Fred Joiner, who ran the Willow Stud in Kent with his wife Pat from 1971, died on Saturday 1st October. As a tribute to Fred, we are reproducing an article written by him which first appeared in the 2009 edition of the Cleveland Bay Magazine. We are most grateful to the Cleveland Bay Horse Society and to Pat Joiner for their kind permission to publish the article on this website.
How I Found Clevelands
As a very very young soldier we were told that our carriage horses were Yorkshire horses. I now relate they could have been Cleveland Bay crosses. I was sent to Weedon in Northamptonshire to the School of Equitation, to learn to ride. Our first lesson was mount and dismount, I was given a big bay horse, I used to put my leathers down 4 or 5 holes so I did not let our section down. After a while the Sgt Major came to ask me why I had to adjust my leathers, I told him because the size of my horse, he then shouted for the saddler and told him to cut my leathers, giving me just two holes for adjustment. Hard luck was his reply. After bumping the saddle for hours, we all had saddle sores as big as 50p pieces, with aid of a shaving brush and a bottle of blue unction we treated each other, we soon got hardened off. On the return to the regiment, I went into the farriers shop. In those days we had two jobs, shoeing and rasping teeth. We had a way of doing the rasping in the proper order by saying; "OUTSIDE, UPSTAIRS, INSIDE, DOWN STAIRS"
Our horses had good sets of molars, as we fed whole oats, broad bran, chaff and a good dollop of cooked Linseed. If whole oats appeared in the horses droppings it meant their teeth needed rasping. Today if you go in any modern feed barn you will have a variety of smells from a kitchen to a chemist.
One day we had a big shock when M.O.D minister Mr Hoare Belisher M.P announced that all horse drawn artillery would be disbanded except K. Battery which King George VI renamed the KINGS TROOP, which are still with us today. When we disbanded all men 5'9" and A.1 would be sent to Colchester cavalry barracks. When we arrived, we were told that 156 mules were on their way from America to France, the French caved in, so they were diverted to England. During this time the stables at Colchester were empty except for the head quarters horses, officer's chargers and riding mounts, the regiment being in a transition period from horse drawn to "pack". We were waiting for the mules and what a day that turned out to be, I was with others, left in the barracks to help the drivers prepare for the arrival of the mules, while others marched to the railway station each armed with two or three head collars and snaffle bits, ready to put on the mules and lead them to the barracks. Strange to say this did not happen, the mules did not like the idea, and very few head collars were put on.
In 1947 I was sent to join the British Liaison unit in Greece as a farrier instructor but that's another story!
After finishing my army service, I worked for a local farrier Mr Sidwell who taught me how to shoe Shires and Brewery horses. It was years later that I came into contact with the Cleveland Bay again; one of our customers was a Lady Farmer from the village of Wye who farmed three farms with Cleveland Bays in all gears, Ploughing etc. "Ask Danny" Every year all the farm workers dressed up all the same in brown coats, breeches, leggings and flat caps, because during the interval at the Wye Beagles horse show, Miss Hudson would parade all her pure and part bred Cleveland Bays and give a talk about the merits of the Cleveland Bay work horses. And the saying goes; "NEVER JUDGE BY OUTWARD APPEARANCE, THE FEATHER MAY FLOAT BUT THE PEARL LIES DEEP."
Pat had changed her job and was doing race horses for a permit trainer in the mean time we bought an unruly naughty Arab Yearling colt who thought he could destroy the human race, after a big discussion with him in no uncertain terms; he came round to our way of thinking. Pat's boss allowed her to keep the colt at the stables as at the time we had nowhere to put him. We had a very successful showing career with him including the south east championship, and many more. There is a saying; "ASK A MARE, TELL A GELDING, DISCUSS IT WITH A COLT" He was the founder of Willow stud with Manningford Hermes, and helped to buy our 35 acre stud, Pat liked the stock that Apollo left behind, at Miss Hudson's stud.
With the help of a Yorkshire lass from Bradford, a good friend of ours, Pat and Marion went to buy a Cleveland colt. They were advised to go and see Miss Kitching and have a chat with her. The two of them came home with Manningford Hermes, Hermes was a very successful sire in Kent. At the age of eleven he was exported to Holland to improve the Oldenburgh, at the government breeding centre in Groningen. We understand he sired five premium stallions. We replaced him with Bantry Bere, who you all know about.
I have enjoyed my time and experiences with the Clevies.
"GOOD HOCKS, FEET AND FEATHER, THE TOP WILL IMPROVE BUT THE BOTTOM NEVER"
After a long wait and wondering why the mules had not arrived, the first we knew of goings on at the railway station was a lot of unusual noises coming from the direction of the town. On going to the gates we saw a 'herd' of mules being driven along the road by the drivers, just like a flock of sheep, the drivers still carrying the head collars and bits. We opened the gates and went into the road and shepherded the animals into the barracks where they ran loose round the buildings and all over the square. It took quite a while to catch and stable the mules but all in all it was good fun and eventually all was back to normal. Then the real fun started when breaking them into a harness, shoeing etc. The farrier had a trying time even with help of twitches, side lines and other devices. I am sure a mule can stand on only one leg and still kick!!! No wonder the French didn't want them. After the war the mules went to the Indian army.
Fred pictured with his wife's
Cleveland Bay stallion Bantry Bere
Pat and Fred Joiner started Willow Stud 40 years ago in 1971. They went on to breed many very successful Cleveland Bays. The late, highly regarded stallion, Bantry Bere stood with Pat and Fred. In addition to Clevelands, Willow Stud is noted for its TBs, Welsh ponies, Arabs and Coloured Warmboods. Fred, whose first association with horses was in the Royal Artillery during World War II, was 88 years old. Until his retirement fifteen years ago, Fred was a much esteemed farrier in east Kent. He was a man steeped in country ways with a love of his horses and dogs. Fred's funeral took place at Barham Crematorium, near Canterbury on Wednesday 19th October. The 150 or so mourners included a number of Cleveland Bay people. In a particular token of respect, Dawn Whiteman's part bred CB, Spring To Glory (by Bantry Bere and ridden by Dawn's daughter Nicola) led the cortege. A few days later Spring won the London and Southeast Pas Seul championship, something that Fred would have felt very proud of. Donations amounting to £450 were made in memory of Fred to Cancer Research and Diabetes UK.