The Cleveland Bay is a Warmblood horse, with its sire and dam
having a recorded history dating back to the 16 th Century and
into which the introduction of other bloodlines has been entirely
excluded since 1884.
The Cleveland Bay is the last and only remaining Pure Breed of
Warmblood horse left in the world today.
What, may you ask, is the basic genetic make-up of this
Warmblood breed? The origins date back to the 16th century with
'base stock' being what was then known as the Chapman horse, a
cold blooded horse already fixed in type, bay in colour, and which
frequented the Cleveland District in Northern England. It was a
very versatile horse, as much at home under saddle, or packing
heavy loads to the nearest port. The blending of the hotblood
came with the introduction of Barb and Andalusian stallions to the
area, brought home by Officers of the armed services returning to
to their estates following the civil wars of the 1640's. By the 18th
|A Brief History Of The Cleveland Bay
1890's by Major Phillip Charley who was a very strong advocate of
the Cleveland Bay, using its characteristic longevity and fertility,
together with its natural ability for jumping, to improve his cavalry
mounts. It was not until 1975 that the Australasian Cleveland Bay
Society was formed and stud book records have been kept since
that time. The introduction of Cleveland Bay blood to our local
stock has produced horses for the competitive arenas in dressage
to Grand Prix level, State representatives in jumping, driving and
cross-country as well as horses for the pleasure industry and police
of our modern equestrian horse, that is, one with size, good bone,
sound, nice even temperament and straight ground covering
movement. Then consider the type of mare generally available in
Australia and New Zealand for breeding, which is a high spirited,
fine boned and generally smaller in stature animal. A blending with
the qualities of the pre-potent Cleveland Bay offers the Australasian
breeding program, an excellent cross when aiming to produce an
equestrian sporting horse.
century there was no other infusion of alien blood and the
Cleveland Bay emerged as an unmistakably fixed type. It
was a stylish, powerful coach horse, the only horse
capable of working land and carrying heavy men to
The English StudBook was established in 1884.
It is little wonder that this type of horse with its strength,
quality and prepotency was in demand for export to
other countries for use in their breeding programs.
Russian breeders in the Vladmire district imported a
Cleveland Bay in 1887. The German stud at Celle between
1839 and 1889 had almost 50 Cleveland Bay and
Yorkshire Coach horse (CB cross) stallions. In 1844 the
stallion Astonishment was imported to Oldenberg. The
Americans imported their first of the breed in 1853 and
began their own studbook in 1889. Even to this day the
Imperial household in Japan is still importing Cleveland
* In the Guinness Book of Records, the greatest reliable age recorded for a horse is an incredible 62 years. Old Billy is believed
to be a cross between a Cleveland and Eastern blood.
* Around 1869 at Middlesbrough show, Fanny Drape, a Cleveland Bay Partbred mare, gave a solo exhibition of jumping in
hand, clearing a bar estimated to be 7 1/2 ft high under which her leader ran.
* Peter Simple, who was out of a part-Cleveland Bay mare, ran in the Grand National carrying 12 stone. His jockey could not
hold him and was discarded, only to catch him and mount again. They still finished third, within six lengths of the winner.
* In the 1880's Buffalo Bill imported Cleveland Bays to pull the Concord Coaches in his Wild West Show.
* Due to exports and the industrial era, by the 1950's there were only four purebred stallions left in the England. The Purebred
Cleveland Bay has since been placed on the critically endangered breed list.