GO NORTH: Gary Begley is in the Northern Territory to meet its Education Minister Peter Chandler at Parliament House as part of a mission to pass on saddle-making skills to students in the outback. Photo: BRIAN WOOD 060915saddle2A saddle maker from Bathurst is gearing up to share his trade with teachers in the Northern Territory so they can return to the classrooms and pass on the craft to their students.
Kelso’s Gary Begley runs Saddlery Australia, which incorporates Burrum River Saddlery School, and clearly loves what he does for a living.
In fact, “Begs”, as he likes to be called, will visit Parliament House in Darwin tomorrow as part of a new venture with its government.
The visit will see him pass on his skills to seven teachers, who will then return to their local rural and remote communities armed with the knowledge and equipment to teach high school students to make their own saddles, bridles and reins.
Mr Begley said he had pre-prepared kits with all the leather already cut for each of the students to make their own saddle as part of their school agricultural studies.
“It’s all about teaching the teachers so they can teach the kids,” he said. “Our first meeting to kick things off will be with the Northern Territory’s Education Minister Peter Chandler at Parliament House in Darwin. We’ll be in town for about three days before returning back to Bathurst.
“Saddlery is a lost art these days, so this will really help pass on the knowledge we have. The kids can take ownership of the saddle they make, knowing that when it’s finished, it will be their pride and joy.
“They really want to do a good job because they will be riding their own horse in that very same saddle and showing it off to all their mates.”
Mr Begley said he had plenty of travel coming up as he and wife Lesley take their whip and saddle-making schools to the outback.
“We off to Dimensions in Leather Expo again in Brisbane in July and after that we will drive to Longreach in August to run a saddlery school at the Stockman’s Hall of Fame. This will be our second year there,” he said.
“After that it’s off across the Barclay region in the Northern Territory to the Three Ways and down to Alice Springs where we will meet up the seven trainers from four different schools in the NT as a follow up to the meeting with the minister.”
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