Our Qualified Instructors
At The North American Saddlery School, we work with the best training staff in the business. All highly qualified and dedicated to ensuring world class saddles are bridles are constructed by master craft persons.
Rachael Argo is a Society of Master Saddlers (UK) Master Saddler and Qualified Saddle Fitter. She trained with SMS Master Saddler Andre Bubear who was previously a saddle with the Queen`s Household Cavalry and then Master saddler for the Metropolitan Police`s mounted branch.
Andre and Rachael both worked for the International League for the protection of Horses and it was through the ILPH that Rachael was offered a chance to apprentice with Andre. The ILPH is dedicated to improving Equine Welfare the world over and having safe, comfortable and well fitted tack plays an important part in equine welfare. Saddle fitting is a major issue in welfare and Rachael specialized in this area from early on in her training and this is still the biggest part of her work.
Rachael was head groom at the Scottish Equine Rehabilitation Centre where the team specialized in rehabilitation of all types of equines with all manner of issues. Along with a team of experts, including vets, orthopedic surgeons, farriers and physiotherapists, who visited the farm regularly the small team of grooms were responsible for rehabilitating a variety of injured and feral horses and then rehoming them to approved homes. This gave Rachael a unique insight into equine anatomy and movement and the potential damage that can be done with poorly fitted tack.
Rachael moved to Portugal in 2021 along with her dogs and now owns Callan Saddlery. She fits and sells saddles, repairs all types of leather work and manufactures high quality bridle work and leather items. In her spare time she rides and breeds her Andalusian horses and teaches Classical Dressage
Andrew Hastilow is the Owner of Hastilow & Sons, having been the Senior Master Saddler at Hastilow Competition Saddles where he was the designer and developer of the new saddle lines. He completed his apprenticeship with his father in his Walsall company, then joined the Parkes Group as a Master Saddler. Andrew went to Australia working for a Saddlery Co then returned to join Hastilow team. He has had many wins in the Society of Master Saddlers Saddlery Competition and has been designing and producing saddles for 30 yrs, he is a Master Saddler and a Qualified Saddle Fitter.
Hastilow & Sons was launched on January 19, 2019,and the company has gone from strength to strength. The client base covers the UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand a& Australia. Andrew prides himself on his eye for detail & is continually looking at ways to further develop saddle construction.
He is an avid cricket player with Haslemere Cricket Club for the last 32 years. He is a level two cricket coach for under 21's as well as a qualified Welfare Officer and First Aider. He is married to Karen and they have two sons. Tom is currently studying for a masters degree at Newcastle University & James is currently working with his father in the workshop.
Ian Hastilow is the owner of Hastilow Competition Saddles. He became a Master Saddler after apprenticing with his father. He is currently the Course Co-ordinator for the Society of Master Saddlers teaching and exams, he was President of the Society in 2005 and has been awarded a Freeman of the City of London and Worshipful Company of Saddlers. Ian is an SMS award winner and an apprentice master, as well as being a Qualified Saddle fitter.
He lives in west Wales with his wife, two children and two boxers. He enjoys bell ringing and helps to arrange sessions in his local church.
Annette Gavin is the owner of HCS, USA Saddlery. She is an SMS Qualified Saddle Fitter with over 25 years of experience. Annette is also a certified British Horse Society Instructor (BHSI) and has her Stable Manager Certificate as well (BHS SM). She has experience competing through CCI** eventing, as well as Intermediate dressage.
She lives in the mountains in Pennsylvania with her husband and two cats. She owes three horses Luke who competes dressage, Bridget who competes eventing and Lip who is currently training us. Her hobbies include swimming, cooking and gardening.
Amber Markley is the operations manager at HCS, USA Saddlery and a Society of Master Saddlers Registered and Qualified Saddle Fitter. She is also a Qualified Vet Tech, avid Dressage & Event rider, HCS, USA Saddlery team rider and owner of her own boarding, training, and rehabilitation business, Stoneleigh Equine (stoneleighequine.com). She is seen here competing HCS Raptures Night Breeze one of the young sport horses being brought on by HCS, USA Saddlery.
She lives on her horse farm in Maryland with several horses, dog and cats. She recently began involvement with the Retired Racehorse Project program and has been retraining OTTBs for successful second careers.