Country News

Kevin Collins is a champion competitor

By Jamieson Salter

Kevin Collins has taken out a number of titles at this year's Royal Melbourne Show's Horses in Action competition.

Mr Collins won the Champion Light Delivery Horse category with a four-year-old Clydesdale cross thoroughbred named William.

In addition, he won Milkman's Turnout in a Traditional Vehicle, the Evening Harness Parade and Champion Single Turnout.

Mr Collins purchased the horse 18 months ago and broke him in himself.

Mr Collins said his competitors usually sent their horses to John Patterson in Melbourne to have them broken in.

“I'm a fencing contractor by trade but I help a lot of people break in horses, you only get out of them what you put in,” he said.

Mr Collins enjoys a challenge and often picks horses no-one else would.

“I know what to look for in a horse, how to treat them and get the best out of them,” he said.

An illness had looked as though it might prevent Mr Collins from attending the show, but his daughter put his name down and he was happy to have made it.

Mr Collins’ father owned a riding school in Kialla about 52 years ago and a young Kevin attended Pony Club events with his brother.

From there a passion was born and Mr Collins has now been competing for 25 years.

He names his horses after famous historical figures, including Winston who is named after Winston Churchill, and Mandela named after Nelson Mandela.

Tired of sending the work of experts back for alterations or modifications, Mr Collins said he decided to learn how to make the carts he uses in competition himself.

“I start with a set of springs, an axle and then I buy the wheels.

“You start from there, just like a builder,” he said.

“My son does the blacksmithing.''

Mr Collins will compete at the Whittlesea Show on Saturday, November 2 and the Sydney Royal Easter Show next year.