A wide array of both new and established talent was on show at a national saddlery competition last week (8 February).

The Society of Master Saddlers’ national saddlery competition was held at Saddlers’ Hall, London.

Steven Delaney of Vale Brothers was won the Bruce Emtage memorial plate for best in show. The award was made for Steven’s entry in the open saddle class.

“I am delighted to win the award,” he said. “It is always a great honour to take home a prize at the national competition which gets better and better every year.”

The Side Saddle Association trophy for the best side saddle went to James Adair.

“This is the first side saddle I have ever made,” he said. “I was encouraged by Mark Romain of the Saddlery Training Centre to have a go, so to win is just fantastic.”

The Les Coker Millennium trophy for the best entry by an apprentice was awarded to Kirsty Thomson of The Royal Mews for her driving bridle, which was entered into the open harness class.

Ellie Tomlinson received the Alf Batchelor Memorial Trophy for the best bridlework for her breast girth, which was entered in the intermediate bridle class.

The winning entry of a gun-slip was the work of Master Saddler Catherine Baker, from Wiltshire, which was previewed at BETA International 2016 (24-26 January) in Birmingham.


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“It is wonderful to win at the national competition. A lot of effort and hard work goes into putting forward an entry but a win makes it all worthwhile,” said Catherine.

The awards ceremony was followed by an evening reception.

Society of Master Saddlers’ president, Laura Dempsey, said: “Without the fantastic support of the judges and many volunteers involved an event like this would not be possible.

“Our role continues to be to support our valued membership worldwide and the national competition is very much the highlight of the year.”