The public gets unique insight into the production of an equestrian essential.
Albion’s stand at Badminton welcomed dozens of children wanting to try their hands at flocking saddles.
The highly skilled process of filling saddle panels with wool was just one aspect of saddlery manufacturing which the Walsall company brought to life at the event earlier this month.
“People outside the industry don’t always realise how much goes into making a saddle,” said Albion’s managing director Cath Gordon.
“That’s why we wanted to provide a glimpse behind the scenes of what happens in our factory; how it’s all made in Britain, hand-crafted and not mechanised.”
It was also a good chance for Albion to remind riders about the importance of regular saddle-fit checks and monitoring girth straps for safety, she added.
Families who met saddlers working on the Albion stand also got an insight into a career option which might otherwise not have occurred to them.
“We wanted to engage youngsters and to highlight the many opportunities for them in the trade,” said Cath. “That’s why we took a good age mix of saddlers to Badminton, to make it look accessible to all.”
Saddlers get close to horses
Albion’s saddlers representing the company at Badminton were Stuart Annakin, Paul Smith, Daniel James and Alex Russell. And they had a busy time at the event…
As well as demonstrating and explaining their skills on the stand, they visited the stables to adjust one of William Fox-Pitt’s Albion saddles - then joined the world-famous event rider for a cross-country course walk.
“Our saddlers love getting near the horses they make saddles for,” said Cath. “And they really appreciated how so many people came to the stand to say how much they value their Albion saddles.
“It was reminder to everyone just how important saddlery is – and what specialised skills are involved with making it.”