Members of the Cleveland Bay Horse Society have seen off attempts to introduce thoroughbred blood to the stud book. But those in favour say they now fear for the breed’s survival.
At the society’s AGM on 20 October, members voted 60:40% against the proposal.
“It was completely insane,” said the society’s president, Henry Edmunds.
“Some individuals have tried to undermine the breed by trying to make it more commercial.”
Cleveland Bays are classed as “critical” on the Rare Breeds Survival Trust watchlist.
Mr Edmunds said the horse must be preserved.
But fellow breeder Colin Green — who advocates introducing TB blood — told H&H he feared that numbers would decline further.
“The breed is obviously not popular — there aren’t enough people breeding because it’s difficult to sell them,” he said.
Mr Green stressed that “a not inconsiderable minority” had voted for change.
There is, however, a third way, advocated by breeders including Zoe Woods, based in the Loire Valley, France. She would like the addition of a part-bred stud book.
“We don’t want to interfere with the pure-bred Cleveland Bay, but we know that, when crossed with a hot-blooded horse, it produces the best type of sport horse,” she added.
Mrs Woods cited the 1980 Burghley Horse Trials winner, John O’Gaunt, who was by The Queen’s Cleveland Bay stallion Mulgrave Supreme, as a prime example.
There are also Cleveland Bays in the selle Français, Oldenburg and Holsteiner stud books, she added.
This news story was first published in the current issue of H&H (8 November 2012)