WITH ambitious plans to expand into the Far East the team at Cannock-based Black Country Saddles are developing relationships with the China-Britain Business Council to assist them in their efforts.
The export strategy is being carefully worked on and has led to BBC Midlands Today visiting their new premises, interviewing Managing Director Mark Bryan and filming saddles in the various stages of the manufacturing process.
BBC Business Correspondent Peter Plisner and the camera crew were on hand to film and interview both Mark and members of the team who enjoyed the time in the spotlight.
Said Mark: “BBC Midlands wanted to put together a news piece about a specific and specialist business in the region looking to promote their products and services to China.
“We were delighted when they contacted us about coming here to film our work and talk about our plans.
“Being a worldwide business we realise the Chinese market is a sector we need to develop so we contacted the China-Britain Business Council who seem helpful and supportive.
“We are working closely with Chinese Business Advisor Mark Eaton and our relationship-building has included attending a regional Chinese Forum which proved to be an interesting insight into the opportunities and market place. Some facts were re-confirmed, some were new – all helpful – a very good Forum!
“Filming with the BBC Midlands team was an exciting morning and although it proved to be quite nerve-wracking in front of the camera for everyone it was also a great opportunity to showcase the skills of our saddlery team and the growth of the business as a whole.”
A delighted James Painter won the Black Country Saddles Rider of the Year Award at the BSPS Summer Championships.
Shropshire-based James and the 143cm Mountain & Moorland Working Hunter Pony, Willoway Apple Jack, were on great form to wow the judges in the prestigious final at Arena UK, near Grantham.
The Award is one of the highlights of the show, with the presentation taking place during the Saturday Evening Performance when James won a bespoke Black Country Saddle as his prize.
Said James (19): “AJ as we call him at home, is a superstar. He is now 14-years-old and we have a fantastic partnership together.
“I look after AJ and prepare him for shows myself with help from my Mum, Liz and really enjoy going competing. We have had a great season and he is just a fantastic pony.
“Winning a Black Country Saddle is just amazing and a brilliant bonus, I was over the moon to take the award, it was a great evening.
“AJ is very consistent and I really enjoy riding him, we have owned him for five years and this year have qualified for HOYS and also competed at the Royal International Horse Show.”
Qualifiers for the Black Country Saddles Rider of the Year Award took place at shows all over the country with the final open to riders who have been awarded a Best Rider Card in the following classes:
Open Lead Rein and First Ridden, Open Lead Rein Hunter Type, Open Show Ponies, Open Show Hunter Ponies, Open Cradle and Nursery Stakes, Open WHP, Open Intermediate, Open Heritage Lead Rein and First Ridden, Open Heritage Ridden and Open Heritage WHP classes.
At the championship the competition was divided into six categories, with each winner receiving a Black Country Saddles jacket.
The sections were Lead Rein Rider of the Year, nine years and under, 11 years and under, 14 years and under, 17 years and under, and 25 years and under.
The classes and championship were judged using a two-phase system with marks accrued from a freestyle individual show before a second individual show with set movements required.
Picture Caption: James Painter with John Hartley of Black Country Saddles and judge Robert Walker.
BESPOKE saddle manufacturer Black Country Saddles is once again sponsoring the BSPS Rider of the Year Championships.
A bespoke Black Country Saddle will be awarded to the winner of the Rider of the Year and a handmade Show Bridle will be awarded Mini Rider of the Year at the BSPS Summer Championships.
Held at Arena UK, August 20 to 23, the Black Country Saddles Rider of the Year Award is one of the highlights of the show, with the presentation taking place during the Saturday Evening Performance. This year the award will be split into two sections to include a separate Mini Rider section.
Karen Ward of the BSPS said: “We are delighted to once again have the support of Black Country Saddles as the sponsor of the Rider of the Year and Mini Rider of the Year Awards. It is always a wonderful championship with great competition across the sections before the two final champions are chosen.”
