Committee Profiles

President: Fred Pilling, Te Kowhai, Hamilton
Phone: 07 829 7032 or Email:

Fred was born in the early 1940’s and from the age of about 12 Fred has been involved with work horses and for the past thirty years been a supporter of the Waikato Heavy Horse Association. 
Fred is also a council member of the Clydesdale Horse Society of New Zealand and a life member of the Shire Horse Society of England. He is a qualified tool maker by trade and has been in the engineering trade for 55 years.
Fred breeds show and work Clydesdale horses and keeps about 12 heavy horses ranging from 6 purebred Clydesdales, 4 Shires and 2 Clydesdale Shire cross horses.
He shows the Clydesdales at all the local shows and some not so local. Ploughing with horses is another of Fred’s interests and will be found travelling all over New Zealand to compete. At home in summer and winter Fred uses a horse to feed out every day.

Vice President: Derrick Thornton, Maungatautari, Cambridge
Phone: 07 827 4701 or Email:

Derrick was born in the early 1940’s, his parents were dairy farmers and like most farms a Clydesdale horse was used for general farm work.
Derrick has spent his whole life with horses, riding to Orini school from the age of 5, a member of the Hamilton Light Horse Club, showing ponies at Gymkhanas and A. & P Shows, travelling all around the Auckland, Waikato & King Country areas. Spending school holidays with the Edwards Bros. Pony Breeders of Tahuna, helping with the breaking in and riding of these at their sales. Hunting with Waikato Hounds and later Maramaru Hunt, 8 years whipping for Maramarua Hunt.
After leaving school in 1958 he spent the next 4 years as an apprentice farrier in Hamilton with Dick Logan qualifying as a Master Farrier. The next 16 years were spent shoeing mainly thoroughbred horses around the Waikato, a move to Te Awamutu and the employment of 4 apprentices. The purchase of 20 acres at Hairini out of Te Awamutu, with his own children now riding ponies, attending pony club, A & P Shows and hunting, this saw him branch into lifestyle farming, milking a small number of cows sending cream to the factory, and rearing pigs on the skim milk. His main income still coming from the shoeing of horses.
After a badly broken leg and being in plaster for months the decision was made to look around for a larger farm, this brought about the purchase of 200 acres at Waerenga North Waikato. The next 19 years were spent milking cows, part owning and training a few thoroughbred hurdle and steeplechase horses, of course these were firstly educated on the hunt field. Some of the better ones, King’s Legend, Braemar, Rip Off, Azastar and Ballybrooke.
Still supplementing his income shoeing horses. He met John Gibberd and family, John worked Clydesdales on his farm in Waerenga, Derrick’s interest in the working horse was renewed and he started using Clydesdales on his farm, feeding out in the winter as they did not make the mess that a tractor did on the steeper country of Waerenga.
In 1995 the Waerenga farm was sold and 32 acres were purchased at Maungatautari with semi retirement in mind, this has never happened, as income was still supplemented with farrier work and Clydesdale numbers increased. Today he enjoys breaking in Clydesdales, ploughing and showing, along with the camaraderie of likewise enthusiasts. Also enjoying the challenge of a problem horse he is always available and willing to assist others with their horses.
Secretary: Deb Garner, Morrinsville
Phone: 07 889 0979 or Email:
Webmaster: Gareth Pryce, Tongaporutu
Phone: 027 2725 644 or Email:

Gareth and wife Jacquie own and operate Blackwood Clydesdale stud at Karapiro. Gareth works as an IT professional in Cambridge and enjoys working, riding, showing, and breeding registered Clydesdales. He can be found at most shows and ploughing matches throughout the Waikato supporting the Waikato Heavy Horse Association. Gareth also enjoys restoring horse drawn vehicles and implements.

Publicity Officer: Michael Kerin, Hamilton
Committee Member: David Wilde, Whatawhata, Hamilton
Phone: 07 829 8778

David began working on a dairy farm as a cadet in 1955 using modern equipment although some was horse drawn equipment converted for the tractor.
In 1958 he spent a season at Rewarewa near Otorohanga. It was a steeper farm where a horse was used for feeding out and carting posts etc. It was a small cart with wooden wheels.
David took over his own property in 1959 as a going concern which included a small tractor which he still has. However, pulling trailer loads of silage and hay across heavy country in winter conditions forced him to realise why his two immediate neighbours used horses for feeding out in winter.
David found an old farmer who had a horse he wasn’t using which he obtained along with harness and sledge and fed out with various other horses for the next 40 years.
The Heavy Horse Association was formed in the late 70’s and David recollects going to a field day on Ben Coopers Property on Kainui Road near Taupiri on the 8th December 1979 and decided to join the association. Having been mainly self taught he found the association a big help as older horsemen gave talks along with demonstrations at field days and you met other people who were keen on horses.
David has been a committee member for some time and can see the value of training field days to help newcomers and those with problem horses. David is always willing to share what knowledge he has gained over the years and always welcome genuine enquiries. David has educated several young horses and finds it rewarding. David am still keen to see the working horse in use as horses still have a place in farming for those who are willing to take the time to use horses in the busy world of today.

Committee Member: Vivian Simmons, Gordonton, Hamilton
Phone: 07 884 7666 or Email:
2011 Waikato Heavy Horse Association, established 1979 to promote and conserve the use of heavy horses in New Zealand.