Clare Barnett
Leather Work & Saddlery
The Worshipful Company of Saddlers
Summer | 2013

Clare is a Master saddler and Society of Master saddler’s qualified saddle fitter. Based in the New Forest and on the Hampshire, Wiltshire, Dorset, borders, she runs a successful rural saddlery workshop along with her husband, also a master saddler, and her daughter who joined them as a Millennium apprentice, and has just completed her first year. Clare’s passion is all things side saddle and as a rider she is aware of the shortage of useable original side saddles many of which are 100 years old and the small amount of new side saddles in circulation. Qest has enabled Clare to train with Mr Richard Godden the last remaining Master saddler who worked for Champion and Wilton making side saddles and although he is well into his 70s his desire to impart his knowledge, is only matched, by the desire to learn from his scholars. The Qest programme has put Clare in touch with a huge pool of knowledge from other craft scholars. Without the help from Qest Clare would not have been able to train to make and refurbish side saddles and so would not be able to hand on the knowledge she has gained within their workshop . Qest, has enabled her, along with the other side saddlers involved with Qest ,to be proactive within the trade in the continuation of the development of the new saddles which are badly needed.

At the invitation of Qest Clare attended the Royal Windsor Horse Show to display and demonstrate the making of side saddles, in the Royal Warrant Holders marquee. She has also demonstrated the manufacture of the saddles at many of the grass roots pony club shows and at riding clubs around the area she is helping at side saddle demonstrations within the side saddle association. She has also completed three days working with side saddlers at the national side saddle show at Addington Manor, where the feedback from other saddlers was invaluable. In the future Clare would like to feel that she has been able to pass on the knowledge to prevent this elegant art of riding from dying out and to feel that she has created tomorrows heirlooms today She is honoured to be able to call herself a Qest scholar


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