“THE BEST SADDLERS IN THE WORLD”

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This year’s Society of Master Saddlers’ (SMS) National Saddlery Competition at Saddlers’ Hall, London was attended by HRH The Princess Royal. 

“The national competition is here thanks to the hard work of the best saddlers in the world; the effort applied, the late evenings, stitching and polishing. That’s what makes it such a success,” declared SMS President Ted Boggis at the start of the evening.  

HRH The Princess Royal presented awards to successful apprentices currently undertaking the Millennium Apprenticeship Scheme, those who had completed their training and also apprentices on the Government Saddlery Apprenticeship Scheme.

She commented that it was a real pleasure to see the quality of the work available in the UK. 

The winning Frank Baines team celebrates being Best in Show.

The awards ceremony was supported by The Worshipful Company of Saddlers, The Worshipful Company of Coach & Coach Harness Makers, Abbey England, SEIB Insurance Brokers, T. Cribb & Sons, H Webber and Osborne Tools and Musto.

Frank Baines Saddlery won the Bruce Emtage Memorial Plate for Best in Show for their entry in the trade saddle class.  

One for the future: Lily Spackman with her awards. 

Another highlight was the presentation of the Saddlers’ Company Trophy and £500 to a trainee or apprentice whose work demonstrates excellence in saddlery skills and knowledge. The winner was a delighted Lily Spackman who’s apprenticed to Sarah Stevens. 

The Lifetime Achievement Award went side saddle specialist, Richard Godden. 

Richard completed his five-year apprenticeship in 1957 after training under his uncle, Les Coker at Champion & Wilton. He worked for four London companies who held the Royal Warrant before starting his own business in Sherborne, Dorset.

In 1995, Mark Romain asked Richard if he would be interested in running side-saddle courses at the Saddlery Training Centre; 25 years later, at the age of 82, he’s still running those courses.

Richard Godden receives his Lifetime Achievement Award from The Princess Royal. 

2020 NATIONAL SADDLERY COMPETITION RESULTS 

Class 1 Master and Apprentice   

A Dog Collar made by the apprentice and Plain Lead made by the Master.  

1st: Sarah Stevens and Lily Spackman

Class 2a Trainees in years 1 & 2

Sponsored by Abbey England 

A Head Collar conforming to Level 2 City and Guilds Skills Assessment specification

1st: Michelle Bogaerdt, Capel Manor College

2nd: Ruby Knights, Capel Manor College

3rd: Katherine Hinchcliffe, Capel Manor College

Class 2b Trainees in years 3 & 4

Show Double Bridle conforming to Level 3 City and Guilds Skills Assessment specification

1st: Lily Spackman, S E S Saddlery and Saddlery Training Centre

2nd: Rudy Llewellyn, Wylye Valley Saddlery

3rd: Rachel Oldfield, Saddlery Training Centre

Class 2c Trainee Harness Class

Sponsored by the Worshipful Company of Coach & Coach Harness Makers

A Breeching Seat conforming to Level 2 City and Guilds Skills Assessment specification

1st: Charlotte Cheesman, Capel Manor College

2nd: Michelle Bogaerdt, Capel Manor College

3rd: Georgina Chapman, Capel Manor College

Class 3a Trainee Saddle (Rural)

2nd prize sponsored by H Webber & Osborne Tools

A Leather Saddle meeting the criteria of C&G Level 2 or 3 Saddle specification

1st: Clair Rivers-Boyden, Saddlery Training Centre

2nd: Rudy Llewellyn, Saddlery Training Centre

3rd: Leah Wright, Saddlery Training Centre

Class 3b Trainee Saddle (Trade)

Any style of Leather Astride Saddle 

1st: Sam Smith, Bliss of London Ltd

Class 4 Intermediate Bridle for those with less than 7 years’ experience

A Five Point Breastplate with Standing Martingale attachment

1st: Becky Simmons

2nd: Kelly Jones

3rd: Amy Baldwin

Class 5 Special Open Class

A pair of Rolled Pelham Roundings 

1st: Helen Reader

2nd: Jeff Barry

3rd: Lynsey Ellis

Class 6 Small Business Saddle Makers

Any design of English Astride leather saddle 

1st: Penny Dickson

2nd: George MacEachran

3rd: Joshua Morris-Siegel

Class 7 Trade / Company Saddle

Any design of leather English Astride Saddle

1st: Frank Baines Saddlery

Class 8: A new class for a Trade / Company Accessory

Leather Girth or Stud Guard

1st: D L F Saddlery Ltd

Class 9: Open Harness - Sponsored by Cribbs Carriage Masters & Funeral Directors

A Breast Collar with Neck Strap

1st: Catrien Coppens

2nd: Chris Taylor, Saddlers Den

3rd: Carolyn Truss

Class 10: Open Bridle – Sponsored by SEIB Insurance Brokers

A Double Bridle with Cavesson Noseband 

1st: Line Hansen

2nd: Isobel Russell

3rd: Coralie Chung

Class 11 Open Saddle

Any design of leather GP Saddle


1st: Lee Jones, Winners Circle

2nd: David Rollinson, Bliss of London Ltd

3rd: Mark Smith, Bliss of London Ltd

Class 12 Open Class 

A Bitless or Hackamore Bridle

Godfrey Morris’s leather lighthouse took a nautical themed President’s Choice award. 

1st: Sorrel Russell

2nd: Kirsty Thomson

3rd: Catherine Baker

Class 13 The President’s Choice 

‘A Leather item with a Nautical Theme’

1st: Godfrey Morris for the lighthouse with the flashing beacon

2nd: Catherine Baker for the Anchor

3rd: Helen Leedham for the ships wheel

COMPETITION TROPHIES

The Neil McCarraher Trophy for the most attractive and commercially viable saddle in Class 7 was awarded to Frank Baines Saddlery. 

The Ken Lyndon Dykes Perpetual Trophy for best entry in the President’s Choice class was awarded to Godfrey Morris for his Lighthouse.

The Tony Byrne Memorial Trophy for the best Harness entry by an Apprentice or Trainee was awarded to Andrew Hawkins for his entry in the open harness class.

The Tony Russell Memorial Trophy for the best harness entry was awarded to Catrien Coppens for her entry in the open harness class.   

The Alf Batchelor Memorial Trophy for the best bridlework entry was awarded to Line Hansen for herentry in the open bridle class.

The Les Coker Millennium Trophy for best entry by a Millennium Apprentice was awarded to Lily Spackman.  

The Bruce Emtage Memorial Plate for Best in Show was awarded to Frank Baines Saddlery for the entry in the trade saddle class.