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20th February, 2018.

Discounts are available to companies planning to exhibit at BETA International 2019. But hurry – the deadline to book and secure the saving is next Friday (2 March).

BETA International organisers have a discount plan for exhibitors who book by next Friday (2 March) for next year's show.

The package adds up to significant savings. Early booking can ensure preferred stand locations are available when allocation begins too.

Exhibitors can save themselves a total of 7.5% net on the cost of their stand space by using the combined early commitment and prompt payment schemes. (Terms and conditions apply.)

In order to qualify:
• Space must be booked by 2 March
• Deposits must be paid by 21 September, and,
• Full payment made by 9 November.

Eligible exhibitors will receive their discounts in the form of a rebate payment made during March 2019.

BETA International 2019 takes place at the NEC, Birmingham, on Sunday to Tuesday, 20 - 22 January.

To find out more about exhibiting, contact James Palmer, tel +44 (0)1937 582111, email or visit

• See a full report and pictures from BETA International 2018 in ETN February issue.


19th February, 2018.

Colleagues and friends will gather this Friday (23 February) to celebrate the life of the respected and popular saddle fitter Janet Wilkes, of Just Saddles, who died last month.

A ceremony of celebration for Janet Wilkes (nee Blackburn) will be held on Friday at 4pm at Charnock Richard Crematorium near Preston, Lancashire (PR7 5JP).

The service will be followed by a send-off party for Janet at the nearby Park Hall Hotel (PR7 5LP).

Everyone who knew Janet is invited to join her husband Peter Wilkes, managing director of Vale Brothers, to celebrate Janet’s life. Janet was diagnosed with aggressive thymic cancer in November 2017.

The party begins at 5pm with a buffet from 6.30pm. The bar will be open. The dress code is “colourful preferred” and smart or casual as desired.

Both venues are just off the M6, junctions 27 (south) and 28 (north), near Charnock Richard services.

No flowers, but donations can be made to


19th February, 2018.

Half of all business meetings are “completely pointless”, according to new research.

Long suffering British employees each sit through 9,776 meetings in a working lifetime.

However, over half of these get-togethers are deemed “completely pointless” and “utterly useless”, a survey by Deliveroo for Business has revealed.

One in ten of the employees questioned in the study admitted to nodding off during a meeting at some point in their life.

And in a bid to get through the tedium, attendees munch through 10,753 sandwiches, 19,552 chocolate biscuits and drink 15,642 cups of tea during their careers, the poll of 2,000 full time employees found.

More worryingly for managers, 26% of workers said they don’t listen to a word that’s said - while 27% spend the meeting thinking about what they’ll have for dinner and one in five admit they text their other half to get through the boredom.

Four in ten said they like it when their diary is packed full of meetings as it gets them out of doing any ‘proper’ work.

But six in ten moaned that meetings just create more unnecessary work.

So what can managers do to make meetings more attractive? 85% of those polled said they’re much more likely to be enthusiastic about meetings if good quality food and drink is laid on.


19th February, 2018.

After riding 50 winners on the flat, this former jockey begins a new career in Thoroughbred nutrition.

Former flat jockey Charlotte Mitchell has joined Spillers as Thoroughbred nutritionist for the east of the UK.

Charlotte rode professionally for 11 years, piloting 50 winners from around 1,000 rides in the UK and UAE.

Before this she graduated in equine science from Hartpury College and worked in racing and stud yards.

Charlotte has re-homed and retrained two ex-racers – one of whom she rode on the track. One horse is now eventing and the other show jumping and showing.

Charlotte also shows a spotted British miniature horse.

“I can't wait to start helping trainers and studs with their Thoroughbred nutrition needs,” she said.


13th February, 2018.

William Fox-Pitt and Wocket Woy are supporting a new rider safety campaign. Manufacturers and retailers can get involved too.

BETA Safety Week is set to highlight to riders the importance of correctly fitted, fastened and up-to-standard safety gear.

It runs from 28 April to 6 May and will be supported by event rider William Fox-Pitt and jockeys Mattie Batchelor and Marc Goldstein, aka Wocket Woy & The Pwoducer.

The Pony Club and British Eventing (BE) are also backing the campaign launched by the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) this week.

Retailers are encouraged to participate in the new, annual, awareness-raising initiative by helping to promote its safety message. Some BETA member manufacturers have already committed their support to the week with more expected to follow.

BETA retail members taking part will receive free information packs, window decals, posters and social media graphics to help highlight the week.

A list of participating stores will be uploaded to the trade association’s website.

BETA will highlight the initiative with a media campaign featuring competitions and safety equipment-related advice and information.

BETA Safety Week will also be publicised in equestrian consumer titles, both print and digital.

“We are extremely pleased to launch BETA Safety Week as part of a drive to flag up the need for fit-for-purpose safety clothing and equipment,” said trade association executive director Claire Williams.

“Although there are other safety awareness-raising initiatives in existence, there is nothing that really stresses the importance of a riding hat or body protector's provenance, fit, correct fastening or appropriate safety standards.

“With the help of its members, BETA is perfectly placed to do this and we will be using our combined expert knowledge and resources to drive home the message to riders.”


12th February, 2018.

