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© Andrew Hobbs
© Andrew Hobbs
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© Andrew Hobbs

Kate Hetherington

Kate Hetherington Harness maker
© Andrew Hobbs

The Horse Whisperer

  • • Kate’s craft is at risk of extinction
  • • Collars and harnesses are still used today for processions
  • • She shares her workshop with the master who taught her

If you want to immerse yourself in an idyllic setting, Kate Hetherington's workshop nestled in the greenery of Exmoor National Park is the right place for you. Assuming that you find it: the streets are nameless and it’s easy to lose yourself in the breathtaking views, the countryside exudes natural beauty, expanses of meadows and a few cottages dotted here and there. In one of which John lives, Kate's mentor, who a few years ago offered for her to share his workshop while keeping two different identities; the craftsman who has won over with his horse collars even the most respected of equestrian enthusiasts, Queen Elizabeth II, and Kate who despite her young age is already known and appreciated throughout the country for her leather accessories, ceremonial harnesses and collars.

Read the full interview


  • © All rights reserved
  • © All rights reserved
  • © All rights reserved
  • © All rights reserved
Photo: © All rights reserved
Heavy horse working collar

This traditional English heavy horse working collar was made for a Suffolk Punch horse for farm work and forestry. The collar body is filled with long lengths of rye straw that moulds to the shape of the horses shoulders to ensures comfort and even pressure distribution. It is also flocked and lined with wool. The collar is made using traditional methods of hand stitching, and lacing the straw body into place while using a collar mallet to shape the straw to fit the horse.

Length 66 cm

Photo: © All rights reserved
Country horse collar

This collar was made as part of a set of harnesses for two horses to be used side by side. It is plain brown to compliment the unpainted wooden country style carriage it will be used with for showing and Attelage de Tradition competition. The harnesses are leather with just a small amount of brass showing.

Length 55 cm

Photo: © All rights reserved
Driving harness

The design is typical of harnesses used in the 1800s by private households. This style of patent leather harness was used for town carriages.This harness has been made to measure using all the traditional cutting, stitching and finishing methods used in the period in which carriage horses were the main source of transport. These construction methods remain the best to ensure a premium quality and tailored fit for the harness.

Photo: © All rights reserved
Harness bridle and collar

The bridle is made from Oak Bark tanned English leather, with patent leather blinkers and brow band and brass finishings. The collar is made with a soft leather lining and long rye straw to fill the body, the outside is finished with patent leather to compliment the rest of the harness. It is all done using traditional methods to fit the horse.

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