About Us

Rachel Argo

Photos by Katherine Morgan

Rachael Argo is a Society of Master Saddlers (UK) Qualified Master Saddler and Qualified Saddle Fitter.

Rachael trained as a saddler with SMS Master Saddler Andre Bubear. Andre had trained in the Household Cavalry and later became Master Saddler for the Metropolitan Police in London. Rachael met Andre while working for the ILPH (now World Horse Welfare) at their Scottish Equine Rehabilitation Centre, Belwade Farm. Andre was the Master saddler for the ILPH and his work took him all over the world, to anywhere that horses needed help. Andre worked in some of the worst places and conditions you could find horses and when there he helped set up programs to educate owners and train local people in saddlery techniques and proper use of equipment.

Rachel Argo

Photos by Katherine Morgan

Rachael was head groom at Belwade where she oversaw a yard of up to 100 horses and 8 staff members. During this time she was fortunate to be able to work with some of the best vets, farriers, physiotherapists and orthopaedic surgeons in the UK. Rachael developed a good eye for movement and conformation in a horse and also an appreciation for what we expect from horses and the problems that can arise from these expectations.

In 1999 Rachael was offered the chance to become Andre's apprentice which she jumped at. It had become very apparent to her that many horses were compromised by poorly fitted tack and that many of the horses that found their way to the Rehabilitation Centre need never have been there if they had had properly fitted tack, especially saddles.

During the four year apprenticeship Rachael also attended the Saddlery Training Centre in Salisbury, England where she gained her formal qualifications under the tutelage of SMS Master Saddler Mark Romain. After seven years Rachael was appointed to SMS Master Saddler.

Rachael also rides to a high level and finds that her riding ability helps greatly when assessing horse and rider for a saddle fit. This gives her a better understanding of what is required from the saddle and from the horse. It enables her to pick up on issues that may otherwise go unnoticed and often helps to avoid potential problems for horse and rider.

Fierro

Fierro

Rachael enjoys all aspects of the saddlery trade but especially saddle fitting as no two horse / rider combinations are ever the same.

Rachael has five horses and three dogs at her farm in Nova Scotia and her other passion in life is the Spanish Horse. She is a partner in Dos Companeros Spanish Horses (www.doscompaneros.com) a young stud just starting on their breeding program to produce high quality PRE horses.

Bruce ArgoBruce Argo is a reluctant horseman. Having been married to someone who not only works with horses but has them as a hobby, he has been forced to learn a certain amount about them. He has developed an extremely good eye for a horse and mucks out like a professional. Over many years of observing the horse world, Bruce gained quite an insight into the equestrian industry with all of its' little quirks. He has now become the ' business' brain of Callan Saddlery.

Michaela EisengruberMichaela is now in the third year of her apprenticeship with SMS Master Saddler Rachael Argo. The apprenticeship is a four year program which includes sitting formal exams in the UK in order to become a Society of Master Saddlers Qualified Saddler. Michaela travelled to Salisbury, England last year to sit her bridle work exams. She worked very hard over the two weeks at the Saddlery Training centre (www.saddlerytraining.com) and by the end of her time there had passed her Level 2 and 3 bridle work exams.This qualifies her as a bridle maker which is part of the overall qualification in order to become a SMS Qualified Saddler.

Bridal Plate

Detail on the Breastplate

Callan saddlery has been very fortunate to have the backing of the SMS (UK) (www.mastersaddlers.co.uk) and the Worshipful Company of Saddlers, without whose help, financial and otherwise, Michaela's formal training would not have been possible. Michaela is the first overseas based apprentice to be given the chance to become a Millenium Apprentice with all of the benefits that brings. We hope that there may be a chance for other potential apprentices to have similar opportunities in the future.

Bridal Plate

Spanish Style Breastplate

Michaela has just returned from her second trip to the UK during which time she attended the annual Saddle and Bridle making competition in London. Michaela had entered for the apprentice class with an in hand bridle and she and Rachael had entered the Master and Apprentice class with a combined effort - a breastplate of their own design.

Michaela was able to complete her first hand made saddle on this trip. She will return to the UK once more, hopefully early next year, to sit the rest of her exams and come home as a SMS Qualified saddler.

Conan

Conan

How we got our name - The name Callan is in memory of our first Great Dane. He was named Callanish after the standing stone in the Hebridean Islands, but was always known as Callan. He was a truly exceptional dog and we were privilieged to have known him albeit for only six and a half years. He was a popular sight as he and his friends daisy the Donkey roamed around Belwade farm and many visitors came to see him rather than the horses. We had his nephew 'Conan', as one of our board of executives however, sadly our beloved Conan died in January 2009 at the age of 5. He will be greatly missed. Our newest board member is Wallace (named after William Wallace) who joined us in August 2009 at 10 weeks old.

Wallace

Wallace

Board of Executives