CALLING ALL SADDLERY BUFFS...

31st January, 2013.

Are you a walking encyclopaedia of the history of saddlery? Do you have books, articles or documents detailing changes to the way saddlery has been made over the years?

If so, the Society of Master Saddlers (SMS) wants to hear from you.

The society is developing a saddlery archive looking at leading names in the field, technical developments and interesting facts that have led to modern saddlery manufacture.

“There is so much information out there, but in many different forms and we are keen to collate it and bring all the pieces together for the future,” says Hazel Morley of the SMS.

“From the history of saddle making, to how certain designs came about, why the saddlery industry moved from London to Walsall and leading names who truly made an impact on the sector, we want to find out more.

“It is so easy for material to be lost and we hope that by pulling it all together it will be safe for future generations to read and use.

“As well as older material that is in existence, we would also like to hear from students and younger people who have maybe written projects such as dissertations and thesis on the saddlery industry for their qualifications as this would also be very useful.”

If you can help, contact SMS past president Denise Silman tel 07713 793045.


CHARLOTTE DUJARDIN TO APPEAR AT BETA INTERNATIONAL

28th January, 2013.

Double Olympic gold medallist Charlotte Dujardin is to tell her London 2012 story at next month’s BETA International 2013.

‘An Audience with Charlotte Dujardin’ takes place in the Charles Owen Learning Centre @ the Horse Demonstration & Seminar Arena on Sunday, 17 February - the first day of the three-day trade fair at the NEC, Birmingham.

Charlotte and Valegro captivated the judges and a worldwide audience with their patriotic freestyle test to become Olympic champions. They also took team gold with Carl Hester and Laura Bechtolsheimer.

Charlotte was awarded the OBE in the New Year’s Honours list earlier this month.

Admission to BETA International is strictly trade only and free on pre-registration at
www.beta-int.com


CARROTS APPOINTS SOUTH-EAST AGENT

23rd January, 2013.

Lucinda Kooij is Carrots’ new sales agent for the south-east of England.

Before joining the equestrian fashion/gift label, Lucinda worked in the horticultural industry and homeware market with brands such as Le Creuset.

Three years ago, she worked with equestrian distributor Matchmakers International.

“Carrots has so many exciting new products for 2013 and has really made an impact in the equestrian gift market place,” said Lucinda. “I’m looking forward to helping take the brand one step further in this area of the UK.”

Contact Lucinda on tel 01245 445362.


ARE THESE THE WORLD'S WARMEST SOCKS?

23rd January, 2013.

As the winter weather continues to bite, a sock brand claims its offering is the warmest in the world.

With a tog rating of 2.34, Heat Holders says its socks are seven times warmer than normal cotton styles.

“As far as is known, and has ever been tested, Heat Holders are the warmest thermal socks in the world,” adds a spokesman.

The socks’ secret lies in the patent pending, extra long looped thermal pile. The innovative knitting technology locks in warm air while the soft, brushed inner adds comfort and softness.

The special yarn also provides good insulation and moisture wicking abilities.

Available in various colours and lengths, RRPs are from £7.99. Slipper socks with grip pads are also available.

Heat Holders are available to the trade.


CANADA BIDS TO HOST WEG 2018

22nd January, 2013.

Canada hopes to host the 2018 World Equestrian Games (WEG).

Its national federation Equine Canada has nominated Bromont, which staged the equestrian events for the 1976 Olympic Games, as the venue.

The bid committee, which is expected to include the Mayor of Bromont Pauline Quinlan and Equine Canada President Mike Gallagher, will travel to FEI Headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland next month to present their bid.

WEG 2014 takes place in Normandy, France on 24 August to 7 September.


ONLINE RESOURCES FOR RETAILERS

21st January, 2013.

Body protector specialist Airowear has launched an online resource hub for trade customers.

Available via a secure area of the company’s website, it gives stockists access to downloadable information such as images, videos and literature which can be used to promote Airowear products.

The company’s new website is also available in German.


JUMP AT THIS OPPORTUNITY...

17th January, 2013.

