Reigate Cleveland Bay & Sporthorse Stud History
Reigate Cleveland Bay & Sporthorse Stud is owned and operated by Shell Williams, and is located at Dartmoor in Victoria - not far from the South Australian Border and Mt Gambier.
Shell has considered horses her 'family' all of her life, and it is due to her grandfather, Jack Ronald Williams, being a wonderful horseman and introducing her to them at a very young age, that she is so obsessed with them now.
Reigate gets its name from the area in England that Shells grandparents were from, and it was the name on the plaque that hung on the front wall of their house at Minnipa on South Australias Eyre Peninsula for the 45 odd years that they owned the property there.
With horses being in the blood - there was no going back - horses were here to stay - quite possibly to her parents, Raelene & Ben Williams' annoyance - as she had to choose an expensive 'hobby' and one that required a bigger feed bill than the family most of the time! (Note from Shell: THANKS Mum and Dad for indluging my love of horses and putting up with me coming in smelling like the stable and manure pile and trapsing dirt through the house!).
A lifelong love of all horses and appreciation for many different breeds, it was the Cleveland Bay that eventually became the 'it' horse for Shell.
Despite chronic health issues, Shell does what she can with the horses and feels if she was to give up on them that it would remove her reason for being. Shell knows that her physical capabilities are now limited, however she supervises very well and has folk who come in and help work with the horses and has a carer who helps considerably with regards to everything else.
Always with her walking stick and milk crate in hand, and on occasion - the wheely walking frame - Shell loves to work with the horses even if it is from a sitting position most of the time - the horses all learn to have their feet trimmed with her sitting on her crate under them, and know 'the growl' that means they are to stand up and behave as 'mum is cranky'.
Cleveland Bays are the ideal breed for Shell as they are lovely big horses with fabulous temperaments, are a calm, steady horse generally, have good bone, are generally sound and hardy horses, as well has having a really good brain in their heads and learn quickly. At the time Shell got into the breed - she was still riding and was looking forward to doing a bit of everything - and hoping to do some Dressage, Showing and low level eventing.
The Cleveland Bay Sporthorse Stallion, Sandgate Reznor (who is now available via Shell as frozen semen), who was standing at Pine Country Sporthorses, owned by very good friends of Shells, Margaret & Les Hosking, was the reason Shell fell in love with the Clevies. She found a mare who would compliment the stallion, bred her and was thrilled with the result, a lovely big solid filly, CM Astras Ariella. From there, the CB herd grew, and grew some more.... and continued to grow.
After moving to NSW, getting married, managing a Thoroughbred Stud in the Upper Hunter Valley, and breeding horses with then husband under the name of CM Sporthorses, she moved to Minnipa when she and her then husband bought her grandparents property as they were moving to a nursing home at Wudinna.
After 8 years of marriage, and an almost 10 year relationship all up - the couple split and Shell retained two of the four properties owned by them, and the CM Sporthorses name. She was to continue using this - however it was associated with the marriage and that relationship, and it was difficult to establish her own brand and independance using that same stud name. Despite everything, Shell is very proud of the horses bred and a lot of the things achieved during that time. Two adults have gone their separate ways and are now both getting on with life.
So while Reigate Cleveland Bay & Sporthorse Stud was established in 2011, Shell has been breeding Cleveland Bay Sporthorses since 1999 and has been involved in horses since not too long after her birth in 1973!
*** Updated January 2017 - Reigate Stud is winding up operations in 2017 due to Shells ill health. Unless some sort of miracle happens there is a very strong need to reduce numbers to almost zero - and certainly get out of the big horses (though it is the ponies of late who have caused injury!), and just have one or two little ones to keep her sane(ish)). This is something that is extremely upsetting, but a necessary step to take at this time.