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Cleveland Bay Horses

Purebred, Partbred & Sporthorse - What is the difference?    


Purebred Cleveland Bay Horses have pedigrees that go back over 400 years with NO outside blood in them - this differs greatly from a lot of 'modern' Warmbloods who will allow horses with some Thoroughbred blood or other blood in them just one or two generations back.        Up til very very recently, the Purebred Cleveland Bays are exactly that - NO chance of any other blood for centuries.    Sadly, with the very fast decline purebred horses of breeding age and suitability - even with the SPARKS program.  Plans and very strict rules on what is/will be allowed mean that with suitable stallions and mares, about 6 or 7 generations down the track if you have a horse with over 93% CB Blood in it - if it ticks all the boxes and its predecessors have for all those generations you will be allowed to present your horse for consideration for entry into the Studbook.        This means inspections and the horse passing every generation and age inspection along the way. 

Partbred Cleveland Bay Horses are by or out of a Purebred Cleveland Bay.     They must be Bay in colour, and meet the breed standard as for a Purebred.       The minimum percentage CB blood a Partbred must have is 50% right up to as close to pure as you can get.       

Cleveland Bay Sport Horses have at last one great grandparent in the Purebred Studboook, do not necessarily have to be Bay in colour - and any 'technically Partbreds' by breeding - if they are a colour other than bay are placed in this category as well - so you may have a 75% CB Horse but if it is Grey, Chestnut or broken coloured - it is a Sport Horse.     The minimum % is 12.5% CB to qualify.

The breed Standard is listed below for Purebreds for you to have a look at - it is hoped that all of the horses with CB blood in them get out and fly the flag for Cleveland Bays wherever they go.     Even if it is just with their awesome temperaments, their ability to be able to pretty much do whatever is asked of them and their trainability and retention of those lessons.       It takes one person to take an interest in the breed, go home and do some research, and decide to try to help preserve the breed - be it by jumping in feet first and setting out to breed or assist with breeding a purebred or partbred, or going and buying a pure, part or sporthorse and promoting as much as possible in whatever part of the world they are in.         

There are a variety of 'groups' formed for promotion of the Cleveland Bay, and a lot of the members overlap, the Purebreds are registered predominately in the UK in the main studbook - though can be registered in North America and Australasia, and Partbreds/Sporthorses are registered with one or all of the above. 

Pure Bred Cleveland Bays

Height: 16.0 hh to 16.2 hh,

Colour: Cleveland Bays must be bay with black points, ie. black legs, black mane and black tail. Grey hairs in mane and tail do not disqualify. They have long been recognised as a feature in certain strains of pure Cleveland blood. White, beyond a very small star, is outside breed standards, but as from January 2005 may still be registered at the discretion of the Breed Committee and will be noted on the passport and in the Stud Book. Legs which are bay or red below the knees and hocks do not disqualify, but are faulty as to colour.

Body: The body should be wide and deep. The back should not be too long, and should be strong with muscular loins. The shoulders should be sloping, deep and muscular. The quarters should be level, powerful, long and oval, the tail springing well from the quarters.

Head and Neck: The head characteristics of the breed should be bold and not too small. It should be well carried on a long lean neck.

Eyes: Eyes should be large, well set and kindly in expression.

Ears: Ears tend to be large and fine.

The Limbs: Arms and thighs and second thighs should be muscular. The knees and hocks should be large and well closed. There should be 9″ upwards of good flat bone below the knee measured at the narrowest point on a tight tape. The pasterns should be strong and sloping and not too long, The legs should be clear of superfluous hair and as clean and hard as possible.

The Feet: One of the most important features of the breed. The feet must be of the best shape and blue in colour. Feet that are shallow or narrow are undesirable.

Action: Action must be true, straight and free. High action is not characteristic of the breed. The Cleveland that moves well and which is full of courage will move freely from the shoulder, and will flex his knees and hocks sufficiently. The action required is free all round, gets over the ground, and fits the wear-and-tear qualities of the breed.


Breed Standards for a Part Bred Cleveland Bay

Part bred Cleveland bays must have a minimum of 50% either by a registered pure bred stallion or out of a registered pure bred mare.Breed Standards are as per Pure Bred Cleveland Bays.

Breed Standards for Cleveland Bay Sporthorses

Cleveland Bay Sporthorses are not a ‘breed’ as such, but are the term given to any crossbred Cleveland Bay – which may contain down to as little as 12.5% Cleveland Bay blood. CB Sporthorses are not limited to being Bay in colour – as they will be influenced by the genetics of the horses they are crossed with. These horses will typically display a lot of the Cleveland Bay traits – be they temperament, bone, trainability and/or colour, making them an ideal horse for all disciplines.

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