19.06.17 Peter Dias

Kirsty’s royal seal of approval


A project that began more than two years ago when Kirsty Thomson was nominated by Capel Manor College as one of their star pupils in saddlery and harness making came to an exciting conclusion in April at Windsor Castle Mews. During her time at the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace, Kirsty has produced some first class harnesses that would win her many prizes at Saddlers’ Hall.

As a project to show the skills Kirsty has acquired throughout her time as an apprentice, Kirsty was given the restoration of a ladies’ park phaeton. This carriage was once driven by HM the Queen in 1943. The carriage restoration included making a set of harnesses, to complete the turnout which would be driven by Lady Louise Windsor, with one of Her Majesty’s Fell ponies.

5th April saw the culmination of the project, when the complete turnout was presented to Her Majesty for approval. As can be seen in the photograph Her Majesty was pleased with the outcome, and spoke of her own driving of the carriage in the past.

Kirsty is pictured with HM the Queen, Master Martin Payne, and Steward Mark Broadbent, who is Kirsty’s Trade Specific Qualifier. In the drivers’ seat is Matthew Powers with Phantom, a Fell pony, in harness to complete the turnout.

Everyone was most impressed with the work Kirsty produced, as it combines her harness making skills, together with her newly acquired carriage painting skills. Kirsty comes across as a very happy person who has become totally immersed in the world of horse harnesses and carriage restoration.