Society of Master Saddlers' Competition
Skill and craftsmanship were put on display at BETA International 2018, where talented young apprentices and trainees went head-to-head in the Society of Master Saddlers' competitions in a bid to share the winners' £600 prize fund donated by the Worshipful Company of Saddlers.
Competitions ran on each of the show's three days. On Sunday, the challenge to make a cob-size pair of cheeks with hook studs within six hours was won by Lucy Ellis, of Andy Wheals the Saddleman, Shropshire, beating Rachel Lok, of Nutwell Saddlery, Exmouth, into second place. Both are in training at the Saddlery Training Centre.
Monday's competition saw second-year Capel Manor College students tasked with making a raised brow band. The award went to Megan Webb, with Chloe Rutherford as runner-up. On Tuesday, first-year Capel Manor students showcased their leatherworking talent by making an Irish martingale. The winner was Tara Griffin, with Gudrun-Kirstine Gadegaard Thuesen in second place.
“The Society of Master Saddlers' competitions have been an important part of the trade fair for many years,” said BETA International organiser Claire Thomas. “Visitors always enjoy watching the precise, intricate work of these saddlers in training and we would like to commend them all for taking part and extend our congratulations to the winners. I am sure they will all go far in their chosen careers.”
Hazel Morley, of the Society of Master Saddlers, added: “Every year, the competition at BETA International just gets better, with the standards rising all the time. It really brings out the best in the apprentices and trainees, and shows that we have the best saddlery training facilities in the world.”