Guy Barrett, Saddler

38 High St, Chobham, Surrey

Guy’s story is inspirational. Many children going through school are beset with insurmountable obstacles to academic success. We forget all too often that academia is only one route through to success and a career.

Guy’s mother and father were deeply involved in horses his father was in the Welsh guards and was stationed at Windsor Castle mews. Guy grew up amid equestrian ceremony. He was taken to Smith’s lawn every Sunday to watch the polo. The sight of the King’s Troop lining up in the stables at Windsor waiting to roll the massive, heavy gun carriages out into the night to complete their astounding display at the Royal Windsor horse show is mesmeric, Guy grew up with these sights and sounds of gleaming harness, sparkling brass and silver decoration, the jingle of the bits and the stamping of eager feet on the cobbles. The tension rises.

Sitting on their horses the impeccably dressed cavalrymen move as a man, as if joined by some invisible thread as they roll out of the mews into the night. It brings a lump to the throat, it is all that is British, it is ceremony, and into this was Guy born. He was taught to ride when he was very young and as his mother was secretary to the Englefield Green Pony club he found himself within that equestrian milieu. Unbeknown to him he was dyslexic, a condition not recognized as it is today. He struggled with numeracy and writing and although extremely intelligent was as for so many children overlooked on the road to academia. He rode well and completed one-day events and other equestrian competitions successfully, often with horses other people had discarded. He was a natural athlete going on to complete Triathlons, running, riding, swimming and shooting.

p-exhibitionGuy loved to work with leather and to make things and when he left school he got an opportunity to join Keith Luxford the well-known saddler. He completed his apprenticeship in 1988 and went on to set up a workshop with Chobham Rider, leaving to spend two years to complete his saddle-fitting diploma in Devon. He is a saddle maker and fitter and can make bespoke items specifically designed for purpose. He has a great love of restoration too and is at present restoring a very old side-saddle.

It is easy to think that the academic road is the only one worth taking but that is not true. People have many talents and it is the job of the teachers to recognize the wide range of abilities that children are born with. Guy has worked hard to achieve what he has today. It has not been easy, but he loves his work and he is very good at it and working with leather and solving problems is right up his street.

He has joined up with the museum of the horse to allow a small display of collection to be exhibited in his window.