A Knutsford farrier is the inaugural Horse Trust Open Farriery Champion.

Gary Darlow, 48, won the contest at Melton Mowbray by accumulating the most points in two shoeing classes — hunter and therapeutic shoeing.

He won a perpetual rose bowl trophy and a cheque for £250.

Gary shoes riding ponies, polo ponies, hunters and Shire horses throughout Cheshire and has competed in farriery competitions throughout his career.

“I’ve learnt more by competing than from anything else. You can get the best people in the world at competitions and you can learn from watching them,” he said.

Gary maintains that shoeing competitions require hard work and a great deal of time and preparation.

“Some of these shoes are very complicated to make, because there are so many different sorts of shoes and you have to practise them all,” he said.

“You have to spend hours before hand practising to reach the standard. Competing at horse shoeing is like any other event — if you don’t practise you won’t get there.”

The Horse Trust, based in Buckinghamshire and founded in 1886, is the largest provider of grant funding for equine welfare in the United Kingdom.

The Trust invests in research programmes, projects and award schemes that further its campaign to raise awareness of horse welfare, science and education.

The Horse Trust’s chief executive, Paul Jepson wrote to Gary Darlow, saying: “I can think of no-one who has demonstrated a more consistently high standard of farriery over many years and you are a worthy champion.”

The Horse Trust website