Local horse set for the national stage

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A rare breed horse from Knaresborough stole through to the national Horse of the Year final by landing the cuddy in-hand supreme championship at the Great Yorkshire Show.

Cleveland Bays are so rare that the breed is featured on the Rare Breed Survival Trust’s critical list. Just 30 foals were born worldwide last year, said Steve Pullan, whose seven-year-old mare, Knaresborough Moon Dust took the supreme champion rosette yesterday afternoon.

Cuddy Supreme Champion Steve Pullan from Knaresborough with his 7 year old Cleveland Bay Mare Knaresborough Moon Dust.

Cuddy Supreme Champion Steve Pullan from Knaresborough with his 7 year old Cleveland Bay Mare Knaresborough Moon Dust.

Mr Pullan, 58, who keeps horses as a hobby and works in exhibition contracting, was delighted to win at his local show: “It’s fantastic to be a local winner against all these other horses - it’s a bit of a dream come true for me really.

“I have been doing it as a hobby for six years now and there are only two opportunities for me to qualify for the Horse of the Year final at the NEC in October which will be a great opportunity to get our breed out there.”

Moon Dust was the reserve breed champion of Great Britain last year. She was bred locally by Danny Welch and Mr Pullan bought her as a yearling. The mare has also been the champion Cleveland Bay at the Great Yorkshire Show on four occasions. Her son, Arena Maestro was reserve champion in the breed class this year.

The breed’s numbers are so few as a result of changing times. Originating from the Cleveland hills they were initially put to use as pack horses and were deployed to transport goods from the port of Whitby to York. By the early 1900s they were being used to draw carriages but the advent of the First World War saw their numbers decimated as the enemy targeted them to disrupt the supply lines of vital provisions.

Mr Pullan added: “If we keep bringing quality animals and getting results, hopefully it will become more popular.”