In six decades of work for the legendary Calcutt & Sons, Ian Compton has overseen some remarkable innovation in saddlery and riding attire
In 1959, I went to work with Joan Calcutt, who had started a second-hand tack business supplying the local riding fraternity. We worked tirelessly seven days a week, expanding the business, which included attending local shows and gymkhanas. At the time of Joan’s death in 1980, we had become one of the largest saddlers and riding outfitters in the country.
The following years were very innovative and productive, and I have been fortunate in employing very talented tradespeople as well as loyal staff, some of whom have been with me for more than 40 years.
Those of my generation will remember that only clipped horses had a jute night rug with an under-blanket, secured by a roller. With the help of a seamstress, we made a heavy canvas New Zealand rug with a gusset over the shoulder and no surcingle – which gave freedom of movement over the shoulder and didn’t slip. They lasted for years, unlike some of the enormous selection of synthetic materials now available.
You can also read this feature in the 27 May issue of Horse & Hound magazine.
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