Home Horse Cleveland Bay Horse: 12 Most Interesting Facts On This Beautiful Breed

Cleveland Bay Horse: 12 Most Interesting Facts On This Beautiful Breed

Cleveland bay is one of Britain’s oldest horse breeds in Yorkshire in the early 16th century. The horse is medium in size and well muscular. The color of the horse is always bay and origin in the Cleveland district. Thus the name of the horse become Cleveland Bay. The aim of the development of the horse was as a packhorse and gained a nickname “Chapman Horse”. 

The packhorse was later cross-bred with Thoroughbred, Barb, Andalusian, and Arabian horses and attained at the present state. By the passes of time, the horse becomes lighter and more pleasing and mostly used as carriage and pleasure riding. Due to the industrial revolution and mechanization, the number of horses decreases. At present, the horses’ population decreased to a critical level, and the breed is declared endangered.  

Important Information on Cleveland Bay Horse


Cleveland Bay is one of the most popular and native horse breeds of the United Kingdom. The horse breed was patronized by the Royal Family of the British Emperor. In my article, I shall highlight the most critical points on this versatile horse breed. I think you will be benefitted from this information.

Beautiful Cleveland Bay

1. History and Origin of the Breed


The horse is one of the oldest and native horse breeds of England originated in the Cleveland district of Yorkshire. The horse does not belong to heavy horse breeds of Britain. In the middle ages, Yorkshire’s people arranged a race of clean legged horse that was bay in color. The horse was used in general-purpose, pack animals, and pillion. Chapman used the horse to carry goods of the traveling salesman and known as “Chapman’s horse”.

History and Development of Cleveland Bay

2. Distribution and Development


The initial development of horses by the cross-breeding of Chapmen horse, Andalusian, and Barb mares. The Andalusian blood comes from Spain’s Cordova, and Barb blood comes from the Grand Tour of Europe. From 1685 to 1785, the horse was developed as a medium draft or agricultural type. At that time, the road conditions of England were not good. As the road’s condition improved and more speed needed, the horse was crossed with Arabian and Thoroughbred horses. The horse became lighter, strong neck, shoulder, and speedy. 

Excellent Color of Horse

The Cleveland Bay Horse Society of Britain was established in 1883, and the first studbook was published in 1884. During the later half of the 1900 AD, Cleveland horses’ export started to Australia, New Zealand, India, Russia, United States, South Africa, and European countries. The first Cleveland Bay was imported to the United States of America in 1884 in Maryland, Massachusetts, and Virginia. 

3. Physical Characteristics


Cleveland is a semi-draft horse that is medium in size. The head is the large, heavy, and well-muscled neck, broad and deep chest, well-muscled wither, croup is slightly sloping, the shoulder is sloping and muscular. The legs are heavy, healthy, and shooter concerning the body. The legs have little or no feather as the horse was developed to work in the clay or unclean environment. 

Physical Characteristics

4. Height and Weight of Cleveland Horses


The Cleveland Bay horses are semi-draft horses, and the average height varies from 16 to 16.5 hands (64 to 66 inches). The average weight of the horse from 1300 to 1500 pounds (550 to 700 kgs). Initially, the horse was developed to carry goods, the agricultural field, and pull coaches. Later, horses’ use shifted to pull artillery guns, and more speed was added by breeding with Thoroughbred and Arabian horses. The horse becomes lighter and speedy.

Height and Weight of Cleveland

5. Color and Markings of the Horse 


The horse is always bay in color, and the name of the horse is taken from this color. The breed registry does not accept other colors of the horse. The bright bay color is more accepted to light or dark bay color with more reddish tint than average. The breed registry accepts a small white star marking on the head for this breed. 

Color and markings of Cleveland Bay

6. Behavior and Temperament of Cleveland Bay


The horse is disciplined, well-mannered, and docile temperament. The horse is an intelligent and sensible temperament. You can train your horse in any discipline efficiently. The horse is also suitable for kids and beginners. The horse is lively, long-living, and versatile. You will feel proud to be the owner of this excellent Cleveland horse.

