A LINWOOD saddle fitter has spoken of her joy after she was recognised at the first UK Equestrian Business Awards.

The aim of the awards is to raise the profile of businesses relating to horse ownership and horse riding and reward them for their hard work and achievements.

Laura Nickel, of Amayzing Saddlery, was named as UK Saddle Fitter of the Year.

The business was started by Laura in 2007 when she returned from her saddlery training at Walsall College of Technology.

Laura told The Gazette: “My clients put me forward for the award and I was then told I was a finalist.

“They interviewed the final four, including myself, and I was picked as the winner, which is lovely.

“There aren’t very many saddle fitters in Scotland and there are only around 10 people who hold the qualifications that I hold, so to win and to get that recognition for something I’m really passionate about was really nice.

“Everything has been really difficult and I didn’t expect it at all. 

“I trained to be a saddler down in Walsall when I was 18 and I then became a saddle fitter when I came home at around 20.

“Our college course was actually shut down because people didn’t think it was relevant, despite it being one of the top-performing courses in the country for it.

“You can achieve saddle fitting on your own but it is very hard – you really need to have someone to overlook it. I had to do it on my own.”

Laura said the Covid-19 pandemic has been hard for the business and there can still be challenges with stock.