The trade is being urged to support young British competitors when they take on some of the world’s best Western riders in Texas this summer.

The UK arm of the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) is to send a team to the US to compete at the AQHA Youth World Cup in July.

The 2018 running of the biennial event takes place in Bryan, Texas, with 18 different countries represented.

Many of the British team members - who hail from Devon, Aberdeen, North Wales and Sussex - are already national champions in their sport. And they hope the equestrian trade will get behind them in their bid for international titles.

The seven strong squad will compete on borrowed horses that they have just five days to get to know. Adults accompanying the team are not allowed to ride or even lunge the horses.

The AQHA Youth World Cup includes Western horsemanship classes, reining (FEI sport), cutting, ranch riding, showmanship, hunter under saddle, hunt seat equitation and trail.

“Team members have been fundraising since February last year, however not being an Olympic sport severely restricts our access to funds from the main national funding agencies so we are seeking as much help as possible via sponsorship,” said Sandra Loder of AQHA UK.

“We’re urgently in need of good quality team uniform, helmets, riding and leisure wear.

“It’s vital we send a Team GB of young people proud to represent their country and [hope they will be] well supported by British brands getting fantastic international exposure.”

Offers of sponsorship should go to or visit


12th February, 2018.

A former retail manager is now covering the south for a Shropshire based stable yard equipment supplier.

JFC Agri has appointed Matthew Rosenberg as area sales manager for the south.

Matthew has spent 15 years in the agricultural and equine retail sector. Before joining agricultural and equestrian equipment manufacturer JFC, he worked for Countrywide as central manager in its Taunton branch.

Matthew is married with a young family. He enjoys football, cycling and photography. Matthew’s family has a love for animals and over the years have taken on a number of rescue cases. They currently have two rescue dogs.


8th February, 2018.

The celebrity and shopping event is to run over three days this autumn.

Your Horse Live will be a three day show when it takes place at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire on Friday to Sunday - 9, 10 and 11 November.

In previous years the event has spanned two days over a weekend.

Traders taking stands at the new look, three day Your Horse Live will be charged for half a day extra. “In effect, we’re giving away half a day free,” said Emma Bedford of organiser Bauer Media.

“And as a gesture of loyalty to everyone who has [taken a stand] before, there will be no rate increase for 2018.”

On the Friday, Your Horse Live’s BETA-sponsored main arena will see a change to discipline specific masterclasses, reverting to the usual celebrity performances for the Saturday and Sunday.

“The Friday will be a day of learning,” said Emma. “The trainers behind the stars is the theme - we’ll have demonstrations by experts in show jumping, dressage, eventing and showing.”

Your Horse Live’s second arena and stage area will run their regular programmes across all three days.

Bauer Media states the attendance figure for last year’s Your Horse Live as 24,000 over the two days. It clearly hopes Friday’s new format will appeal to a slightly different sector to deliver new visitors rather than dilute existing ones over the three days.


5th February, 2018.

The editor’s chair at Your Horse magazine has a new incumbent.

Aimi Clark is the new editor of Your Horse magazine.

She joined publisher Bauer Media from Time Inc, where she was a section editor at Horse & Hound and before that assistant editor of Eventing.

Aimi is from a horsey family who until recently had point-to-pointers in training at their farm in Devon. She owns a semi-retired ex-racer called Bee with whom she enjoys hacking, fun rides and riding club activities.

Once a keen grassroots event rider, these days Aimi’s mostly watching from the sidelines or acting as groom and lorry driver for her sister. She gets her personal competitive fix through rowing and cycling.

“I’ve joined a great team at Your Horse and we’re already in talks about my ideas for both the magazine and online — so watch this space!”


5th February, 2018.

Nadia Leal, the best performing equine and companion animal health adviser in professional exams, wins The Battles Cup.

SQPs achieving the highest scores in AMTRA examinations were applauded at the recent AHDA (Animal Health Distributors Association) awards dinner in Birmingham.

SQPs are suitably qualified persons deemed legally competent to prescribe and supply certain animal medicines including horse wormers and pet flea treatments.

Having claimed the highest scores in professional examinations over hundreds of their peers across the UK, the winners have been named as Robyn Brown of Moles Country Stores in Billingshurst, Nadia Leal of the Animal Medicine Chest at Flagg Court Pharmacy in South Shields, and Emma Woolgar of Pets at Home.

Collecting the Simon Fleet Cup and a cheque for £300, Robyn Brown was the top all-species SQP. She is stock supervisor at the Billingshurst branch of Moles Country Stores in West Sussex.

This year’s Battles Cup and a cheque for £150 went to Nadia Leal as the winner of the best equine and companion-animal SQP award.

Prior to becoming an SQP, Nadia worked with horses for eight years in a trekking centre. She has owned her own pony for nearly 15 years.

It was when she became medicine counter assistant while working in Flagg Court pharmacy that Nadia began studying to become an SQP. Having qualified, she provides advice on flea and worming treatments for cats and dogs, and wormers for horses, selling and advising on appropriate products.

“I wanted to become an SQP so I could get a better understanding of animal medicines myself, as well as being able to help other people,” said Nadia.

She was presented with her award by Stephen Neale of sponsors Battles.

