Championing the Craft of Saddlery

Backing a successful Modern Industry

The Saddlery trade – unlike that of many other of the medieval craft guilds – flourishes still. The Company supports the pursuit of excellence in its traditional craft and underwrites the work of the Society of Master Saddlers. Corporate funds subsidise the trade supporting activities of the Society, including its competition at the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) fair each spring, and provide the British Equestrian Federation with prizes for equestrian competitions in the form of saddles and bridles, as well as vouchers, which can be redeemed for items of saddlery at retail members of the Society of Master Saddlers.

In 1984 a Saddlery Skills Assessment and Qualification Scheme was initiated by the Company in conjunction with the City & Guilds of London Institute and the Society of Master Saddlers with four levels of attainment – Basic, Intermediate, Advanced and Supervisory. The National Register of Qualified Saddlers is maintained at Saddlers’ Hall.

In 1999 the Company launched The Millennium Apprenticeship Scheme, using the Saddlery Skills Assessments as quality control measures, to promote work-based training to the highest standards.

In 2019 the Saddlers collaborated with others across the sector to introduce a Level 2 Leather Manufacturer and Level 3 Bespoke Saddlers Apprenticeships Standard.

The Court delegates responsibility for saddlery matters to the Trade Liaison Committee which meets twice a year to review the Company’s involvement in, and support for, its trade. The Trade Liaison Committee, primarily working through the Saddlery Steering Group, is responsible for the administration of the income of the Apprenticing Charity so as to maximise  support for the training and qualification programmes of British saddlers, much of which is carried out by working with the City & Guilds of London Institute and the Society of Master Saddlers.

Involvement with the saddlery trade is reinforced by the presence within the Company of a number of distinguished members of the trade. The National Saddlery Competition is hosted at Saddlers’ Hall, the spiritual home of saddlery, each year.