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14th August, 2018.

British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) founding member, past chairman, hon. treasurer – and respected businessman – has passed away.

Martin Loveday, whose family business Thomas H Loveday created the Loveson brand, died last Thursday (9 August). He was 71 and had been ill for some time.

In 2010, Martin was presented with the BETA Lifetime Achievement award for his outstanding and significant contribution to the equestrian industry.

Martin joined his family’s footwear business in 1975, at the age of 29, having qualified as a chartered accountant.

Northamptonshire based Thomas H Loveday was originally a harness manufacturer, founded in 1650 and specialising in making collars from local reeds. But as demand for working horses fell away, it switched to steel toe-capped and hobnail boots. It was Martin’s grandfather who thought up Loveson footwear.

By the 1960s, the Loveday family business had gone into equestrian footwear. Growth continued and by the 1980s, its team of sponsored riders included eventer Madeleine Gurdon, now Lady Lloyd-Webber. Mucker and Chester boots were popular Loveson branded products.

When the equestrian trade began to widen its manufacturing base to India and the Far East, Martin displayed a global approach which saw Loveson move beyond footwear and expand into equestrian clothing.

Lovedays also distributed Matlock & Brown clothing. And when that firm went into liquidation in 1997, Martin took on its 16 strong workforce in Loveday’s new jodhpur factory.

Shaping the modern trade

Martin was among a group of equestrian businesspeople to attend a meeting in 1977 to discuss setting up the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA). His company was one of the first to join and given the membership number 13.

“Without Martin, BETA would not have progressed to what it is today,” said the trade association’s executive director Claire Williams. “Furthermore he truly helped to shape the modern face of the equestrian trade.”

Martin was a member of the BETA Council for more than 25 years, chairman for two years and honorary treasurer spanning three decades. He was highly respected in the trade for his wise, considered manner and ability to deliver well-balanced opinion and good advice.

Martin served on the BETA Trade Fair Committee (which works with the BETA International organising team) and was an active supporter of the show’s expansion into the international fixture it is today.

In 1986, he was a speaker on BETA’s first business courses for retailers.

BETA’s National Riding Week, launched in 1997 and which aimed to boost rider numbers by 10%, was another project to which Martin gave his considerable energies. “If they’re not riding, we can’t sell to them,” he declared as BETA chairman - and promptly led the way by learning to ride.

Also in that year, Martin was a member of the BETA/EMC working party that oversaw BETA’s acquisition of Equestrian Management Consultants (EMC), organiser of BETA International and publisher of ETN.

The 1990s saw Martin become active on the Industry and Parliament Trust, encouraging a better understanding by MPs of the small business environment and the equestrian trade.

Loveson was acquired by Tagg Equestrian in 2010.

Martin attended his final BETA International last year when he congratulated the new owner of Loveson, Horseware’s Tom MacGuinness. “I’m so pleased it’s found a good home,” said Martin.

Martin spent his last days in Sue Ryder Thorpe Hall Hospice. A family funeral takes place the week after next; family flowers only with a collection for the hospice.

Martin leaves his wife Sally, daughter Sarah, sons Philip and David and grandchildren.


13th August, 2018.

A fresh face arrives as a well-known one prepares to enjoy retirement.

Olivia Colton has been appointed quality and business development manager at Fox Feeds, producer of HorseHage and Mollichaff for eastern England.

Olivia takes over from Frances Sheffield who retires at the end of September after 27 years with the Hertfordshire based company.

With an MSc in applied equine science from Writtle College, Olivia has ridden since she was three and owns two horses. She previously worked for supplements company Feedmark.

Frances joined Fox Feeds in 1991 as sales and marketing manager, later becoming sales director and then technical director. Before that, she was with Badminton Horse Feeds since 1983.

Frances says retirement will give her more time to support her daughter Bert Sheffield’s career in international para-dressage. She’ll also be doing more dressage judging.


10th August, 2018.

Retailers continue to invest in merchandising their stores.

Shop fitting specialists say they’re pleased – and a little surprised - to report a vote of confidence from within the retail display industry.

Almost half (40%) of shop display equipment suppliers reported an increase in sales during the first six months of this year compared with the same period in 2017.

And the average increase in sales was “an encouraging 23%”, according to the Shop & Display Equipment Association’s (SDEA) recent survey.

Remarkably this upwards trend looks set to continue, added an SDEA spokesman. When asked to forecast their sales prospects over the following six months, 45% of retail display suppliers expected their sales to rise by an average of 7%.

In addition, 45% of SDEA member companies reported increasing their staff levels during the previous six months with another 30% expecting to employ extra staff in the coming six months.

“The industry remains relatively buoyant despite the volatile UK economy. The remainder of the year is also looking healthy, even though many members expect continued price increases from their suppliers,” said SDEA director Antony Behiels.


10th August, 2018.

Equestrian brand joins other rural businesses in line for recognition.

