Cleveland Bay: Developed in the Cleveland area of Northern Yorkshire in northeast England, this is the oldest established breed of english horse. The foundation stock is said to have dated back to the times of the Romans, and there are record suggesting that the breed was in existence in medieval times.
They were originally known as Chapman Horses, since they were used as pack horses for travelling salesmen known locally as chapmen. In 1884, the Cleveland Bay Horse Society of Great Britain published the first volume of its Stud Book containing stallions and mares selected for purity of blood, many of whose pedigrees traced back over a century.
The Cleveland is a carriage type horse, and is always true to its bay color. This uniform color is desired in carriage horses because the team is more easily matched. In Britain, they are still used to pull carriages on state occasions. These big, strong horses were used for a variety of other purposes, from working the land, to carrying goods, to foxhunting.
Currently the breed is still critically rare, with only about 500 purebreds in the world and less than 200 in North America. The dedicated breeders and members belonging to the Cleveland Bay Horse Association of North America endeavor to increase the number of these unique horses and promote the breed in many disciplines.
Extremely prepotent, meaning their quality and traits are passed on to their progeny, makes them an ideal out-cross, especially with Thoroughbreds. The Cleveland generally stands between 16 and 16.2 hands. As a competition horse they make ideal hunters, but also possess the necessary quickness for eventing, and can be exhibited in the show ring either as in-hand, ridden or working hunters. As sound active horses with substance, stamina and a good, sane temperament they make excellent police horses.
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