At the heart of Beval is one man's love for horses and his enduring determination for the correct fit. Bev Walter, an occupational therapist and polo player back stateside from the Korean War, began crafting saddles in 1955 in his garage in Bernadsville, New Jersey (along with his business partner Al, hence the name Beval). Saddlery came naturally; it was an extension of the small leather goods shop he'd created overseas to help his fellow servicemen heal. Soon Bev traveled to horse shows to offer on-site repairs and strap goods to competitive equestrians.
At the time, American saddles were fit to the rider with little consideration for the comfort of the horse. Instead, Bev sought high-quality strap goods that were equal parts functional and classically beautiful. The goods he created were tailored to horse and rider without compromising the classic look. Sourcing the world's finest materials directly from England, Bev created the Gladstone line. The Gladstone line set a lasting industry standard with his triple-fit model: fit for the rider, fit for the horse, fit for the job. A signature of the Gladstone saddle was a numbered tree system that accounted for changes in a rider and horse over time by adjusting the saddle, not the horse.
Saddles to follow included the Devon, the World Cup, the LTD, the Short Stirrup, the Natural, the Princeton, and the Stamford; each was customized to accommodate a range of equestrians, from the smallest leadline competitor to the top Hunter and Grand Prix jumper riders. Even today, Beval saddles are virtually unchanged from their original designs and endure as the elegant choice of professionals.
Equipping champion show horses and riders made Beval a niche leader, and this experience informed a new generation of needs-driven innovation. A successful junior rider with an entrepreneurial eye, Bev's son, Mark, witnessed first-hand the invaluable top-of-mind convenience of a saddlery at shows and the limitations of temporary stands. Mark Walter's vision was realized in a fully customized tractor-trailer chockablock with every item a competitor might need.
Though Beval was unique in shifting attention to the horse, they did not abandon the rider. Rather, they cultivated a stylish, comfortable appearance for show rings and hunt fields alike, introducing innovative apparel like the double-vented show coat and stretch breeches. People came to Bernardsville from throughout the East Coast riding community to be outfitted in the most fashionable show attire what came to be known as "the Beval look."
Today Beval Saddlery is known for being a heritage brand among top equestrian athletes and equestrian enthusiasts alike. Beval has a strong reputation in the riding community for premium saddles, horse and rider equipment, riding apparel, stable requisites and equestrian lifestyle products. Beval offers both own branded and third-party product, and is the distribution partner of choice for premium global brands. Our customers can visit Beval in our brick-and-mortar location in Cross River, NY; on our website, and at events across the United States.