Equetech is celebrating reaching the regional finals of the Rural Business Awards.

The equestrian fashion brand has been selected to go forward to the final judging for the Best Rural Manufacturing Business (south-east).

"It means so much just to be nominated for this prestigious award, and shocked to have been shortlisted as a finalist,” said Equetech’s managing director Liz Hayman.

“As a rural family run business, it’s nice to get recognition for our hard work, late nights and determination to deliver a trusted brand in the equestrian industry.”

Equetech celebrated its 25th year in business in 2017.

Regional winners of the Rural Business Awards will be announced in October, followed by a grand final in February 2019.

The awards recognise businesses operating across the rural sector from engineering to artisan food producers.


10th August, 2018.

Show trader and ETN diarist Guy Roper reports from the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park (3 – 5 August).

It’s always difficult when an established team hands over to a new one. The context doesn’t matter. Any time a close knit team bows out after 20 or so years, some of the knowledge is lost, some balls will be dropped in the transfer.

Candidly, in run up to this year’s Festival of British Eventing at Gatters, I had pretty low expectations. Talking to other trading chums at the event showed that it wasn’t just me… Attempts to contact the organisers had been met with silence. Ten days or so before the event, I still had no passes, and a finally answered telephone call saying that I could “pick them up at the site office” gave me little reassurance.

I can sort of understand that now: the new organising team knew exactly why that would work. They had the plan, which had everything positioned on it. We didn’t, and we just didn’t know about changes to the layout until we got there. And even then, some chums found things were different from what had been promised.

There was a hint of things being made up on the day during set up. I particularly enjoyed seeing a catering van passing my stand four or five times in various directions before it found its home. Truth to tell, I felt a bit sorry for the owner. A Benny Hill soundtrack would have been perfect…

As with Bramham, you cannot doubt the sincerity of the organisers in recognising how much the trade stand offer brings to the event. Peter Phillips, in his first year as event director, was very clear in his welcome at the BETA trade stand holders’ breakfast. Despite constant interruptions from the arena commentary, he emphasised the core role of the retail offer in the success of the event. It was great to hear in one of the most difficult year’s trading that any of us can remember.

So how was the show?

Actually, the new team did a pretty good job, and the changes to the layout worked very well. There were some really good new stands which expanded the retail offer and the catering was much improved with quality food at a reasonable price. There’s no doubting the hard work that went into the event and Peter Philips and his team deserve a nine out of 10 for effort and commitment.

The weekend was silly hot but even Friday’s Pony Club day saw numbers down. More people turned out on Saturday and Sunday, but the consensus was that there were fewer visitors overall than in previous years.

There seemed to be fewer locals than usual; maybe they were having a cheaper family day out at the Gloucestershire Vintage and Country show down the road at Cirencester? Perhaps it was the weather? The usual ‘wandering about’ phases in the day just didn’t seem to happen, and at the end of each day there was a tide of punters heading straight for the exit rather than having a last meander around the trade stands.

As at all events so far this year, the retail reflex was just not there - and the passing pound stayed in the shade of the passing pocket.

Disappointing trend

So trading was a bit difficult, frankly. Gatters, sadly, continued the disappointing trend of the season. Most chums were well down on previous years, somewhere between 40 and 60%. That’s just unsustainable, and something has got to change.

Retail everywhere is up against it, and the latest interest rate rise is already compounding a poor situation. In a world where House of Fraser is offloading stock at a horse show from a stand that looked a bit like a jumble sale, it’s definitely time for a radical re-think. It’s only by working together, with the stand holders and the organisers having a real dialogue, that the show circuit as we know it will survive.

And it’s not just the future of our businesses that is looking bleak. Unfortunately at breakdown we loaded more stock back into the vehicles than I can remember in a very long while. If I’m not selling, I won’t be buying.

In a sector already impacted by the failure of Countrywide, that leaves manufacturers and wholesalers short as well. I think the business landscape will look very different in a year’s time, and not in a good way. You might think, in the words of the song, Things can only get better. But, at present, the D:Ream [who recorded that particular ditty] looks like turning into a nightmare.




1st August, 2018.

“He brought the rest of the world to the UK”

Michael Gidden, one of the most influential equestrian retailers of the 20th century, died last week (24 July). He was 75 and had been receiving treatment for cancer.

Michael came from a family who were originally curriers in Southampton and went on to found the famous London saddlers W & H Gidden which he later ran.

William and Henry Gidden made their first saddle in 1806. The Duke of Wellington was said to have ridden into battle again Napoleon at Waterloo on a Gidden saddle. By the 1970s, W & H Gidden held a Royal Warrant as Saddler to HM The Queen with other members of the Royal family among its regular customers.

The W & H Gidden shop in Bond Street was a magnet for visitors from across the globe, from American tourists to Arab princes - for at least one of whom Michael arranged for a saddle with gold plated stirrups and fittings to be made. He was always the proactive retailer.

