HR Saddlery was established in 2004 by the proprietor Helen Reader at her family’s smallholding just north of Carmarthen, West Wales.
HR Saddlery specialises in producing top quality made to measure bridlework and is frequently invited to make presentation bridles for national competitions such as Olympia and The Royal Windsor Horse Show. This bespoke service allows customers to purchase a bridle that perfectly fits their horse and is produced in a style of their choice.
HR Saddlery’s bridlework is manufactured at their onsite workshop. It is handstitched for added strength and durability using top quality English leather and fittings. All types of bridle, harness and leather work are under taken and a full repairs service is offered. A Saddle and Bridle Fitting service is available, which can be at your premises.
Helen is a member of The Society of Master Saddlers, they are “a craft organisation whose aims are to promote and safeguard the training, qualification and standard of work of those trained saddlers who make and repair saddles, bridles, harness and other leatherwork associated with the horse and rider.”
The Worshipful Company of Saddlers is a not for profit City of London Livery Company; who are committed to Saddlery, Equestrianism and Education. They work closely with The Society of Master Saddlers to champion the craft of saddlery. In 2023 they launched The Equine Fitters Directory to encourage the use of a Registered Qualified Saddlery Fitter. This is an independent and verified directory of saddle, bit, bridle and harness fitters. Providing clear information on equine fitters and courses, so an informed choice can be made to find the most suitable practitioner.
In 2015 Helen was awarded a Queen Elizabeth Scholarship Trust (QEST) Scholarship to undertake further training in the Manufacturer of Side Saddles. In 2020 Helen became a Skills Assessor for QEST, assisting in the application and interview process for new QEST Scholars and Apprentices.
In 2021 Helen was named on the #ialso 100 list of inspirational female entrepreneurs, recognising women who are 'achieving remarkable things and making a huge difference to the world around them'.
- 2023 Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Saddlers
- 2023 Joined The Equine Fitters Directory
- 2021 - 2022 President of The Society of Master Saddlers
- Master Saddler, Master Bridle Maker, Master Harness Maker and Master Saddle Fitter - The only member of the SMS to hold Master status in all four categories.
- Registered Qualified Bridle Fitter - One of the first eight members of the SMS to gain this qualification.
- Over twenty five years experience in the saddlery trade.
- 2016 joined the SMS Executive Committee.
- 2018/2019 part of a small working party to develop the SMS Bridle Fitting & Measuring Qualification along side City & Guilds.
- 2017 appointed a lecturer for the SMS Bridle Fitting Course & 2019 appointed an assessor for the SMS Bridle Fitting & Measuring Qualification.
- 2014 appointed an assessor for the SMS Saddle Fitter Qualification & 2020 appointed a lecturer for the SMS Saddle Fitting Course.
- 2015 appointed a judge for the SMS National Saddlery Competition.
- Millennium Apprenticeship, including three years at Pointings Saddlery, Bath and onsite training at The Saddlery Training Centre in Salisbury.
- Awarded the Worshipful Company of Saddlers Bursary during the Millennium Apprenticeship.
- Four years as the saddler in residence at Pointings Saddlery, Bath.
- Higher National Diploma in Saddlery Technology at Cordwainers College, London.
- Awarded the Undergraduate Bursary, Graduate Bursary and Lorinery Bursary at Cordwainers College, London.
Helen became involved in saddlery through her passion for horses, she has owned and ridden horses for over forty years. Still actively riding and competing Helen is a member of Cardiff & Vale Riding Club. Before specialising in saddlery Helen gained a valuable insight into the equine industry and the saddlery requirements of an international competition/training yard by spending two years as a working pupil at Earlsway Farm Dressage Training Centre, Suffolk.
- British Horse Society Assistant Instructor.
- Diploma in Advanced Equestrian & Business Management awarded at Distinction, at Berkshire College of Agriculture, Maidenhead.
- Awarded the College Bursary at Berkshire College of Agriculture, Maidenhead.
- Pony Club A Test.
- National Unaffiliated Eventing Championships 2022 - 90cm Open Eventing Champion.
- British Riding Club Horse Trials Championships 2019 - 80cm Open Horse Trials Champion.
- British Riding Club National Championships 2018 - 1st Place in Novice Dressage & 1st place in Style Show Jumping.
- British Riding Club FOTH Championships 2015 - 2nd Place in Combined Training.
- British Riding Club National Championships 2013 - 1st Place in Novice Dressage.
- British Riding Club Championships - Individual placings in Dressage, Show Jumping, Combined Training, XC Challenge and Horse Trails from 1996 to present.
- Two years working pupil at International Dressage yard - Earlsway Farm, Suffolk.
- One season working pupil with International Event rider - Simon Laurence, Oxfordshire.
- Team chased for two seasons with ‘Pointing the way’.
- Ridden to hounds with Windsor Forest Bloodhounds.
- 4th in Marriage’s Pony Club Pony of the Year competition at Edenbridge and Oxted Agricultural Show 1994.
- Represented and placed with Wokingham Pony Club at Area level in Prince Philip Cup, Dressage, Show Jumping and Horse Trials.
The Society of Master Saddlers’ National Saddlery Competition is hosted and sponsored by the Worshipful Company of Saddlers. This annual event is open to all society members from apprentices to master saddlers, there are a number of classes covering all aspects of the saddlery trade.
- 2020 1st place in Special Open Class, for a Pair of Pelham Roundings.
- 2015 1st place in Special Open Class, for a Rolled Dog Collar.
- 2012 1st place in Presidents Choice Open class, for ‘a game or toy made from leather’ with a chess board.
- 2008 1st place in Open Bridlework class with an Endurance Bridle and received the Alf Batchelor Memorial Trophy for the Best Bridlework entry.
- 2005 1st place in Open Bridlework class with a London Tan Polo Bridle.
- Premium Awards for excellence of craftsmanship from 1999 - to present.
- 1999 Young Craftsman of the Year Competition, winning both the individual category and the overall title.