on the show grounds.
  • Excessive use of spurs & whip will be penalised.
  • Should a judge disqualify a rider due to misconduct, such rider will lose all their placing on the day.
  • Although any rider may enter at the Championship show, to qualify to be allowed to ride in the qualifying test(s) on the day for Champion buckle, riders need to have competed in at least 4 gatherings (shows).
  • In all tests the riders will be competing against the “ghost score” which will be the quality check in each class.  Any rider performing below this score, will not necessarily automatically receive the first-place ribbon. Ghost score will be 60%.
  • The Judge’s decision is final.
  • It is up to the individual to ensure that their horse/pony has been vaccinated/inoculated and is fit and healthy to compete and does not have to the best of their knowledge any contagious diseases.
  • The competitor undertakes not to bring any horse/pony to the show which has an infectious disease, whether notifiable or not, or which horse/pony the competitor could reasonably be expected to know has an infectious disease or may spread such a disease. The competitor shall withdraw such an animal with forfeiture of entry fees.
  • RIDERS, SPECTATORS and OFFICIALS all compete, attend, work at the show at own risk.below

CDW Rules & Guidelines

Published: 29/09/2019


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