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.

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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.

A 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.

“Gallagher’s continued investment in new technologies such as the new flexible Line Post and the latest range of solar energisers means horse owners can develop a cost-effective and reliable system that exactly meets their requirements.”


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.”


22nd June, 2018.

Former HOYS employee to visit saddlery stockists in new role.

Sally Unwin has joined Zilco Europe as key account coordinator.

UK based Sally will be visiting British stockists as well as representing the supplier of driving, endurance and racing tack at European trade shows.

She was previously with Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) organiser Grandstand Media.

In her spare time, Sally events her home-bred horse Harry. She’s also a racing and point-to-point enthusiast having worked in mixed racing yards after university.


22nd June, 2018.

Another big name brand is backing BETA International 2019.

Wholesaler Battles’ Hy brand is to sponsor the visitor bags at BETA International for the fifth year in a row.

Sporting the Hy logo, the pink bags are handed to all trade fair visitors to carry promotional literature and samples gathered during the three-day trade buying event.

“We are really pleased to be supporting the show once again where Hy will be showcasing lots of new products,” said Battles’ commercial director Anna Dewey Clarke.

“We will put some great freebies inside the sponsored bags and there is also a competition to win an exciting collection of Hy products. Visitors just need to take their entry along to the Battles stand, G4.1.”

BETA International organiser Claire Thomas added: “This is great news for the trade fair and a brilliant opportunity for us to work alongside Battles once again. The visitor bags are a brilliant way to enhance the visitor experience and we are really pleased that Hy is playing such a key role.”

Hy joins the trade fair’s fellow supporters, official media partner Equestrian Trade News, Champagne Bar sponsor NAF, New Product Gallery sponsor Shires Equestrian, official clothing supplier 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


22nd June, 2018.

Who better to test reins with grip than the trainer of a string of hard-pulling racehorses?

Racehorse trainer Nick Kent has been trying and testing rubber rein grips on his Lincolnshire yard.

Two sets of reins were used three or four times a day for six months. And as Nick admits, the training environment really does pose the ultimate test for saddlery.

“It was a hard test we put them through,” he said. “And in the racing world, tack isn’t looked after particularly well or cleaned very often either.”

The rein grips which came out on top were the Equus brand made by Abbey England from a UK sourced rubber compound.

“They are still being used now,” added Nick. “With the pimples still intact and absolutely fine to use.”

Equus rein grips are designed to cover leather reins. They’re available in fine pip or a large pip designs.


21st June, 2018.

A well-known name in the trade has links with provider of £37,000 grant.

Plans to complete Riding for the Disabled’s (RDA’s) first ever national training centre have moved a step closer thanks to a £37,000 grant.

The funds have been awarded by Allchurches Trust.

SEIB Insurance Brokers has been owned since 2008 by Ecclesiastical Insurance Office. Both companies are ultimately owned by the Allchurches Trust and all profits are used for good causes.

“As a national charity, we are reliant on voluntary donations and grants to enable us to provide life changing therapy through horses” says Ed Bracher, CEO of RDA UK.

The RDA’s purpose built facility at Lowlands Farm, Warwickshire will have two riding arenas and stabling for up to 20 horses. The wheelchair accessible training facilities will also boast an arena viewing gallery and community rooms.

RDA needs to raise £1.6 million to develop the site. Completion is scheduled for next year, 2019 marking the charity’s 50th anniversary.

James Laing, director of grants and relationships at Allchurches Trust, said: “We’re proud to play our part in making the dream of this state-of-the art training facility come true, knowing that it has the potential to transform lives and help people with disabilities to reach their full potential.”

The RDA has 500 volunteer groups throughout the UK. It brings the benefits of riding and carriage driving to 25,000 adults and children. Each year, 19,000 volunteers give a total of more than 3.5 million hours of their time.

To find out more about RDA’s National Training Centre and the charity’s work at


19th June, 2018.

Show trader and ETN diarist Guy Roper reports from what was a brilliant Bramham for many - just not for all.

Brammers is one of those events that always has a good feel. It’s got the warmth of a local event coupled with international competition. It’s a package that draws in a wide range of punters from the tattoos to the toffs.

