A POPULAR championship-winning horse killed in a road accident has been described as ‘the horse of a lifetime’ by his owner and breeder.

Imposing Welsh cob Menai Cosmopolitan died when the box lorry he was travelling in left the road on a narrow bridge on the B4329 at Crosswell, near Eglwyswrw, on August 16.

The 13-year-old gelding, which had qualified for the Horse of the Year Show three times and was due to compete there again for a fourth time in October, was owned and bred by Peter Jones at Llandysul and ridden by his son Richard.

It was Richard who was driving the lorry when the accident occurred.

“They were coming down towards the bridge and there was a car coming the other way,” said Mr Jones.

“Richard thought it was stopping and had slowed right down himself but the car then kept coming. He pulled right over but the wheels caught on the low bridge wall and the lorry toppled over the edge.”

By the time the lorry had been recovered, Cosmo had died.

“Both Richard and Tyler, who was travelling with him, were unscathed and we have to be thankful for that. That has been keeping us going for the past few days,” said Mr Jones.

“The loss of such an extremely popular horse that had captured the imagination of so many people is hard to take. I think I have replied to 80 private messages and had something like 750 comments on Facebook. He was Richard's pride and joy and best friend.

“People have turned up at the house with personal messages, flowers and cards.

“Richard started riding him when he was eight and the pair of them fitted together so well. Cosmo kept growing and growing and ended up at 16 hands and was the horse of a lifetime.

“It feels like we have lost one of the family."

In a Facebook posting, Richard, a third year veterinary student at Liverpool University, said he had “lost my best friend.

“From his first hunt show in 2014, to me he never changed: a big boy that gave it all. Four showing seasons saw him qualify to HOYS four times and numerous championships in between.

"It will never be possible to replace such a horse. Thank you all for the support and the messages, calls and support I have received go a long way.”