“We are delighted to recognise the achievements of these three outstanding students. It is testament to their dedication and hard work and really reflects the commitment that we see across of all of the SQP students on our courses, as well as the businesses that support them.” said Stephen Dawson, secretary general of AMTRA, the animal medicines training and regulatory body.

“They join almost 7,000 SQPs working across the equine, farming and companion animal sectors. These qualified professionals offer free and impartial advice on issues such as resistance, responsible use of wormers and other medicines, and general animal health and welfare.

“Through their professional advice on responsible use, SQPs support industry-wide efforts to keep animal medicines effective into the future,” he added.

• ETN runs regular AMTRA accredited features and quizzes (worming and nutrition modules) to help SQPs earn the CPD points they need to maintain their qualification. The next feature and quiz appears in ETN March issue.


5th February, 2018.

A Devon based apprentice saddler is the first recipient under the new scheme.

Rachel Lok has been chosen as the winner of the new Abbey England Saddlery Scholarship.

She collected her prize - £500 worth of workshop tools – during BETA International last month.

Rachel had her first taste of saddlery during a week long course with Master Saddler David May.

She went on to complete the two year Cordwainers Diploma at Capel Manor College where she achieved her City and Guilds Level 1 and all three Level 2 qualifications. She passed the bridle exam with a broken arm in a cast.

“Saddlery brings together my passion for horses, my creativity and my enjoyment of crafts,” said Rachel who also competes in saddlery competitions.

While at Capel Manor College, she received a Premium Award at the Society of Master Saddlers’ (SMS) National Competition and took first prize at BETA International last year in the SMS competitions.

Rachel also won a Worshipful Company of Coachmakers and Coach Harness Makers’ harness bridle competition. The winning bridle with its Chinese design, influenced by her father’s heritage, has been loaned to the Saddlers’ Company and is displayed at Saddlers Hall.

“The Abbey England Saddlery Scholarship applications have been outstanding,” said Richard Brown of Abbey England. “It’s wonderful to see so many young and up and coming saddlers breathing new life into the industry.”

Rachel is currently an apprentice at Nutwell Saddlery in Lympstone, Devon. In addition to her apprenticeship programme, which will see her take the Level 3 City and Guilds exams, Rachel is completing the Advanced Scheme at the Saddlery Training Centre in Salisbury under Master Saddler Mark Romain. Her goal is to become a Master Saddler.

Five runners-up for the Abbey England Saddlery Scholarship each won a piece of leather from the Clayton Leather Group. They are Amanda Steen, Meg Webb, Lucy Ellis, Rebecca Duglan and Tom Blachford.


5th February, 2018.

A company that supplies flavours for use in equine feeds, supplements and treats is accredited under the BETA NOPS scheme.

Nutriad has become one of the first companies to see its equine feed flavourings accredited under the BETA NOPS scheme.

The Yorkshire based firm’s new Taste-EQ range includes apple, mint, herbs and garlic flavours.

BETA NOPS is designed to reduce the risk of Naturally Occurring Prohibited Substances (NOPS) in equine feed. Competition riders are urged to look for the scheme’s logo to ensure they buy compliant products.

“Whatever [a manufacturer’s] equine palatability requirements - be they liquid or dry feeds, supplements, treats, high fibre feeds, concentrates or balancers - Nutriad has NOPS accredited solutions,” said a spokesman.


29th January, 2018.

Significant savings are on offer to companies planning to exhibit at BETA International 2019. But don’t delay…

BETA International organisers have a discount plan for exhibitors who book early for next year’s show.

But companies need to act soon. The booking deadline is 2 March to take advantage.

Exhibitors can save themselves a total of 7.5% net on the cost of their stand space by using the combined early commitment and prompt payment schemes. (Terms and conditions apply.)

In order to qualify:
• Space must be booked by 2 March
• Deposits must be paid by 21 September, and
• Full payment made by 9 November.

Eligible exhibitors will receive their discounts in the form of a rebate payment made during March 2019.

BETA International 2019 takes place at the NEC, Birmingham, on Sunday to Tuesday, 20 - 22 January.

To find out more about exhibiting, contact James Palmer, tel +44 (0)1937 582111, email or visit

• See a full report and pictures from BETA International 2018 in ETN February issue.


29th January, 2018.

Top saddlers of the future displayed their skills during the three-day BETA International trade fair last week.

BETA International provided space within its Saddlery Pavilion for apprentices’ and trainees’ competitions run by the Society of Master Saddlers (SMS). Prize money was donated by The Worshipful Company of Saddlers.

“Every year the competition at BETA International just gets better and better, with the standards rising all the time,” said Hazel Morley of SMS. “It’s a great opportunity to provide a fabulous shop window for apprentices and trainees.

On Sunday, the show’s first day, competitors from the Saddlery Training Centre made a cob size pair of cheeks with hook studs, to be completed in six hours.

They were Corrin King of S. Milner & Son, Leicestershire; Lucy Ellis of Andy Wheals The Saddle Man, Shropshire; Rachel Lok of Nutwell Saddlery, Exmouth and Rebecca Simmons of Pegaso Saddlery and Leatherwork, Buckingham.

