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National Saddlery Competition 2024

National Saddlery Competition 2024

On Tuesday 6th February 2024, I attended The Society of Master Saddlers‘ National Saddlery Competition 2024, hosted by The Worshipful Company of Saddlers at Saddlers Hall in London.

Saddlers Hall Building
Saddlers Hall, Gutter Lane in London.

Previously I attended in 2020 where I surprisingly won the Trainee Saddle class. You can read all about that day here.

My Competition Entries

This year, I entered a pony show bridle, and a dog collar and lead.

Unfortunately, three weeks into January I became really poorly with what I can only describe as the worst flu EVER. It knocked me off my feet for a good two weeks with another week of getting better but feeling so weak.

In order to receive an invite to the awards presentation evening, you HAVE to enter something into the competition.

Luckily my bridle was about 90% done by the time I became unwell and so I knew I could get that finished and send it in for the 31st January deadline.

However, I did rush to complete it and I wasn’t 100% happy with the final result. Those of you that know me personally, know I’m a bit of a perfectionist and this can hamper my progress sometimes but for competition items, this is a good trait to have.

Having said that, I sent it anyway, along with a very quickly handmade plain collar and lead (I rustled up the day before I needed to send my parcel), as I really wanted to attend the presentation and any submission would get me that ticket.

Arriving in London

My husband and I arrived in London early as we wanted to go visit some sights and have a spot of lunch before the evening event.

Thankfully the rain held off but it was REALLY windy, so much so that a lot of the hire bikes you see in the city were on their side.

View from Millennium Bridge
View of the Thames from The Millennium Bridge

Saddlers Hall

Early evening, we made our way to Saddler Hall, where we were able to view all the competition entries and mingle with everyone else.

Despite fewer entries this year, unlike in previous years, the quality of the entries was still AMAZING.

Both of my entries looked very inferior to the others in the same class. You can tell that I have a very long way to go before my skills are anywhere near that of other Qualified and Master Saddlers.

Dog Collar & Lead

Plain Black Leather Dog Collar and Lead
My dog collar and lead entry

I won’t dwell on my dog collar and lead entry (Class 12), it didn’t win a prize or an award. It is plain, well made and fit for purpose but it wasn’t as exquisite as the other entries.

You can really tell that lots of effort has been put into all of them (except mine of course).

Selection of leather dog collar and leads
Class 12 – Any Design of Leather Dog Collar, or Harness and Lead
Leather Dog Collar, Harness and Lead
More entries of Class 12

Not all is lost, as our Weimaraner, Lincoln, is now the new owner of my dog collar and lead and he doesn’t care if it’s plain, padded or rolled. He’s gorgeous whatever he wears.

Dog wearing a leather collar and lead
Lincoln showing he’s got all the style.

Pony Show Bridle

My bridle entry looked lovely hung up amongst the other eight entries. To the untrained eye it didn’t stand out as an inferior piece at all. I was quite proud of myself seeing it there with the others.

Nevertheless to the judges, who know where something could have been better, it was not quite up to scratch and I expected that.

Pony Show Bridle with Ribbon Browband
Here she is hanging out with the Master Bridles

In my defence, those who won a 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th place are EXTREMELY skilled Master Saddlers. Hence, I am up there playing with the BIG boys and girls and this class is well known for being hugely popular and very difficult to win.

A selection of pony show bridles
Class 9 – The Show Pony Snaffle Bridle entries
More Show Pony Bridles
More entries from Class 9


After the presentation we all mingle together and catch up with old friends and meet new ones. It’s such a wonderful experience, any Saddler will benefit from attending this evening.

Following my appointment onto the Executive Committee Board, it was also a great opportunity to meet my fellow committee members face to face again, as I missed the last meeting due to being poorly.

Other National Saddlery Competition Entries

Below are some more pictures of the National Saddlery Competition 2024 entries, that I took. Sadly my phone camera is cracked so some of them are a little out of focus.

Additionally, there are some much nicer pictures available on the SMS’ Facebook page, you can view.

Headcollar and Foal Slip
Master & Apprentice Class
Leather Snaffle Bridle
2a -Trainee Bridle work (L2) – Snaffle Bridle
Leather Inhand Bridles
2b -Trainee Bridle work (L3) – In hand Stallion Show Bridle
Leather Harness Crupper and docks
2c -Trainee Harness – A Crupper and Dock
British Made Saddles
3a -Trainee Saddle (Rural)
Leather Breastplates
Plain Traditional Hunting Breastplate with Martingale Attachment
A large selection of Clincher Link Browbands displayed at the National Saddlery Competition
Straight Clincher Link Browband
Handmade British Saddles
Small Business Saddle Makers Class
British made leather saddle
Any Design English Astride Leather Saddle (Trade/Company Entry only)
British Made Side Saddles
Side Saddle Class
Handmade Leather Work displaying at the National Saddlery Competition 2024
The Presidents Choice – ‘Useful, Bright and Beautiful’
Handmade leatherwork displayed at the  National Saddlery Competition 2024
Presidents Choice (continued)

The Results

Finally, if you are curious to see who won, then you will be able to see a full list of names pictures taken during the night on the Society of Master Saddlers’ website HERE.

You never know, your local Qualified SMS Saddler, may have received an award.

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