30th April, 2014.

Well over half (65%) of small firms believe banks should be forced to provide details of SMEs they have rejected for funding to alternative lenders.

The findings, from finance company Fleximize, came last week as the Government’s consultation closed on whether legislative steps should be taken to bring about this change.

Just 7% of SMEs were against banks being forced to do this, while 28% were unsure. Only 5% think it would be ‘very easy’ to find an alternative lender.

It’s believed that around £787 million of business loan applications were rejected during the third quarter of 2013. Around 22% of applications from small businesses were thrown out, and around 9% from medium sized enterprises.

Fleximize launched in January to offer flexible loans to SMEs where repayments are tied to a client’s revenue flow – paying back more in good months and less when income drops.


30th April, 2014.

Major players from the equine feed industry will gather in Northamptonshire next month for the annual BETA Feed Conference.

The conference, on Thursday, 15 May at Whittlebury Hall Hotel, near Towcester, is open to all those working in the feed and supplements sector, including manufacturers, distributors, retailers, nutritionists and university lecturers.

As well as discussing the latest legislation, the event is seen as a useful networking opportunity for people working in the feed industry.

Delegates will be briefed on marketing and labelling regulations, plus a new claims and labelling guide for BETA members.

Experts will address medicinal claims and how to avoid making them, dealing with enforcement, conducting trials to justify claims and a review of claims made and how to substantiate them.

“The conference is always well-attended, providing a highly effective way in which to update feed industry colleagues with the most up-to-date developments in this fascinating sector,” said BETA executive director Claire Williams.

BETA members can attend the day at a cost of £80 plus VAT and non-members for £110 plus VAT. To book a place, contact Tina Hustler, telephone 01937 587062 or email tinah@beta-int.com


29th April, 2014.

Countrywide has launched a forage analysis service.

The retail chain is offering to measure protein, metabolisable energy, minerals and trace elements in customers’ hay and haylage.

“[Forage] makes up a large proportion of a horse’s daily feed intake,” says Leonie Ibberson, Countrywide equine nutrition specialist.

“For us to develop accurate feeding plans we must know the value of forage.”

The analysis service is available to order through Countrywide stores or via account managers.

Customers are provided with a sample bag for their hay/haylage. A result and report are ready within two weeks, says the retailer.

Customers are also offered a free feeding plan and advice.


28th April, 2014.

Yesterday’s blaze at the South Yorkshire premises of R. Plevin & Sons did not involve equestrian bedding, the company has confirmed.

The fire broke out at the wood processor’s Penistone plant which makes bio-mass fuel.

More than 40 firefighters were at the incident in which it’s understood no-one was hurt.

“We would like to assure stockists and suppliers of our Snowflake and Woodpecker animal bedding that deliveries are unaffected and will be taking place as normal,” said a company spokesman. “Animal bedding is produced at our other Plevin sites in Mossley, Retford, Boston and Slimbridge.” The fire was reported on regional television news.


28th April, 2014.

The ComfyBed equine bedding brand has been acquired by Greenwood Forest Products (GFP).

Sheffield based GFP’s sister company, McClure, is a major player in the timber garden buildings [sheds] industry.

Also new at GFP is sales manager Colin Smith. He was with Plevin for 15 years and worked on its equine bedding brands.

“We’ve picked up the ComfyBed name and blended premium woodchip with softwood shavings to create new and improved ComfyBed Plus,” Colin told ETN.

GFP also produces pet and poultry bedding. A 10% discount is available on first orders.


24th April, 2014.

Burghley winners Jock Paget and Clifton Promise have been disqualified and stripped of their prize money.

The decision, a partial ruling by the FEI Tribunal, promotes fellow New Zealander Andrew Nicholson to the top spot.

Nicholson now starts at Kentucky three-day event today (24 April) with a chance of securing two consecutive legs of the £229,000 Rolex Grand Slam.

Clifton Promise tested positive to the banned substance reserpine at Burghley last September.

Paget accepted the finding and requested that the FEI Tribunal, prior to a full hearing, rule separately on the automatic disqualification from Burghley.

The Tribunal has ruled that the pair are disqualified from their placing at Burghley and that all points and prize money won by them at the event must be forfeited.

The full hearing of the Clifton Promise case is scheduled for 3 June 2014.


24th April, 2014.

Footwear and clothing company Tredstep Ireland has appointed Julie Hayward and Kelly Whapples as UK sales managers.

Both previously worked for equestrian wholesalers. Julie was with Westgate EFI and Kelly at Shires.


24th April, 2014.

