High levels of skill and craftsmanship will be showcased at BETA International 2018 in the Society of Master Saddlers’ Saddlery Competitions, which will take place on all three days of the show, from 21 to 23 January.
Apprentices and trainees will each go head-to-head in a bid to win a share of the winners' £600 prize fund donated by the Worshipful Company of Saddlers. The competitions will take place in a dedicated area – at the SMS stand, J11.1 – and follow a set format.
This class is open to millennium and saddlery scheme apprentices, who will be required to make a cob-size pair of cheeks with hook studs. Competitors are Lucy Ellis (employed by Andy Wheals, The Saddle Man), Rachel Lok (Nutwell Saddlery), Rebecca Simmons (Pegaso Saddlery & Leatherwork) and Corrin King (S Milner & Son).
This class is open to second-year students at Capel Manor College, who will be required to make a raised brow band. Competitors are Satsuki Ishizuka, Chloe Rutherford, Vicki Andersen and Megan Webb.
This class is open to first-year students at Capel Manor College, who will be required to make an item that is revealed on the day. Competitors are Gudrun-Kirstine Gadegaard Thuesen, Zoe Hurst, Bibiane Droog and Tara Griffin.
The President's Choice class of the society's National Saddlery Competition, with its theme of Boys’ Toys, will also be on display during BETA International and open to judging by trade fair visitors.
Members of the Society of Master Saddlers can claim three CPD points for attending the show and obtaining sign-off at the SMS stand.
“The Society of Master Saddlers' competitions have been an important part of the trade fair for many years,” said BETA International organiser Claire Thomas. “Our visitors always make a beeline for the competition benches to see the precise, intricate work of these saddlers in training and there is a definite frisson of excitement in the halls as we wait to discover who has won. We wish all the competitors the very best of luck.”