Cleveland Bay Horse

Cleveland Bay Horse


  • The Cleveland Bay horse is an extremely old British breed which can be traced back to the Chapman horse of the 17th century.
  • Initially bred in the Cleveland Hills, they were used by farmers on the land, for riding and as pack animals.
  • In the days when the wealth of the country depended on wool, strong short-backed Clevelands carried heavy loads from farms to the mills in the north. As times changed, demands for a taller, faster animals were met through breeding and selection, and the breed was changed into the excellent carriage horse for which Yorkshire was famed.
  • Later, the coming of mechanisation undermined the status of the horse and the breed's popularity declined.
  • Today the clean-legged Cleveland Bay is favoured by the Royal Courts and as a coach horse. 


  • A typical Cleveland Bay stands 16.0 h.h. to 16.2 h.h. and is solid bay in colour, with no white with the possible exception of a very small star.
  • The body is wide and deep; the back is not too long, and strong with muscular loins; the shoulders are sloping, deep and muscular.
  • The quarters are level, powerful, long and oval, with the tail springing well from the quarters.
  • The head is bold and not too small, well carried on a long lean neck.
  • Eyes are large, well set and kindly in expression, and the ears are large and fine.
  • One of the most important features of the breed are the feet, which must be strong and blue in colour.
  • Feet that are shallow or narrow are undesirable.


Cross Breeding

The breed has been widely crossed with Thoroughbreds to produce quality working hunters.

Breed Society

The Cleveland Bay Horse Society

The Rare Breeds Survival Trust is the leading national charity working to conserve and protect the United Kingdom's rare native breeds of farm animals from extinction. We rely on the support of our members, grants and donations from the public to raise the £700,000 a year needed to maintain our conservation work with rare UK native breeds of farm animals. Visit to see how you can help.

Support RBST

Your support can help us save the UK’s rarest breeds of farm animals.

Upcoming Events