Surrey County Council is searching for a company that makes brush fences, similar to those used on racecourses.

“We manage large areas of land that are covered in young birch saplings,” Matt L’Estrange told ETN.

“The company we previously dealt with is no longer in business, so we are currently looking for alternatives.”

Contact Matt at matthew.lestrange@surreycc.gov.uk if you can help.


NEW SADDLE IS A WEIGHT CARRIER

16th January, 2013.

What’s claimed to be the first saddle designed especially for the larger rider has been launched.

The WOW Bounty, from First Thought Equine, is a dressage saddle with a deep profile seat.

Built on the established WOW carbon fibre tree and with Flair air flocking, the saddle is said to ‘cup’ the rider’s seat for support and comfort.

“This is the first saddle of its kind to hit the market,” said co-proprietor David Kempsell. “Larger riders often feel pushed forward in conventional dressage saddles, the Bounty maintains a secure and comfortable riding position.

“Importantly, we’ve designed a longer, larger seat without making a longer saddle, as many weight-carrying horses are short-backed. The panel of the saddle measures 18”, so it is suitable for all horses.”


NEW FUNDING FOR FIRMS TAKING ON APPRENTICES

15th January, 2013.

Small and medium sized employers looking to offer apprenticeships have been given a boost.

Under its National Apprenticeship Service, the government has confirmed an extension of grants to employers until March 2014.

The £1,500 grant is available to businesses with less than 1,000 employees that take on an apprentices aged 16 - 24. Eligible employers can claim the grant for up to ten apprentices.

Business Secretary, Vince Cable said: “I know it can be a big decision for busy, small companies to take on an apprentice. Employers may be concerned about the time recruitment and training will take, and anxious about how it will work.

“So the £1,500 grant is a token to acknowledge this and thank employers. I hope many more people will take us up on our cash incentive to grow their business, and train up the workforce of the future.”

Find out more by calling 08000 150 600.


BUSINESSES WARNED ON LATE VAT RETURNS

14th January, 2013.

Up to 50,000 businesses that have failed to submit VAT returns will be targeted by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) this month with warnings that their tax affairs will be closely scrutinised.

More than 600,000 businesses have to put in VAT returns each month and most do so on time. But in a new campaign some 50,000 will be warned that, from 28 February, their tax affairs will attract greater attention.

The VAT Outstanding Return campaign is aimed at businesses that have one or more VAT return outstanding, and have been told to submit their returns but have not done so. Some will have received an assessment of VAT for these periods.

These businesses are being given an opportunity to get up to date and pay the tax they owe by 28 February. After that, HMRC will target them and take a much closer look at their tax affairs. By using this campaign to come forward voluntarily, they might receive better terms, as any penalty they pay may be lower than if HMRC comes to them first.

“If HMRC has sent you a VAT return and you have not yet taken any action, this campaign is a reminder to bring your tax affairs up to date. But time is running out,” said Marian Wilson, head of HMRC campaigns.

"After 28 February, if they have not submitted their outstanding VAT returns and paid what they owe, HMRC will use its legal powers to pursue outstanding returns and any VAT that is unpaid. Penalties, or even criminal investigation, could follow."

Help is available by calling the VAT Helpline on 0845 010 9000.


HORSEWORLDLIVE GOES BUST FOR £372,000

10th January, 2013.

HorseWorldLive, the show which left many traders and public disappointed at ExCel in November, has ceased trading with debts of £372,000.

The directors of show organiser Equidae Ltd have appointed an insolvency practitioner. A creditors’ meeting is to take place next Tuesday (15 January) after which the company is expected to go into liquidation.

Eric Brightwell, of Brightwell Recovery and Insolvency, told ETN he was approached by the directors of Equidae to assist them with the liquidation.

“The shortfall [total claims from creditors] is more than £372,000,” he said. “Shareholders and directors who invested in the show represent more than half of the creditors.”

It is thought there will not be any funds for distribution to unsecured creditors.

Asked why he thought HorseWorldLive had failed financially, Mr Brightwell said: “Part of the problem was, come the beginning of November, a number of [trade] exhibitors hadn’t paid the amounts due. [Therefore] the company didn’t have as much in the way of funds as it expected to have.”

