A PRIZE-winning horse from Tidworth that won 66 awards in 40 ploughing matches, has died.

Ben the 17-year-old dale/shire crossbreed was owned by Geoff Amor for 11 years.

“When I purchased him he had been neglected,” said Mr Amor. “He had just been in a field for two-and-a-half years.”

Mr Amor learned horsemanship, including how to break a horse to saddle, and he built up Ben’s trust.

“The bond between us formed very quickly, which is important with horses,” he said.

Then in 2008, Mr Amor bought a plough and the pair won the first ploughing match they entered.

Together they took part in ploughing competitions across the region, and Ben was unbeaten in the single class of the Southern Counties All England Championship, which he won five times. “He was unbeaten in that field until he died,” said Mr Amor.

They also won the Western Championship five times, and travelled to the Welsh Championship in 2012, where they won decorated harness, and fourth and fifth places.

Ben injured one of his back legs at Christmas and although it got better, he injured it again earlier this year and the decision was made to put him down on May 19.

Mr Amor said: “He was quietly put to sleep in the shade of an oak tree in his field.

“I would like to thank all the horsemen and followers and friends of Ben for their loyal comfort and support.”

Mr Amor said he has received more than 400 letters and cards of condolence following Ben’s death, from all over the country.