30th March, 2016.

Trilanco has made it into the London Stock Exchange’s 1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain report for a second consecutive year.

The report lists the UK’s fastest growing and most dynamic small and medium sized businesses (SMEs).

To be included, companies must show consistent revenue growth over a minimum of three years and significantly outperform industry peers.

1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain is a well-respected list that allows SMEs to receive the recognition they deserve,” said Martin Balmer, the wholesaler’s managing director. “We’re very proud to have been identified and included.”

Trilanco has embarked upon a £7 million relocation project that will see it move to a new, bigger, purpose built facility towards the end of the year. ETN readers can follow the project’s progress each month in the magazine.

Xavier Rolet, chief executive of the London Stock Exchange Group, described SMEs as “the driving force behind the UK economy, developing the skills, jobs and growth we need.

“But ambition alone is not enough,” he added, “their success must be highlighted and their growth properly supported with appropriate finance.”

● A searchable database of listed companies plus a downloadable pdf of the publication can be found online at www.1000companies.com


29th March, 2016.

The Budget 2016 contained a few important tweaks but no radical overhaul for employers to note, says Paul Kelly.

From April 2018, employers will have to pay employer’s National Insurance Contributions (as well as deducting income tax) on any compensation payment above £30,000.

While a modest disincentive for employers to settle employment disputes, it’s far less damaging than the much predicted abolition of the £30,000 tax free concession would have been.

What was surprising was the Chancellor’s announcement that all pay in lieu of notice payments (contractual or otherwise) will be taxable from April 2018. Previously non-contractual payments were tax free.

This development will no doubt be cause for celebration within HMRC, but it won’t please employers and employees who are struggling to negotiate employment settlements.

We were also surprised to learn that Employee Shareholder Schemes (ESS) entered into after 17 March 2016 will be subject to an individual lifetime limit of £100,000 on gains that are eligible for the ESS Capital Gains Tax exemption.

So much for encouraging wider employee share ownership!

Other changes announced in relation to employment included:

● An increase in the personal income tax allowance (currently £10,600) to £11,000 from April 2016 and to £11,500 from April 2017. The higher rate income tax threshold (currently £42,385) will increase to £43,000 from April 2016 and to £45,000 from April 2017.

● With effect from April 2016, a taper to the pension annual allowance (the limit on the amount of annual tax-relieved pension saving that can be made by an individual or employer - at present £40,000) for those with adjusted annual incomes over £150,000. For every £2 of adjusted income over £150,000, an individual’s annual allowance will be reduced by £1, down to a minimum of £10,000.

● A possible limit on the range of salary sacrifice benefits that attract income tax and national insurance advantages. Although the government wants to encourage employers to offer some benefits, it is concerned about the growth of these schemes. More is expected on this in the future.

● Consultation on extending shared parental leave to grandparents will commence in May 2016.

Employment law has been subject to some major changes in recent years - the introduction of tribunal fees, the increase in the qualifying period to claim unfair dismissal, and ACAS early conciliation, to name but a few.

Perhaps that explains why the Chancellor did not announce the further radical overhaul that some were expecting.

● Paul Kelly is a solicitor partner at Blacks Solicitors. You can reach him on tel 0113 227 9249 email pkelly@LawBlacks.com or visit http://www.lawblacks.com/Employment_Law


29th March, 2016.

The arrival of the National Living Wage on Friday (1 April) is set to cost the UK’s small firms around £1.67 billion.

More than 1.7 million employees should benefit from the new legislation, according to Government statistics.

The National Living Wage (NLW) requires over 25s to be paid at least £7.20 per hour, a 50p increase on the current National Minimum Wage.

Eligible staff could earn, on average, an extra £950 per year.

However, many businesses are unprepared for the introduction of the legislation, says payroll specialist Moorepay.

When it analysed data from 4,500 small and medium-sized companies (SMEs), researchers discovered that the cost of NLW would hit 86% far higher than they expected.

Researchers also found that one in three SMEs are unaware that the NLW comes into effect on Friday.

“It’s not just the higher wages bill, but associated costs such as national insurance, pension contributions and overtime pay,” said Alison Dodd, managing director of Moorepay.

She suggests companies start planning long-term, adding that it’s essential to check who in a workforce will be eligible for NLW in years to come.

With plans to raise the NLW to £9 per hour by 2020, SMEs should budget for a minimum increase of 45p per hour each year in order to stay compliant.