The top award went to Lucy Ellis with Rachel Lok claiming second place. The judges were Master Saddlers Catherine Baker and Emily White.

On the Monday, second year Capel Manor College students included Satsuki Ishizuka, Chloe Rutherford, Vicki Andersen and Megan Webb who made a raised brow band.

Judges Laurence Pearman and Chris Taylor chose Megan Webb as their winner with Chloe Rutherford as runner-up.

Tuesday, the final day of BETA International, saw first year Capel Manor students make Irish martingales. They were judged by Catherine Baker and Helen Reader who selected Tara Griffin’s entry as their winner with Gudrun-Kirstine Gadegaard Thuesen taking second place.


29th January, 2018.

Retailers and riders were among those rewarded for their outstanding contributions to the equestrian industry during an awards ceremony and glittering gala dinner.

The industry turned out in style to celebrate and reward the winners of the 2018 BETA Business Awards, which were announced during the British Equestrian Trade Association's annual Gala Dinner, at the National Motorcycle Museum, near Birmingham, on Monday 22 January.

These coveted awards were presented to companies and individuals considered to have made outstanding contributions to the trade.

The evening began with a champagne reception before guests sat down to dinner. This was followed by a disco courtesy of Keratex Hoofcare and snap-happy fun in a party photo booth.

A raffle raised £1,568 for the Riding for the Disabled Association (RDA).

“The BETA Business Awards, as always, are fiercely contended, with the spirit of competition running extremely high,” said the trade association’s executive director, Claire Williams. “We had an exceptionally strong field of finalists and deciding on the ultimate winners was never going to be easy. However, after much consideration by our independent judges and an exhaustive selection process, we are extremely pleased to have found some incredibly worthy winners and our congratulations go to them all.”

The winners of the 2018 BETA Business Awards are...

Winner: Charlotte Bilbie, Tower Farm Saddlers, Rugby, Warwickshire
This award recognises the employee showing initiative, excellence in customer service, product knowledge and commitment to professional retailing. It is intended for shop-floor employees only, not managers, and nominations were invited from employers or sales representatives. The finalists were interviewed to determine the winner, who received a cash prize of £200, with BETA training vouchers going to her employer.

One of the judges said of the winner: “Charlotte came across as a knowledgeable, well-informed, dedicated and focused member of the team. I would be delighted if she were a member of my staff.”

Winner: Patrick Robertson, Allen & Page
This award rewards excellence in product and customer knowledge. Retailer nominations were followed by votes and an interview with the finalists.

After interviewing Patrick, a judge said: “His enthusiasm for our industry, the people and the horses in it echoed clearly throughout his conversation, as did his passion to help his clients and support his products.”

This award rewards the company that best embraces social media and uses it to powerful effect throughout its marketing strategy. It is divided into two categories – those who spend 15 hours or less a week on social media activity and those who spend more than 15 hours on it. The judging panel considered application presentation, innovation and use, originality of content, compelling nature of presence, interaction with audience and accuracy and engagement of information

15 Hours and Under
Winner: Simple System Horse Feeds
Judges felt the company had a well-balanced approach to its social media, with lots of original content and some sound advice, sparking plenty of conversation and engagement. The brand had clearly built up a strong reputation on social media for providing nutritional information that could be trusted.

Over 15 Hours
Winner: Horseware Products
Judges liked the use of stunning imagery throughout the brand's extensive and very active social media platforms. There was great use of video, with films ranging from short documentaries on up and coming riders to those on manufacturing with some really cheeky clips of considerable mass appeal.

Winner: Shires Equestrian Products
This award goes to the manufacturer, wholesaler or distributor judged to offer the best in delivery, customer service, product knowledge and awareness of retailers’ requirements. Nominations from both retailers and suppliers themselves were accepted. Judging of shortlisted companies was followed by a retail members’ vote. One nominator said of the winner: “Shires has wonderful old-fashioned values, including honesty and helpfulness!” A voting retailer added: “Without question, Shires is the most reliable and professional supplier that we deal with. Year in, year out, they give exceptional service, keep us abreast of any changes and rectify any issues very quickly.”

Winner: Bramham International Horse Trials
This accolade acknowledges the event at which tradestands are present that best works with its exhibitors and takes their needs and requirements fully into consideration, and views its tradestands as an integral part of its success.

A trade nominator said: said of Bramham International Horse Trials: “They are ultra-professional in all aspects. It would make our life so much easier if more organisers could be as diligent and understanding of tradestands as those at Bramham.”

This award, for tack shops and feed merchants, is divided into two categories – Equestrian Retail Store and Online/Mail Order Retailer. The award received nominations from more than 1,000 individuals for over 150 companies. The final decision is based on the number of nominations, mystery shop visits and incognito calls.

Equestrian Retail Store
Winner: Houghton Country – Heddon-on-the-Wall, Northumberland
Runner-up: Westleigh's Saddlery & Country Clothing – Ramsden Bellhouse, Essex
One of the nominators described the winner as having “a fantastic selection, very helpful staff, a fabulous new store and website – it's horse heaven!” A judge said: “It was the best store in terms of being modern, clean and bright, with good parking. Staff were approachable, understood my needs and pitched at the right level. Service was overall very professional and yet still personal.”

