Fox Hunting Life with Horse and Hound

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If you want to see real field hunters at the Upperville Horse Show, the Cleveland Bay Hunter Division is for you. More than twenty-five percent of the entries in that division have seen service in the hunting field. Another twenty-five percent or so of the Cleveland Bay entries are still too young for the field, and will compete in the in-hand classes.

The Cleveland Bay Hunter Division will be held on Thursday afternoon in the Main Hunter Ring, immediately following the Adult Amateur Classic. The classes could begin as early as 1:30 pm.

There are about thirty entries in the division, eleven of those being purebreds. Anyone interested in the breed is encouraged to come, Upperville being the single most important showcase for the breed in North America.

The Cleveland Bay is said to be England’s oldest breed of horse. As the name suggests, the breed originated in the Cleveland region of the northeastern part of that country. Descendant mares of the so-called Chapman horses—pack horses bred by the monks at the monasteries in the Middle Ages—were crossed in the mid-seventeenth century with imported barb stallions for both pack and harness use. The Chapmans were the foundation mares of the Cleveland Bays.

In the eighteenth century, these useful Chapman-barb crosses were crossed with Thoroughbreds to increase their speed under harness. The resulting crosses became known as the Yorkshire Coach Horse—tall, elegant, and a favorite of royalty and the well-to-do. We know these horses today as the Cleveland Bay.

Always bay in color, the Cleveland Bay is intelligent, versatile, sensible, bold, and honest. Because it has a strong character coupled with a sensitive temperament, it can be ruined by insensitive handling early in its schooling.

The Cleveland Bay breeds true to type (reproduces with consistency), and with its good substance and free movement, makes an excellent cross with the Thoroughbred.

Cleveland Bay enthusiasts will host tailgate refreshments in the parking area immediately following the classes—a good opportunity for anyone interested in learning more about this breed to meet owners and breeders.

Posted June 3, 2015


# Beth Sutton 2015-06-09 14:02
Thanks so much for this information, so sorry I didn't see it until after the show- are there any more events like this coming up? Can I find out more about who was there? I have a hunting mare, a Cleveland Bay- Connemara cross and she is great, would be so interested to know more. So tempted to breed her, but have been warned so many times against doing so.
# Marcia 2015-06-09 21:13
Hi Beth - I am so sorry you missed Upperville. We have several more events -- a Cleveland Bay Fun Day and Picnic on Sunday 19 July at Woodstock Equestrian Park near Poolesville, MD. We also have another show on Monday 10 August during the Howard County Fair in West Friendship Maryland. We conclude our series on Sunday 6 September at the Warrenton Hunt Show with a Cleveland Bay Division that runs on the same day as the always fun Hunt night. Please feel free to check out our page -- Mid-Atlantic Cleveland Bay Show Series on Facebook or to contact me privately at [email protected] We would love to involve you and any other Cleveland Bay enthusiasts in our activities. Marcia
# Devon Zebrovious 2015-06-30 09:23
If you want to see real field hunters at Upperville, I highly suggest that people also watch the side saddle division. In addition to the Cleveland Bays, usually 25% or more of the ladies are riding horses that do dual-duty in the hunt field.
# helen wiley 2015-06-30 22:12
Warrenton Horse Show will be held September 2 - 6 with Cleveland Bay division (5 classes) to be held Sunday,
September 6...followed by Hunt Night featuring 12 classes and 3 side saddle classes. "like" us on Facebook and visit the website,

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