21st March, 2016.

ETN is on the hunt for the UK’s oldest equestrian company.

It could be a retailer, distributor or manufacturer – and it matters not if its ownership has changed over the years.

If the name’s stayed the same – and that name could now be a brand or subsidiary – ETN would like to hear how old it is.

And don’t worry if you think your company might not be the oldest… it still might make the listing. So do let us know. Please email editor@equestriantradenews.com

● See the April issue of ETN to discover the UK’s biggest equestrian manufacturers.


15th March, 2016.

The Take up the Reins Tour of Great Britain kicks off at the Sport Relief Games, at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London, on Sunday (20 March).

It is encouraging everyone to #GetHorsey, whether in or out of the saddle, and improve their health, fitness and wellbeing.

Getting horsey can also help to build precious family time where parents and kids put down the tablet and mobile phone, and enjoy a group activity. This can lead to a more switched-on, vibrant life with new opportunities.

The campaign, devised by the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) and supported by Hoof - the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) initiative to encourage more people into the sport, invites those of all ages and backgrounds to connect with horses by riding, volunteering to help out at their local equine charities or attending equestrian events to show their support.

Horses are a fantastic way to enjoy the great outdoors and they’re also perfect for:

● Keeping healthy and burning calories at a time of concern about increasing obesity.

● Helping to relieve stress and aid mindfulness.

● Establishing new relationships – with horses and people.

On the tour, BETA’s three mechanical horses – RoboCob, Trigger and Henry – will be giving everyone the chance to get a feel for life in the saddle, whether at a walk, trot or canter.

All those who take part will receive a goody bag with a booklet on getting started, a money box, a token for a £10 equestrian experience (short lesson or trek) and a voucher to exchange for a free pair of riding gloves when buying their first pair of jodhpurs and boots.

Those who don’t want to ride can enjoy the pleasure of being around horses by helping at their local riding stables, equine charity or equestrian event. Such opportunities will also be promoted on the tour, which will visit shopping centres, sports events and general consumer shows across England, Wales and Scotland.

“People have enjoyed a special connection with horses for thousands of years and the Take up the Reins campaign is harnessing this unique relationship to make them accessible to everyone,” said campaign coordinator Tina Hustler.

“We want everyone to experience the joy that spending time with horses can bring – whether as a rider or in a less hands-on way.”

The following Take up the Reins Tour of Great Britain dates have been confirmed:
Sunday 20 March: Sport Relief Games, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, London.
Sunday 3 April: Springtime Live, Great Yorkshire Showground, Harrogate.
Thursday 14 April: John Lewis, Trafford Centre, Manchester.
Sunday 29-Monday 30 May: Great British Pet & Country Show, Hylands House, Chelmsford.
Friday 24-Sunday 26 June: Sports Show, NEC, Birmingham.
Saturday 10 September: Great North Run Pasta Party, Newcastle.
Saturday 8-Sunday 9 October: Robin Hood Game & Country Show, Newark Showground.

For further information, visit takeupthereins.co.uk


15th March, 2016.

Digital sales of paid-for equestrian consumer titles failed to revive an overall downward trend last year.

Horse & Hound, Your Horse and British Horse are independently audited by Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC).

So called ABC figures, announced each February, reflect average sales per issue; weekly in Horse & Hound’s case, four-weekly for Your Horse and five times per year for British Horse.

Digital, as well as print, sales are included in ABC figures. However, digital circulation remains modest; Horse & Hound recorded 659 per issue during 2015, Your Horse 339 and British Horse zero.

British Horse, which is mailed free to British Horse Society (BHS) members, saw an increase in its ABC figure during the measuring period of January to December. The title has a 0% actively purchased figure.

Your Horse can claim a small rise in combined digital and print circulation. Although print sales were down by 155 copies (0.89%), its new ABC figures includes 339 digital subscriptions.

Your Horse also reported a fall to its actively purchased figure which dropped to 88.1% from 99.16% in 2014. During 2015, 1,654 copies were circulated by what ABC defines as monitored free distribution. Of these, 719 copies went to hotels.

Horse & Hound’s ABC figure is 99.7% actively purchased, despite its print sales being down 11.34% and digital circulation dropping by 24.51% year on year.

ABC’s monitoring of media circulation figures is widely regarded as by the industry as scrupulous.


