HRH The Princess Royal was the guest of honour at this year’s prestigious Society of Master Saddlers’ National Saddlery Competition awards at Saddlers’ Hall, London.
As Master of the Worshipful Company of Saddlers, HRH The Princess Royal presented awards to the successful apprentices currently undertaking the Millennium Apprenticeship Scheme, those who had completed their training and also apprentices on the Saddlery Apprenticeship Scheme.
HRH The Princess Royal then handed over to the Prime Warden, John Robinson to present the competition awards.
Said John: “All that is good in British saddlery is here in the Hall tonight and I am also excited as I am an entrant as well, although I didn’t win!”
Added Society of Master Saddlers’ Vice President, Sue Norton: “The event gives us the opportunity to showcase the saddlery available today. The world of saddlery is very much alive and kicking.”
Gratefully supported by The Worshipful Company of Saddlers, Abbey England, Osborne Tools, Cribbs Carriage Masters, Patrick Burns and Musto, the competition awards ceremony was followed by an evening reception which attracted many of the leading names from the saddlery and equestrian world.
Following a host of awards throughout the evening Catrien Coppens of The Royal Mews was the delighted winner of the Bruce Emtage Memorial Plate for Best in Show. The award was made for her miniature set of harness.
Said Catrien: “I am delighted to win the award. It is always a great honour to take home a prize at the national competition. I have had the idea to make a miniature set of harness for a long time and this year the opportunity was ripe for having a go. There are 15 stitches to the inch but the many hours of work are so worthwhile when you are announced as the winner.”
The Les Coker Millennium Trophy for the Best Entry by an Apprentice was awarded to Kirsty Thomson of The Royal Mews for her harness breeching entered in the open harness class.
While Karley Brown took home the Alf Batchelor Memorial Trophy, for the best bridlework for her entry in the open bridle class.
The Side Saddle Association Trophy for the best side saddle went to a delighted Susan Slade, while The President’s Choice class, with the subject ‘any leather item with an aviation theme’ was awarded to Tiffany Parkinson for her Red Fokker. The theme was chosen by the President of The Society of Master Saddlers’ Ken Lyndon-Dykes who is well known for his passion for the world of aviation.
During the awards evening a Society of Master Saddlers’ Fellowship was awarded to a delighted Laurence Pearman.
Said Society of Master Saddlers’ Chief Executive Hazel Morley during the presentation: “This goes to a man who has saddlery running through his veins. He is one of only a handful of people who have served as President on two occasions, in 2004 and 2012.
“Laurence is a Liveryman of the Saddlers’ Company, Chairman of the South West Region of the SMS and gives up his time to sit on many committees to help develop saddlery and saddle fitting.
“He is a great supporter of the apprenticeships having trained many of them over the years. He regularly lectures and assesses for the Society’s saddle fitting course as well as assisting with the saddlery skill assessments and flocking qualification.”