Helen Reader
Leather Work & Saddlery
The Leathersellers' Company Charitable Trust
Spring | 2015

Born in Berkshire, Helen became involved in saddlery through her passion for horses, she has owned and ridden horses for over thirty years. In 2004 she relocated to Carmarthen in West Wales to set up HR Saddlery. Helen is a Society of Master Saddlers Master Saddler and Harness Maker and Registered Qualified Saddle Fitter. Prior to specialising in the saddlery industry Helen gained a valuable insight into the equestrian industry and saddlery requirements of international eventing and dressage competition/training yards as a working pupil. Helen produces top quality bespoke bridlework, using English leather and hand stitches items for added strength and durability.

Upon realising the need for old side saddles to be restored Helen attended some of courses with Richard Godden, who having worked in the side saddle trade all of his life is now retired but wants to pass his vast knowledge and skills on by teaching. The QEST Scholarship has allowed Helen to attend courses taught by Richard on the art of manufacturing side saddles from new, which is important as there are now so few old side saddles left to restore. The QEST funding has also allowed Helen to attend a course with Rhianwen Rosser, who is a Side Saddle Association Instructor and Judge as well as a seasoned side saddle rider, to learn about the balance of the side saddle on the horse and how it should fit both the horse and the rider to allow comfort and freedom whilst the horse is performing.

Since receiving the QEST Scholarship Helen has attended The Saddlery Training Centre in Salisbury and has started to build a new side saddle. She is due to attend future courses to continue this process. Helen attends many local Pony/Riding/Harness/Breed Clubs and gives talks on saddlery, the process of tanning the hides to produce leather and fitting of saddlery. Since attending the courses in side saddle this has now been included into the talks and generating more interest into the elegant art of riding side saddle. Moving forwards, Helen hopes to be able to pass her knowledge and skills on to future generations of saddlers and help to keep the craft of saddlery alive.