‘A visionary’: farewell to renowned to saddle-fitter

  • Ken Lyndon-Dykes, the former president of the Society of Master Saddlers died on 28 February, aged 81, following a short illness.

    Born in York, Mr Lyndon-Dykes started flying, aged 16, and pursued his passion for aviation. Horses had always been a part of his life and early in his working life, he ran a trekking centre in Wales, then went on to work in publishing.

    In 1972, he was involved in a life-changing plane crash during the British Air Race. He was told he would be in a wheelchair for the rest of his life, but he recovered and went into the saddlery industry. He also returned to riding and competed at national and international level in eventing with John Of Gaunt.

    He started Kent Leather Distributors, which began in saddle mail-order. The business grew and he owned a chain of 56 outlets. He later sold it and set up the Kent-based company Saddleworld.

    Mr Lyndon-Dykes was passionate about improving standards of saddle design and became renowned for his work and skills. He believed a correctly fitting saddle was fundamental to the wellbeing and success of the horse and rider. He supported many saddle-fitters in their careers and in the 1990s, was one of the course leaders for the Society of Master Saddlers saddle-fitting qualification.

    He published a number of books on saddle fitting and in 2015 won the British Equestrian Trade Association lifetime achievement award for his contribution to the equestrian industry. He was a long-term supporter of the Society of Master Saddlers and held the role of president in 2016/17.

    Mr Lyndon-Dykes’ son Andrew said his father “managed to fit so many lifetimes into one lifetime”, describing him as “extraordinary”. A spokesman for the Society of Master Saddlers said Mr Lyndon-Dykes was a “visionary” in the saddlery industry.

    He is survived by his sister Janet and niece Victoria, his son Andrew and daughter-in-law Michelle, and grandchildren Rachel, Daniel and Ross.

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