As a key player in the equestrian industry and with our ear fixed firmly to the ground, ETN strives to be first with the latest industry news. Our online news feed keeps you up-to-speed with a wide range of breaking stories and issues.

Remember you heard it here first...


21st February, 2019.

There are treats in store for regular shoppers.

Cotswolds based retailer Equiboodle has introduced a new loyalty card for regular customers.

To be used in store, the scheme rewards customers on their fifth and twelfth purchases.

For every £20 or more spent in its Cirencester shop, Equiboodle adds a sticker to customers’ loyalty cards. When five stickers have been collected, card-holders receive a free bag of treats. 12 stickers entitle customers to 20% off their next purchase.

“Loyalty is really important to us,” says Victoria Bodey of Equiboodle. “We love building up relationships with our clients, getting to know them and their horses, and finding products that we know they’ll love.

“We have a large number of lovely, loyal customers, so we decided to show our love with a reward card. Customers can pick one up on their next visit and start using it immediately.”

Equiboodle stocks gear for leisure and competition riders, as well as supplements and equine products.


21st February, 2019.

Marketing role for international rider.

International endurance rider Bella Fricker has joined Spillers as brand assistant.

She will also work on the feed company’s Care-Line advice service.

Bella has been hooked on endurance riding since she was 13. She continued to compete while at university, before graduating with a degree in politics and international relations.

While working as a professional rider on two endurance yards, Bella raced and crewed in ten different countries. In 2016, she competed in the European Young Riders Championship. She was also on the fourth placed British team at the CEI02* Nations Cup last year.

Riding her ten year old Anglo-Arab gelding Spanish Heir, Bella is working towards this year’s European championships to be held on home soil at Euston Park.

“I feel I have struck gold with this role, getting to enjoy both my passion for horses and demonstrate my creativity and love of marketing,” she said of her appointment with Spillers.


21st February, 2019.

Managing director will continue to run the business.

Equestrian insurance broker Shearwater has been acquired by Global Risk Partners (GRP) for an undisclosed sum.

GRP specialises in buying out niche businesses and portfolios in the insurance market.

Hertfordshire based Shearwater Insurance Services was founded in 1992 by Jeremy Lawton. Now its managing director, he will continue to run the business, while its 36 employees will stay with Shearwater under its new ownership.

Mike Bruce, GRP’s group managing director, commented: “Shearwater is a strong growth prospect with a quality proposition in both equine insurance and other commercial and personal lines.”

Jeremy Lawton added: “GRP already has an excellent track record in our sector, via Lonmar, one of the most famous names in bloodstock insurance.”

Shearwater’s clients will be unaffected by the acquisition, says the company, as cover and business will continue as normal. New insurance facilities can be expected in the near future.

GRP is backed by private equity firm Penta Capital LLP.


21st February, 2019.

Businesses urged to ditch paper receipts as VAT goes digital.

HMRC is inviting businesses to reduce time spent on paperwork and join its digital revolution by testing the new Making Tax Digital (MTD) service for submitting VAT returns.

Most businesses above the VAT threshold will need to keep their records digitally and submit their VAT return using compatible software when MTD is introduced from 1 April 2019.

In practice, the vast majority of businesses won’t need to send their first MTD return until August at the earliest. But if they aren’t already keeping their records digitally, they will need to start doing so, warns HMRC which is encouraging more businesses to get involved early by organising software and starting to test the service now.

Mel Stride, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, said: “Anything that helps businesses to manage their tax more easily so they can focus on what they do best - innovating, expanding, and creating jobs and profits - is what every modern business needs.

“In a world where customers and suppliers are already banking, paying bills and shopping online, it makes sense for HMRC and businesses to bring tax affairs fully into the 21st century.

“Going digital with business records and taxes is the next step to businesses getting more control over their business and their finances.”

Theresa Middleton, director of the Making Tax Digital for Business Programme, added: “There is no change to ‘what’ information is provided through MTD, just ‘how’ it is recorded, generated and provided.

“We want to help businesses be ready for the changes which kick in for VAT periods which start on or after 1 April.”

Every business required to join this year will have been contact by the end of this month (February). More than 16,500 businesses have already signed up to do their VAT digitally.

For most businesses, their accountant or other tax representative will already be aware and will advise them how and when they need to make changes to be ready for the new service.

Those already using software will simply need to ensure it’s MTD compatible before joining the new service.

For those not using an accountant, HMRC says it’s quick and easy to sign up and there is lots of information available to help them prepare, including about what software is available.

What businesses need to do?

• Take steps to find out if your business is affected by the Making Tax Digital changes and what you need to do if it is. Most businesses above the VAT threshold have to start keeping their records digitally and sending their VAT return to HMRC direct from their software for VAT periods starting on or after 1 April.
• Talk to your accountant or other agent – if you use one to manage your VAT affairs - about how they are making returns Making Tax Digital compliant.
• Speak to your software provider if you already use software to ensure it will be compatible.
• Those businesses who are either not represented by an accountant and/or do not already use software will need to select software to use and sign-up to MTD. The GOV.UK webpages provide information on a wide variety of products, from free software for businesses with more straightforward tax affairs, to increasingly sophisticated paid solutions. There are also products that can be used in conjunction with a spreadsheet for those businesses who don’t want to change their underlying record keeping system.

