BETA SALUTES THE BEST IN THE INDUSTRY

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Find out who received 2022 BETA Business Awards during today’s live ceremony.

Companies and individuals who have made a significant contribution to the equestrian industry were celebrated at the 2022 BETA Business Awards.

The winners were announced during a newly formatted day incorporating the British Equestrian Trade Association's (BETA) Business Conference in the morning, followed by a reception and lunch with the awards presented in the afternoon.  

The event took place at the Hilton East Midlands on Thursday, 24 March – the second anniversary of the first Covid lockdown. Many guests took the opportunity to meet other members of the equestrian industry face-to-face in what was, for many, the first opportunity in 24 months. 

“This year saw a set of deserving winners in the BETA Business Awards,” said BETA executive director Claire Williams. 

“The bar is always set extremely high, but the past year has seen so many challenges impact on the trade from both the pandemic and Brexit, that those who received a trophy this time have truly represented the very best in the industry

“We send our congratulations to them all - and our thanks to the companies who sponsored the awards.” 

THE WINNERS OF THE 2022 BETA BUSINESS AWARDS ARE...  

WEATHERBEETA GROUP RETAIL EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR

Winner: Tia Partington, RB Equestrian Ltd, Great Brickhill, Buckinghamshire

This award recognises employees showing excellent customer service, great product knowledge and a passion for professional retailing. The winner receives a cash prize in addition to the award and their employer is given BETA training vouchers.

The judges said: “Tia is clearly a focused team player who is determined to serve her company well. Brimming with enthusiasm and ambition for the future she must clearly be a big asset to her employer.”

EQUINE CAREERS SALES REPRESENTATIVE OF THE YEAR

Winner: Simone Highmore, Allen & Page, Thetford, Norfolk

This award, open to both employed and self-employed sales representatives and agents, goes to the individual judged outstanding in his or her approach to customer service.

The judges said: “Simone was a delight to talk to. She is clearly a very reliable, dedicated and knowledgeable pair of hands. The enthusiasm for her career shone through.” 

TSM MARKETING EFFECTIVENESS AWARD

Winner: Redpost Equestrian, Totnes, Devon

Runner Up: HorseHage & Mollichaff

This award celebrates effective communications and the increased value a company’s marketing campaign has brought to its brands. Aspects such as media advertising, sponsored riders and social media are assessed to see how powerful a role they play in solving business problems and generating revenue. 

The judges said: “This was a really competitive group of finalists. Due to the high quality of entries, we have awarded winner and runner up.

Horsehage and Mollichaff (runner-up) have made a real shift in the way they market the company and have created a new marketing stream to launch their new products as well as making good use of popular influencers.

Redpost Equestrian (winner) stood out for its innovative and professional approach using technology through video and an online app to achieve their clearly set out goals. They showed a sustained growth in business, with a clear correlation between the marketing and growth of revenue and social media engagement set out in the application.”

ZEBRA PRODUCTS RETAILER OF THE YEAR

This award for tack shops and feed merchants – whether or not they are BETA members – relies on customer nominations. It is divided into two categories: Equestrian Retail Store and Online/Mail Order Retailer.

Equestrian Retail Store

Winner: Manor Equestrian, Annesley, Nottinghamshire     

Runner-up: Riseholme Feeds, Wysall, Nottinghamshire

The judges said of the winner: “The quality of care and diligence was first class. Beautifully laid out shop, the gentleman who served me knew his topic incredibly well.” 

Online/Mail Order Retailer

Winner: Griggs Equestrian, St. Austell, Cornwall

Runner-up: Supplement Solutions, Preston, Lancashire

The judges said of the winner: “Great website and easy to use with good search options. Well packaged product on arrival. Returns information was easy to find on the website and refund issued promptly. The phone enquiry was also dealt with professionally and pleasantly with lots of advice for a ‘non-horsey’ mum.”

STUBBS ENGLAND NUTRITIONAL HELPLINE OF THE YEAR

This accolade goes to the company that offers excellence in nutritional advice and service to customers – consumer, trade and retail. 

Joint Winners:

Allen & Page, Thetford, Norfolk

TopSpec Equine, Thirsk, North Yorkshire

The judges put all finalists through their paces this year, and the competition was hard. The two winners were too close to call even after six mystery calls, and so to choose one over the other was not justified. Instead, for the first time ever, BETA awarded two winners for their fantastic efforts of customer service, nutritional advice and keeping the horses’ wellbeing at the forefront of their minds over sales.

BETA EXPORT AWARD

This award is presented to the company that has shown substantial and sustained increases in export activity over a three-year period.

Winner: Equilibrium Products, Leighton Buzzard, Bedfordshire

The judges said: “The winner showed impressive export growth as a result of careful research, planning and preparation. All of these combined with internal restructuring, strategic use of a wide range of advisors as well as innovative use of new routes to market and training through digital platforms have yielded new customers in new markets and even better prospects for the future.”

CITATION TRADE SUPPLIER OF THE YEAR

Awarded to the manufacturer, wholesaler or distributor judged to offer the best in delivery, customer service, product knowledge and awareness of retailer requirements.

Winner: Perry Equestrian (A.Perry Ltd), Cradley Heath, West Midlands

The judges said: “From highly commended last year to winner this, Perry’s showed that they had really listened to the feedback given last year and changes made to the business were clearly illustrated, inching them ahead of the other finalists.  They provided clear details about their environmental policy and showed how this had made a difference to themselves and customers alike.”

BETA LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

Winner: Frank Baines

Frank Baines founded Frank Baines Saddlery in 1981 and ran it until he retired from the business in 2016. 

Frank Baines founder of Frank Baines Saddlery

Saddle-making is in Frank’s blood, with family connections to the trade going back over 200 years. He was inspired as a young boy by his bridle-making grandfather, and his great-great-grandfather who, he was told, had walked 40 miles to Walsall at the age of 13 to become a bridle-maker.

Frank himself became a saddler’s apprentice when he was 15. After many years of learning his craft, Frank started winning awards and became recognised nationally for his saddle-making skills. Driven by a desire to improve horse welfare and rider comfort, his creative and innovative flair was at the forefront of his saddles.

During his time running the business, Frank was extremely passionate about training and ensuring traditional skills were kept alive. 

In 1991, when there was a shortage of skilled workers, he set up a scheme to offer training for the national Skill Assessment and Qualification Scheme for Saddlers. 

The company went on to receive the first National Training Award for its investment in training staff and commitment to workforce development. The award was presented by HRH The Prince of Wales, and the company was honoured to receive letters from the prince and the then Prime Minister, John Major, both of whom acknowledged the importance of developing a strong workforce to secure the future.

Frank not only founded his own company but breathed into it a spirit which is still upheld today; an understanding of the relationship between the saddle, the welfare of the horse and performance. 

He has acted as a judge in the Society of Master Saddlers (SMS) saddle-making competition in conjunction with the Worshipful Company of Saddlers, and served on the Company’s Trade Liaison Committee for ten years. 

Despite being retired, Frank was recently a key driver in the establishment of the new Leather Skills Training Centre in Walsall.  

He has dedicated his working life to the saddle-making industry and through his commitment to training has not only ensured that traditional skills are carried on and taught to future generations outside his own company, but inspired a generation of new saddlers to come forward and enter the trade.

Winner image by rawpixel.com

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