But many traders who took stands at HorseWorldLive felt the show did not deliver as promised, particularly in terms of visitor numbers.

“Our company and other traders were seriously misled by Equidae Ltd who seem to have little knowledge of organising this type of event, let alone marketing it properly,” said SallyAnne Brown of Hertfordshire based equestrian retailer Equus Sphere. “The expected 30,000 shoppers never happened; we were lucky if there were 5,000.”

The 30,000 anticipated visitors was a figure also quoted on the HorseWorldLive website, which has since disappeared.

One of the directors of Equidae, Ivan Harold Allen, has 31 current or previous company directorships or secretary appointments. Most of the companies concerned appear to be show or exhibition organisers and of the 31 companies, 22 have been dissolved.

Equidae’s creditors include riders William Fox-Pitt and William and Pippa Funnell who gave demonstrations at the show, plus Andrews Bowen who supplied the arena surface.  It has also been reported that the Under 18 show jumpers have never received their prize money from HorseWorldLive.


UNIVERSITY LAUNCHES EQUINE NUTRITION APP

9th January, 2013.

Aberystwyth University has launched what’s claimed to be the first ‘app’ for equine nutrition.

HorseRation, on iTunes, allows users to calculate the amount of feed their horses need.

Taking into account weight, workload, body condition score, behaviour and health status, the app is able to guide horse owners towards the most suitable diet (forage and hard food) for their horse or pony.

HorseRation is the second app to be developed by the university this year, in collaboration with Arkuris Ltd and CEMAS (Glamorgan).

Equine nutritionist Catherine Hale, who is in the final year of her PhD at Aberystwyth, had the idea for HorseRation.

“I see horses on a daily basis that are suffering from various nutrition-related problems and where the welfare of the horse could be easily improved by simply changing the diet,” she said.

“We have included tips throughout the app that help users to answer all the questions needed to form the ration. The app will calculate weight and provide visual prompts to help horse owner decide on their horse’s body condition. And as it can all be done on your iPhone, it is really easy to do out on the yard.”

Two versions are available, one free and one paid-for at £4.99. The app will be officially launched at BETA International next month (17 – 19 February).


MARK TODD IS KNIGHTED

7th January, 2013.

Mark Todd was made a Knights Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit (KNZM) in the 2013 New Year Honours List.

The eventer has previously been granted the MBE and CBE and was voted Rider of the 20th Century by the FEI.

Although he was formally notified some weeks ago, the news is still sinking in for Sir Mark: "It's a huge honour and I'm extremely humbled by the recognition," he said.

"I don't expect the title to make any difference to my everyday life, though; we won't be having 'Sir' added to the Mark Todd Collection logo."


SHOPPERS AND RETAILERS “PLAY CAT AND MOUSE”

3rd January, 2013.

Price discounting before Christmas Day is now a common strategy among retailers.

The Ipsos Retail Traffic Index (RTI) has reported non-food shopper footfall in the run up to Christmas 2012 as similar to that of 2011. Statistics also show shopper numbers in the week commencing 23rd December up 28.3% compared with November.

The best performing region was Scotland where shopper numbers were 7.1% higher compared with the same week of 2011. Retailers in London and the south-east saw a drop in footfall in December by 6.9% against 2011.

“Retailing appears to be in a period of transition,” said Peter Luff, president of Ipsos Retail Performance. “Our latest RTI statistics show that the more advanced retailers are adapting their pricing, promotional and marketing strategies over a longer period to attract customers into their stores.

“Pre-Christmas sales have now become more common and the traditional post-Christmas sales are simply a continuation of this longer, more managed trend.

“Many consumers hold onto their money to take advantage of even greater discounts after Christmas, especially for seasonal stock that retailers really need to sell.

“It’s become a game of cat and mouse between shoppers and retailers, especially as retailers are competing with each other. Knowing the customer - how they think, behave and are likely to shop - has becoming an even more critical element of the ‘operational differential’ for retailers as we progress into 2013.”