Cleveland Bay Horse Breed - 7 Unique Facts (you didn't know)

Cleveland bay horses are a versatile breed that can be used for many different disciplines. Cleveland Bay horses are also well-known for their soft hair and gentle temperament. Many people choose Cleveland Bay horses for breeding because they are easy to care for and have a low maintenance cost. Here are seven facts about these horses that you may not know about the breed.

1 - The breed is always a bay color

The breed name was chosen as the breed color is always bay with an occasional white markings or small white star The bay coloring with the black legs, black mane is the most important features of the breed. They have a sleek black under coat with a reddish tint. Their mane and tail are long and curly, and they have large eyes that are usually green or hazel.

2 - Cleveland bays are rare

Cleveland Bay horses have become more rare in modern days. So how many Cleveland bay horses are left today? only around 1000 alive around the world today. As our society developed we no longer have any needs for horses as transport or farm work, which was the breeds main purpose in the middle ages as they were excellent carriage horses and could pull heavy loads. It is today an endangered breed and only a few active breeders around the world. Most of them exists in United Kingdom today and only a 4th of the worlds population in North America.

cleveland bay horse harness driving

3 - Cleveland Bay horse are one of the oldest horse breed

The Cleveland bay horse is one of England’s oldest breed. The first Cleveland bay was bred from saddle breed but didn't get it lighter appearance we are used to seeing today until the 17th century by crossing it with Andalusians and Arabians. The original Cleveland bay was heavier more draft horse looking. This British breed was used during world war ii and the great depression. As one of the oldest breed of horse it has developed a great genetic diversity int he 19th century.

cleveland bay horse breed

Photo: Livestock

4 - Often crossed with Thoroughbreds

Cleveland Bay horses are often crossed with thoroughbreds to create versatile sport horses. Cleveland bay purebred horses are bred with a great genetic variability making them the perfect breed to cross breed with. However many breeders of Cleveland bays frown upon cross breeding them as they want to continue perfecting the purebreds. It is usually thoroughbred mares that are bred to Cleveland bay stallions. 

cleveland bay horse dressage

 Photo: Pinterest

5 - Cleveland Bay horses are great family horses

Cleveland Bay Horses are one of the most easily trained horse breeds and they are known for their gentle temperament and willingness to work. These horses are perfect for people who want a horse that is easy to handle and will be able to do basic tasks like pulling a wagon or cart. In recent years they have become a fairly popular 'family horse' as both kids and adults can handle and ride them.

cleveland bay horse

Photo: purebred cleveland bays

6 - Queen Elizabeth ii saved the breed from extinction

The breed was almost extinct by the 1960s as only 6 purebred Cleveland stallions were alive. Queen Elizabeth ii and the British royal family is responsible for saving the breed as it was on brink of extinction. They are responsible for bringing the breed numbers up to 1000 worldwide today.

7 - Cleveland bays are warmbloods

The Cleveland bay breed is actually considered a warmblood. A warmblood horse is a horse that originates from a heavier draft breed and crossed with a lighter breed such as an Arabian or Thoroughbred. The Cleveland bay is a well-muscled horse with long lean neck muscular shoulders makes them very athletic and suitable for most disciplines.

 cleveland bay horse facts

Photo: cleveland bay colt