This year’s BETA International saw young and talented apprentices and trainees competing for the top awards in the Society of Master Saddlers’ competitions throughout the three days.
Always a major feature of BETA International, the competitions draw a lot of interest, with visitors able to see quality craftsmanship in the making as the students work at their stations in the Saddlery Pavilion.
Once again the prize money was kindly donated by The Worshipful Company of Saddlers with BETA International providing the area for the competition space.
After its success last year, the Society of Master Saddlers once again had entries for one of the classes at its National Saddlery Competition in February, available to view and vote on over the show. This year the class was for a miniature piece of riding or driving equipment with the exhibits drawing a lot of attention.
The apprentices and students taking part on Sunday made a cavesson noseband which had to be completed in six hours.
Competitors who are training at the Saddlery Training Centre and who took part were Corrin King of S. Milner & Son, Leicestershire; Amy Baldwin of The Saddlers’ Den, Merseyside; Lucy Ellis of The Saddle Man, Shropshire and David Taylor of The Kings Troop RHA.
The top award went to Corrin King with Lucy Ellis claiming second place after judges Master Saddlers’ Laura Dempsey and Helen Reader had made their deliberations.
Said Corrin: “I really enjoy coming to BETA International and taking part in the Society of Master Saddlers’ competition. Showcasing our skills is also a very valuable experience.”
Added Laura Dempsey: “As ever the standard was very high across all the entries but the winner just stood out for us on all aspects of the workmanship.”
On the Monday, second year Capel Manor College students included Rachel Lok, Anna Roe, Cathal Dooley and Fred Eastwood who made a pair of plain reins.
The winning award went to Rachel Lok with Jack Callister taking the runner up position. A new opportunity arose this year with the awards on the second day of BETA International presented on the fashion show stage at the end of the afternoon much to everyone’s delight.
Judges Laurence Pearman and Emily White were full of praise for the students’ efforts.
Said Laurence: “We were both delighted to judge at the competition and the attention to detail that went into producing the reins was excellent.”
They were followed on the Tuesday by first year Capel Manor students who showcased their leatherworking talents by making a pair of rein stops.
The students included Signe Dreyer, Andrew Sizer, Jessica Abraham and Grace Willsmer.
Judges Catherine Baker and Lisa Hoskins chose as their winner Grace Willsmer with Signe Dreyer taking the second prize.
Members and officials from The Society of Master Saddlers were on hand in the Saddlery Pavilion throughout BETA International to answer questions and offer advice about the various courses available and benefits of being a member.
Said Hazel Morley of the Society of Master Saddlers: “The competitions at BETA International are a great way to introduce visitors to the skills being taught to our younger generation of craftsmen and women and as ever proved popular with visitors over the three days. We are really proud to be able to showcase our work as a society.”