Online/Mail Order Retailer
Winner: Feedmark
Runner-up: Houghton Country
“The staff are so knowledgeable and helpful, and always provide solid advice ,” said one Feedmark nominator. Judges added: “We liked the well-designed and uncluttered site, which made it easy to find relevant information, select products and order. There was good communication throughout the order process and refunds were fast and efficient.”

Winner: TopSpec Equine
This accolade goes to the company that offers exemplary service in nutritional advice to customers, both trade and retail. Customer nominations – a record number this year – were followed by incognito telephone calls.

Judges said of the winner: “They took time to listen and reply, and provided clear advice, with a good level of detail that was simply outstanding.”

Winner: Dengie Crops
This award is presented to the company that has achieved sustained increases in export activity over a period of three years.

A judge said: “Dengie's attention to detail in planning its export development was impressive. It focuses time and resources to identify key partners and works to foster support and grow them and their markets. It also cleverly invests in its export staff in the UK to ensure their knowledge and skills equip them to develop the market, a fact that is clearly revealed in its impressive growth in export sales.”

This award acknowledges sponsored riders who make the greatest contribution to the trade and is presented to those who have participated fully in building a relationship with their sponsor to yield good results for both. It is divided into two categories – Amateur Rider, to reward those who do not make a living from their competitive riding, and Professional.

Amateur Rider
Winner: Georgie Wood
Nominator Simple System Horse Feeds said: “Georgie is much more than a sponsored rider – she truly believes in our feeding system and was using it long before our partnership began. We enjoy working together to improve the company, the trade and sport. Georgie is a dedicated member of the equestrian industry and we are proud to work with her.”

Professional Rider
Winner: William Fox-Pitt
Nominator Musto said: “William goes above and beyond expectations in everything he does. His open manner and friendly personality make it easy to communicate what Musto needs and helps to enhance and develop our products, brand and the industry. He is a true spokesman for the sport and the trade.”

Winner: Malcolm Ainge
Malcolm is the founder of Shires Equestrian Products and retailer own brand Bridleway Equestrian. His love of horse and all things equestrian is a life-long passion and something that strongly influenced his career path. He hunted until recently and, in addition to being master of the Clifton-on-Teme Hunt, he has also served as chairman and treasurer.

Malcolm started Shires Equestrian from humble beginning, taking a £200 loan to buy stock that he sold at cattle markets and racecourses. As the years went by, this tiny business grew to manufacture its own products, employ staff and move into large premises. Today, the business is a major player on the world stage, with a huge base in Leominster, Herefordshire, and its own factory in China, and distribution centres in Ireland and North America.

Shires Equestrian has become just what Malcolm wanted – a trusted household brand that makes horse riding accessible to all. It's still a family business, too, employing Malcolm's son Stuart, daughter Louise and nephew Marcus Cridland. In fact, Stuart and Marcus took over as joint managing directors at the start of 2017, with Malcolm handing over the reins to become chairman, a role that sees him still travelling to the Shires offices and visiting overseas customers.

His concern for the environment and the impact our industry has on it led to Malcolm’s involvement with the World Wildlife Fund. He backs the organisation's Ganges leather project alongside retail giants such as Tesco, Next and John Lewis. Together, supporters of this crucial initiative seek to raise awareness among leather buyers around the world of the negative impact that the Indian tanning industry has on the River Ganges.


29th January, 2018.

A Hertfordshire retailer is to appear in ETN after winning our prize draw at BETA International.

Hill View Farm Shop will receive £1,000s worth of stock and feature in a Retailer Profile in an upcoming issue of ETN.

The store, based at Kneesworth, near Royston, Hertfordshire, was first out of the hat in a prize draw held on the ETN stand at last week’s BETA International.

“A big thank you goes to all our advertisers and BETA International exhibitors who donated prizes,” said ETN advertisement manager Nicki Lewis.


15th January, 2018.

Hidden treasures abound at BETA International 2018 which opens at the NEC, Birmingham on Sunday (21 January) for three days. And there’s still time to get your free tickets.

• Everyone’s favourite event rider William Fox-Pitt and television personality Amanda Owen - the Yorkshire Shepherdess, appear in the Charles Owen Hub on Monday 22 January talking about their lives and careers.

• ITV newscaster Alastair Stewart hosts Talking Business. BETA International’s live industry forum returns with a new panel of big names from our trade, equestrian sports and commerce. Expect lively debate and enthusiastic audience participation on Sunday 21 January.

• BETA International’s organisers are laying on after-hours drinks and nibbles for everyone on Sunday, 21 January from 6 – 8pm. Glasses of bubbly, soft drinks and canapés will be served at the fashion show stage. No pressure, and no booking required!

• Training Tuesday (23 January) delivers seminars on worming, merchandising, consumer rights, safety equipment, customer service, saddle fitting, bitting and more. Attendance is free, there’s no need to pre-book or leave the exhibition halls. SQPs, saddle fitters and hat and body protectors can earn CPD points too.

• Find out which companies’ products have won BETA International 2018 Innovation Awards, sponsored by ETN. Presentations take place on Sunday, 21 January with everyone invited.

• New products are displayed in the Shires New Product Gallery, along free with information leaflets.