Guides for businesses, agents and others are available here Use software to submit your VAT Returns

Webinars and videos for Making Tax Digital are available Making Tax Digital for Business - stakeholder communications pack


19th February, 2019.

Make sure you’re investing in your business and not your employees’ careers.

If an employee resigns, can their employer lawfully oblige them to repay some or all of any training costs that the employer has met? It’s a question Paul Kelly of Blacks Solicitors is often asked. He says:

In some professions there is a requirement for employees to have specific qualifications before they can progress in their career - and as a matter of custom and practice the employer foots the bill.

On occasions, the employer will require employees to have particular qualifications - for example, so that the employer can offer a broader range of services to clients and customers. Again, it is accepted that the employer will get their cheque book out because, ultimately, it is they who will benefit from the employee expanding their skill set.

Depending on the sector and the nature of the course, fees can run into many thousands of pounds over a period of a few years.

So how can employer guard against an employee obtaining a qualification or skill at their employer’s expense but then resigning before the employer has had a chance to recoup their investment? The answer is that it is for the employer to put protections in place.

An employer contemplating sending an employee on a course that the employer will pay for should, before the course starts, require the employee to enter into an agreement which addresses the possibility of repayment.

A well-drafted agreement will set out the terms upon which the employer will pay course fees and the circumstances in which the employee might be required to repay them - usually upon premature resignation. Without such an agreement the employer has little prospect of recovering anything from the employee.

However, simply saying to an employee that they must repay all of the costs of any training upon resignation, no matter when resignation occurs, will not work. As likely as not such an agreement would be viewed by the courts as constituting a penalty - and so would be void.

An employer can seek to recover only what the employer estimates to be their ‘genuine loss’ at the point of resignation. The reasoning for this is that the longer the employee remains in employment, the greater the benefit the employer will derive from the employee’s new qualifications or skills, so the smaller the financial loss the employer will suffer by the employee resigning.

As a result of the passage of time the employer will eventually lose completely their ability to recover training costs.

It is very important that an agreement to repay training costs is drafted carefully. A poorly drafted agreement is likely to be unenforceable or ineffective - and, will do nothing to minimise the risk that an employer will fund a career-enhancing qualification for the employee, only to see them quickly leave to join a competitor!

Typically, a well-drafted agreement will seek to claw back a reducing portion of the training costs over a period of time. For example, if an employee resigns within 6 months after training they might be required to repay 100% of the fees. If they leave between 6 and 12 months after training they might be required to repay, say, 75% of the fees, and so on.

The portion which is appropriate is a decision for the employer based on the nature of the course, the cost, and the opportunity for the employer to see a return on their investment.

Whilst some employers include a clawback agreement as standard in their contracts of employment, it is arguably better to insist that an employee signs a separate, well-drafted, agreement each time they embark on a new course.

• Contact Paul Kelly of Blacks Solicitors for advice and more information, email or visit


18th February, 2019.

New recruits are covering the east and west of England.

Woof Wear has recruited two new area sales managers.

Jan Mol, who is covering eastern England, started work in the trade in 1988 alongside the late Nick Ward for Hydrophane Laboratories.

Jan later moved to Horsemasters Distribution, then launched German brand Busse-Reitsport into the UK.

Lauren Hardman, Woof Wear’s new area sales manager for the west of England, has been an equestrian enthusiast since she was three years old.

She has worked in sales for Mountain Horse for three years. Before that, Lauren was an equine specialist in a busy Countrywide store.


18th February, 2019.

A retailer has been reprimanded for failing to keep proper records for the supply of prescription-only animal medicines.

Aurivo (NI) Ltd, owner of the Homeland Agri store at Dromore Retail Park, Omagh, Co Tyrone, has been issued with an Improvement Notice by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD).

The VMD has reminded Aurivo that all POM-VPS supplies must be prescribed by a SQP and full records kept of purchaser, product, date of supply, quantity and batch number – and that records must be maintained for at least five years.

POM-VPS products are animal medicines which can only be prescribed by a vet, pharmacist or SQP (suitably qualified person). Many equine wormers, and cat and dog flea treatments fall into the POM-VPS category.

VMD is a government agency and part of Defra.

• ETN runs regular AMTRA accredited SQP CPD features and quizzes to help these animal health advisors earn the CPD points required to maintain their professional qualification. The next one appears in ETN March issue.


11th February, 2019.

A European grooming brush brand that’s become popular in the UK has a new owner.

Eva Marina Böhm, who invented the MagicBrush grooming range, has sold the brand.

The new owner is German wholesaler Albert Kerbl which has distributed the colourful collection of brushes for many years.

MagicBrush’s long-time marketer Matthias Linnert-Kuhn has joined Albet Kerbl too.

“From now on, I will be responsible for strategic brand communication of the whole Albert Kerbl company”, he said.

MagicBrush arrived in the UK in 2012. It has conical shaped bristles for grooming and massaging, doubles as a sweat-scraper and is machine washable.

Trilanco remains its main UK distributor.


11th February, 2019.

Retailer to run ‘speed dating with your dog’ event for Valentine’s Day.

A retailer is to run its first speed dating event ahead of Valentine’s Day this week.

Pet Pavilion is inviting singles looking for love to come along to Chelsea Farmers Market, London, on Wednesday evening – and to bring their dogs.