Jan – Dec 2015
Horse & Hound 35,976
Your Horse 17,522
British Horse 78,677

Jan – Dec 2014
Horse & Hound 40,705
Your Horse 17,338
British Horse 74,285

Jan – Dec 2013
Horse & Hound 44,458
Your Horse 20,798
British Horse 69,170

Jan – Dec 2012
Horse & Hound 48,124
Your Horse 23,719
British Horse 69,070

• This story first appeared in the March issue of ETN.


15th March, 2016.

European brand Cavalor has signed a deal with Zebra Products to distribute its supplements and horsecare brand to UK retailers.

Cavalor is sold in more than 50 countries. Its product categories include behaviour, condition, hooves, joints and tendons, muscles, electrolytes, airways, breeding, digestion and care.

“As yet the UK market has remained untapped for us,” said managing partner Lieselot Hamerlinck.

“And so, with the support of Zebra Products, we are looking forward to growing our brand here, offering solutions to horse owners who really care.”

Simon Middleton, managing director of Zebra Products, said: “Cavalor has been on our radar for a while as we’ve seen its popularity and success in other countries.”

Zebra Products already distributes Amerigo, Equipe, Cavallo, Fleck, Bucas, Veredus, PK, uvex, Kastel Denmark and Sprenger.


14th March, 2016.

Staff and customers at Essex retailer Westleigh’s Saddlery & Country Clothing will be rooting for co-proprietor Vicki Clark as she competes in the NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships at Hartpury next month.

Vicki rides her own horse Dakota 1 SB (Jack) in the novice freestyle. The partnership qualified for the national final by winning their regional championships at Houghton Hall with more than 74%.

“We went early in the class, and had to wait five hours before I knew we’d won,” said Vicki. “Then I cried… I’ve never achieved anything like this before.”

Vicki has owned her eight year old, 18hh “gentle giant” Dutch warmblood since he was a five year old. They’ve been learning dressage together with help from trainers Ben Martin and Mark Ruddock.

“They tell me Jack can go all the way,” said Vicki. “But I’m just enjoying myself. I particularly love riding to music [freestyle] – it just makes me smile.”

Vicki and Jack compete at the NAF Five Star Winter Dressage Championships on Wednesday 6th April.

Vicki and her business partner Gemma Keeling turned their backs on respective careers as a midwifery nurse and beauty therapist to open Westleigh’s Saddlery and Country Clothing last year.

The boutique style tack shop, at Ramsden Bellhouse, near Billericay, featured in a Retailer Profile in ETN August 2015 issue.


8th March, 2016.

A demos-and-shopping show due to be held at Stoneleigh Park later this month has been cancelled.

The organisers of Horse Health Expo, scheduled for 25 – 27 March, pulled the plug last Thursday.

The company due to run it is “unable to pay its debts”, according to a statement from director Cheryl Bray

“I’m in discussions with a local insolvency practitioner in order to discuss the options available to Horse Health Expo Limited,” she added.

Billed as “the new event for horse-health conscious owners, riders and professionals”, top riders Paul Tapner and Harry Meade were due to give demonstrations.

The organisers promised 250 tradestands in their pre-show publicity.

Admission ticket holders have been told they will be refunded by their online merchant. But it’s unclear whether traders who had booked stand space will be reimbursed.

“We were lucky, we hadn’t paid any money as they’d offered us an information stand,” said Gillian Booth of Westgate Laboratories.

“It was a good idea but perhaps a three-day show was a bit ambitious.”

Baileys Horse Feeds was also due to exhibit. “I’m not sure if we’ve paid in full,” Jane Buchan told ETN. “But even if we haven’t, we’ve already booked hotels and paid for those in advance.

“The shows sounded like a good combined proposition – the online marketing for it certainly caught our eye.”

ETN attempted to contact the organisers of Horse Health Expos but no-one has returned our calls or emails.


8th March, 2016.

Competition horses are being fed supplements as a preventative measure, researchers have found.

Owners typically feed two nutritional supplements per day per horse. Yet products don’t necessarily mirror the issues the owners most often experience with their horses.

In the study by the University of Surrey and University of Nottingham, published last week in the journal Veterinary Record Open, almost 600 owners were questioned.

Those with dressage horses cited behavioural issues and energy levels as the most frequently encountered problems, followed by lameness, back and muscle problems.

Owners of eventers identified stamina and fitness as the main concern, followed by lameness, behavioural issues and energy levels.

However, both groups stated joints and mobility problems as their main reason for feeding supplements.

“There are several possible reasons for the discrepancy between owners’ opinions of main problems and their choice of supplements,” Dr Teresa Hollands Hollands from the University of Surrey told ETN.

She added that while there was limited evidence on the effectiveness of behavioural supplements in horses, there have been considerably more studies on supplements to enhance joint function and mobility.

Another reason for owners choosing to use joint supplements when joint problems were not an immediate problem is as a preventative tactic.

“These owners may be early adapters – you could even say pioneers – in using nutrition as a preventative measure against the inevitable joint damage associated with performance,” added Dr Hollands.

Access to the full paper is available here:



8th March, 2016.

Nearly 100 people from more than 70 retail businesses have joined a group that aims to get equestrian retailers talking.

The Equestrian Retailers Association UK operates as a private Facebook group. But it has no plans to become a buying group or trade association, says its founder Rob Ower.

“The aim is to get retailers communicating,” said Rob, a partner in Finchley, north London based College Farm Saddlery & Pet Supplies.

“We discuss things that only other equestrian retailers understand, such as hat standards, which hotel to book for BETA International, epos and shop security.”

With most participants being based in the south of England and the Midlands, the group is keen to encourage more northern, Welsh and Scottish retailers to join.

“It’s definitely more social than business,” Rob insisted when ETN asked if a buying group was in the offing. “I admit that was suggested by one or two people, but I wouldn’t feel comfortable negotiating discounts with suppliers for what amounts to a Facebook group.

“Anyway, this isn’t my job – I’ve got enough to do! The [Equestrian Retailers Association UK] is a democratically run club with no figurehead.”

The social side of the initiative came to the fore during BETA International with an informal gathering for drinks on the Monday evening – a chance to put faces to Facebook names.

The only business these retailers do amongst themselves is occasionally help out one another with stock. “We’ve had requests for items when someone doesn’t want to let down a customer,” said Rob. “I’ve sent other retailers products in this situation, it’s a case of getting to know one another and helping out.”

And does the club see itself as an eventual rival to BETA?

“No, definitely not,” said Rob, whose business is a BETA Retail member.

“We’re not that kind of group, we’re a communication platform. Having said that, we might consider approaching BETA to say how we feel as a group about a particular issue in the future.”

This story appears in the March issue of ETN.


4th March, 2016.

Lawrence of Arabia, Princess Anne and Brough Scott are among the people who appear in the story of the riding helmet.

The eclectic group’s various roles in the evolution of today’s riding hats are revealed in an interview with Bill Vero.

Bill was the recipient of this year’s BETA Lifetime Achievement Award for his work as a pioneer of protective headwear.

More of his fascinating insights into the history of riding hat standards and product testing appear in the April issue of ETN.

Meanwhile an interview with Bill - who was instrumental in developing the Gatehouse brand.


1st March, 2016.

Do you fancy having to buy new a new phone or computer, and learn how to use new software, just for HMRC’s benefit?
Would you volunteer to prepare your accounts four times a year, instead of just once, and then have to do a tax return on top?
HMRC’s latest initiative Making Tax Digital (MTD) could involve all of the above becoming a reality for every small business, warn tax experts.

As anyone who runs a business will have noticed, technology is changing the way that they deal with the authorities. VAT, corporation tax returns, and the vast majority of self-assessment income tax returns are filed online these days.

And off the back of the broadly positive experience of implementing RTI for employers with PAYE obligations, HMRC and the government have now announced that they want to go another step further.

As well as records of employment related taxes, they want to get quarterly updates on tax information from every business in the country.

The logic and benefits look to be much the same as for RTI – improved information reduces the risk of error, and consistent formatting will make HMRC’s job easier, both for processing of compliant taxpayers’ affairs and data mining to identify the non-compliant.

Jason Piper, senior manager for Tax and Business Law at the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants, is concerned about both the proposals and the implementation.

“Compulsory online everything for everyone is the basis of HMRC’s new Making Tax Digital proposal. It started life in March 2015 as ‘making tax easier’ but by December the detail had started to emerge and the name had changed.”

Piper says HMRC and the minister, David Gauke, are keen to stress that they’ll be consulting “in detail” throughout 2016. But the timetable is fixed, and many would say, too ambitious.

“The first businesses are going to be reporting all their tax information to HMRC online, quarterly, in real time from 2018. That means the legislation will have to be in the 2017 Budget, so it’ll need to have been written by the end of 2016 – realistically, well under way by late summer this year.”

New time-consuming obligations

There’s no detail yet on how HMRC will be managing the rollout, but it sounds as though it’ll be based purely on size, not sector.

The problem is, as Piper puts it, “even if you already keep your records online, and up to date, there’s still going to be an additional step. HMRC want you to send them details, probably more or less in line with what you do for VAT, of your headline financial information so that you can be kept up to date with your evolving tax liability.”

He suggests that while some may think that sounds great, others will consider it “a nightmare”. However, the government has said that the aim is for the reporting to be “light touch” – because every business in the country is expected to keep its records using apps, so that just a single touch of a button will send HMRC what they want. The reality may be quite different.

The problem is made worse, reckons Piper, because firms will need to use HMRC approved software for their records. “We don’t yet know exactly what that software is going to look like, but we do know it won’t be just an Excel spreadsheet,” he says. “Somehow, you’ll need to get your figures into a format that HMRC will accept.”

HMRC seem to be taking the line that since employers were able to cope with RTI, often by asking agents (usually accountants) to file for them, small businesses will be able to cope with MTD. But the ask is very different this time around.

Says Piper: “HMRC like to quote proportions and percentages to show how MTD would be good for the majority. But sometimes it’s good to look at raw numbers.”

He illustrates the point by noting that there are 490,000 small and micro businesses who don’t communicate with government online now – and would still not do so even if all other options were removed. There’s another 300,000 “can’t but would” – and a further 1.9m who are going to struggle.

Further, and this is also of concern, the Cabinet Office recently assessed various bits of government’s online presence of how easy people will find it to use, on a scale from one (never have, never will) to nine (expert).

HMRC’s self-assessment offerings come out one notch below the highest, scoring an eight confident user result. Yet the MTD target audience are mostly languishing at five (learning the ropes) or below.

Failure isn’t an option – is it?

Piper notes that none of this means that MTD is destined to fail. But he adds a caveat - there is a risk that it could.

“The problem is, if it does, it’ll be along the lines of ‘I’ve been given impossible obligations to meet and I’m being penalised for failing to meet them’.”

It’s important to remember that it’s not just HMRC who are involved in implementing this. It’s got to come from Parliament, and MPs have already debated it once.

Piper strongly recommends spending a few minutes to write, or email, a letter to your MP as well as contacting your trade body and talking to your accountant about it.

Piper offers some advice: “Think carefully about what would work for you, and what might even add value to your business – planning, cashflow, even just basic record keeping – and if it’s best done online, then tell HMRC and your MP how that would work.

“If it wouldn’t work for you, tell them, now – because you won’t get another chance and you will be left struggling to cope.”

Firms should remember that if they say or do nothing before the end of the summer they will be left complying with whatever is passed by parliament.

Contact details for your MP: http://www.theyworkforyou.com/mps/.

HMRC proposals: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/making-tax-digital.


1st March, 2016.

Legislation changes and a new feed assurance scheme are on the agenda for this month’s BETA Feed Industry Conference.

The annual event takes place at a new venue for 2016 – the Windmill Village Hotel, near Coventry – on Tuesday 22 March.

Open to BETA members and non-members, the conference appeals to all those working in the feed and supplements sector.

Speakers include Mark Bond, of the Food Standards Agency, on feed legislation.

Lynn Hillyer, of the British Horseracing Authority, gives a racing perspective; with James Pheasant, of solicitors Burgess Salmon, updating delegates on FEI rules.

BETA executive director Claire Williams will cover changes and revisions to the BETA NOPS Scheme.

Hannah Adams of Kiwa PAI looks at NOPS non-conformance and the impact that the changes to NOPS, UFAS and other quality assurance schemes will have on the auditing process.

Mark Dunnett will provide an overview of the prohibited substances most commonly found through testing over the previous year.

Pat Harris, director of science for Mars Horsecare and part of the Equine Group at the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition, explores the link between nutrition and gastric ulceration to discover whether feed could be the cause or cure.

Dengie nutritionist Katie Williams – a member of the sub-committee that developed it - introduces the new BETA feed assurance scheme applying to products suitable for equines prone to gastric ulcers.

The conference is open to everyone working in the feed industry, including manufacturers, distributors, retailers, nutritionists and university lecturers.

BETA members can attend the day for £90 plus VAT while the cost for non-members is £135 plus VAT. Contact laurac@beta-int.com or tel 01937 587062 to book.