Queen Elizabeth II Saved an Entire Horse Breed From Extinction, and We Can’t Thank Her Enough
Horses have always been special to Britain’s royal family, especially Queen Elizabeth II. However, one horse breed arguably owes a lot to The Queen more than others since she managed to save it from going extinct right before it was almost too late.
We at Bright Side honor those who have given back to our animal friends around the world, especially when that someone also happens to be a queen!
The Cleveland Bay is one breed of horse who has given a lot back to the human race. Originally bred from pack horses in the 17th century in England, they performed farm work, pulled coaches, and even helped soldiers with things like pulling artillery during the First World War. Unfortunately, after the war, their popularity started going down. By the 1960s, there were only 4 stallions left in the country.
Just when things seemed darkest for the Cleveland Bay, it turned out these horses had a friend in a high place. After hearing about their situation, Queen Elizabeth II purchased a horse named Mulgrave Supreme, a royal show winner who was almost sold to the US, planning to breed the horse and keep it alive. The colt was sent to stud farms to produce purebred and hybrid horses.
Having the Queen in its corner also helped the horses’ popularity and Mulgrave Supreme became a household name among horse breeders. Within 15 years, there were at least 36 stallions throughout the country. Even by the time Mulgrave Supreme was put out to stud, the horse’s popularity allowed them to surge in numbers.
The Cleveland Bays would grow to find their place within the Royal Family over the years. Prince Philip drove a team of the horses during international driving events. They’re also part of the Royal Mews, the horses used in royal and ceremonial events.
Today, the horses are still rare — there are somewhere from 500 to 800 around the world. That said, this is still an impressive number considering how they almost reached extinction just a few decades ago.
Do you know any other stories of animals being saved from extinction at the last second? Let us know!
Preview photo credit The Queen: A Passion for Horses / BBC One