The free event promises an evening of “fun and flirting” for the humans, while their canine companions will enjoy complimentary pawsecco, doggy treats and a goody bag to take home.

“What better way for single people who share a love of dogs to meet?” says the store’s proprietor Alex Saville-Edells.

“The dogs being there will be an ice breaker to help get the conversation started. And guests will be reassured knowing they already have at least one thing in common!”

He has a word of advice for dog-loving singletons too. “Dogs have very strong instincts, so if your dog isn’t a fan of the person sat in front of you, then perhaps they’re not a potential suitor, let alone your perfect match…”

Pet Pavilion has boutique stores in Chelsea, Kensington, Notting Hill, Wimbledon, Battersea and Hampstead.


11th February, 2019.

Independent stores that stand out in their local communities are urged to enter. And it’s free…

The organisers behind the Creative Retail Awards are looking to find the Best Independent Store Design or Display that was completed in 2018.

The award highlights the value of innovative design within independent retail.

“Winning would put your company centre stage with some of the world’s most visionary and influential retailers and designers including Chanel, Vodafone, Topshop, Joseph and Birchbox, amongst others,” says Paula Morgan of organiser the Shop Display Equipment Association (SDEA).

“Entrants must be able to demonstrate what makes their store stand out in the community,” she adds. “How does it stand out amongst larger competitors or those with bigger budgets?”

Entries are completely free for retailers and are judged by an esteemed panel of retail design and display experts.

The Creative Retail Awards is an annual event that recognises the most innovative, inspirational and forward-thinking retail display and design. The winners will be announced at an evening ceremony on 6 June at London’s newest super-club, Proud Embankment.

To find out more and to enter the awards, visit


11th February, 2019.

Current cases highlight the importance of bio-security precautions, says BETA.

Common sense should prevail during the current equine flu outbreak, says the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA).

A crisis in horse racing unfolded last week after six cases of equine flu were discovered in vaccinated horses at a trainer’s Cheshire yard.

All UK racing is on hold until at least this Wednesday (13 February) while the British Horseracing Authority conducts testing across the country.

Last Friday, BETA’s veterinary consultant noted that the current outbreak was affecting small pockets of the racing thoroughbred sector with no evidence of wider spread.

The trade association has issued advice for those businesses receiving equipment – for example rugs for washing or clipper blades for sharpening - or visiting yards.

The virus is spread through close contact or proximity (up to 20 metres) and will persist for some time after contact (hours potentially not days), is BETA’s veterinary advice.

In the case of rugs, clippers and other equipment being brought into store for cleaning, sharpening or repair, anyone touching these items who may also be in contact with horses should wash their hands thoroughly after handling with an anti-viral substance available as gels, wipes or tablets and liquid for dilution.

Many antibacterial washes are also anti-viral, so the small print should be checked. If a substance or wipes claim to kill the human flu, then it will have the same effect on equine flu - and thus do the necessary job. Two of the most commonly used brands include Virkon and Trigene.

BETA’s executive director Claire Williams says the current outbreak highlights the importance of bio-security for all businesses coming into contact with equines.

“If you or members of staff visit yards, then please use common sense – now and in the future. Whilst this flu outbreak raises specific questions, bio-security precautions should be taken whenever visiting yards.”

BETA suggests the following protocol:

1. Before going to a yard call, check its health status and ensure that there are no horses coughing or with snotty noses.
2. Avoid or postpone visits to yards where there are signs of illness.
3. Sensible bio-security measures should be taken as a precaution if visiting yards, such as washing hands thoroughly with anti-viral washes or wipes following contact or close proximity with each horse.
4. Any kit that has touched or been in proximity with horses should also be wiped.
5. The same applies to clothing where there is evidence of dirt, spit or nasal discharges on them. Either change outer layers, wipe down with wipes or wear disposable covers/overalls.


11th February, 2019.

Find out who is February’s ETN/SMS Saddle Fitter of the Month.

Nicola Barry has been named ETN/SMS Saddle Fitter of the Month.

The award, presented by ETN 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.

Nicola was nominated by Phil Lowe of Zebra Products, who says: “Being a very successful rider herself, Nicola knows how important a correctly fitting saddle is and how this can make a big difference to how the horse and rider perform together.

“Her attention to detail, whether she is assisting a 4 star show jumper or a Pony Club partnership, is second to none.”

Nicola founded Buckaroo Saddlery, based at Vale View Equestrian Centre in Leicestershire. As well as being a busy retail operation, Buckeroo offers a full saddle fitting service covering English and international saddlery brands.

Nicola was the first person in the UK to become an SMS Qualified Saddle Fitter and an MSFC saddle fitting consultant.

She is also an accomplished show jumper who has produced horses to grand prix level.

Combining the roles of saddle fitter and competitor underlines the importance of the saddle, rider and horse relationship, she says.

Find out more about Nicola Barry in the February issue of ETN.

How to nominate a saddle fitter

Everyone is 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.


4th February, 2019.

How a last minute decision to exhibit at BETA International 2019 paid off...

A British manufacturer has BETA International 2020 in its diary following a “fantastic” first appearance last month.

Sherburn-in-Elmet, Yorkshire based Hydrotherm launched its H2 hot horse shower at the end of November – and applied for a stand two weeks before the show. Yet its new product made a big impression on trade buyers at the NEC, Birmingham.

