with Horse and Hound

Marcia Brody


Cleveland Bay Reunion 2019

cb19Twelve of the seventeen Cleveland Bay purebreds and crosses pose at the annual Cleveland Bay reunion before Farnley house in White Post, Virginia.  /  Karen Kandra photo

Cleveland Bay owners, breeders, and fanciers were privileged to travel back in time to recreate the heyday of this handsome, versatile, yet endangered breed of equine on November 16, 2019. The reunion combined with a meeting of the Blue Ridge Hunt is so appropriate at Farnley Farm in White Post, Virginia.

In the 1930s and 1940s the late Alexander Mackay-Smith bred both pure Cleveland Bay horses and partbreds at Farnley for use as field hunters. He remains the only North American breeder to have exported a stallion back to the UK from whence the breed originated. His stallion, Farnley Exchange, still appears in the pedigrees of most Cleveland Bays living in the world today.

Mackay-Smith’s daughter, Hetty Mackay-Smith Abeles, and her family welcomed the Blue Ridge Hunt subscribers, guests, and seventeen purebred and partbred Cleveland Bays to Farnley for the annual event. Mackay-Smith was a Master of Blue Ridge in the mid-twentieth century. Mrs Abeles and her family continue to breed their well-known Farnley Ponies there, based on bloodlines started and proven as early as the 1930s.

Read More
cb hunt farnley official callar farnley hosts 2013

Cleveland Bays Come “Home” to Farnley

cb hunt farnley official callar farnley hosts 2013l-r: Organizer Peter Cook, Blue Ridge Hunt; hosts Hettie Mackay-Smith Abeles and Dr. Matthew Mackay-Smith; Denya Dee Leake, honorary whipper-in, Old Dominion Hounds, step-granddaughter of Alexander Mackay-Smith / Liz Callar photo,

It's been nearly seventy-five years since Alexander Mackay-Smith's Farnley Farm in White Post, Virginia was home to a herd of some fifty Cleveland Bays. In his travels, Mackay-Smith had discovered the ancient breed of coach horse in the northeast of England and became convinced they would make ideal field hunters. He imported breeding stock, encouraged Tom and Marilyn Webster of the Idle Hour Stud to buy and stand Rambler’s Renown (who was to become North America’s leading sire of Cleveland Bays), and re-introduced the endangered breed to a new generation of horsemen and women in this country.

Farnley was once again in its bay glory on Saturday, November 16, 2013 as a record number of twenty-one Cleveland Bays (seven purebreds and fourteen part-breds) gathered at the invitation of Mackay-Smith’s children, Hetty Mackay-Smith Abeles and Dr. Matthew Mackay-Smith; Cleveland Bay breeder Peter Cook; and the Masters of the Blue Ridge Hunt for a celebration of the legacy that Farnley has left to the Cleveland Bay breed in North America.

Hetty Abeles and Dr. Matthew Mackay-Smith greeted the Cleveland Bay delegation and welcomed them back to Farnley as they assembled for a photograph in front of the house. Blue Ridge Joint-Master Anne McIntosh gave the official welcome on behalf of Joint-Masters Linda Armbrust and Brian Ferrell, after which participants divided into three flights and trotted up the lane to the first covert.

Read More

Bull Run Huntsmen’s Hunt 2010

Liz Callar photos


By March 7, Virginia’s record-setting snowfall had disappeared, but the rivers were running high and fast.

“Some of those hounds had never seen water like that,” said organizer Greg Schwartz, huntsman for the Bull Run Hunt (VA). “Thought we’d have to get life jackets for some of them,” he quipped.

Read More