‘I’ll never have another like him’: third HOYS worker win for untouchable Welsh stallion

  • For the third time in his career, the Welsh section D stallion Gwerniago Gethin (Derek) led the Thor Atkinson Steel Fabrications Ltd. M&M 143cm working hunter pony of the year championship under his owner/rider Ashley Bird at the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS). 

    The 14-year-old, who is by Gwerniago Brenin, won the same accolade in both 2016 and 2017, finishing reserve in the championship on both occasions.

    “That was amazing, I loved it and so did Derek,” said Ashley, who rode his ‘horse of a lifetime’ Derek to win this year’s 143cm final and finish reserve champion at the Royal International in July. “I would like that HOYS championship win now!”

    Ashley bought Derek as a three-year-old from Birmingham.

    “He was a bit rough and ready, and he was cheap; he cost me about £400,” Ashley said. “I had planned to show him in the flat classes but he never grew big enough, so I decided to see if he jumps and the rest is history. He loves it and he jumps like a stag.”

    Derek was just a six-year-old when he first won HOYS. He has also finished second here.

    “He missed a year of competition due to a broken hoof so to come back and win this again is pretty good going,” said Ashley. “I don’t think I’ll ever get another pony like him again. I have his brother at home, though I don’t know if he’ll quite live up to Derek.

    “At home Derek can be a nightmare and he’s a bit of a pain, but when he comes to a show his mindset shifts and he gives me his all.”

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