St Julian at 18
Mulgrave Dam Forest Flower
Bred by Mrs D.C. Charles.
It all began with Humphrey (yet another story for another day!) but suffice to say
that many years ago he fired my enthusiasm for Cleveland Bays. Humph was a
Cleveland Bay x Irish Draft (Sire Forest Saga dam Blossom). In getting to the
bottom of Humphrey I did much research into his breeding and decided that to
produce horses like him I should add pure bred Clevelands to the breeding
programme Its like all things you think it through and then put it on the backburner
until the time is right.
We had gone one day to the Malvern sales as they were quite local to the stud in
Herefordshire, not to buy, just to circulate and keep our finger on the pulse like many studs
do. Suddenly a horse caught my eye. There was a large crowd around him. He had gone into the ring and had failed to make his reserve and the then owner was having heated discussions with the meat men. The grand old fellow stood proud
enjoying the attention that he was receiving not realising that his fate could well be
As you will by now have guessed, the horse was Julian. I was not knowledgeable in
those days on Cleveland bloodlines, but it was clear, that although aged he was a fine
stallion and a credit to his breed. I spoke to his then owner Vivian Collins and asked if we could buy him. It was no time to be asking him why, as he was obviously a much
loved horse, what he was doing with him at the sale or indeed why he was wavering
with the meat men. He would not accept our offer, but did agree to take the horse
home so that we could discuss the situation away from the pressures of the day.
The stallion was based less than five miles from our then home and we had no idea of his existence until that day. The following day we arranged to go and see
Vivian Collins runs a bull hire service from his farm. We arrived to find bulls in all
directions and of many breeds. In its own right it was an experience to see them all.
We met Andrew Collins his son and the story of Julian began to unfold. Julian had been bought from Danny Welch, as a covering stallion and also a hunter for Andrew.
Now those of you that follow the Society in the UK will know that Danny is a council member and a judge and devoted to the breed, as was his father before him.(I feel another story coming on!)
Andrews life had moved on and with the pressures of farming and the Bull hire
business, they no longer had time for Julian. Vivian felt that it was kinder to sell him to someone who would make best use of him in his twilight years. I never asked him
why he took him to a public sale if this was his aim. As you know you have no
control over who buys a horse, in that once they meet reserve they go under the
hammer to the highest bidder.
Whatever the planned sale, as you already know it had not gone according to plan and Julian through my intervention was back
home. We went to the field to see him It was full of various bulls but no sign of Julian. Vivian called
him,.and suddenly he appeared over the crest of the field. He came galloping to us, his mane and tail streaming in the wind.
Although 16 years old he was still a fine horse. He had a kind nature and a certain dignity.
He was bred by Carol Charles a much loved member of the Society and a breeder
of wonderful Cleveland Bays. Carol had sold him on to Mr Ellis in
Breconshire and he had gone from thence to Danny Welch. He had had a wonderful life, both as a stallion and
as a riding horse. By the fine old stallion Mugrave he was well known for producing good mares who have carried on his line,including our premium mare Pembridge Jewels(drat, another story!)
We had done our homework and knew what he had achieved to date and set about
to 'do a deal'. Not surprisingly Vivian Collins had now got his second wind. Away
from the sale and the pressure of the meat men, added to by his sons view on the
value of the horse, we then had battle royal over the price.We had offered more than meat money at the
sale, but now that price had doubled. The fact that we had shown interest had coloured their thinking. I finally
realigned their thoughts and we struck a deal and Julian came home.
This is where the real story begins .Julian was a tough horse, but his time spent with
the bulls had taken its toll. To see his pleasure when he found that he once more had
a stable and TLC was a joy to see. We soon learnt that he was a kind gentle saint in
the box lapping up every kindness and attention. He blossomed and the years fell off
him. So much so that shortly we started riding him to give him an interest. In his
younger days it turns out that he was a serious hunter and loved his cross country. At
his age now that was no longer to be, but we rode him over the hills that surrounded
us and gave him a new lease of life.
Not long after we saved Julian we moved from Trewyn Court to Pembridge House
our Herefordshire base. Julian was the senior stallion by age and we soon
appreciated. what a gifted stud stallion he was. He was a joy to cover with in hand, a
perfect gentleman. He was equally effective as a herd stallion running with his mares.
He was so wise. I would spend time watching him work the herd, organising his
mares and controlling them. He ruled. If I opened the gate to introduce another mare he would keep all of them back while I introduced the new girl. If I wanted to take a mare out he would acknowledge them and then graciously say goodbye.
If I was in doubt with a shy mare as to whether she was in season or not I would ask Julian and he was never wrong. I always used to say that Julian ran the stud not me. I learnt so much from him about the behaviour of stud mares. I owe him a lot. Mind you he was not always a bed of roses. He loved to be
ridden so I used to ride him around the farm to check the horses. We had a routine and a route. One day when Julian was about 18 I was approaching the top of the farm and I though that I saw a sheep stuck in a fence one field away. I went to turn Julian from our allotted route to investigate and lo and behold our saint said no as only a cleveland can. What a paddy. He drummed his feet in temper told me off and refused to change direction. We had a battle, and we did, but I paid for it! I might have won
the battle but Julian felt that he had been insulted . He stomped back to the yard in a furious temper and sulked for days. I can honestly say though that it was the only difference of opinion that we ever had.
We have wonderful memories of a stud visit many years ago from Danny
Welch and Dave Anderson. At the time in the early 90's we were standing
Julian, Forest Foreman and his sire Midshipman. Danny as you know used to
own Julian and he was so happy to see the stallion again, so happy in
his twilight years. They brought four pure mares from Yorkshire to stud.