Qualifiers are underway at shows all over the country and the final is open to riders who have been awarded a Best Rider Card in the following classes:
Open Lead Rein and First Ridden, Open Lead Rein Hunter Type, Open Cradle Stakes, Open Heritage Lead Rein and First Ridden. Open Show Ponies, Open Show Hunter Ponies, Nursery Stakes, Open WHP, Open Intermediate, Open Heritage Ridden and Open Heritage WHP classes.
At the championship the competition is divided into six categories, with each winner receiving a Black Country Saddles jacket and going forward to the championships.
The Mini Rider of the Year is split into two sections; Lead Rein Rider of the Year and 12 years and under. The Rider of the Year will be split into four sections including 13 years and under, 17 years and under, 21 years and under, and 25 years and under.
The overall Black Country Saddles Mini Rider of the Year 2014 will win a bespoke handmade Show Bridle and the Black Country Saddles Rider of the Year 2014 will win a prestigious Black Country Saddle of their choice made to measure.
The classes and championship will be judged on riding ability, technique and overall showmanship with riders required to perform an individual show.
PARA dressage rider, Izzy Palmer has been in superlative form this year with a host of wins and championships to her name.
Just 13-years-old, Izzy has formed a fantastic partnership with Gregonne Coco Chanel, owned by Alison Duck. Izzy has ridden the talented bay mare for two years, and now 17, Coco is her dream ride.
Competing in Grade lll Para classes, Izzy was born with Cerebral Palsy and is fanatical about riding, giving her both freedom and a ‘buzz’ when competing and training.
Said Mum Caroline: “Izzy and Coco have a fantastic partnership and they have been in brilliant form. We are having a great season and are really enjoying all the competing and training.”
Izzy is sponsored by Black Country Saddles and rides in a Vinici Dressage Saddle which allows her to be close to the horse thanks to its single/mono flap design.
Their winning form started early in the year at the Winter Para Festival of Dressage at Vale View in Leicestershire, when heading the Grade III Para Championship and further wins followed at the Home International at the same venue when claiming the highest placed Junior Grade lll title before they headed the Grade lll Restricted Championship at Hickstead.
Izzy who trains with Angela Weiss, is mentored by Sophie Wells, also a member of the Black Country Saddles team.
Also competing in able bodied classes, Izzy is a member of the BEF Excel Talent Programme and has her sights firmly set on riding at top-level in her chosen sport.
RIDER Kris Brown has always tried to do the best for her team of young dressage horses.
Buying big-moving horses with shoulders and large fronts to match, Kris had often struggled to find saddles that allowed them to move freely and that were soft on their backs.
A chance conversation with a dressage judge led her to buy her first Black Country Saddle and she has never looked back.
Explains Kris: “I was looking for a new saddle for my six-year-old dressage horse Louis Dor and ended up buying a second hand Black Country Saddle after talking to the judge who was selling one!
“When I first bought the saddle I had it checked. The saddle fitter was pleased with the fit of this Adelinda and after I had looked into the wonderful range of Black Country Saddles available I decided to have a new saddle made for one of my other horse’s “D-SIGN”, who is now training with Dan Greenwood.
“He is very short-coupled and is prone to a sore back so it was suggested serge should be used on the panel to make it as comfortable as possible.
“This has been a great success with the serge making a huge difference and the saddle fits him really well. It is wonderful to find everyone associated with Black Country Saddles so passionate about their work and the fit of their saddles.
“As I am long in the leg, I went for the Optima Deluxe model which includes a knee roll which can be placed exactly to the preferred position of the rider and is custom-made for each individual.
“I was so pleased with the saddle for “D-SIGN” that I decided to get one for my other horse, Electron. Now all my horses have their own Black Country Saddle and I couldn’t be more pleased.
“Electron is a big horse and quite a late developer. He is now five-years-old and as he is developing all the time I will keep a careful watch on how the fit of the saddle changes as it may need adjustment over time.
“I am now totally confident that my three horses have saddles that fit well, are comfortable and allow them to move as best as they can in the dressage arena.”