Over the years, Giddens had acquired manufacturing labels such as Champion & Wilton (particularly well known for its side saddles), Owen & Co and Whippy; bespoke saddlery was an important part of the W & H Gidden offering. Polo equipment from saddles to knee pads was another specialty.

In 1990, Michael and his then wife Pat purchased Hertfordshire based Coleman Croft Saddlery from Rod Sharpe. While his family moved to Sutton’s Farm near St Albans where the store was based, Michael continued to run the Bond Street store.

Sutton’s Farm also became home to W & H Gidden’s saddlery, luggage and leathergoods manufacturing operation, as well as the headquarters for its burgeoning Stubben and euro-star distributorships.

Michael’s father Ernest Gidden (always known as Mick) was awarded the George Cross for gallantry and devotion to duty after he defused unexploded mines as a Royal Navy volunteer reservist during the Second World War. Michael took his father’s medals along to The Antiques Roadshow in 2003; he appeared on the TV programme to hear an expert value them at £16,000.

Michael originally trained as a lawyer. But it was in the world of equestrian retailing that his energy and innovation came to the fore.

“He brought the rest of the world to the UK,” said Sue Moxon, now the managing director of R & R Country and who worked at W & H Gidden’s Bond Street store in the 1980s. “He was a visionary; the first to bring in the European brands such as Stubben, euro star, Cavallo and of course Ariat boots too. He raised the bar for the whole UK trade.”

W & H Gidden was sold to Rolf Schneider of Schneider boots in July 1999.

In his later years, Michael went on to restore classic cars.

He leaves his partner Barbara and grown up children Christopher, Peter and Georgina.


31st July, 2018.

Show trader and ETN diarist Guy Roper reports from last weekend’s (27 – 29 July) Game Fair at Ragley Hall, Warwickshire.

The long, hot early summer couldn’t go on forever. But why did it have to end like that? After a season characterised first by weeks of rain, then weeks of sunshine, the 60th ever Game Fair was a breaking point in more ways than one.

Friday was sweltering, but despite the good attendance many seemed to find it too hot to shop. Most of the chums found about average trading and for the foodie guys, anything hotter than a salad seriously bombed. Difficult if you’ve paid £8,000 for a food court pitch and only sold some Pimms and a few cans of Coke.

By Saturday, overnight rain had lowered the temperature and tempted the punters. The morning saw a trading high tide, then by mid-afternoon the showers turned to torrents and everyone found a reason to seek shelter or be somewhere else.

Equestrian has often struggled here and I don’t understand why. It is so much a part of the country life that the Game Fair celebrates, and yet trade stands never thrive. After one investment, many rarely return.

Mostly the Horse And Hounds ring, as this year’s branding had it, was surrounded by stables with accompanying ‘WARNING: Horses Can Bite’ signs (how else would their get their lunch?), the British Horse Society (BHS), Riding for the Disabled (RDA) and the Pony Club. Curiously distant was the farrier demo, up near Gate A at the top of the hill, closer to the air gun stands than anything equine.

As to Saturday afternoon, sometimes a single thing sums it all up. Crowds loved the hunting demo in the main arena. It was good! It explained things to the watching crowd that for some was in their DNA, yet others found astounding. That dialogue between communities is part of what the Game Fair is about, as its founder the late Nigel Gray realised 60 years ago.

Hunt staff admirably rose to the occasion when – whether by oversight or humour – an in-season bitch was included in one of the parading packs. Tragically, the parking providers failed to follow their example in controlling the mayhem as a stampede for the exits began following a serious mid-afternoon downpour. Delays of over an hour ensured for some trying to leave.

Word gets around

Event managements appear not to realise that the communications centre in my pocket allows me to tell auntie Ethel that I’m stuck in a queue, so she ought to leave now - which causes another queue. Problem is, word gets around and people decide whether to go or not the next day...

Sunday dawned overcast and a thin drizzle kept attendance slow. The hardcore Game Fair crowd was left with the run of the place, and my guess is that more burgers than skinny lattes were sold.

Therein lies a change this year. I love the Game Fair: been there for years. But it’s a different show from even five years ago. Don’t get me wrong, it needed to change; a decade ago some areas looked like a car boot sale. That’s different, thank you, but the knock-on effect is clear.

The bean-counter at this show needs to realise that the gross income from a lot of mixed quality stands is always going to be higher than that from fewer targeted stands that your core audience comes for. The difference is that on a rainy Sunday, your core audience turns out, buys the tickets and shops.

On a break from the stand (well, to give the staff a break from me comparing the takings with the same day last year) I went off for a coffee and found the Game Fair Museum. Yes, 60 years and all that, but actually it was very good. Loved the 1955 Landy still in daily use, but I was amazed by the volumes of press cuttings in drab black folders. Fascinating how many of the issues reported there remain valid. In 1961, there was an article about city- dwellers going to the Game Fair to experience ‘the country lifestyle’.