Market logic dictates that in that mix everybody should find a place to trade. Trouble is, this year logic seems to have gone out of the window. We appear to be in what they ironically call a perfect storm. No, not at Brammers where the weather was pretty good overall (I’ll come back to that) but with regard to trading.

Running a business is mostly about margin. OK, of course it’s about staff, product and presentation, but if you aren’t making an adequate margin then you won’t be able to support the rest.

We have to face it - it’s been a rubbish season so far. The weather has just wrecked the normal patterns of trade. Many of us are carrying stock bought at the usual time which we’d normally have shifted by now. But it’s still here.

I don’t know if it’s Brexit uncertainty, or that we’re all watching the pennies a bit more closely, but from what I’ve seen at the shows so far this year the passing pound is staying in the pocket of the passing punter like never before.

The staples are still bearing up. Horses still need feed, some supplements, and replacements for worn out tack and the rugs they ingeniously ripped over winter. But if I’m not shifting stock, I’m not ordering from wholesalers. If wholesalers aren’t shifting stock, then they’re going to discount to maintain their turnover.

So I now increasingly find myself on a stand I booked a year ago with stock I ordered a while back and no customers because one of the chums down the way got a silly price for the same kit from the same supplier.

It’s the market, I accept that, but it’s becoming a market for the agile only. It’s a bit like going to Aldi or Lidl - you go in for a few basics and come out with a bargain which was priced at a point you couldn’t pass up.

At the Brammers BETA traders’ breakfast - where do they get those sausages? And hey, coffee with caffeine in it - event president Nick Lane Fox was pretty clear about the vital part of the visitor experience that the trade stands provide.

And he’s right. People travel from across the north partly for the shopping. You’ve only need to listen to the accents; obviously a lot of Yorkshire, but Cumbria and the north-east are there in numbers plus punters from Cheshire and Derbyshire.

Trouble was, on Saturday the weather lured them out of the trade village onto the cross country course early on - and then they didn’t come back.

Sunday was about perfect with brisk business until late morning. Then the sun came out and it was as if someone had pulled the plug on a bath, only minus the gurgling. After that, only the ice-cream sellers went into meltdown.

Again, the trade stands are left carrying the risk. I pay for the pitch, the hook-up, the wi-fi and the stock and the staff costs. Brammers is pretty good overall, but this year, talking to other chums, nobody was going to get a fortnight in the Caribbean out of it. Even a week in Frinton was looking unlikely.

Right now, my business is tied to a market model that doesn't reflect reality. Fees are based on what happened a few years ago; the price of the stock reflects my best guess when I ordered it, and every passing punter has a web-enabled price-analyst in their pocket.

We’re in an era of dynamic pricing and there is only one way this can go. If you can’t reduce the fixed costs - diesel, accommodation, staff and stand fees - then you really have to make some tough decisions. And the first three are pretty much givens.

You can’t fault Nick Lane Fox and his family for their support of the equestrian world. It’s been second to none, and for many years. And Bramham needs to make a margin like all of us.

But I increasingly feel that the trade stands are partners in the event offer, not an income stream for the organiser’s bean counter. In the not too long term, I have to think about my business too.




18th June, 2018.

If you’d like to network with major players in the feed industry, the West Midlands event is the place to be.

The 2018 British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) Feed Conference takes place at St John’s Hotel, Solihull next Wednesday (27 June).

A few tickets remain available for the annual fixture attended by horse feed retailers, manufacturers, distributors and nutritionists.

As well as hearing a line-up of top speakers on the latest news and developments in the sector, many delegates enjoy the opportunity to network over lunch, tea and coffee breaks.

This year’s venue offers dinner, bed and breakfast at competitive rates. Preferential delegate ticket prices are offered to BETA and SMS members.

For enquiries, contact the BETA Office on tel 01937 587062 or email


18th June, 2018.

The one in three businesses could be giving themselves a bad name, lawyers warn.

Businesses with no social media policy are leaving themselves exposed to reputational damage, disclosure of confidential information and inappropriate or harmful content or behaviour.

The warning comes from lawyers whose survey reveals that 30% of businesses do not have in-house protocol for online activity.

Law firm Howes Percival asked 220 business leaders, representing firms with turn-overs of less than £1m to global players, how they engage with social media.

LinkedIn and Twitter are the most used, with the majority (86%) having a presence on LinkedIn and just over three quarters using Twitter.

Creating a brand identity, positive brand associations, and raising brand awareness were the predominant reasons for businesses' social media presence.

In addition to building and raising brand awareness (49%), other reasons businesses gave for maintaining a social media presence included improving communication and interaction with key audiences (21%), tracking competitors (10%) and increasing web traffic (9%).

Only 40% of respondents said they participate in discussion groups for their sector on social media.

The survey also questioned companies about their ‘go to social media'. The most used sites were LinkedIn (89%), Twitter (54%), Facebook (37%), Google+ (16%) and YouTube (11%).

Worryingly, 4% of the organisations surveyed admitted to having a significant issue with the misuse of social media and/or the internet in their business.

Commenting on the research findings, corporate lawyer Edward Lee said, "Regardless of the industry you operate in or whether your business is a multi-national or a one-man band, social media offers a great opportunity for companies to establish and promote their brands and products. With millions of subscribers, they're also an effective platform to connect with customers.

"While social media is undoubtedly a great marketing tool, inappropriate use by employees can cause real problems. We were concerned to see that nearly a third of companies don't have a social media policy to help guard against potentially damaging postings or online behaviour, such as harassment, by employees.

“Thankfully, most companies said they haven't experienced any significant problems with their employees' online behaviour, but a small minority had.

“Anecdotal evidence from our survey suggests that distractions caused by social media usage by employees, especially Facebook, while at work is a major concern for some businesses."

To help avoid social media pitfalls, companies should implement a written social media policy, Mr Lee advises.

“This should be clearly communicated to staff and should outline if, and how, internet use is limited during working time and using company computers. Sanctions for breaching confidentially online, or posting material which could damage the company's reputation, or making offensive or discriminatory comments, should also be included."

You can view the Howes Percival Social Media Impact Survey report here:


18th June, 2018.

The retail solutions company’s newest recruit has previously worked as a trek leader and eventing groom.

Clara Kellock, who has joined e-commerce specialist Citrus-Lime as equine account manager, has been around horses all her life.

She had her own cob on the family farm where she grew up in North Cumbria.

Then, after graduating from Myerscough College with a first class honours degree in equine science, she worked in a trekking centre and riding school where Clara qualified as a ride leader.

A two year stint in an eventing yard, which also breeds a few National Hunt horses, followed.

Clara’s equestrian career then took a new turn when she joined Citrus-Lime. Here she’s on hand to help apply Citrus-Lime Cloud POS and e-commerce to meet equestrian businesses’ needs.

Her love of horses remains, however, as she has a five year old Irish x warmblood on part loan, enjoys trekking and grooms for friends.


11th June, 2018.

Ex-sales agent and former managing director at Horse&Hound’s publisher are on the team behind the website and showroom.

Niche e-commerce specialist B2C Distribution has unveiled an equestrian shopping website and showroom.

The Drillshed is offering 24-hour delivery on all orders, buying guides and a helpline manned by experienced riders.

Customers can also try the products at the company's showroom in Shoeburyness, Essex.

A one year guarantee is given for leading brands offered including Charles Owen, Dubarry, Musto, Weatherbeeta and Caldene.

Buyer for The Drillshed is the former equestrian sales agent Cath Gordon. Its managing director is Paul Williams, formerly MD at Horse&Hound’s publisher.

B2C Distribution is a specialised e-commerce company serving niche vertical markets. With 40 employees based at its Shoeburyness headquarters, a field sports portal is among its plans.


11th June, 2018.

While the print edition is no more, content will go online, say the publishers.

The regional monthly magazine Equine has ceased publication.

The June issue of the print title published by Expo Life since 2004 will not appear.

Instead, Expo Life – run by Pam Harrison and Peter Bulman - is developing a new digital platform called Equine extra.

“Family health issues of late have resulted in my partner Peter and I deciding to bring forward the planned launch of Equine extra and step away from publishing the monthly print edition of Equine, at least in the short term,” said Pam.


11th June, 2018.

Products from two manufacturers have been accredited as suitable for horses prone to equine gastric ulcer syndrome (EGUS).

Four more feeds have been approved to carry the BETA EGUS assurance mark.

British Horse Feeds’ Speedi-Beet and Fibre-Beet plus Saracen Horse Feeds’ RE-LEVE and Competition-Fit Balancer are the latest to be accredited as suitable for equines prone to equine gastric ulcers as part of a balanced diet.

The feed assurance scheme was developed by the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) in consultation with the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) to enable manufacturers to highlight feeds suitable for equines prone to or at risk from EGUS without breaking marketing regulations.

The BETA EGUS mark – which manufacturers are entitled to display on the sacks of approved products – also helps horse owners select the most appropriate products when buying feed.

Supplements are excluded from the scheme.


11th June, 2018.

No-one wants their dirty laundry aired in public, but crossing the line to buy someone’s silence could prove costly, says Paul Kelly.

Settlement agreements are widely (and legitimately) used to end employment disputes on mutually agreed terms. But negotiations can be acrimonious.

Often substantial sums of money will change hands. Without an agreed settlement, the employer might be exposed to Employment Tribunal proceedings which could be both costly and cause reputational damage.

As nobody likes their dirty laundry aired in public it’s understandable that where an employer is ‘paying-off’ an employee it will probably want confidentiality – in the shape of non-disclosure clauses in the settlement agreement.

Non-disclosure clauses are perfectly lawful. However, it is important to recognise when a non-disclosure clause crosses the line and becomes a ‘gagging clause’. Gagging clauses are unenforceable – and sometimes can be used as evidence against an employer.

The subject has gained much publicity in the wake of the revelations concerning Harvey Weinstein. The House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee has heard evidence from UK lawyers about the use - and abuse - of non-disclosure agreements in sexual harassment cases.

So, what is the difference between the two types of clause, and what can an employer legitimately protect?

Standard non-disclosure clauses

An employer can use a non-disclosure clause to:

• Keep confidential the settlement agreement, its negotiation, its terms and, perhaps most importantly, any sums paid to the employee under it.
• Prevent the disclosure of the employer’s confidential information.
• Prevent the employee from making derogatory remarks about the employer or its employees.

As the ultimate goal of any settlement agreement it to achieve a clean break between the parties, such clauses are reasonably required to give the agreement efficacy.

Gagging clauses

By contrast, a ‘gagging clause’ goes far beyond the remit of a simple non-disclosure clause. It prevents the employee from publicly disclosing wider information about their employer - even when that information is in the public interest. For example, a gagging clause may seek to prevent disclosures relating to:

• Criminal offences
• Danger to the health and safety of individuals
• Risk of, or damage to, the environment
• Miscarriages of justice
• Breach of legal obligations
• Covering up any of the above.

Any attempt to prevent an employee from disclosing such information is likely to be in direct conflict with UK whistleblowing legislation. That legislation is designed to allow employees to make disclosures about their employer without fear of reprisal.

An employer cannot simply circumvent this statutory protection by use of a contractual gagging clause. Any clause which purports to do so will be void.
It is therefore common to see standard non-disclosure clauses specifically state that signing the agreement, and so accepting the clause, does not prevent the employee from later making disclosures in accordance with whistleblowing legislation.

• If you have questions about drafting non-disclosure clauses in settlement agreements, contact Paul Kelly at Blacks Solicitors tel 0113 227 9249 or email


4th June, 2018.

Equestrian Trade News (ETN), in conjunction with the Society of Master Saddlers (SMS), has named the winner of its inaugural saddle fitters’ award.

Laurence Pearman is the first winner of the ETN Saddle Fitter of the Month award.

Presented in conjunction with the SMS, the accolade recognises those whose good practise is making a difference to horses, riders and the saddlery industry.

Laurence, who owns Cirencester Saddlery in Gloucestershire, was nominated by Ben Roberts of Fairfax Saddles.

Ben commended Laurence’s “commitment to the industry and extensive knowledge of saddle fitting.”

You can read more about Laurence’s remarkable career - and his contributions to the saddlery industry - in ETN June issue. Meanwhile, it’s good to hear that his work as a saddle fitter is “as varied and interesting today as it was when I started out many years ago.”

How to nominate a saddle fitter for the ETN/SMS award

Do you know a deserving winner of this award?

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.


4th June, 2018.

Extended support announced as famous show prepares to celebrate 70 years.

TopSpec has agreed to sponsor the TopSpec Arena at the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) for a further five years.

The Yorkshire based feed balancers and blends specialist has confirmed its support as HOYS counts down to its 70th anniversary.

The TopSpec Arena sees hundreds of competitors contest HOYS’ showing championships over five days. Last year, the TopSpec Arena moved to its own dedicated hall, allowing more space for spectators and creating even more ‘atmosphere’.

TopSpec had already sponsored the arena for two years, 2018 being its third.

“The new agreement for a further five years until 2023 demonstrates our strength of feeling for HOYS on both a business and personal level,” said Katy Mickle of TopSpec.

“The show gets better and better, we have been very pleased with how well the TopSpec brand is promoted at, and in the run up to the event. This is backed up by how many competitors and visitors come to see the nutritional team on the stand throughout HOYS, to ask questions and find out more about the range we offer and the feeding regimes and plans we would suggest for their horses and ponies.

“Without doubt HOYS is the end of season party in the equestrian world and long may it continue.”

HOYS 2018 is on 3 – 7 October.


4th June, 2018.

If your enterprise is under a cloud as unpredictable weather has taken its toll this year, you’re not alone.

Weather extremes in 2018 have had a serious impact on the UK’s small firms.

More than half of businesses in agriculture and hospitality – and 12% of retailers – say weather is a “real concern”.

And that figure has risen by 9% in the past two years, according new research by Hitachi Capital.

Regionally, the biggest rise in weather concerns was in Scotland, with more than two in five firms citing the weather as having a significant impact on profitability. Wales and Yorkshire also saw significant increases in weather related issues.

For businesses with seasonal fluctuations, the weather is now a number one worry for many.

“The UK’s economy has taken a direct hit early on this year from extreme weather, having experienced three bouts of the ‘Beast from the East’ and a late spring scorching,” say researchers.

“[Our survey] shows the real impact the elements have had on the small business community in such a short space of time and reveals the knock on effect on sectors that rely heavily on the weather for their businesses to blossom.”


4th June, 2018.

A charity is expanding its work by helping owners care for their horses and tackling indiscriminate breeding – and it hopes to win the trade’s support.

Hope Pastures will return to BETA International as the show's chosen charity for 2019.

The significant exposure for the Leeds based equine welfare organisation will highlight its equine rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming work in the region to a large trade-only audience.

“Hope Pastures does such an incredible job and we are thrilled to be involved with the charity once again,” said BETA International organiser Claire Thomas. “The organisation is run by the most caring and dedicated team, and their enthusiasm is infectious. You cannot fail but to be moved – and encouraged – by their welfare work and want to do your bit to help them.”

Kim Pengelly, one of Hope Pastures’ trustees, added: “Hope Pastures will enjoy the opportunity to raise awareness of the diversity of our work and build relationships with industry suppliers, whose support could help us to help more animals.

“Small charities such as ours work tirelessly to ensure income covers costs so that we remain solvent and able to carry out our work. We are a dynamic team and hope to be able to work with the equestrian trade to enable the rescue of more animals in need and help them to have fulfilling and useful lives.”

Hope Pastures, which was originally BETA International’s chosen charity in 2016, will have an information stand in the halls and a place in the presentation programme to showcase its work to visitors and exhibitors.

The charity has a lean structure, with very few overheads. 95p in every pound is spent directly on the equines in its care. Rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming continue, in addition to a range of community and therapeutic services.

The charity also focuses on improving the education of local horse owners and prioritises the rescue of entire animals and mares from breeding situations to help address the UK's current equine crisis, in which many animals are dumped in terrible conditions.

A new initiative introduced by Hope Pastures has seen the charity introduce a welfare coordinator and team of volunteers who work within the community to support local horse owners needing assistance in caring for their animals and, when this is not possible, help to find experienced new homes for equines in need.

Only when these routes are not practical do they admit the animal to the sanctuary – vastly expanding the numbers of animals they can help. For further information, visit

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


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

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

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

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