Talented new saddlers were recognised at the Society of Master Saddlers national saddlery competition held at Saddlers’ Hall in London last month (30 January).
“The standard of craftsmanship throughout was to a very high level and the attention to detail and creative flair on display has been outstanding,” said the Society’s president, Peter Wilkes.
“Without doubt the skills demonstrated improve year on year and we should be proud so much effort is put into the entries.”
One of the most delighted winner’s was Helen Leedham (pictured, top) who won the Bruce Emtage Memorial Plate for Best in Show with her leather horse’s head.
“I wouldn’t like to say how many hours of work it took, as it was a project I developed during spare time and after work but I feel very proud it was awarded best in show,” she said.
The team at Vale Brothers were also celebrating after Steven Delaney won the trade/company saddle category for any design of leather English astride saddle and the open saddle section for any design of saddle suitable for cross-country or showjumping.
Delaney took home the Neil McCarraher trophy for the most attractive and commercially viable saddle in the trade/company section.
The best entry by an apprentice was awarded to Victoria Scott of Hastilow Competition Saddles. She won the Les Coker Millennium trophy for her saddle entered in the trainee saddle class.
Frances Kelly took home the Alf Batchelor Memorial trophy for the best bridlework entry repeating her 2014 performance.
The Side Saddle Association trophy for the best side saddle went to a thrilled Clare Barnett. The award was presented by the Association’s chairman Janet Senior.
One of the most popular classes with over 30 entries was the special open class to produce a rolled dog collar.
“We really did have to look for the finest detail, the standard of craftsmanship was excellent and it was a very close call amongst the top entries,” said judge Wendy Hoggard.
The class was eventually awarded to Helen Reader with Frances Kelly and Tiffany Parkinson in second and third place.