We had a lovely day riding the stallions together for them I will always
Those of you that avidly follow cleveland breeding will know that
Julian and Midshipman were by the same sire Mulgrave, more of this
another time, otherwise I will digress too far. The relevance in
mentioning it here that we were holding an invaluable genetic bank
within the stallions at the stud.
As you know the clevelands are rare in the UK and I set out on a mission
to trace mares of breeding age and bring them into the breeding
programme. In the early nineties we located and purchased Ramblers Lucks
All, Ramblers Empress Sutton Seaspray, Levenmouth Dawn, Amethyst and
I was filled with zeal to help the breed in that with the number of
breeding mares in the pool much dwindled at the time every one brought
into the genetic pool and bred from was a step nearer to raising the
numbers for the future.
As Julian was by now a very senior stallion, we focused on putting the
mares to him in the hope of getting a colt to carry him on and as many
fillies as we could before we lost him. Sadly it was not to be.We never
had a pure bred colt of his, only fillies.
We had this plan that I would take a bank of foals off the mares to
build our own breeding herd and then sell the mares in foal to others
like us to start new herds. It was one of my greatest miscalculations. I
stupidly assumed that others were as enthusiatic as we were and indeed
initially it was the case.
We sold Forest Finesse (sire Forest Forman) in foal to Julian, to a
couple who were full of zeal to begin. Sadly they changed course and
Finesse and her foal of Julian's moved on. The foal at least ended up
with a breeder, but Finesse was sold on to a dealer.
We sold Sutton Seaspray in foal to Midshipman. She had a fine colt
Pacific Swell who went on to win the Royal as a yearling and followed in
his father's footsteps and became a premium stallion. The new owners then
changed to breeding part-breds so she too was lost.
Ramblers Luck's All proved difficult to get in foal initially and then
went full term with twin colts to Julian. More sadness. We tried always
with Levenmouth Dawn for four seasons and finally admitted defeat and
sold her as a riding mare
Amethst failed to hold to Julian and to get her started we covered her
with the TB stallion Minstrel Star the resultant foal was Pembridge
Minstrel (story on site) That story has already been written. In our
efforts to conserve the Clevelands we bred a half bred that has done so
much for the breed.
Ramblers Empress was the mare that we realised held a pivotal cleveland
performance line in April Love. She produced for us a wonderful filly
Pembridge Jewels, now a premium mare. Jewells is the dam of Pembridge
Midshipman a premium stallion. We never produced a son here of Julian's
as Luck's all lost her colts, but we do have his grandson.
In our efforts to conserve his genetic bank we were approached a decade
ago by a girl in the states who owned Levenmouth Elizabeth, an own
sister to Levenmouth Dawn we went to great lengths to send semen to her,
but sadly by now Julian was a great age and his motility was not good
enough to freeze and the distance was too great for chilled. Another
Julian in his younger days, must have received a kick while on stud
duties. we were aware that he had a benign growth in one of his
testicles, which we kept a careful eye on. whatever had happened to him
it had certaily turned him into the most clever of field stallions. He
had a reputation for covering un-coverable mares. To watch him in action
in the field and his technique was incredible. He was also wonderful in
hand with nervous mares and had all the patience in the world with them.
He did the teasing for all the stallions as well as his own mares. He in
fact saved the life of many mares, where owners had 'given up'
One in particular was 'Funnyface' ( I will tell her story another
time)Funny belonged to one of our racing clients and they brought her to
stud. She had had an accident as a foal and received a head injury when
she went over backwards. She had superb breeding but they realised that
she would not be able to race They had decide that if she could not be
got in foal they would put her down.As this is a story in its own right,
no more of that here, except to say that she had a wonderful filly foal
Pembridge Juliana, who is a partbred competition horse. Julian triumphed
In his last years Julian, by now on light stud duties spent much of his
time bringing up the young colts. Like all good herd stallions he would
put up with no nonsense from younsters. To keep him company out of
season, his job was to educate the younsters. He rules them and they had
so much respect for him You could watch their behaviour as he taught
them right from wrong He had them drilled like little soldiers. If I
took feed to the field he would not allow any of them to come forward
until I was ready. Although by now too old to be ridden he knew that he
still had a use Even though he must have known, as he was such a wise
horse that the sands of time were running out for him he 'worked' until
One day Brigitt, who had been visiting and was talking to the stallions,
The growth that we had been monitoring in Julian had changed overnight.
He was quite happy so it was still not bothering him. Nevertheless the
change was so marked that I did not even give it a second thought I rang
the vet with a heavy heart.
While we were waiting we took Julian to see all his mares and the young
colts that he was so fond of. It was a lovely sunny day and John and I
were silent savouring our last moments with this horse of a lifetime.
Julian said godbye to us. He knew. we had taken him to his field .in the
sun. His mares were at the fence. His last act on this earth was a final
whinny. He stood there still a proud stallion and bad his mares farewell.
A shot and then silence, When his light went out part of me went with
him. It is still like yesterday. Everyhorse on the stud went silent. The
stallions then started to call and he did not answer. They too then fell
into silence. The old warrior had touched all their lives in one way and
another. It was a while before the atmosphere lifted. It was so heavy
and somber. but life must go on. He was our first Cleveland stallion and
without him we could not have achieved what we have for the breed.
He is buried in his field in Herefordshire, but for us he is buried in
There is so so much more that I could write of him, but he never looked
for anything in the way of glory he just was a horse who enjoyed life
and loved his duties. He carried them out professionally to the end. This
is the only accolade that he could have wanted. Julian we salute you.