I was also reminded of the show’s history: the cancellations due to the weather, the short notice change of venue due to foot-and-mouth. We traded through those times but they were one-offs.

We all know that business goes in cycles, but this is the worst year I can remember. The rain killed trade in the Spring and the heat has buried it in early summer. A few chums have lost their businesses. Some have just pulled out and gone on-line only.

A story resonated from one mate who told a big show he wouldn’t be going back this year, to which a member of the organising team replied imperiously: “Do you realise how long our waiting list is?” My chum just shrugged: “Good luck to ‘em: the costs mean it doesn’t work for me.” And that’s the fundamental point. Running a successful business is about margin, not turnover. I can sell volume at some of the shows, but when I look at the actual cost to me in stock, staffing and stand fees, let alone the rising cost of diesel, then there’s little or no profit.

Where does it end? I don’t know and it makes me worry. But a walk through the Game Fair indicated how many of the old familiar stands had gone. A lot of the guys selling specific kit to the core audience just weren’t there. Chatting to some of the scary chaps in full camo, it seems they’ve gone on-line. Interestingly, some of those punters said they only came because they got in free as British Association for Shooting & Conservation (BASC) members. A useful boost, but there’s a limit to that ‘club’ in terms of repeat business.

Overall, some chums broke records up to mid-afternoon on Saturday, others took a hit. A straggling layout meant location was more than ever a key factor. But looking to the future, next year’s planned price hike for stand fees, plus the return to Hatfield and accessibility by tube from London, will just accelerate the slow shift from country to lifestyle.

My hot tip: leave your core business where it is and take a stand (only £900) in the ever expanding food court. At £6 for a generic sausage-in-a-bun, you could keep the profession you love afloat till better times.




30th July, 2018.

Congratulations go to the latest winner of the ETN Saddle Fitter of the Month award presented in conjunction with the Society of Master Saddlers (SMS).

Helen Leedham is the ETN/SMS Saddle Fitter of the Month for August.

She was nominated by chartered physiotherapist Sue Palmer of The Horse Physio who says: “Helen is an exceptionally dedicated saddler.

“I’m always particularly impressed with the amount of time Helen takes to ensure that things are right for both her client, as the rider, and the horse.”

Based in Cookley, Worcestershire, Helen works across Worcestershire, Staffordshire and Shropshire, and further afield too. She has also won other industry awards.

Find out more about Helen’s career and saddle fitting mantra in the August issue of ETN.

How you can nominate a saddle fitter

Saddle manufacturers, distributors, retailers and relevant equine professionals are invited to nominate saddle fitters they feel deserve to be named ETN Saddle Fitter of the Month. Candidates for the award must be SMS Qualified Saddle Fitters based in the UK or overseas.

To nominate a saddle fitter (or more than one), email and tell us why this person deserves to be put in the spotlight. Please include the saddle fitter’s name and business name too.


30th July, 2018.

Company will provide an essential accessory for BETA International 2019 exhibitors.

Design-and-build specialist Henson Franklyn is sponsoring BETA International’s exhibitor bags for the third year running.

These sturdy trade fair essentials are branded with the company's eye-catching logo and handed out to all exhibitors on arrival.

“At Henson Franklyn, we pride ourselves on being part of ‘the team’ – whether that is for our direct commercial clients or the many organisers we work with,” said the company's managing director, Tim Henson.

“Therefore, supporting BETA International makes complete sense to us. We continue to enjoy working with the trade fair team and, as so many of our clients exhibit here, it makes a perfect match for us.”

BETA International organiser Claire Thomas added: “We have really enjoyed working with Tim and the rest of the Henson Franklyn team. We are thrilled that they have opted to continue their sponsorship. Support such as this makes a world of difference to the show.”

Henson Franklyn joins fellow BETA International supporters Equestrian Trade News, Hy, NAF, Shires Equestrian, Stubbs England, Toggi and main sponsor Neue Schule.

BETA International is the world’s leading trade fair for equestrian, country clothing, outdoor and pet products. The 2019 show will take place at the NEC, Birmingham, from 20 to 22 January. For further information about exhibiting, contact James Palmer, telephone +44 (0)1937 582111 or email or visit


27th July, 2018.

Experienced equestrian industry figure makes a move.

Laura Cackett is to join Blue Chip as the feed company’s commercial director in September.

Laura was for almost 12 years the UK business manager for Horseware, before joining Matchmakers International and then Harry Hall where she became brand and innovation director.

Earlier in her career, Laura worked for Balanced Horse Feeds.

“Laura joins [us] at an exciting time of new bag launches and has a particular interest in equine nutrition,” said Jessica Dunford of Blue Chip Feed.

Laura has one horse of her own.


23rd July, 2018.

Standards organisation salutes equestrian safety stalwart.

Claire Williams, executive director of the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA), has been recognised for her continued hard work and dedication in safety standards development.

The award presented to Claire last week by the British Standards Institution (BSI) acknowledged her contribution to equestrian body protection standards.

