Will Redwood ... the Clerking Cowboy
By Rob Courtney
Will Redwood will have been ‘clerking’ in Canterbury for two years come this November and is living his dream.
“Fancy having a job in New Zealand riding your own horse and getting paid for it,” he says.
So apart from assisting his good mate Craig Wiggins at the Canterbury tracks as a clerk of the course what do we know about Will Redwood?
Timaru-educated (Roncalli College) and raised on a Marlborough back block farm, where both parents were ‘horsey’, Redwood spent most of his teenage holidays in Geraldine with ‘horse breaker’ Steve Houston.
He describes hims as a major mentor and the best in this country when it comes to handling a young unbroken horse. Steve Houston is still a horse breaker but now lives in Loburn in North Canterbury.
Three days after graduating from Lincoln University and with a degree in Agricultural Science, Redwood was off to a 20,000 acre cattle ranch in Canada to work as a ‘cowboy’, riding, roping and competing in local rodeos, a job that had been arranged by Houston.
What was meant to be a six month stay turned into three years and all the stock work was done on horseback, an apprenticeship that was to hone the Redwood horse skills to the ‘next level’.
Back in NZ in his early 20s, a stint at Invermay station as a farm shepherd didn’t offer enough horse work for his liking and after three years Redwood moved on to manage Cleardale Station in the Rakaia.
By now he was developing a reputation for his farrier work ‘on the side’ and by the time he hit 30, he was out working on his own.
His connection with Wiggins goes back a long way through the rodeo scene where Wiggins as been a major force in the development of young riders and at ‘board level’.
And Redwood’s arrival at tracks like Addington Raceway has been timely as finding the right people with the right skills is always challenging.
“I got paid for riding my horse in Canada and now in NZ, I’m getting to do it all over again and its great”, he says.
After several broken bones and getting older, the rodeo competitiveness has waned and he is enjoying a new role as a ‘pick up rider’ in the ring.
Married to Pip and with three children under five, Will has moved his family out to a 100 acre farm at Coopers Creek just outside of Oxford.
Such is the demand for his farrier skills that he makes regular excursions to the West Coast and to the far reaches of North Canterbury.
Redwood had not been involved in the NZ racing industry until being taken on to assist Wiggins and he is grateful to people like track manager John Denton for giving him this opportunity.