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BETA International 2016

Wow this week seems to have gone by in a bit of a blur…possibly because I’ve had a stinking cold and have wanted to be curled up under a blanket! On Monday, we had a college trip to BETA international which is a huge equestrian trade fair held once a year at the NEC in Birmingham.

The main reason we went is because, The Society of Master Saddlers put on a competition for students and apprentices and I was one of the students selected to compete. When I woke up at 5:30am on Monday morning to find I had come down with a stinking cold, I’m sure you can sympathise that the last thing I wanted to do was have a long day at a trade show and compete with my fellow classmates. Anyhow I filled myself with cold medication and made my way to college to hop on the minibus to Birmingham (very glad I didn’t have to drive all that way!)

Our task was to make a basic foal slip so we were all perfectly capable but in the atmosphere of BETA with all sorts of people watching it seemed an intimidating task. Nevertheless, we got to work cutting our straps. By now the cold tablets had well and truly kicked in and I was feeling much more alive, so I decided to not put any pressure on myself and just try and enjoy the opportunity. Afterall, it wasn’t that different to a normal day at college other than the fact that we were being watched! I actually started to quite enjoy myself chatting to some interesting people who were walking around the show, some interested in training in Saddlery themselves, and some who just wanted to watch out of curiosity.

As it got towards the end of our time, I was fortunate to be the furthest ahead on making the foal slip. This helped me to stay relaxed in the finishing off process while a few of my competitors where noticeably starting to get a bit stressed. Thankfully we all finished, and the judges took a look while we went off to have some food.

By the time we returned to the Saddlery area, the judges had made their decisions and we gathered for a small presentation. Firstly, we were all given a certificate to recognise are participation. Then the announced the winner…I was overjoyed to hear my name being called! I want to say a big well done to all my fellow competitors who also made some beautiful items!