• Famed for its striking choreography and foot-tapping soundtracks, the Equithème Fashion Show happens three times on Sunday and Monday, and twice on the Tuesday. Everyone’s welcome to take a seat and enjoy.

• More than 280 different companies will exhibit at BETA International 2018, including 76 from outside the UK.

• Many exhibitors run show-only offers, discounts and promotions. See the January issue of ETN for full details.

• Admission is free on pre-registration at


15th January, 2018.

A new general manager joined Horslyx brand owner Caltech last month.

Fiona Nellis came to Horslyx from Dodson & Horrell where she was area business manager for the north.

Prior to this she was the brand manager for CEVA Animal Health on the poultry and swine team.

Based in North Yorkshire, Fiona lives on a mixed farm with husband James. Her three children have left home to work across the globe or study at university. She’s now kept busy with three horses and two dogs.

Fiona enjoys the country life and partakes in hunting, shooting and fishing. She’s also involved in British Eventing through her daughter.


15th January, 2018.

The shortlist has been announced for the Weatherbeeta Retail Employee of the Year, one of a series of 2018 BETA Business Awards.

The accolade recognises shop staff who go the extra mile to serve their customers.

The winner will be named during the BETA Gala Dinner and Business Awards next Monday (22 January) in Birmingham.

This year’s finalists are:

Charlotte Bilbie – Tower Farm Saddlers, Rugby, Warwickshire
Lisa Wilsher – The Ark, Fulbourn, Cambridgeshire
Claire Limburn – Hampshire Saddlery, Botley

There may still be tickets available for the BETA Gala Dinner. For details, tel 01937 587062 or email


15th January, 2018.

Upcoming European environmental legislation means outdoor clothing brands are starting to change the way they manufacture waterproofs, it’s been claimed.

And the upshot is that new jackets won't perform as well as older ones, warns re-proofing specialist Storm.

The wash-in product supplier says new legislation will ban the use of the perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) currently used to apply a high-performance Durable Water Repellent (DWR) finish to clothing and gear.

Although eco-friendly replacement DWR ingredients are available, they are proving less effective than PFC-based treatments, adds Storm. So garments’ performance can be reduced once they start becoming masked with dirt and oil from regular use.


8th January, 2018.

Deals available only at the show will see store owners and online retailers flocking to the NEC, Birmingham on 21 – 23 January. Yes, in under a fortnight, BETA International opens. There’s still time to pre-register for your free admission.

New products, new promotions and new ideas will be on show at BETA International this month.

This year (21 – 23 January), the organisers have plenty new going on too.

• Visitors and exhibitors are invited to free after-show drinks on Sunday, 21st January from 6pm to 8pm. There’s no need to book, just arrive at the Fashion Show stage for glasses of bubbly, soft drinks, canapés and networking. Find out more here

• BETA International 2018 has celebrity appearances, the Talking Business public forum and a full-on Fashion Show. Check out the show timetable here

• Training Tuesday (23 January) is new for business owners and their staff to glean commercial advice and earn CPD points. Free coach travel is available on this day from Exeter and Carlisle with pick-up and drop-off points en route. Book your seat here

• Discounts and deals can be found throughout the show, along with new products. Whet your appetite with the January issue of ETN or click here for special show-only offers

• Admission to BETA International 2018 is free on pre-registration. There’s still time. Do it today, here


8th January, 2018.

It’s business as usual at the rug-maker as it comes under fresh European ownership.

Irish horse rug manufacturer Bucas Ltd has been acquired by German company Albert Kerbl GmbH.

Ulf Casselbrant is to stay on as Bucas’ managing director with other staff remaining in their roles.

“Bucas rugs will continue to be made in the same way in Cork, Ireland and in our factory in Shanghai, China,” said a spokesman

Zebra Products is the rug brand’s UK distributor. “We’re looking forward to what the future will bring as part of the Kerbl group,” said Simon Middleton, managing director. “I’m sure all of our retailers will feel the benefit.”

Buchbach based Kerbl is among Germany’s foremost equestrian suppliers and manufacturers. Best known for stable and grooming equipment, Kerbl will also exhibit Covalliero clothing at BETA International 2018.


8th January, 2018.

Finalists for the SEIB Retailer of the Year have been named. The awards will be presented at the BETA Gala Dinner on Monday, 22 January – tickets are still available.

Thousands of consumers have nominated their favourite equestrian retailers for national accolades.

The SEIB Retailer of the Year, judged in two categories (store and online), is one of a series of 2018 BETA Business Awards.

The winners will be announced during the BETA Gala Dinner at the National Motorcycle Museum adjacent to the NEC, Birmingham – the venue for the BETA International trade fair.

The BETA Gala Dinner and Business Awards are held on a Monday evening for the first time this year, coinciding with the second day of BETA International.