Louise McNair, sales and marketing director, told ETN: “It was a fantastic show. We sold 360 units over the three days and had a queue of people waiting to see a demonstration video.”

BETA International also fulfilled Hydrotherm’s ambition to contact serious retail buyers. “We were particularly looking for family-run, independent retailers,” said Louise. “They are the right outlets for us, and they can make a very good margin [on our product] too.”

Louise also scored a personal boost from exhibiting. “The company was so pleased, I’ve since been promoted,” she said.

“We’ll definitely be back next year. Up to now, the only marketing we’ve done has been on Facebook. But BETA International has given us credibility.”

As well as being handy around horses, Hydrotherm hot showers are popular with campers, lorry drivers, mountain bikers and on building sites. The size of a small grooming box, they are electrically operated with a built-in pump.

BETA International 2020 is on 19 – 21 January. Find out more at


4th February, 2019.

“We produce some of the best horses in the world and we need great saddlery,” says apprentice with big plans.

A top saddlery apprentice is determined to boost saddle-making skills in Ireland.

Lucy Cushley (26) hopes one day to set up a training centre for saddlers in the country.

Lucy was named winner of the 2019 Abbey England Saddlery Scholarship during last month’s BETA International trade show.

The apprentice, who is based in Northern Ireland and mentored by Master Saddler James Adair, won £500 to spend on saddlery workshop tools.

Lucy, who grew up around horses, completed her City & Guilds Level 2 in Saddle, Bridle and Harness Making at Capel Manor College. She has also taken a flocking course, is working towards her Level 3 Diploma and to train in lorinery too.

Lucy aims to become a Master Saddler. Eventually she hopes to open an Irish training centre to “bring saddlery back to Ireland.”

She added: “Saddlery in Ireland is so far behind. We produce some of the best horses in the world and we need great saddlery.”

With no bursaries available in Northern Ireland, Lucy has had to make the journey to England many times to attend courses and workshops. “It can be difficult financially at times so this [scholarship] will make a real difference,” she said.

“It’s also great to establish contact with Abbey England as a supplier and my first purchase will be a set of metal loop sticks.”

Said Richard Brown of Abbey England: “We are thrilled to be able to assist Lucy in her dreams and aspirations to improve the saddle-making industry in Ireland.”


4th February, 2019.

Appointment underlines company’s support for trade customers.

Sarah Keenan has joined Blue Chip Feed as commercial executive.

Her remit includes supporting the balancer and supplement specialist’s trade customers.

Sarah has previously worked as a buyer for engineering companies and owns four horses.

She has two degrees. Her first is a B. Eng. (Hons) in manufacturing systems with business, after which she studied to become a Member of the Chartered Institute of Purchase and Supply.

Sarah then worked as a buyer for two engineering companies where she introduced new software systems and quality assurance schemes. She has also been a director of a start-up business she helped form.

In the equestrian world, Sarah has BHS (British Horse Society) qualifications and recently graduated in equine science from Derby College Equestrian Centre.

She owns four horses and enjoys competing and leisure riding. She is married with two sons.

Sarah’s appointment signifies the increased focus Blue Chip has on the development of its commercial relationships, says the company.


4th February, 2019.

The firm has donated the equivalent of 250 bags of feed.

Spillers has donated £3,038 to Redwings Horse Sanctuary to help the charity feed its senior horses and ponies over the winter.

The feed brand made the gift by contributing 30p for every promotional bag of its new Spillers Senior Complete Care Mix, Spillers Senior Super-Mash and Spillers Supple + Senior Balancer sold during the launch period at the end of last year.

“This lovely donation is the whopping equivalent of 250 bags of Spillers Senior Super-Mash,” said Redwings head vet Nicola Jarvis.

“Redwings has more than 500 oldies in residence, many of which are facing challenges such as failing dentition, PPID, laminitis or loss of condition and muscle. These extra funds will help us to give them the complete care they need this winter. Thank you, Spillers!”


28th January, 2019.

Packaging – not product – is affected, says manufacturer.

The maker of an equine wormer has reassured the trade that their customers (horse owners) are unaffected by a product recall.

The recall alert on packs of 48 syringes of Equimax Oral Gel for Horses, or Yardpacks, was issued by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) on 17 January.

Dr Alex Allen, technical director of manufacturer Virbac, told ETN that the quality of the actual worming paste and active ingredients is unaffected.

The company has recalled the Yardpacks as they do not contain English language package leaflets, said Dr Allen. Only packs of 48 units are involved.

Dr Allen explained: “This is a recall from wholesalers and retailers only and does not require horse owners to return the product. Horse owners can be reassured that the quality of the actual worming paste and active ingredients are unaffected.

“The VMD has requested that the Yardpacks of 48 syringes, each containing 7.49g of product, are recalled with immediate effect from wholesalers and retailers. The recall is required as the Yardpacks do not contain English language package leaflets and the sticker on dosing syringe is not in English.

“The following batches of Equimax Oral Gel for Horses Yardpacks are being recalled: BN 80126 and 80931. All other pack sizes of the Equimax oral gel are not affected.”

Virbac advises that horse owners with questions relating to Equimax or Eraquell wormers should contact their vet or SQP.


28th January, 2019.

Apprentices and trainees competed for cash prizes at last week’s BETA International.

BETA International visitors watched young saddlers at their workbenches as they competed in the Society of Master Saddlers’ competitions over three days during BETA International 2019.

As well as winning awards, the apprentices and trainees were rewarded with prize money donated by the Worshipful Company of Saddlers.

Apprentices and students taking part on the first day each made a high ring Grackle noseband from strips of leather and fittings within six hours.

Participants, who are training at the Saddlery Training Centre, were Amy Baldwin of Saddler’s Den, Merseyside; Freya Weller of David Dyer Saddles, Kent; Samantha Wuczke of RB Equestrian, Buckinghamshire; and Rebecca Simmons of Pegaso Saddlery and Leatherwork, Buckinghamshire.

The top award went to Rebecca Simmonds with Amy Baldwin claiming second place after judges and Master Saddlers Helen Reader and Catherine Baker had made their deliberations.

Said Rebecca: “To win is just fantastic. To get the noseband finished in the time frame, with visitors asking questions and showing an interest, it was tight. But it’s good to experience working under pressure.”

On the second day, second year Capel Manor College students Emily Cain, Molly Grout, Zoe Hurst and Scarlette Branch each made a plain cavesson noseband.

The winning award went to Zoe Hurst with Emily Cain taking the runner-up place. Said Zoe: “I really enjoyed taking part. The £150 prize money is just fantastic.”

On BETA International’s final day, first year Capel Manor students Katherine Hinchliffe, Alexa Parlour, Charlotte Cheesman and Michelle Bogaerdt each made a bridle headpiece.

The judges chose Michelle Bogaerdt’s entry as the winner with Charlotte Cheesman taking second place.


28th January, 2019.

One of the appointees used to work for Carl Hester.

Katie Nash and Jake Taylor have joined Zebra Products as southern sales executives.

The distributor has also taken on Sally Bacon to cover maternity leave as northern sales executive.

Katie, who has previously worked for Zebra Products, has owned her dressage horse April Magic for more than 12 years.

“I love being part of the equestrian industry,” she said. “It’s brilliant to build on the contacts I had previously made and create new ones. The Zebra team is fantastic, everyone gets on really well.”

Jake is a former professional dressage rider who worked for Olympian Carl Hester for four years before moving to Zebra Products.

“It’s great to meet the retailers and create relationships with individuals,” he said of his new job. “I’m on the road a lot, so every day is different.”

Jake and Katie are sharing the 11 strong Zebra portfolio of brands between them as they cover everywhere south of Birmingham, from Cornwall to Kent.

Sally previously worked for Zebra Products five years ago for six years before leaving to live in France. She is looking after the brands Veredus, Sprenger, Bucas, Fleck and Konig in north of England.


24th January, 2019.

Independent judges chose the winners at BETA International 2019.

High-quality stands were a hallmark of BETA International 2019.

To celebrate and reward the hard work and dedication that goes into delivering aesthetically pleasing commercial space, each one is automatically entered into the show's Best Stand Awards.

These are divided into two categories – Best Large Stand (32 square metres and over) and Best Small Stand (under 32 square metres) to reflect the different types of exhibitor in the halls.

Judging is carried out by a pair of independent judges. At BETA International 2019, these were Amanda Chadwick, of the Croner Group, and Kim Pengelly, of the show's chosen charity, Hope Pastures.

This year, the winners were:


Winner: Toggi

Judges’ comments: “A beautiful stand that is open and inviting with small, intimate areas for meetings and discussions. We also liked the discreet sales areas for hats, body protectors and clothing – and the way that they made good use of height to display boots and hats. Staff were clearly branded in smart uniforms, pleasant and helpful.”

Highly commended: Platinum

Judges’ comments: “A rustic stand that was warm and inviting, with eye-catching water usage.”


Winner: Harcour

Judges’ comments: “This stylish stand has the feeling of a proper shop. Staff were extremely knowledgeable about the products and keen to provide information and deal with queries.”

Highly commended: Stubbs England

Judges’ comments: “An impactful stand that really caught the eye and had staff who were clearly branded and happy to help.”

“Congratulations to our winners – they have done a brilliant job in creating stands that are both effective and extremely inviting,” said BETA International organiser Claire Thomas. “The standard in the halls was incredibly high, but our judges certainly rose to the challenge as they spent many hours in search of four exhibitors worthy of our hotly contested trophies.”

BETA International was at the NEC, Birmingham, UK, from 20 to 22 January. To find out about next year’s show, visit


14th January, 2019.

Why checking out your January ETN is a must before heading for BETA International.

ETN – the official media partner of BETA International – is the place to find those great deals and new products that make a visit to the show so worthwhile.

The 138-page January issue of ETN gives you the show timetable and floorplan, plus a guide to who’s launching what and lots of special show-only offers from exhibitors.

This year, ETN celebrates its 40th anniversary.

“We know the trade better than anyone – but we’re keen to keep learning too. So please do come and have a chat with the ETN team at the show,” says editor Liz Benwell.

As sponsor of the BETA International Innovation Awards, ETN supports companies launching the cleverest new products too.

And £1,000’s worth of prizes from exhibitors and ETN advertisers could be yours when you bring your retailer business details to the magazine’s stand and enter the ETN prize draw.

“Thank you to all the companies [listed below] who have donated prizes,” said ETN’s Beth Crow. “There are some fantastic new ideas and deals to be found in ETN and across BETA International. I can’t wait to see them.”

You’ll find ETN at stand Q1.1.

Absorbine E2.2
Agrihealth K7.1
Alan Paine country collection P3.1
Allflex Livestock Intelligence/Heiniger J10.2
Back on Track C4.1
Battles G4.1
Bedmax Shavings Ltd J1.2
BETA International Q1.1
Breyer Model Horses L3.1
British Horse Feeds C5.1
Comfybed Plus B1.1
Emerald Green Feeds K11.1
ETN Q1.1
Gallop Equestrian J7.1
Hilton Herbs J4.3
Horse & Hound D7.2
Elico Equestrian products/Jenkinsons C1.1
Omega Equine Supplements M2.2
Perry Equestrian F3.1
Red Horse Products Ltd L9.1
Shapley's Superior Grooming Products D5.2
Toggi F6.1
Trade Suppliers Directory Q1.1
The Golden Paste Company C5.2
The Original Muck Boot Company P2.2
TopSpec H4.1
Weatherbeeta B2.1


14th January, 2019.

Find out who’s won this month’s ETN/SMS Saddle Fitter of the Month.

Mark Fisher, who runs Cambridgeshire based Woolcroft Equine Services, has been named ETN/SMS Saddle Fitter of the Month for January.

The award, presented by ETN 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.

Mark Fisher was nominated by Vanessa Fairfax of Fairfax Saddles who commended his “high standards of expertise and integrity in the industry.”

Mark is an SMS Master Saddle Fitter, Master Saddler and Master Harness Maker. He regularly lectures and assesses for the SMS too.

As well as being a sought-after saddle fitter, Mark supported the Team GB Paralympic squad at Rio in 2016, and again at WEG in 2018.

He has worked as an overseas trainer for World Horse Welfare, helping to improve the lives of working horses in developing countries around the world.

Mark has also been part of a research team looking at ways to improve the comfort, and performance of the ridden horse.

Find out more about Mark Fisher in the January issue of ETN.

How to nominate a saddle fitter

Everyone is 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.


14th January, 2019.

Sustainable rural businesses are among those who could benefit.

The Prince’s Countryside Fund is open for grant applications until February 21.

Funding is offered twice a year, and projects in rural areas across the UK can apply for up to £50,000 in the Spring round.

Set up in 2010 by HRH The Prince of Wales, the charity aims to improve the prospects of viability for rural communities and businesses.

Every year the Fund gives out over £1 million. It can support projects for up to three years.

Included in projects the Fund aims to support are rural business and services that develop a more sustainable rural economy. Also considered are those providing advice and new skills and business training that benefit the local economy.

Claire Saunders, director of The Prince’s Countryside Fund, said it’s particularly keen to hear from projects in the north-east of England, and from all parts of rural Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

However, all projects that meet eligibility criteria will be considered.

To find out more and apply, visit


14th January, 2019.

Newcomer to the role will be on parade when the show opens this Sunday.

Darren Mottershead is the new sales manager for BETA International.

He joins show organiser Equestrian Management Consultants (EMC) from NAF.

Darren was area sales manager for the north and north-east for the supplements and equine care products supplier for eight and a half years.

As sales manager for BETA International, Darren is set to extend his already strong contacts within the equestrian industry across the UK and overseas.

“Of course, I’ll be going to manufacturers and wholesalers,” he told ETN. “But the show’s connection with retailers is crucial too.

“After all, BETA International is for them – they’re doing their buying there. So I need to ensure retailers continue to be happy and are seeing the right selection of products for their businesses.”

Darren is also an enthusiastic advocate for The BETA Group, of which EMC is a wholly owned subsidiary.

“We have BETA International and within that there’s the new product gallery, innovation awards… so many opportunities. Then there’s ETN - BETA International’s official media partner, and the trade association.

“I want to tell people how they can benefit from the entire offering.”

Darren is an accomplished horseman, albeit a self-made one from a non-horsey family.

He competes his 13 year old mare Westswoods Scarlet Lady with British Eventing.

Darren Motteshead will be at BETA International from next Sunday to Tuesday (NEC, Birmingham, 20 – 22 January). Find out more about the show and contact Darren via

• Read more about Darren, his career so far and eventing exploits in the February issue of ETN.


8th January, 2019.

Businessman new to the equestrian industry acquires well known equine boots brand too.

Nottinghamshire businessman Mark Ryan has acquired the brand names PolyPads and New Equine Wear from former owner Lee Buck.

Mr Ryan has set up a new company called PP Equestrian, and will continue manufacturing the products in the UK.

Mr Buck’s other equestrian brand Libby’s Tack remains in his ownership.

It’s a first venture into the equestrian industry for Mr Ryan who manufacturers motor accessories, notably car and van mats, in Mansfield, Nottinghamshire.

PP Equestrian is run on a day-to-day basis by Isabel Dennett in the office and Jess Roberts in the factory.

Ms Dennett told ETN there were no immediate plans to change the offering from PolyPads, best known for its saddle pads, and New Equine Wear’s equine leg boots.

“We’ll keep the products similar with the same ranges for the time being,” she said. “We hope in future to introduce new products, and to develop, but for now we’re seeing how everything works before making changes.”

PP Equestrian will continue to concentrate on supplying the trade, added Ms Dennett.

Lee Buck is working with PP Equestrian during a handover period.

The acquisition was finalised just before Christmas.


7th January, 2019.

Saddle-making skills to be highlighted at this month’s show.

Saddlery is sitting pretty at BETA International, with three high-profile features dedicated to this important sector.

Visitors to the show at the NEC, Birmingham on 20 – 22 January can witness the finest craftsmanship and superior skills of the modern saddler in the Abbey England Saddlery Pavilion, a trio of competitions run by the Society of Master Saddlers (SMS) and an impressive selection of exhibitors showcasing saddlery, tack and leatherwork.

The Abbey England Saddlery Pavilion, supported by the Worshipful Company of Saddlers, features some of the country's finest saddle makers – Keith Bryan Saddlery, Custom Saddlery, DLF Saddle Co, Equitek, Ideal & WRS Company, Paul Jones Saddles, Ryder Saddles, Solution Saddles, Wow Saddles and Winners Circle UK.

All those taking part have not exhibited independently at BETA International during the past three years.

Visitors will enjoy a frisson of excitement as saddlery students and apprentices go head to head in a series of challenges hosted by the SMS. On Sunday 20 January trainees from the Saddlery Training Centre will make a high-ring grackle noseband, while on Monday 21 January second-year Capel Manor College students will make a plain cavesson noseband and on Tuesday 22 January the college's first-year students will produce a bridle headpiece.

Top-class saddlery companies can be found throughout the show, including Bates Saddles, Bliss of London, BUA Saddles, Weatherbeeta, Wintec and Vale Brothers with its Jeffries brand.

“We are extremely proud to bring saddlers and retailers together in this busy commercial environment,” said BETA International organiser Claire Thomas. “The saddlery industry will showcase some of its finest talent and products – and retailers are set to benefit from a unique opportunity to access some of the very best brands from the UK and overseas.”


7th January, 2019.

Customers commend award winner on worming advice.

Jemma Tribe of Millwheel Tack Shop, in Warfield, Berks, has been named Virbac Equine SQP of the Year 2018.

The award highlights Equine SQPs’ (Suitably Qualified Persons’) hard work and dedication as they guide customers on the correct approach to worming.

Customers of Millwheel Tack Shop described Jemma as very knowledgeable. They also commended her attention to detail that helps make worming easy and simple.

Jemma’s prize was an all-expense paid VIP day at the Olympia London International Horse Show in December, plus certificate and trophy.

“Through the Virbac Equine SQP of the Year Award, we are able to support hard working SQPs who are relied upon by horse owners to provide up-to-date advice on the correct worming approach for their horses,” said Dr Rosie Naylor, equine technical product manager at Virbac UK. “We hope Jemma had a great time at Olympia.”

Virbac is the manufacturer of wormer brands Equimax and Eraquell.


7th January, 2019.

Help shape the horse world’s future by answering some online questions, urges the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA)

The BETA National Equestrian Survey checks on trends plus the health and wellbeing of the equestrian world every four years.

Everyone involved with horses is urged to contribute to this widely regarded and often-quoted initiative.

“Participating allows you to make your voice heard and provides the potential to influence our industry’s future,” said Claire Williams of BETA.

“As a thank you for taking part, you will automatically be entered into a prize draw to win £50 worth of equestrian shopping vouchers.”

Click this link to take part:

Copies of the BETA National Equestrian Survey are available on publication.

A 10% discount is offered on orders placed on the BETA stand during BETA International 2019, provided they are paid for at the time. BETA members can request a copy of the overview for free and get additional discounts on copies of the finished survey.


7th January, 2019.

Plus the chance to make your own little bit of history.

Visit the Equestrian Trade News (ETN) stand at BETA International – and you could win £1,000s worth of products for your store.

Bring your business details to stand Q1.1 any time during the show for free entry to ETN’s bumper prize draw.

The equestrian trade’s favourite magazine was launched in 1979. So ETN celebrates its 40th year of publication at BETA International 2019.

To mark the occasion, visitors and exhibitors are invited to enjoy a selfie tower on the ETN stand, take a picture and insert it with an individual message in ETN’s 40th anniversary album.

There will also be tea and coffee on the go, magazines to browse and members of the ETN team to tell you how to get involved with upcoming issues.

BETA International is at the NEC, Birmingham on 20 – 22 January.

ETN is part of the BETA Group, and the only official media partner of BETA International.


2nd January, 2019.

Visitors to BETA International are invited to take their seats for a diverse range of free seminars – specially created to meet the needs of the modern retailer.

The presentations will take place at The Charles Owen Spotlight on each of the show's three days, with some offering valuable CPD points.

Prescribing for Horses and Inspections Update – What an SQP Needs to Know with Christine Paine, of the Veterinary Medicines Directorate, allows SQPs to gain up to eight CPD points at the AMTRA-approved seminar, which takes place on both Sunday 20 and Tuesday 22 January.

Also on Tuesday, retailers can gain four CPD points in Nutritional Support of a Calm Outlook with Kate Hore, of NAF, exploring the influence of diet on equine behaviour. Five CPD points (City & Guilds) are available in Claire Williams's seminar Advice & Updates on Rider Safety Issues.

“Top-class seminars by industry experts really are a hallmark of BETA International and they offer a fantastic opportunity for retailers to top up their industry knowledge,” said show organiser Claire Thomas. “This year's sessions offer something new and fresh, and have been designed to reflect the different sectors found in the halls.”

Other seminars at the trade fair include a look at employment legislation with Amanda Chadwick, of Croner, the use of new technology in equestrian safety with Roy Burek, of Charles Owen, saddle fitting with Kay Hastilow and the way social media can be used to drive sales with Michelle Goodall. The full timetable of events and speakers can be found here.


2nd January, 2019.

Promotion of acid buffering product lacked evidence.

A supplements company misled consumers by advertising a product with claims that could not be substantiated.

Two other complaints about A D Consultancy (Cheshire) t/a Equine 74 were informally resolved by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) after the company agreed to amend its advertising.

A website for the supplement Equine 74 ( featured a homepage titled “A Safe and Natural Way of Maintaining a Healthy Stomach”.

The page including text stating “Equine 74 Gastric helps to maintain a healthy pH level in the stomach by acting as a long-lasting buffer”.

It went on to list the benefits of the product including “Buffers excess acid in the stomach”, “Helps support the gastric mucosa from the effects of natural stomach acid” and “The honeycomb structure of the algae acts as a time release long lasting buffer”.

A page titled “About Us” featured text stating “its unique honeycomb structure also enables a slow release of valuable bio-available minerals over an extended period of time” and “Put simply, Equine 74 works - it has been trialled, researched and has lots of anecdotal success too”.

A complainant challenged whether the claims that Equine 74 acted as a long-lasting buffer to excess acid in horses’ stomachs and enabled slow release of nutrients were misleading and could be substantiated.

The ASA considered that consumers would understand claims meaning that Equine 74 shielded horses’ stomachs from excess acid over a long period, and that it released nutrients slowly over a long period.

However, when the ASA reviewed the evidence provided in support of the referenced claims, it considered the challenged claims could not be substantiated.

The report concluded that the main limitations of one study were the lack of in-vivo [tested in a living subject] efficacy data; and that the preliminary results provided a rationale for progression of testing to in-vivo trials, including testing the duration of the gastric buffering effects.

“Because the 2009 and 2014 studies provided by the advertiser were both in-vitro [tested outside a living subject] tests, and neither tested whether Equine 74 was a long lasting buffer or slowly released nutrients, we considered that they did not provide the level of substantiation or body of evidence we would expect to support the claims in the ad,” said the ASA.

It therefore concluded that the claims that Equine 74 acted as a long-lasting buffer to excess acid in horses’ stomachs, and enabled the slow release of nutrients, had not been adequately substantiated and were misleading.


2nd January, 2019.

This week to see sellers take their biggest hit.

Today (2 January) is peak returns day with thousands of unwanted gifts being sent back to retailers.

Last year, parcel comparison site ParcelHero saw double the average volume of parcels being shipped in the first few days of January.

Clothes and footwear topped the list of unloved items being sent back to sellers.

“While it’s an unwelcome chore for the unlucky recipients of all these unwanted presents, it’s very bad news for retailers too,” said David Jinks of ParcelHero.

“Returns cost retailers £60bn a year - with the worst time being the first week of January.”

Smaller online retailers tend to be hardest hit, he added.

“Some have been left reeling after Christmas as shoppers demand they pay for all returns, not just faulty goods. Our research reveals half of all shoppers believe retailers should foot the bill for all returns, even if they have simply changed their minds about a purchase, or not liked a gift.

“As 8% of shoppers admit to returning several items a month, peaking after Christmas, small retailers say they are losing money on all returned items.”

A number of Britain’s big stores have promised a returns period beyond the usual 30 days.

Marks & Spencer says any items purchased after 8 October can be returned before 13 January 2019. Amazon says any item bought between 1 November and 31 December can be returned by 31 January; and John Lewis says any gift bought between 21 October and 24 December can be returned until 28 January, even if it's simply unwanted or unsuitable rather than faulty.

But no store has to extend its returns period, adds Mr Jinks.

“It’s a goodwill gesture which we applaud. However, once it has advertised its extension period, a store is legally obliged to adhere to the new returns date.”

While such generous returns policies are fine for large retailers, matching them could push smaller traders into the red, he warned.

“Some small stores [are] forced into even videoing the packaging of items to prove what was sent this Christmas. Many small specialist stores will go out of business if we continue to make them pay for unwanted item returns.”

Read Retailers Reach the Point of No Returns, ParcelHero’s report on the impact of returns, at


2nd January, 2019.

Judges praise product’s cleverness.

The team behind BedKind, an equine bedding made from recycled cardboard, collected the Best New Product Launch award at last month’s Marketing & PR Brilliance Awards.

The winner was chosen for best demonstrating its product’s clever, innovative ideas – showing customers why it’s new, relevant and worth trying out.

The judges praised BedKind’s launch campaign that generated big increases in website traffic and sign-ups.

The cardboard used for BedKind bedding is made in Bedfordshire by D S Smith. The company produces 15 billion boxes annually.

• BedKind will be exhibited at BETA International at the NEC, Birmingham on 20 – 22 January. Admission to the show is free on pre-registration at


2nd January, 2019.

Service comes at no additional cost to retailers.

Snowhill has introduced a new system to give its trade customers fast access to stock availability.

The leading supplier is now offering stock level csv files for retailers who would like immediate sales and regularly updated stock confirmation.

The new service has been developed in-house by Snowhill. It comes at no additional cost to retailers.


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: