Reigate Cleveland Bay & Sporthorse Stud History
Reigate Cleveland Bay & Sporthorse Stud is owned and operated by Shell Williams, and is located at Wallacedale, Victoria - about 20 minutes from Hamilton.
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 all together, that it would remove her reason for being. Shell knows that her physical capabilities are now severely 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'. This is now beyond what Shell is able to do, so they have someone else come and do them these days. The scooter is currently awaiting a visit to the 'scooter mechanic'.
Shells favourite large breed is Cleveland Bays - which are seriously low in numbers world wide in their pure form, but are fabulous horses temperament wise, with regards to their trainability and just generally to be around both on the ground and on their backs. Sadly - they are just too big - despite how sweet and easy going they are - they are still a bit horse and way too much for Shell to be able to deal with on her own.
The easier ones to manage these days are a couple of Minis that have made themselves at home with the other critters. The running joke is that at least the minis are easy to just get in a headlock as they run past if they are being little snotters.
Initially the majority of breeding was done under the CM Sporthorses banner from 2002 onwards - which was the stud with Shells ex husband, she was going to keep that name as there are a large number of horses that were bred with that prefix, it was just too hard to separate the 'then and now' so Reigate Stud was born. 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.