Claire sits on a BSI sub-committee which is responsible for input into safety standards for body protection across various sports including riding.

BETA devised and monitors the BETA body protector standard.


23rd July, 2018.

Newcomer promotes the benefits of electric fencing.

Gallagher UK, specialist in electric fencing, has appointed Jane Hadley as area manager in central and northern England.

A graduate of University of Wales, Aberystwyth, Jane has previously worked for Armstrong Richardson, Merial Animal Health, Trilanco and Dodson & Horrell.

“Effective, flexible and efficient fencing systems are crucial for safe containment of horses,” she said.


23rd July, 2018.

Case studies highlight how easy it is to get it wrong.

Manufacturers and retailers are warned to ensure horse care products and supplements are marketed appropriately.

In particular, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is urging marketers to be mindful that medicines need a licence, and medicinal claims must not be made when none exists.

Robust evidence must be held to support any health claims, says the advertising watchdog.

Comparing a product with those of competitors should also be handled with care if consumers are not to be misled.

A useful guide, with tips and case studies, can be found at


23rd July, 2018.

Former Weatherbeeta employee joins HOYS team.

Sian Nash has joined Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) organiser Grandstand Media as sponsorship sales executive.

She previously worked at Weatherbeeta for over seven years, and more recently the British Equestrian Federation (BEF).

Sian has two horses, Rumour who is retired, and Woodcroft Dream Boy, a nine year old Hanoverian gelding by Don Frederico whom she competes at medium level dressage and qualified for the British Dressage National Championships 2017.

Grandstand Media also runs the British Showjumping National Championships to take place at Stoneleigh Park next month (August). Sian is managing this show’s sponsors as well as HOYS’.

“We’re delighted to welcome Sian to the team to develop the sponsorship aspect of the business further,” said Grandstand Media’s commercial sales manager Andy Tideswell. “Sian’s equestrian background and marketing knowledge will ensure that our sponsors continue to get the maximum benefits from our partnerships.”


16th July, 2018.

The troubled retail group has left substantial debts across our industry.

The equestrian trade could lose out by more than £2.5 million following Countrywide’s failure.

The retail group went into administration in March when Countrywide Farmers plc appointed KPMG to handle its affairs.

Hardest hit by the retailer’s collapse are feed and bedding companies. Several are owed more than six figures – in two cases more than a quarter of a million and half a million pounds respectively.

Wholesalers and supplements companies are also looking at significant losses; while dozens of mainstream equestrian suppliers are set to lose out by substantial four and five figure sums.

Having seen the creditors’ list, ETN calculates that total losses to equine feed, bedding, horsecare and equestrian clothing brands alone are potentially more than £2.5 million. The total debt is more than £9 million.

The joint administrators of Countrywide Farmers Plc have sold 14 of the retailer’s former stores to new owners who have taken on 169 former Countryside staff.

David Pike, partner at KPMG and joint administrator, says he is hopeful of achieving four further sales from the remaining trading leasehold stores.

Other Countrywide stores and its headquarters closed in May with 208 people being made redundant.

You can read Countrywide’s statement of affairs here.


16th July, 2018.

Senior equines need appropriate diet and management, experts agree.

Spillers presented collaborative research on the care of senior horses at the Australasian Equine Science Society’s Science Symposium last month.

Professor Pat Harris, head of the Waltham Equine Studies Group, which underpins the science behind the Spillers brand, was one of the invited speakers at the biennial international event.

As the proportion of aged horses within the general equine population appears to be increasing in many countries, interest is growing in determining the best ways to feed and manage them. Professor Harris’s presentation provided an overview of recent collaborative research into the issue.

Waltham’s research into the feeding and management of senior horses started in earnest with a PhD programme with Nottingham Trent University in the early 2000s into age-related changes in taste and feeding behaviour in the stabled horse. Studies continued at Michigan University looking at the effect of age on digestive function followed by the effect of diet on glucose and insulin dynamics.

Collaborative work is currently ongoing at the universities of Minnesota, Michigan, Kentucky and Melbourne into the role of diet on tissue insulin resistance and the insulin response to an oral starch or sugar rich meal, as well as the gut microflora in the older horse. Spillers has also been working with colleagues at the universities of Aberystwyth, Surrey and Liverpool, studying the microflora of the older horse/pony and its response to dietary changes.

In conjunction with the University of Kentucky, Spillers has been looking at the relationship between nutrition and the chronic inflammation associated with aging and PPID [Cushing’s disease]. And with respect to PPID specifically, work at Michigan and the RVC [Royal Veterinary College] in London has looked at the effect of diet and analytical method on ACTH [hormones measured to test for PPID] concentrations respectively.

Some of the research findings to date include:

• The horse’s ability to digest key nutrients does not appear to decrease with age in studies of healthy adult and aged horses of similar type although some differences in the microflora in the gut may be present. This is now being studied further in the pony.

• Healthy older horses have increased insulin responses, compared to younger horses, in response to a starch rich or starch and sugar rich meal. This suggests that older horses, whether or not they have been diagnosed with insulin dysregulation, need an appropriate diet and management plan to help minimise the risks associated with insulin dysregulation such as laminitis. In practical terms this means restricting the overall amount of starch and sugar in the diet especially for those horses/ponies that already have additional risk factors such as obesity, native breeding or PPID.

• Diet can influence adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) concentrations, which are measured to test for PPID, as can the method of analysis of ACTH.

“Our collaborations bring together world-leading equine veterinary, nutrition and research experts interested in working on the important topic of the older horse,” said Professor Harris. “We are committed to continuing to undertake work that helps support the wellbeing, performance and longevity of senior horses.”

• See the July issue of ETN for more on the latest feeds for veteran horses plus a topical AMTRA accredited SQP CPD feature (nutrition module) and quiz.


16th July, 2018.

Princess Royal visits the heart of the British saddlery industry.

The Princess Royal was in Walsall last week in her capacity as Perpetual Master of the Worshipful Company of Saddlers.

She attended a reception hosted by the Saddlers’ Company and visited leading saddle manufacturers Fairfax and Albion in the town.

In a speech, the Princess said that part of the role of the Saddlers’ Company was to support and champion British saddlery and that “all are extremely proud of Walsall.

“From what I have seen today,” she continued, “it seems to me that linking experience and long tested traditional methods with those things learnt from science and performance will encourage innovation, and ensure that British saddle manufacturing remains the benchmark for others to try and emulate across the world.”

During her visit to Fairfax Saddles, the Princess Royal presented the company with a Queen’s Award for Innovation (News, ETN May issue).


13th July, 2018.

Fresh packages to make professionally designed stands more affordable.

New stand options have been introduced for BETA International 2019.

Organisers report that the show, on 22 – 24 January at the NEC, Birmingham, is already 85% sold.

The new packages reduce the time and money it takes to build a stand from scratch. Companies already booked can switch onto the new formats.

“People often say to me that if they’re going to have a stand, they want to do it properly – and quite right too,” says James Palmer, sales manager.

“So we’ve come up with a way of enabling exhibitors to have really professional looking stands - with the hassle of build handled by us and all within a manageable budget.”

As well as the option to include stand creation in a booking for space, BETA International has deals for new, small and emerging companies, shell scheme stands and open space.

Exhibitors are automatically entered into the BETA International best stand awards. Entries for the fashion show, new product gallery and innovations awards are open to all companies that take stands.

The full BETA International stand options guide with prices can be downloaded here

Or call James Palmer on +44 (0) 1937582111 email or visit


9th July, 2018.

Tape worm only treatment no longer available after October.

Equitape, a praziquantel-only wormer for horses, will be discontinued from Zoetis’ equine product range in October 2018.

The animal health company says the reason is that the third-party manufacturer of the specialist tape worm treatment is to cease supply.

Apologising for any inconvenience, Zoetis said in a statement: “A new praziquantel-only product for horses would require a new registration, involving many years’ lengthy development and approval processes, which make it an unviable option for the UK alone.”

Experts believe the move will limit prescribers’ [SQPs and vets] options for worm species-targeted treatments.
Diagnostic service providers Westgate Labs and Austin Davis Biologics, with Professor Jacqui Matthews of the Moredun Research Institute, have issued a joint statement on the implications of the loss of Equitape. See it below in full:

From October 2018 the wormer brand, Equitape, commonly used to treat tapeworm infection, will be discontinued from sale in the UK. This wormer is the only licenced product for horses containing praziquantel as a single active ingredient.

Going forward, it will only be available in ‘combination wormers’ also containing either ivermectin or moxidectin, the drugs most commonly used to treat small and large redworm (strongyles). Equitape’s removal from the portfolio of veterinary medicines available to target specific worm infection presents a challenge to prescribers and horse owners alike.

Two leading laboratories; Westgate Labs, postal worm count specialists, and Austin Davis Biologics, manufacturers of the innovative EquiSal Tapeworm test, are responding to this news by stressing the increasing importance of evidence-based control in managing worm burdens in horses. In partnership with Professor Jacqui Matthews FRCVS, Moredun Research Institute, they have set out to develop best practice advice to minimise the impact on sustainable worm control.

Professor Matthews commented: “I think it’s an issue that limits prescribers’ options for worm species-targeted treatments. Wormer resistance is a growing problem and has the potential to become a major horse welfare threat. Losing the option of a praziquantel-only product means that any treatment option for tapeworm infection will now also impact redworms, whether required or not. Frequent drug exposure speeds the development of resistance and, over time, has potential to significantly decrease the effectiveness of the few chemicals that we have to treat life-threatening worm burdens in horses.

“To guard against this, we must become more strategic with parasite control. This means seeking tailor-made solutions for worm control based on knowledge of management, infection risk, drug sensitivity and, importantly, robust diagnostic tests.”

Evidence based control

Regular testing should form the centre of any programme to determine whether or not a worming treatment is required to keep drug exposure to a minimum. Worm egg counts should be conducted every two-three months (with frequency depending on risk) and tapeworm tests performed every six months to monitor infection levels in healthy adult horses.

Lester & Matthews (2013) identified that: “Faecal egg counts can be used to identify the likely 15-20% of horses that need worming to reduce worm egg shedding and can reduce wormer use by up to 82%”. EquiSal Tapeworm test data shows that fewer than 27% of horses tested require treatment for tapeworm (Austin Davis Biologics) and Lightbody et al (2017) demonstrated that using EquiSal Tapeworm in a targeted worm control programme reduced the use of tapeworm wormers by 86%.

The exception to evidence-based control is treatment with moxidectin late autumn/winter dose to target encysted redworm and large redworm larvae, which can’t be detected using worm egg count methods.

Consultant vet to Westgate Labs, Carolyn Cummins MVB PhD MRCVS commented: “With reduced specificity of treatment options, we are concerned that the temptation could be to treat more and test less. However with resistance rising, the only way of identifying problems is by testing routinely, together with resistance testing, to build up a picture of what’s going on. Giving a wormer without understanding the worm burden present or without being aware of the efficacy of the wormer you’re using is a false economy for your horse’s health.”

What does this mean in practice?

Testing for tapeworm prior to the annual treatment for encysted redworm in late autumn/winter is an easy win. This will help to decide whether a moxidectin only (or where there is no resistance known, a 5-day fenbendazole) treatment is required, or if a moxidectin + praziquantel combination wormer is advised to include treatment for tapeworm at the same time.

At other times of year where it has been confirmed that treatment for tapeworm is needed, a worm egg count should be conducted. If treatment for redworm is indicated at the same time, then an ivermectin + praziquantel combination wormer should be the first choice.

Alternatively, a double dose of pyrantel can be recommended for administration if;
· the treatment is for tapeworm only
· ascarids are also present (more likely in foals or yearlings)
or · the redworm population in question is known to not be resistant to pyrantel.

Reducing reliance on chemicals

Professor Matthews commented, “Wherever possible, we must look to reduce infection risk and break the lifecycle of the worms without overly relying on wormers. Best practice control should include the following; strategic treatments, targeted (diagnostic test led) treatments, annual tests for wormer resistance, good pasture hygiene such as poo picking and implementing appropriate quarantine procedures for new horses.”


Lester, H., Matthews, J.(2013) Equine Vet. J. 46, 139e145.
Lightbody, K. L. et al (2017) Equine Vet J, 50: 213-219.


9th July, 2018.

An equestrian enthusiast with fashion industry experience has made the acquisition.

Brigitte Weeke-Therling is the new owner and CEO of German equestrian clothing manufacturer Cavallo.

The 51-year-old has more than 25 years’ experience as a business-woman in the fashion industry. She also breeds sport horses.

“I’ve used Cavallo products for a long time, so I fully understand the history of the brand as a premium equestrian clothing supplier,” said Ms Weeke-Therling.

“Cavallo’s craftmanship and technical expertise will remain central and I’m very much looking forward to building on the strong customer and supplier relationships we have as well.”

Simon Middleton, managing director of the brand’s UK distributor Zebra Products, said he was looking forward to working with Cavallo’s new owner.

“When we met Brigitte recently in Germany to view the SS19 collection, it was clear that she has lots of fresh ideas and had really listened to the market's feedback about how Cavallo could be further improved.”

In April, ETN reported that the supply of Cavallo products to UK stockists was unaffected by a re-structure of the company.

Cavallo had been running under self-administration following a successful application to the District Court.


9th July, 2018.

It’s essential to inspire a new generation of saddlers and leather craftspeople, say Walsall’s key players.

Getting young people interested in joining the leather industry was the focus of a gathering at Walsall College last month.

Abbey England and the Clayton Leather Group were among the companies and organisations involved in the talks.

New training opportunities, including apprenticeships for the leather industry, were on the agenda at the event attended by the Mayor of Walsall, Marco Longhi.

ETN understands that concern focused on the skills deficit and labour shortage in this type of traditional industry – and the need to do something quickly before the situation becomes irreversible.

“It’s important to inspire new blood into our British crafting industries,” said Richard Brown of Abbey England after the meeting.

“Leather working, and particularly saddle-making, is something this country excels at - and we need to encourage our young people to develop expertise in our heritage industries as this is of vital importance to ensure traditional skills are passed on to future generations.”

The group supported establishing a representative forum.


6th July, 2018.

Nominations invited for a prestigious equestrian industry award.

Do you know a worthy unsung hero or heroine of the equestrian world who as yet remains unrecognised?

If so, The National Equine Forum (NEF) would love to hear from you.

Nominations are now open for the NEF Sir Colin Spedding Award 2019, one of the most significant accolades in the UK’s equestrian industry.

The Sir Colin Spedding Award is presented annually to an exceptional figure in the equestrian world. Any individual or organisation from any equestrian field is eligible, as long as their outstanding qualities have not yet been formally acknowledged elsewhere.

Previous winners include farrier Dr Simon Curtis (2018), fire and rescue pioneer Jim Green (2017), Sue Martin, who runs Trent Park Equestrian Centre in London (2016), Paul Greeves former keeper of the General Stud Book at Weatherbys (2015), Dr Andrew Waller on behalf of The Animal Health Trust (AHT) Infectious Disease Group (2014) and Martin Clunes on behalf of UK Equine Welfare Charities (2013).

Sir Colin Spedding was the founding chairman of the NEF and chaired the event for 20 years until his death in 2012. He ensured that representatives of all areas of the equine sphere were made welcome to the Forum, and that topics of general interest and concern could be discussed openly and amicably. The award was introduced in 2013, in his memory.

To submit a nomination please read the checklist on the website and write, in no more than 100 words, why you believe your chosen candidate should be considered for the award.

The NEF Sir Colin Spedding Award Committee will produce a shortlist of nominations, from which the winner will be selected. Multiple nominations for the same person will not carry additional merit and the decision will be final. The winner will be invited to attend the next National Equine Forum, where the award will be formally presented.

Please visit or email your nomination to Closing date midday on 31 July 2018.

The 27th National Equine Forum will take place on Thursday 7th March 2019.


2nd July, 2018.

Level 1 no longer to be allowed in racing.

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has updated its body protector rule.

From 1 October, BETA Level 1 garments must be replaced by a minimum of Level 2 to at least EN 13158 2009 or 2018.

Jockeys’ weight allowance for safety equipment is to be increased by an extra pound to a total of 3lbs.

This is the first time the BHA has updated its body protection rule since 2015.

Racing’s governing body says it’s making the change because Level 2 body protectors offer up to 50% more protection against direct blows such as kicks than Level 1.


2nd July, 2018.

See ETN July issue to find out who’s won this month’s ETN Saddle Fitter of the Month, presented in conjunction with the Society of Master Saddlers (SMS).

Laura Nickel of Renfrewshire based Amayzing Saddlery is July’s ETN Saddle Fitter of the Month.

The award, presented in conjunction with the Society of Master Saddlers (SMS), recognises those whose good practise is making a difference to horses, riders and the saddlery industry.

Laura was nominated by Walsall saddle manufacturers Ideal and WRS who described her as “a bright spark in the industry.”

Find out more about Laura and her career to date in ETN July issue.

How to nominate a saddle fitter

The trade – saddle manufacturers and distributors – are invited to nominate saddle fitters they feel deserve to be named ETN Saddle Fitter of the Month. Candidates must be SMS Qualified Saddle Fitters based in the UK or overseas.

To nominate a saddle fitter (or more than one), email and tell us why this person deserves to be put in the spotlight. Please include the saddle fitter’s name and business name too.


2nd July, 2018.

Pet brand joins gardens and barbeques group.

Outdoor and garden company LeisureGrow Products has acquired the business interests of pet product supplier Petface out of administration.

The Petface brand is now based at LeisureGrow Products’ head office in Hinxworth, Hertfordshire, with some key staff being kept on.

“Our focus for the coming weeks and months will be to ensure existing Petface customers receive better service, good availability of stock, and reliable stock delivery,” said Jody Grimmer, managing director of LeisureGrow Products.

“We believe the Petface brand has great potential and this is an opportunity for LeisureGrow to make Petface a success.”

Part of LeisureGrow Holdings, the LeisureGrow Group is a privately owned, family-run British company whose brands include LG Outdoor furniture, Grillstream barbeques, Erin growing media, NOMA Christmas and NOMA Garden Art.

Petface exhibited at BETA International 2015.


2nd July, 2018.

Recruit is a former sales executive in a car dealership and Pony Club mum.

Equipe saddles’ UK distributor Zebra Products has appointed an Irish sales agent.

Helen Dempsey, from Co Kildare, is to help develop the Amerigo and Equipe brands in Ireland.

Helen was previously a sales executive for her family’s car dealership. She has also worked with international racing yards and the Darley owned Kildangan Stud.

A keen showjumper, Helen is a Horse Sport Ireland (HIS) level 2 coach and committee member for the Kildare branch of the Irish Pony Club.

“I’m really excited to be joining the Zebra team and to be championing the wonderful Amergio and Equipe brands here in Ireland,” said Helen, who lives in Kildangan and has two pony-mad, Pony Clubbing daughters.

“It’s great to welcome Helen to the team,” said Simon Middleton, managing director at Zebra Products. “We recognised the opportunity for Amerigo and Equipe in Ireland and are confident that with Helen’s contacts, knowledge and enthusiasm we’ll see the brand flourish.”


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: