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.
The apprentices and students taking part made a martingale attachment on the Sunday, a foal slip on the Monday and a head piece on the Tuesday.
On the Sunday competitors included Julia Balfour of Chobham Rider, Peter Robinson of T&C Robinson, Victoria Barnett of Bear House Saddlery and Corrin King of S. Milner & Son.
The winning prize of £150 went to Corrin with Julia claiming the £100 second prize after judges Master Saddlers’ Emily White and Roger Coates had made their deliberations.
Said Corrin: “I am delighted to win, BETA International is a great place to show case your work and I really enjoyed making the running martingale attachment.
Judge Roger Coates added: “All four entries were made to an excellent standard and it really came down to that extra attention to detail.”
On the Monday second year Capel Manor College students included Amy Baldwin, Rebecca Simmons, Lucy Ellis and Samantha Coulman.
Judges Chris Taylor and Louise Palmer, both Master Saddlers, noted the excellent standard across all four entries but the eventual winner was Lucy with Amy taking second place.
Said Lucy: “I never thought for one moment I would win. This is my first time at BETA International and it has been great.”
On the Tuesday, first year Capel Manor College students Katja Noergaard and Naomi Rodgers were joined by Saddlery Training Centre apprentices Kelly Jones and Hannah Mustoe.
The four made a head piece judged by Master Saddlers’ Ian Hastilow and Ian Silman, and the top award went to Naomi with Hannah claiming the runner-up award, a fantastic effort by both students.
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.
The exhibition stand at BETA International also included an area showcasing the President’s Choice class for the Society of Master Saddlers’ National Saddlery Competition. The result will be announced at the Society’s awards evening on February 8 and the entries were based on a bag, case or box suitable for a country pursuit.
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.”
Information about the Society of Master Saddlers can be found on the website: www.mastersaddlers.co.uk or telephone 01449 711642.