Rare Breeds Program welcomes first Cleveland Bay Horses

Posted at 8:09 PM, Apr 19, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-19 20:09:02-04

Williamsburg, Va. –  Colonial Williamsburg’s Coach and Livestock Department recently received two new additions to its Rare Breeds Program.

Lancer and Isabella are the two Cleveland Bay horses gifted to the program from area donors. Claudette and Steve Tallon of Williamsburg graciously provided gift support to purchase Lancer for the Rare Breeds Program. Lancer joins Isabella, another Cleveland Bay beauty given to Colonial Williamsburg by her previous owner, Cindy Kiser of Riverspring Farm in Verona.

A plaque is displayed in the Foundation’s Franklin Street stables honoring the Tallon’s gift.  It reads, “Lancer: Kindly Donated by Claudette & Steve Tallon.”

“The Cleveland Bay horses bring to life a new and important dimension to our interpretation of travel and transportation in 18th century America,” said Ted Maris-Wolf, Colonial Williamsburg Vice President for Education, Research, and Historical Interpretation. “Typically used by the British royal family in processions, the Cleveland Bays add elegance and authenticity to our carriage-ride program, helping to convey aspects of Williamsburg as a royal, as well as revolutionary, city.”

Cleveland Bay horses are known as England’s oldest  breed. The horses are set apart for being the purest and most rare breed.

“Current estimates indicate there are fewer than 500 Cleveland Bay purebreds worldwide,” said Paul Bennett, Colonial Williamsburg Director of Coach and Livestock.

Bennett estimates there are fewer than 140 of the breed in the United States. The horses have reddish-brown coats and black legs, manes, and tails. Their consistent color made it easier for colonial Americans to match horses in pairs and in teams of four for pulling carriages.

Guests can look forward to seeing Lancer and Isabella appearing under saddle in the Revolutionary City with Colonial Williamsburg Nation Builders the Marquis de Lafayette, portrayed by Mark Schneider, and Martha Washington, portrayed by Katharine Pittman. The Coach and Livestock team has been working with the pair around the Historic Area to train them.