Jen came to the saddlery industry as a mature student at 35 having worked for 10 years in the health service. Saddlery started as a hobby attending courses with David May in Penrith but quickly became her career of choice. This necessitated a few years in London at Capel Manor College gaining a HND in Saddlery Technology followed by a job with Bill Amberg working on architectural leatherwork. On returning to her native Scotland she set up in business and has been providing leather and saddlery repairs plus bespoke bridlework, and harness to the communities of Fife and Angus but extending into the rest of Scotland and abroad. Jen is a Master Saddler, Master Harness Maker and Master Bridle Maker, SMS Registered Qualified Bridle Fitter and LANTRA Horse Bit Fit Accredited Consultant and as such is now building up the bit and bridle fitting consultation part of her business.
Jen is a new edition to the team of Lecturers and Assessors having just recently started as a lecturer/assessor on the Qualified Bridle Fitting Course. She is enjoying being involved in the planning aspects of the course and is looking forward to meeting the course attendees and sharing knowledge with them.
Her main passion has always been bridle fitting with her dissertation at college being on that very subject. She finds the research that is ongoing into bridles fascinating in what it is finding out about pressure points and their relation to horse biomechanics. In studying for the bridle fitting and bit fitting exams Jen started to question a lot of her long held beliefs regarding horse behaviour and training and her interest in horse welfare and social license to use horses has grown immensely as a result. She does believe it is possible to find a happy balance between riding or driving horses and ensuring their welfare but recognises that the entire industry needs to do some difficult thinking in order to achieve this.
One of Jen’s greatest achievements is the first saddle that she ever made, she has ridden in it and it was used on a relative’s pony for many years. After that, she began to believe more in what she could achieve.