English horse

The Cleveland Bay horse is the oldest and purest of English horse breeds.

There are many native pony breeds in the UK, but the Cleveland is the only native horse breed, bred in the North of England around North-east Yorkshire and Cleveland.

This English breed is pure apart from Barb and Spanish blood in the 17th century.

The breed was used by the mining industry in the UK to transport iron ore to the seaports or rivers.

The ancestors of the breed were developed during the Middle Ages for use as pack horses, when they earned the nickname of “Chapman Horses"(a travelling salesman).

These pack horses were crossbred with Andalusian and Barb blood, to create the Cleveland Bay of today.

A fine English horse!

The breed has been used to develop and improve several warmblood and draught horse breeds.


It has mainly been used to cross with Thoroughbreds and many other breeds for many years and is one of the reasons why it went into steady decline.

By 1962, there were only four pure bred stallions in the country.

The breed is now classed as a rare breed.

The height is 16hh 16.2hh (1.60 – 1.65m).

The colour is always bay with black points. 

The head is large and slightly convex in profile, resting on a long powerful, well-muscled neck, strong muscular sloping shoulders, powerful hind quarters, croup slightly sloping, body is deep and legs are strong carrying little or no feather.

Today the Cleveland is mainly used for farm work, driving and riding.

They are particularly popular for fox hunting and show jumping, both pure blooded and when crossed with Thoroughbreds.

They have been used by members of the royal family throughout their history, and they are still used to pull carriages in royal processions today.

Scroll down from English horse and ponies for more horse history.

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