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Exciting Saddlery Competition

SIX of the country's leading saddlers fought it out at BETA International 2004 to secure top honours in a new competition.

The saddlers vied for a prize fund of £3,000 in the initiative organised by the Society of Master Saddlers (SMS).

Entrants included Jeremy Rudge of Jeremy Rudge Saddlery, Robert Deavall of The English Riding Saddle Company, Patrick Keane of Hunter Saddlery, John Hammond of Jabez Cliff and Co Ltd, Martin Gulliver of Woodseaves Saddlery and Andrew Hastilow of Hastilow Competition Saddles.

And the winner was Patrick Keane - who in a gesture of great team spirit that surrounded the whole competition shared the prize fund with his fellow competitors.

Said Patrick: "It has been fantastic and well beyond our expectations. Throughout the show people have come up to us to ask questions, many staying for more than an hour.

"This has been a great opportunity to promote the trade and everyone competing has worked so hard and had great fun."

Andrew Hastilow added: "We have all enjoyed every single minute of it, the camaraderie has been wonderful."

Whilst brother Ian Hastilow commented: "The competition has been a breath of fresh air and there is only one winner - the British saddle making industry, which has made a big statement. This is the start of something very exciting."

Richard Brown, President of the Society of Master Saddlers said: "We are very lucky in this country to still have the wealth of experience and skill in the art of making saddles and I hope that this competition will help to encourage more people to take up the trade and keep UK saddle production strong."

The judges were Frank Baines, Frances Kelly and Nathaniel Underwood, all highly regarded in the saddle making industry.

Sponsors included J&E Sedgwick of Walsall, Pittards Plc of Leeds, Joseph Clayton and Sons Ltd of Chesterfield, Abbey Saddlery of Walsall, Lariot Equestrian Supplies of Walsall, Abbey Saddlery, Fiebing Company of Milwaukee, Grangers International


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