Shortlisted nominations for the SEIB Retailer of the Year are:

Equestrian retail store
Aivly Country Store – Ringwood, Hampshire
The Ark – Fulbourn, Cambridgeshire
Carlton’s Equine – Whitley Bay, Northumberland
Houghton Country – Heddon-on-the-Wall, Northumberland
Millwheel Tack Shop – Binfield, Berkshire
Tower Farm Saddlers – Earls Barton, Northamptonshire
Tower Farm Saddlers – Rugby, Warwickshire
Westleigh’s Saddlery & Country Clothing – Ramsden Bellhouse, Essex

Online/mail order retailer
Equus Products & Services – Walkern, Hertfordshire
Feedmark – Harleston, Norfolk
Houghton Country – Heddon-on-the-Wall, Northumberland
Supplement Solutions – Preston, Lancashire
Urban Horse – Alston, Cumbria

Tickets are still available for the 2018 BETA Gala Dinner and Business Awards. The black tie event comprises a champagne reception, three-course dinner followed by the awards ceremony and dancing. For more information or to book tickets, contact BETA on 01937 587062 or


3rd January, 2018.

A major equestrian wholesaler has changed hands in a multi-million pound deal.

Richard and Anna Dewey Clarke have bought Battles from its former owner Jim Bowen.

The multi-million pound acquisition of the Lincoln based wholesaler was signed on 22 December and announced today (3 January).

Jim Bowen led a management buy-in of Battles 11 years ago. Richard and Anna Dewey Clarke have been finance director and commercial/marketing manager respectively at the wholesaler for a number of years. Mr Bowen is to retire.

“We would like to express our thanks to Jim for all he has achieved,” said Battles’ new owners.

“He has been a great custodian of the values that have served Battles well since it was established in 1832 and at the same time modernised many aspects of the way the business operates.”

Richard and Anna Dewey Clarke added: “Our strategy for Battles remains broadly the same, although we plan to make changes and push improvements in certain areas. Our primary focus is to be the best wholesaler we can be to the equestrian trade.”

Battles recently added 3,000 square feet to its existing 100,000 square feet of warehousing.

“We want to work in partnership with brand owners to support our retail customers,” added Richard and Anna. “We aim to offer them the widest choice we can so they can select products they want to sell at prices that enable everyone in the chain to make a fair margin.”

Battles exhibits at BETA International 2018 at the NEC, Birmingham on 21 – 23 January.


3rd January, 2018.

Not a single trader has asked for compensation after a fire caused the abandonment of Liverpool International Horse Show. The New Year fixture will run again this December, pledges organiser.

The trade has got behind Liverpool International Horse Show following a devastating fire.

Horses were led to safety on Sunday (31 December) as a fire engulfed a multi-storey car park adjacent to the Echo Arena venue.

The show was evacuated as more than 1,000 vehicles – many belonging to show spectators - were destroyed in the blaze. No injuries to horses or humans were reported.

Show president Nina Barbour thanked the emergency services, the Echo Arena staff, riders, grooms and support staff, the general public and the City of Liverpool following Sunday night's events.

"The understanding of everybody who were preparing to celebrate New Year’s Eve and were left in Liverpool with no transport was nothing short of remarkable,” she said.

“The offers of help and support from people - they ran into the hundreds - for anyone who needed assistance will never be forgotten.

"We are not going to let go of what we achieved in the first five sessions of the show, and we will be back to do it again next December."

Liverpool International’s revamped tradestand village sited around the show’s warm-up arena appeared to work well, attracting plenty of shoppers. Many performances were nearly full.

Following the fire, ETN understands that not one exhibitor has asked for compensation for missing the final trading session.

Speaking before the events on New Year’s Eve, Judy Young of headline sponsor Hope Valley Saddlery said its stand had been “very busy throughout. It’s definitely a date for the calendar in the future.”

Liz Barrett of Equitop Myoplast, which sponsored the Puissance and warm-up arena, was equally enthusiastic: “We’ve had a fantastic show,” she said.

And at Voltaire saddles, where top eventer Oliver Townend was signing autographs, Matt Tarrant added: “We couldn’t be happier.”

Spectators told ETN they really enjoyed the show, with one describing it as “really slick entertainment and some fantastic world class show jumping and dressage.”

Ticket holders for the Sunday evening performance have been offered full refunds.


2nd January, 2018.

Today is dubbed ‘Take Back Tuesday’. But how many Christmas gift returns are entirely legit?

Retailers face a deluge of returns today as canny shoppers take advantage of no-quibble consumer laws.

‘Take Back Tuesday’ – the first working day of the year – sees unwanted Christmas gift returns at their peak, warns ParcelHero.

But the parcel price comparison site is sceptical some of the items being returned are genuine.

“Shoppers who bought online have 14 days to return goods for any reason and get a full refund, which means getting returned gifts sent back is increasingly urgent,” says David Jinks of ParcelHero.

“But we’re not sure some of the returns we see at this time of year are entirely in the spirit of the Consumer Contracts Regulations…

“There’s no doubt consumers are making full use of their new legal rights. Last Take Back Tuesday, for example, 37 people returned Christmas decorations with us. How odd that the day after New Year people suddenly find they don’t need them!”

Overall, party dresses were the most popular return. Followed by child car seats – so handy when visiting relatives and piling kids into grandparents’ cars…

Last year, ParcelHero’s sneaky-returns radar also spotted several flight cases, 35 snowboards and 600 skis and skiing jackets in the first week back from winter holidays…

“It’s amusing; but there is a serious side to the story,” says David.

