Solution Saddles, based at Firbeck House, has accepted a highly regarded Queen’s Award for Innovation for its fully-flexible, patented SMART™ sports saddle range.
The firm is just one of 205 organisations in the UK and 15 across the East Midlands to be celebrated for their business successes with a Queen’s Award this year.
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The official presentation was made by the Queen’s representative Elizabeth Fothergill CBE, HM Lord-Lieutenant of Derbyshire, at the Van Dyke Hotel on Thursday, November 25.
The SMART™ saddle is believed to be the only saddle brand to have ever been honoured with a Queen’s Award, and one of only 10 recipients within Derbyshire in the last decade.
Accepting the award, SMART™ saddle designer, Dr Anne Bondi, said: ‘’When my husband and I founded the company in 2006, we had no idea how many good friends we would make along the way.
“But, of course, innovators are not always universally welcomed. Innovation means change, and that is not always a comfortable place for a largely traditional and often rather conservative equine industry.’’
Dr Bondi continued by extending her thanks to everyone present, noting that “you were confident enough in your own successful businesses to see that there was room for us to have our place in the industry too”.
She ended by thanking everyone for joining the celebration of Great British design and manufacturing, saying: “It is a privilege to have your support”.
Founded in 2006, Solution Saddles employs 12 members of staff from around the Bassetlaw area, with over 20 approved saddle fitters supplying the SMART™ saddle range to horse owners across the UK and overseas.
The SMART™ saddle range has entered the largely unchallenged saddle market, and provides horses and riders with a modern solution to their saddle fitting problems.
Managing director, Charlotte Berridge, concluded: ‘’We have been overwhelmed by the positive response from the industry and we will continue to grow the success of the SMART™ saddle range, both in the UK and internationally.’’