Behavior of Horse

7. Care and Management of Horse


The horse was developed in the harsh environment of Yorkshire. The horse requires less care than other draft horses. The horse requires daily grooming, weekly bathing, periodically clipping of mane and tail. If the horse having feathers, you need to clip at regular intervals. You must set the horse stable on open and high ground with good ventilation and lighting facilities. You can keep some open space for the exercise of the horse. You must maintain a regular feeding schedule for your horse. 

Care of Horse

8. Diet and Nutrition of Horse


The diet of the horse must have protein, carbohydrate, fat, vitamin, and minerals. Cleveland horses’ usual diet is corn, gram, cowpea, soya bean meal, oats meal, and green grass. You can allow your horse in the pasture instead of supply green grass in the manger. The horse must have free access to pure drinking water round the clock. The horse may need supplements like vitamins, minerals, skin supplements, hoof supplements, and improves health status. You must consult with an equine nutritionist about the healthy diet of your horse. 

Nutrition of Horse

9. The Health of the Horse


The horse is generally healthy and is not affected by any specific disease. The horse is affected by usual equine diseases. You must maintain a vaccination schedule by your local equine veterinarian. You must give anthelmintics every three months with a broad-spectrum drug. Regular vaccination, deworming, and a health check-up will give you comfort and healthy horses.

Health of Horse

10. Uses of Versatile Cleveland Bay Horse


Cleveland Bay is a versatile horse breed and used for many purposes and disciplines. The common uses of the horse are:

  • The horse was developed to work in the agricultural field, and still, the horse is used in the farmhouses.
  • The horse is a famous coach horse in the USA, United Kingdom, and European countries. 
  • The horse has a good trot and extensively used in the military for pulling artillery guns. 
  • The horse has a good quality of jumpers.
  • The breed is also useful in showjumping, steeplechasers, eventers when crossed with Thoroughbred horses.
  • The horse replaces the Black Hanoverian horse in the Royal Stable of British and is still used as Royal Coach horses.
  • The horse contributes to many horse breeds like Holstein, Gelderlander, Yorkshire Coach horses, Hanoverian, and Oldenburg horses.
  • The horse is commonly used as a harness horse and ceremony horse in the military parade. 

Cleveland Coach

11. Where to Buy Cleveland Bay?


Cleveland horses are considered rare horses, and you can find the horse in many publications and websites as an ad. Many horse breeders sell the horse privately online. You can get the pure breed Cleveland bay horse from CBHSNA (Cleveland Bay Horse Society of North America). You can support the development and distribution of the horse by getting the membership of CBHSNA. 

Cleveland Foal

12. Endangering the Population Cleveland Horse


The demand for the horse decreased due to the increased mechanization and discovery of steam engines. In the year 1930 and onwards, the population of horses started to decline. In the year of 1962, only four purebred stallions were present in the United Kingdom. Queen Elizabeth II saved the horse breed by purchasing and starting breeding in the Royal Stables. 

Cleveland Bay Horse Breed

Duke of Edinburg, Prince Philip used the Cleveland horse in international driving competitions. Queen Elizabeth acts as a patron of the horse breed, and in 1984 She became the president of the Horse Society. British Cleveland bay horse society separately maintains the breed registry of the horse. In 2005, less than 550 horses were present in the world, and 220 were mares.  

Concluding Remarks on Cleveland Bay


The versatile horse breed is known for its strength, beauty, size, and multidimensional uses. The horse is a native pure breed of England and one of the oldest horse breeds in this region. The Cleveland horses were patronized by the British Royal family and become the Royal coach horses. The horse population is decreasing day by day, and less than 50 foals are registered yearly. In my article, I have tried to provide all possible information about the horse breed. You will be happy to know the breed and will surely be benefitted from my article.

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