“Canny shoppers are squeezing the most from the Consumer Contracts Regulation’s 14 day no quibble law – and this is concerning for smaller traders who can’t afford the cost abnormally high returns incur.

“Returned items are now costing UK SME retailers over £20 million a year and some online retailers see returns as high as 60% over the Christmas and New year period.

“The joke is wearing a bit thin for smaller e-commerce traders working on wafer thin margins.”

• Tell ETN about your dodgy returns. A worn-only-on-Boxing Day hunt coat, perhaps? Email


2nd January, 2018.

The animal feed manufacturer now has country stores in 21 locations across Scotland.

Harbro Ltd has acquired Russell’s Country Store based in Larbert and Linlithgow.

The business becomes part of Harbro’s retail group spanning 21 sites from Shetland to Dumfriesshire.

The outlets will continue to trade under the Russell’s Country Store branding with staff joining the Harbro team.

Former owners Willie and May Russell are said to be working closely with Harbro during the transition.

“Harbro is a well-known company and has forged strong links with the farming, equine and wider rural community, which is great for our customers,” said Mr Russell.

Following the acquisition, Russell’s Country Store will stock the Harbro own brand of horse feeds, Woofers dog food and Laygold Layers Feeds.

Said Ross Baxter, Harbro finance director: “We are delighted to be in a position to expand our retail network and this established business is the perfect fit for our ongoing retail strategy, allowing us to service not only the farming community in the area but giving us scope to continue to expand our business in the equine and pet feed markets.”

Harbro Ltd is part of the Harbro Group which manufactures livestock feeds and runs an on-farm mobile milling, mixing and processing service enabling farmers to use home-grown materials.

The Harbro Group also includes Strathclyde Nutrition Ltd which contract manufactures animal feed buckets and blocks.


2nd January, 2018.

Teddy the Shetland will be meeting and greeting fans at this month’s trade fair.

A tiny pony with a big reputation as a social media star is set to appear at BETA International 2018.

Teddy the Shetland will be found ‘manning’ the Neue Schule stand on the first day of the three-day show – Sunday, 21 January. The bit company is the show’s main sponsor.

ETN understands Teddy will be available for Shettie selfies.

BETA International is held at the NEC, Birmingham on 21 – 23 January. Admission is strictly trade only and free on pre-registration at


2nd January, 2018.

Dame Caroline Spelman MP is to chair a discussion on business rates, insurance and general data protection regulation (GDPR) during this year’s National Equine Forum. Riding hat research and rider weights are also on the agenda.

Government officials, vets and equestrian industry leaders will speak at the National Equine Forum (NEF) on Thursday, 8 March in London.

As well as red tape facing small firms, a central equine database, equine welfare in British racing, what’s new in equestrian safety and the latest news on rider weight research will be discussed.

The annual event also sees the Sir Colin Spedding Award presented and the annual memorial lecture delivered.

The NEF brings together representatives from every section of the equestrian industry for friendly, unbiased debate. “The aim is to inform, educate and help the industry to speak with the united strength of one voice on topical matters affecting the current and future management and wellbeing of the horse,” said a spokesman.

The day will commence with the Defra view on the UK horse industry. Stewart Everett will then provide an update on the central equine database, before a briefing on the Defra/farming industry livestock improvement programme. This has been designed to replace all farm livestock databases, including equidae, to produce something more useful both for government and livestock keepers/owners for the future.

Dame Caroline Spelman MP will chair a panel discussion on the challenges facing small equestrian businesses and the headaches that business rates, insurance, GDPR, health and safety can present.

Nick Rust, chief executive of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) will speak about equine welfare and its perception within British racing.

A session on the latest in riding hat research will be presented by Professor Michael Gilchrist of the University College Dublin.

In a presentation of great interest to saddle fitters, Dr Sue Dyson will reveal the eagerly anticipated results of the latest phase of her scientific study on the effects of different rider weights on horses.

Jim Green, animal rescue tactical advisor, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service and director and co-founder of the British Animal Rescue and Trauma Care Association will present the Memorial Lecture on horse rescue. These lectures are given each year and link to past winners of the Sir Colin Spedding Award; Jim was last year’s winner.

The winner of the Sir Colin Spedding Award will be announced and the award presented. This accolade was established in 2013 in recognition of the late Professor Sir Colin Spedding’s services to the equine sector – most especially founding the NEF and chairing it for 19 years.

Forum tickets are available to equestrian trade delegates and equestrian professionals. The first ticket purchased by an individual or organisation will cost £50; subsequent tickets for the same organisation will cost £100.

The ticket price includes lunch and refreshments throughout the day. To apply or to find out how you could enjoy the privilege of becoming a Friend of the Forum please email


The British Equestrian Trade Association – recognised as the official representative for the equestrian manufacturing, wholesale and retail trade.

BETA International – the world’s leading trade fair for the equestrian, country clothing and pet product sectors.

British Equestrian Directory – an online directory with more than 10,000 contacts from the world of horse, pet and country.

Equestrian Trade News, East Wing, Stockeld Park, Wetherby, West Yorkshire, LS22 4AW.
Tel: +44 (0)1937 582111 Fax: +44(0)1937 582778 Email: