23rd December, 2014.

German riding helmet manufacturer uvex sports has taken over compatriot riding glove label Schwenkel.

Zebra Products will continue to distribute both brands to UK and Irish retailers following completion of the deal next week (1 January, 2015).

“We want to preserve the brand and we will carry on with the name Schwenkel with the existing product portfolio”, said Falk Pewestorf, CEO of uvex sports group.

Schwenkel marks its 100th anniversary next year.

• Zebra Products is offering free postage on all orders placed and shipped during January across its entire range of European brands. The distributor re-opens after Christmas and its annual stock-take on Thursday, 8 January.


23rd December, 2014.

Feed merchants keep telling ETN that wild bird feed is flying out of their doors, writes editor Liz Benwell.

This morning, I counted four woodpeckers on my bird feeders. They clearly know that winter proper is on its way.

Last evening, just as it got dark, I stood outside listening to a robin singing his heart out high up in the now bare apple tree.

I hope your seasonal break permits a few quiet moments to contemplate and appreciate the small but precious things that really matter.

My colleague Nicki Lewis and I wish all ETN readers and advertisers a happy, peaceful Christmas and prosperous New Year.


22nd December, 2014.

The Royal International Horse Show (RIHS) has been voted the world’s best showjumping competition.

Held at Hickstead since 1992, RIHS beat Aachen and the 2014 World Equestrian Games to take the title.

Hickstead directors Edward and Lizzie Bunn accepted the award from Inge Van Der Net from sponsor L'Année Hippique at Olympia.

“We’re delighted to accept this award,” said Lizzie, whose father Douglas founded the All England Jumping Course at Hickstead in 1960.

“We very much hope that this international recognition will encourage more overseas visitors to attend the show next summer. Britain is flying high with Scott Brash as world number one, and Hickstead as the world’s best showjumping event.”

The 2015 RIHS runs from 28 July to 2 August.


22nd December, 2014.

Rural retailer Countrywide says the £18.4m raised from the sale of its livestock and agricultural businesses will allow it to focus on its 53 stores across England and Wales.

“Countrywide is well positioned to execute our retail strategy and to grow the business into a leading multichannel supplier to the UK’s rural community,” said chief executive John Hardman.

The group’s LPG energy and turf businesses are also to be maintained.

However around 80 employees have been “affected” by the sale of its livestock feed, arable and crop marketing concerns, says Countrywide Farmers plc.


22nd December, 2014.

Just over half (52%) of UK adults are using vouchers, discount codes and loyalty points to cut the cost of Christmas shopping.

More than 2,000 consumers who were asked about ways to trim seasonal spending also suggested avoiding last-minute panic buying and agreeing price limits with friends and family.

The survey, commissioned by Gocompare.com, also confirms that women are savvier Christmas shoppers than men.

Women are more likely to using discount and money-off schemes, set and keep to budgets and hand-make gifts and cards to keep costs down.

Using cost comparison ‘apps’ was another popular festive saving tactic. As was inviting yourself to lunch with relatives.


19th December, 2014.

Nominations are open for the Neue Schule Expert Bitting Adviser of the Year Award.

The accolade will be presented at BETA International 2015. Neue Schule is the trade exhibition’s main sponsor.

Consumers are urged to nominate the person who has best helped them choose the appropriate bit for their horse

Nominations should be emailed to BA2015@nsbits.com and include name of the advisor plus the store they represent.

Short-listed finalists will be invited to attend BETA International at the NEC, Birmingham on 22 - 24 February where the award will be presented.

The Expert Bitting Advisor of the Year will win £1,000 worth (RRP) of Neue Schule products for their store plus £1,000 (RRP) worth of vouchers to spend on equestrian goods for themselves.

The closing date for nomination is 16th January 2015.

For more information about BETA International, visit www.beta-int.com


18th December, 2014.

A leading wholesaler has introduced Christmas/New Year holiday opening to enable retailers to refresh their stock over this busy trading period.

Snowhill Trade Saddlery will be open to despatch web orders and take phone calls until 3pm on Monday, 29 December and Friday, 2 January.

The holiday opening is designed to enable retailers to buy in new stock or meet specific customer demands just when many consumers are enjoying a break and have time to go shopping.

For equestrian people in particular, Christmas often marks the start of serious winter weather, prompting them to buy extra rugs and clothing.

With children off school too, it’s also a time for Pony Club activities, shows, hunting or spending the Christmas money – all of which can benefit retailers holding the right stock.

Snowhill’s normal speedy turnaround will apply to orders placed on these ‘extra holiday opening’ days, with its regular carriers delivering as usual.

Snowhill Trade Saddlery re-opens completely on 5 January.


16th December, 2014.

It has been announced by the EU Commission that the European Equestrian Riding Helmet standard (BS)EN1384 is to be withdrawn from the Official Journal of the European Union (OJ) at its next publication.

This means that hat manufacturers will no longer be able to CE mark their hats using this standard and will need to re-certify to a specification currently being developed.

The withdrawal of the standard has no effect on riding hats already on the market, said the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) in a statement.

Once a hat has been manufactured to a standard it will not become ‘non-standard’ after withdrawal and can continue to be sold and worn. If riders have hats certified to the EN1384, they can continue to use them unless stated otherwise by rules of competition.

The existing EN1384 standard is currently in the process of revision. The withdrawal is due in part to the European working group responsible for the hat standard failing to reach an agreement on this overdue revision and subsequently causing the Commission to take this drastic step.

The draft proposal for the revision to EN1384 has to go through the laborious procedure of comment and review and it is still unclear when the final version will be published.

An interim specification is being developed by a group of EU test houses and notified bodies (VG1) that will span the gap with a new specification. This is expected to be confirmed within the next few days.

In the future, CE marked riding hats will have to be successfully tested and certified against an alternative specification to allow CE certification to continue. Companies can choose which they use and could include the new VG1 specification, the revised EN1384 once published, PAS015.

Riding hats cannot be CE marked solely to Snell, ASTM F1163 or the AS/NZ3838(2006) without additional testing.

The EN1384 and thus the BSEN1384 specifications have proved to be a popular standard throughout Europe with wide appeal and have saved many riders from head injury, or death.

Whilst initially being promised a period of transition by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the industry has now received news that this option has been retracted. This means that manufacturers will need to re-certify their (BS)EN1384 hats to the revised specification sooner than anticipated.

As a result of these recent changes, UK disciplines and riding bodies are reconsidering their hat rules for the future. Full details of the changes currently available are listed below.

British Eventing will permit (BS)EN1384 hats in 2015 but not thereafter. All hats will be retagged in 2016 at which stage no hats made solely to (BS)EN1384 will be tagged or permitted for use.

British Riding Clubs will permit (BS)EN1384 hats in 2015 but not thereafter. All hats will be retagged in 2016 at which stage no hats made solely to (BS)EN1384 will be tagged or permitted for use.

The Pony Club will permit (BS)EN1384 hats in 2015 but not thereafter. Full details of the revised hat tagging procedure will be sent to members and volunteers shortly.

British Dressage will permit (BS)EN1384 hats in 2015 but not thereafter.

British Showjumping will permit (BS)EN1384 hats in 2015 but not thereafter.

British Horse Society will permit (BS)EN1384 hats in 2015 but not thereafter. From 1 January 2016, hats made solely to (BS)EN1384 will not be permitted for use in BHS Approved Centres.


15th December, 2014.

Belgian Ingmar De Vos (51) was yesterday elected president of the Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI).

He succeeds Princess Haya at the head of the governing body for international horse sport.

Mr De Vos, a former manager of the Belgian Equestrian Team, is employed in the salaried post of secretary general of the FEI.

He has said that, if elected president, he would resign from the job and call an FEI extraordinary general assembly to propose that the president’s post be paid.

The other candidates standing for election were Pierre Durand of France, Pierre Genecand (Switzerland), John McEwen (Great Britain) and Ulf Helgstrand (Denmark) who withdrew his candidacy before the vote.


15th December, 2014.

A businesswoman has launched a crowd-funding campaign to back her new UK made range of model horses.

Becky Benfield, who runs the retail business Utterly Horses, is aiming to raise £25,000 to back Copperfox Model Horses.

This new company has a collection of British native breeds, with the Welsh Cob, Exmoor and Connemara already in production. Incentives for investors include the chance to design their own models.

Read the full story in the December issue of ETN.


10th December, 2014.

Trailblazers Championships Ltd, the company behind the nationwide unaffiliated competition series with a Stoneleigh Park final, has been sold.

The new owner is international show jumping course-designer Kelvin Bywater’s Show Direct Ltd which already organises the Blue Chip Winter Showjumping Championships.

Trailblazers was launched in 2001, primarily to attract footfall to independently run competition centres.

The company that runs it has been sold by its two directors, Norman Bargh and Wilf Hobson. Their families run Osbaldeston in Lancashire and Yorkshire based Moorhouse show centres respectively.

“Kelvin is a professional and he will do a really good job. We understand he will be keeping many of the current organising team and suppliers together [for the 2015 championships],” Mr Hobson told ETN.

Trailblazers runs showjumping, dressage, combined training, showing and re-trained racehorse competitions with qualifiers leading to grand finals at Stoneleigh Park every summer.

In a letter to Trailblazers members, Mr Bywater said: “I look forward to the long term development of this important series and want to continue to create a warm and welcoming atmosphere for competitors.”


9th December, 2014.

Saddlers’ skill and craftsmanship will be highlighted at BETA International during competitions organised by the Society of Master Saddlers (SMS).

The annual contests, to take place in the show’s Saddlery Pavilion, feature trainee saddlers. Visitors are welcome to watch them working throughout BETA International’s three days.

On Sunday, 22 February, apprentices from the Saddlery Training Centre will make Pelham roundings. Second-year students from Capel Manor College, Enfield craft lead reins with butterfly attachments on Monday, 23 February, while first-year apprentices from both colleges make Irish martingales on Tuesday 24 February.

“BETA International’s global reputation as a showcase for the finest, innovative and inspiring products makes it the perfect choice for hosting this highly respected event,” said show organiser Claire Thomas.

Winning trainees, chosen by a panel of judges from the SMS, will collect cash prizes supplied by the Saddlers’ Company.

Apprentices train for four years, many going on to set up their own saddlery businesses or take up apprenticeships with master saddlers.

Hazel Morley, of the SMS, described the competitions at BETA International as “a fabulous window for the youngsters to demonstrate their skills to the equestrian industry.”

BETA International is the world’s definitive trade exhibition for the equestrian, country clothing, outdoor and pet products markets. The 2015 show takes place at the NEC, Birmingham, from 22 to 24 February. Find out more about visiting and exhibiting at www.beta-int.com


9th December, 2014.

Sponsors of Charlotte Dujardin are urging everyone in the equestrian trade to vote for the dressage star to win BBC Sports Personality of the Year (SPOTY) this Sunday evening (14 December).

You can only vote on the night during the SPOTY programme. See details below.

Since she was named in the ten strong short-list, Charlotte’s sponsors have been rallying support.

“Charlotte’s success is phenomenal and can only be positive for the sport, the industry and the UK,” said Simon Middleton of Zebra Products, distributor of Equipe saddles as used by Charlotte and Valegro for seven years and for all their championship wins. “It’s been amazing for us to have been part of the journey.”

Saracen Horse Feeds is another long-standing sponsor. “Charlotte’s dedication to her sport has inspired so many to pursue their ambitions,” said Liz Reid of the company that feeds Valegro.

“Her rapid rise to the top of the rankings has demonstrated what can be achieved with the right training and support. We wish Charlotte the best of luck for SPOTY and hope to see more equestrians recognised for their achievements in the national press in the future.”

Charles Owen signed Charlotte in February 2012, before she went on to be the first dressage Olympic gold medallist to wear a safety helmet.

“Charlotte has transformed dressage and made it relevant,” said Roy Burek of Charles Owen. “She loves fashion and is always coming up with cutting edge ideas. It’s great for a manufacturer to work with a demanding rider.

“We’ve never been more proud to be associated with a competitor, particularly that extraordinary partnership she has with Valegro.”

Chris Jacobi of Absorbine, Charlotte’s chosen horsecare brand, said of her success. “It goes to show how far you can get through determination and hard work. We look forward to voting for Charlotte on 14 December and continuing our support of her through next season”.

• The SPOTY public vote is on the night by phone or via the BBC website. To vote online, you need to register for a BBC iD - http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/sports-personality/30172271. Phone numbers will be released during the live programme on BBC One, 5 live and the BBC Sport website.


5th December, 2014.

Phil Sketchley, the former chief executive officer at NOAH (the National Office of Animal Health), has been appointed chairman of AMTRA (the Animal Medicines Training Regulatory Authority).

He succeeds vet Bob Stevenson who retired from the post earlier this year.

Phil says he’s delighted to be able to support SQPs (Suitably Qualified Persons) in his new role.

“There are now more than 6,000 SQPs working in the UK, and this is testimony that AMTRA has provided a robust framework for training and registration of SQPs.”

AMTRA secretary general Stephen Dawson added: “Phil is passionate about our work at AMTRA and has been a strong supporter of SQPs for many years.”

• ETN runs regular AMTRA accredited features to help SQPs earn the CPD points they need to maintain the qualification.


3rd December, 2014.

Deborah Meaden, star of BBC TV’s Dragons’ Den, is to attend BETA International 2015 in February.

The businesswoman, who says she “can’t imagine life without horses”, will making a first visit to the trade fair.

“I’m always interested in seeing new and innovative products,” she says.

Deborah is an ambassador for HOOF, the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) project developed to inspire people to ride following the London 2012 Olympic Games.

Find out more about Deborah’s horses and why she loves riding in the December issue of ETN.

BETA International 2015 is at the NEC, Birmingham, on 22 – 24 February. Admission is strictly trade only and free on pre-registration. More details at www.beta-int.com or call James Palmer on 01937 582111.


3rd December, 2014.

A researcher who tested hi-viz while cycling in traffic says only two designs altered driver behaviour.

Dressed in various hi-viz outfits, from casual to branded gear, Dr Ian Garrard of Brunel University measured how much space 6,000 motorists gave him as they passed his bike.

Only two outfits altered driver behaviour, he concluded in a report published by the BBC.

Read the full story and Dr Garrard’s observation on how hi-viz works best in the December issue of ETN.


2nd December, 2014.

Helen Morrell, the managing director of Veterinary Thermal Imaging is scheduled to appear on BBC TV’s Countryfile this Sunday (7 December).

“I’m not able to give away any spoilers, but I had an excellent time filming and met some lovely people and animals,” she said.

As well as the early detection of injuries, thermal imaging is increasingly used by saddle fitters.


1st December 2014.

Consumers looking for bargains overseas are being warned not to get hit by unexpected taxes.

The caution comes on so called ‘cyber Monday’, what’s said to be the busiest online Christmas shopping day.

“We know many people like to ...buy online from non-EU countries, and think that the ‘cheaper’ price they see is always the price they finally pay,” said Angela Shephard, of HM Revenue & Customs.

“We want to remind everyone how much they can actually bring back from abroad or buy from an online overseas seller without having to pay customs duty or import VAT.”

Shoppers should be cautious about websites that say they will undervalue goods so they won’t pay VAT.

Another pitfall can be sites offering famous brand names at very low prices.

“HMRC knows about these sites and people who think they’ve found a bargain may actually end up paying more or having goods seized,” added Ms Shephard.

When buying goods online or by mail order from outside the EU, VAT is payable if the value is over £15. And VAT is calculated on the full item value, not just the value above the allowance.

Since 1 April 2012, all mail order imports from the Channel Islands are subject to VAT regardless of their value.