24th March, 2017.

Pawsecco Wine - a drink to be enjoyed by dogs, cats and their owners - was among the winners of New Products Awards at last week’s PATS Sandown 2017 pet trade show.

A team of pet retail experts judged more than 200 entries. The award winners were chosen for their product innovation, design, quality, packaging and value for money.

The winners were:

Winner: ZiwiPeak Air Dried Cat Food
Entered by: Natural Pet Products
Judges’ comments: This unique product brings air-dried food into the cat category – in line with the dog food market. The packaging is innovative and incorporates a special window so that customers can see the contents.

Winner: Pure Buffalo Chew
Entered by: Loving Pets UK
Judges’ comments: Everything about this product is good – good re-sealable packing, good value and good natural ingredients.

Winner: Drive Harness
Entered by: EzyDog
Judges’ comments: With car safety for pets high on everyone’s agenda with law changes in the pipeline, this dog harness was a unanimous winner. This well thought-out product incorporates good padding for comfort and safety.

Winner: Super Suet Starter Pack
Entered by: Unipet International
Judges’ comments: A great value product that is well packaged, making it attractive to the customer. It will also help to encourage more people to feed the birds in their garden.

Winner: SnuggleSafe I’ll Eat My Hat
Entered by: SnuggleSafe
Judges’ comments: It’s a fun product that will sell in big numbers because of its ‘pocket-money’ pricing.

Winner: WildWash Flea and Bug Spray with Horsetail, Eucalyptus and Nettle
Entered by: WildWash
Judges’ comments: The thought and development that went into this product is impressive, with ingredients being ethically sourced from four continents.

Winner: Dirty Dogs Have All The Fun Shampoo Range
Entered by: House of Paws
Judges’ comments: Stand-out packaging and a great price point will make this product fly off the shelves.

Winner: Pawsecco Wine For Dogs and Cats
Entered by: Woof & Brew
Judges’ comments: This product has a great price point, the ingredients are natural, and it looks like a gift. It caters for both cats and dogs, and can even be drunk by pet owners.


24th March, 2017.

Are you - or one of your staff or customers - Neue Schule’s Next Top Jockey?

The bitting company is running a social media based competition to win a year’s sponsorship contract.

Open to riders or drivers in all disciplines, at all levels and of all ages, amateur or professional, the winner will receive Neue Schule products, expert bitting advice and media exposure.

To enter the initial stage of the competition, equestrians should post a picture of themselves and their horse on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, and caption the image in less than 100 words.

For entries to be considered, @NSbits must be tagged and mentioned and the hashtag #NSNextTopJockey used.

“Neue Schule is proud to have a fantastic team of sponsored riders and ambassadors, from Olympic eventers, to grass-roots dressage riders, right through to movie star stunt riders,” said company founder Heather Hyde.

“The Next Top Jockey competition is a great opportunity for someone who shares our ethos to join our team and get some extra support to help achieve their goals, no matter how big or small those might be.”

For more information on how to enter, visit Neue Schule on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

Neue Schule is the main sponsor of BETA International.


24th March, 2017.

As drones and driverless vans do more deliveries, cyber-highwaymen are set to steal £1billion of items every year.

“Autonomous deliveries are already happening,” says David Jinks of online parcel broker ParcelHero.

“Amazon drones have delivered in Cambridgeshire, droids have carried food and goods in London and driverless vans are operating in Greenwich.

“But as technology takes over, a new generation of cyber-criminals will be bent on stealing from these automated machines.”

The last recorded traditional highwayman rode into the sunset in 1831. But experts say it’s likely 21st century Dick Turpins will soon be preying on retailers’ deliveries.

“UK internet retail sales are now worth over £133 billion a year,” adds David Jinks.

“If these deliveries become largely automated and just 1% of items are waylaid using new technology, that’s over £1bn of goods stolen a year.

“The traditional highwayman was reliant on a speedy horse to intercept the mail coach. But Black Bess will be replaced by scrambling and jamming equipment – or even pirate drones - intercepting or diverting deliveries.”


24th March, 2017.

A Wellington boot company - which made its debut at BETA International in January - is in line to receive a five figure award.

Rudds Wellies is a finalist in Devon’s Fast Track to Growth programme which recognises rapidly emerging firms in the county.

Backed by Devon County Council, the scheme’s overall winner will gain £20,000 worth of business support for the rest of 2017.

Rudds non-split riding wellies were launched at the end of last year by the company’s founder, Rachel Rudd.

“Being listed as a finalist is very exciting for us,” said Rachel. “As a new business, the support the programme provides would be hugely valuable, should we win. But even to be recognised is a real plus for us.”

Fast Track to Growth organiser Dan Pritchard said: “Rudds Wellies really impressed the judges. It’s a great brand with ambitious plans.”


13th March, 2017.

Online retailer Dressage Deluxe is to close later this year.

The business, which specialises in upmarket brands for dressage enthusiasts, was founded nine years ago by Alison Nye-Warden.

Dressage Deluxe had a high profile as former title sponsor of the British Dressage National Championships and has supported a number of riders and competitions.

The catalysts for closure, ETN understands, are Alison’s health and the recent departure of the business’s manager.

Alison was on holiday when ETN tried to contact her. Assistant Brea Sargent said she was unsure whether the Dressage Deluxe business or brand were on the market.

A closing down sale is currently underway.


13th March, 2017.

Olympic dressage silver medallist Spencer Wilton officially opened the new Fairfax Saddles factory in Walsall last week (9th March).

Fairfax Saddles now employs 120 people and has more than tripled in size over the last decade.

“The growth of the brand means we need extra space and we always wanted to open a separate factory, solely dedicated to Fairfax products,” said managing director Rupert Fairfax.

“We continue to manufacture Kent & Masters and Thorowgood products in our existing factories, just down the road.”

Fairfax Performance Bridles are also made in the new factory.

• Read the full story in the April issue of ETN.


13th March, 2017.

More than 72% of BETA International’s commercial space for next year’s show is already booked following last week's ‘early bird’ deposit deadline.

Large, established brands to small start-up businesses are set to take their places at the NEC, Birmingham for BETA International 2018 on 21 to 23 January.

Returning exhibitors include A Perry & Co, Bates Saddles and Wintec Saddles from Australia, Danish Design Pet Products, Fits Riding from the US, Horse & Countryside magazine and Musto.

Platinum Agencies and The Golden Paste Company will be back with bigger stands.

Completely new signings include Busse Sportartikel & Co of Germany, Cheval & Rider Wear of Pakistan, Benz Equestrian of India plus the UK’s Saddlery Trade Services of Walsall and Thomas Grey.

“We are extremely pleased that so many companies booked ahead of the deposit deadline,” said BETA International sales manager James Palmer.

“It’s a fantastic endorsement of the trade fair as the ultimate industry buying event and the number one business platform for developing domestic and overseas markets.”

Following the high early uptake, stands remain available from £1,038 plus VAT in a selection of high-profile locations, added James.

“BETA International offers the perfect and cost-effective solution for companies seeking to secure a foothold in a global market.”

BETA International is the world's leading trade exhibition for equestrian, country clothing, outdoor and pet products.

• For further information about exhibiting, contact James Palmer, telephone +44 (0)1937 582111 or email


10th March, 2017.

Westgate EFI (WEFI) has engaged safety expert Paul Varnsverry to handle standards, testing and quality-related matters for its Gatehouse and Rodney Powell brands.

WEFI, a distributor, is the parent company of Design Headwear Limited which provides the technical expertise behind Gatehouse helmets and Rodney Powell body protectors.

Mr Varnsverry is technical director of the PVA-PPE Group, a company specialising in helping manufacturers develop, test and certify protective clothing.

A former chairman of various standards committees, he was convenor of the European Standards committee responsible for the equestrian body protector standard: EN 13158.

Over 20 years, Mr Varnsverry has worked with manufacturers of equestrian body protection, sports protection and motorcycle clothing as well as police riot equipment and head protection.

“It’s a privilege to work with the Gatehouse and Rodney Powell brands”, he said.

“Products like the HS1 jockey skull are icons of the equestrian world and to be associated with their continuing development and the safety of past, current and future customers of the brands is an exciting prospect.”

• ETN looks at the latest developments in equestrian safety gear in our April issue.


6th March, 2017.

UK companies are missing out on up to £27 billion of sales by prioritising the millennial market over baby boomers.

Nearly two thirds (63%) of businesses focus their efforts on younger people, according to research by The Institute of Customer Service (ICS).

And that bias means firms are forfeiting a large chunk of the so called silver pound - said (by the Office For National Statistics) to be worth up to £43 billion a year.

A greater focus on the older market would be more lucrative for businesses across a number of sectors, say researchers.

Yet they found that British companies have a long way to go to meet baby boomers’ needs. Almost half (49%) of over 50s claim they have stopped buying products because of bad service and one in five say that “employees lack the skills to meet my needs.”

Asked what influences their spending, millennials and baby boomers are driven by trust (53% and 55% respectively). They are also equally likely to purchase based on recommendation.

Both place high importance on clear communication from staff and good complaint handling, and equal emphasis on courteousness and respect for customers.

However, baby boomer spending is significantly swayed by excellent service, with 48% citing this as the most important factor influencing their spend, compared with 24% of millennials.

When it comes to contacting businesses, both generations like email.

Baby boomers expect to be able to contact companies through telephone (84%) or face to face contact (55%), with little expectation to make contact through apps (6%) and social media (8%).

Millennials favour a multi-channel approach, with the majority expecting contact to be possible through all modes of communication.

However, 30% of business leaders have not considered providing different styles of customer service to different ages.

“Baby boomers are sending out a clear message to British boardrooms,” says Jo Causon of ICS.

“They will spend money if service standards are improved and if they believe that they matter to an organisation.”

• A recent study by Nielsen revealed 50% of the population is over 50 with these baby boomers having control of over 70% of all disposable income.


6th March, 2017.

The Equerry Bolesworth International Horse Show is to have a new layout for 2017.

Organisers are also offering 10% off stand space for bookings taken before 31 March.

The show runs from Wednesday to Sunday, 14 to 18 June at Bolesworth Castle near Chester with international show jumping and dressage plus family entertainment and shopping.

Visitors will be taken through the trade stand village as they enter and leave the showground, say organisers.

“We’re really excited about the new design which will provide good viewing for all visitors and plenty of footfall for the trade stand holders,” said show president Nina Barbour.

Scott Rowley is overseeing Bolesworth’s trade stands having taken over from event co-ordinator Howard Blythe.


6th March, 2017.

Shop assistants can claim a free shirt for themselves when they sell ten to customers.

The incentive scheme was announced last week by active-wear brand Kastel.

To claim their free shirt, each retail assistant needs to send receipts as proof of their sales, with their name written on them, to UK distributor Zebra Products. They can then pick any shirt from Kastel’s range.

“Your team will really look the part. It’s also a great opportunity to generate some healthy competition,” says Zebra Products.


6th March, 2017.

The chief executive of BASC, the UK’s largest shooting organisation, has been dismissed for gross misconduct.

Richard Ali was sacked following the publication last week (2 March) by the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) of a summary of an independent investigation undertaken by an external law firm.

Mr Ali was suspended on full pay on 26 May 2016 following concerns raised by BASC’s elected council – to whom the chief executive is accountable – regarding employment issues at the association.

Mr Ali was dismissed without notice after an internal disciplinary hearing on 19 December 2016 for conduct which amounted to gross misconduct and which, it was concluded, irretrievably undermined the relationship of trust and confidence in him.

That decision was upheld following an appeal hearing on February 24, 2017. The disciplinary hearings considered 43 allegations against Mr Ali.

In particular, Mr Ali was accused of misusing association funds to support an unauthorised internal investigation, using investigations as a means to bully and control employees and also displaying culpable negligence which placed the association at risk.

Following Mr Ali’s suspension, BASC’s council commissioned an independent investigation by specialist employment lawyers Chambers O’Neill to review a number of staffing and employment issues. Their report was reviewed in turn by leading employment barrister Sean Jones QC.

John Thornley, vice chairman of BASC, said: “BASC is a responsible employer with a duty of care to our staff and the responsibility to protect the use of members’ subscriptions.

“An exhaustive and thorough investigation took place. As a result of the subsequent report, disciplinary hearings were held in relation to a series of allegations involving the bullying of staff, failure to follow the association’s policies, intimidation, misuse of the association’s funds and dishonesty.”

Peter Glenser, chairman of BASC, said: “It has been a difficult time, but the association is now satisfied it has taken proportionate, legal action to put matters right. We are still constrained by certain legal obligations about what we can say publicly, but our members should be assured that due process has been followed and a full report will be presented at the AGM [in June].

“The association will now commence the search for a new chief executive.”

Richard Ali was appointed chief executive of BASC in October 2012.