- By Marcia Brody
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.