Following the huge success of its inaugural saddler scholarship last year, Abbey England launched the 2019 award last August.

The winner has now been chosen and we can announce that the Abbey England Saddlery Scholarship apprentice for 2019 is 26-year-old Lucy Cushley. Lucy has won £500 to spend on workshop tools from Abbey England.

Saddlery student Lucy has always been interested in saddlery and tack since she was a small child growing up with horses around and has a true passion for good craftsmanship and working with leather.

She has completed her City & Guilds Level 2 in Saddle, Bridle and Harness Making at Capel Manor College along with a course on flocking and is now working towards her Level 3 Diploma and is also due to start on a lorinery course this year. 

Based in Northern Ireland, she is currently being mentored by Master Saddler, James Adair. Once qualified, her aim is to become a Master Saddler and eventually open a training centre in Ireland and educating people as she works, showing them why buying quality matters and really does make a difference in the long run. In her own words she would like to “bring saddlery back to Ireland”.

Said Lucy: “Saddlery in Ireland is so far behind. We produce some of the best horses in the world and we need great saddlery.”

Being based in Northern Ireland hasn’t made things easy for Lucy. With no bursaries available over there, she has had to make the journey many times over to England where the industry is mainly based, to learn the skills necessary and has taken every opportunity to attend courses and workshops to promote her learning.

She has a true passion for working with leather and enjoys the variety that each leather hide brings, with its own problems and characteristics, just waiting for a skilled craftsperson to bring it into its own..

Receiving her award from Richard Brown of Abbey England at BETA International 2019, Lucy said: “I am truly delighted to win this scholarship from Abbey England and I am very grateful. It can be difficult financially at times so this will make a real difference. It’s also great to establish contact with Abbey as a supplier and my first purchase will be a set of metal loop sticks.”

Said Richard Brown of Abbey England: “The Abbey England Saddlery Scholarship applications have once again been outstanding.It’s great to see so many young saddlers coming into the industry with such enthusiasm and passion and wanting to keep the heritage of high quality British saddlery at the top of its tree.”

“We are thrilled to be able to assist Lucy in her dreams and aspirations to improve the saddle-making industry in Ireland and look forward to watching her achieve her qualifications to enable her to progress in this traditional industry.”

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