Black Country Saddles recently held a highly successful Open Day for its trade customers at their state-of-the-art premises in Cannock, Staffordshire.
This busy day included a champagne reception and provided the chance for visitors to view the exciting new and significantly updated Black Country Saddles collection.
Newcomers introduced to the range include the Solare, the Tra Li, the Classic Show Saddle, Poppy Show Saddle and the Ballina.
Partners Rob Cullen and John Hartley were on hand to go through questions fielded by clients covering many aspects such as types and qualities of leathers used; design feedback on saddle trees…the amount of interest seeming almost endless.
Black Country Saddles Managing Director, Mark Bryan said: “We had a fantastic turnout and it was great to see both long-established and also new clients throughout the day.
“I was delighted this included road trips from Devon and flight routes from Scotland. That said, it’s no surprise – we’ve had several transatlantic visits from Dealers new and old in the last few weeks alone!
“There was a lot of interest, especially in our new saddles, and the day provided the ideal opportunity to talk with so many members of the Black Country Saddles family.”
LEADING show rider and producer Robert Walker has secured new sponsorship from Staffordshire-based Black Country Saddles.
Well known for their prestigious range of saddles, the Black Country Saddles bespoke collection is made to the highest level of craftsmanship and attention to detail.
Cheshire-based Robert has produced many top show horses over the years, consistently winning major titles at the Royal International Horse Show and Horse of the Year Show.
Robert has a promising team of youngsters to campaign this season, as well as established stars, and has made a great start taking the Cob Championship at Nottinghamshire County Show with the heavy weight, Starry Night.
Success followed at The Royal Windsor Horse Show, with Robert taking the Novice Hunter Championship on Caesar’s Palace and Small Hunter title on Party Time V.
Said Robert: “The Black Country Saddles range is absolutely superb and we are delighted to have them joining our fantastic team of sponsors.
“The team has a wealth of experience and knowledge and we are very impressed with the saddles and are looking forward to riding our Show Hunters, Hacks, Riding Horses and Cobs in them this season.”
Added John Hartley of Black Country Saddles: “Robert is the ultimate showman and recognises the importance saddles play not only in the looks and impression when in the show ring, but also when it comes to allowing horses and ponies to move at their very best.”
Bespoke saddle manufacturer, Black Country Saddles, is delighted to announce they will be sponsoring one of the country’s leading show riders and producers, Jo Bates.
Banbury-based Jo continues to be a major name when it comes to producing show horses with many major wins already under her belt and a lifetime of experience around horses and the show ring. Jo and her daughter Holly run a busy training yard which focuses mainly on showing and dressage.
This season they will be aiming to qualify for key championship shows such as the RIHS in July and HOYS at the end of the season.
The Small Hack, Comberton Corncockle has already won two championships and Jo is delighted with their success and the fit of the new Black Country Classic Show Saddle.
Said Jo: “I am very pleased to have gained the support of Black Country Saddles. The team has many years’ experience when it comes to fitting and making bespoke saddles and their sponsorship is invaluable.
“Image is so important when you are in the show ring, and their saddles really do look the part as well as being a perfect fit for horse and rider. I am very impressed with the saddles and looking forward to riding in them.”
As well as Comberton Corncockle, Jo also has the rides on the Large Hack, Primitive Dazzler, Large Riding Horse, Daldorn Lara’s Theme and Maxi Cob, Colebourne for the season.
Jo had a fantastic Devon County Show qualifying for HOYS with Colebourne and taking the Hack Championship with Comberton Corncockle, the third one in a row.
Whalton Daydream has also been in great form taking the Hack Championship at BSPS to secure their RIHS ticket.
Added John Hartley of Black Country Saddles: “Jo is extremely hard working, produces horses to perfection and we are delighted she has joined the Black Country Saddles team of sponsored riders and producers.”
Well known for their prestigious range of saddles, the Black Country Saddles collection is made to the highest level of craftsmanship and attention to detail.