The effect of arena surfaces on horses’ performance and soundness has been studied by experts from the UK, Sweden and American.

The Equine Surfaces White Paper, just published by the FEI [international horse sports’ governing body] is the result of a four-year examination of horses’ orthopaedic health when they train and compete on artificial and turf going.

The white paper also looks at optimal composition, construction and maintenance of arenas for maximising equine performance while minimising injury risk.

“Now...we can fully understand how the right surfaces, with the necessary preparation and ongoing maintenance, can extend the working lives of sport horses and produce the best performances,” said John McEwen, chair of the FEI veterinary committee.

The white paper has been funded by the FEI, World Horse Welfare, the Swedish Foundation for Equine Research and the British Equestrian Federation.

The study’s lead author is Dr Sarah Jane Hobbs from the University of Central Lancashire.

The white paper can be downloaded at http://www.fei.org/fei/about-fei/publications/fei-books


24th April, 2014.

Vicki Black has retired from NAF after 28 years with the supplements and horsecare products manufacturer.

She started with NAF as a sales agent in 1986, before becoming UK sales manager in 1994.

Vicki was made a director in 2009. Her final two years, in the role of international sales director, have been spent establishing NAF’s export sales division.

Vicki is planning an active retirement combining her hobbies of travelling and walking.


22nd April, 2014.

Gate numbers were up by 15% as record crowds flocked to the EQ Life Burnham Market International Horse Trials last weekend.

Riders from 22 nations, including many Badminton bound combinations, ran at the Norfolk event.

There was also shopping, children’s entertainment, dog agility – and sunshine.

“It was great to see so many people watching the action and shopping in the tradestands,” said event organiser Alec Lochore.


15th April, 2014.

Derek Mackey is the new head of sales at Dodson & Horrell.

He joins the feed company on 6 May.

Having previously worked in the brewing and hotels business, Derek lives in Lincolnshire with his wife and two children.


14th April, 2014.

Small farmers are to protest in London on Thursday (17 April) about what they say is big businesses’ stranglehold over agricultural policy in the UK.

Members of the newly formed Landworkers’ Alliance (LWA) will be outside the head offices of the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) which are adjacent in Smith Square.

The LWA, which has 150 members, belongs to the international movement La Via Campesina which represents 200 million small-scale producers around the world.

See the May issue of ETN for a smallholding feature.


10th April, 2014.

More people are going shopping, according to retail analysts.

Buying trips to stores rose last month (March) by 4.5% compared with February.

This was better than the monthly lift of 3.8% in 2013 - despite Easter falling into March last year. So says the Ipsos Retail Traffic Index which measures consumers entering more than 4,000 non-food retail stores across the UK.

“The de-seasonalised trend is stronger than it has been since last July and there’s no reason to expect this to falter,” said Tim Denison, director at Ipsos.

“Consumer confidence is up there with the skylarks.”


8th April, 2014.

Seventy two nations intend to compete in this summer’s World Equestrian Games (WEG).

As declarations closed last week, entries looked likely to be 10% up on previous WEGs.

Jumping has attracted the greatest number of nations with 57 national federations intending to participate. 50 countries expect to line up for the endurance.

Twelve countries will be making their WEG debut; Hong Kong, US Virgin Islands, Kazakhstan, Republic of Korea, Latvia, Morocco, Mauritius, Peru, Palestine, Romania, Thailand and Tunisia.

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

• ETN previews WEG in our June issue. To get involved, contact Nicki Lewis on 01937 582111.


7th April, 2014.

Trilanco has appointed David Haig as UK sales manager.

David, who has worked for the wholesaler for more than 12 years, was previously its northern area sales manager.

He takes over from Tim Bourne who retired at the end of March after 25 years with Trilanco.


4th April, 2014.

Retailers are spending more on new shop fittings.

Latest figures from the Shop and Display Equipment Association (SDEA) indicate that retailers are improving ‘real’ stores as well as e-commerce websites.

More than half (57%) of shop fittings suppliers said they’d seen increases in sales during the second half of 2013 compared with the first half of the year.

Nearly half reported increased sales compared with this time last year. Three-quarters expected to do even more business during the next 12 months.

One in five respondents had taken on more staff during the last six months, with 52% planning to do so over the next six months.

“Overall, these figures reveal a degree of business confidence not witnessed in the UK shopfittings and display industry for several years,” said Lawrence Cutler, SDEA director.


3rd April, 2014.

Equestrian equipment suppliers will enjoy extra opportunities in China following a relaxation of equine export restrictions.

The protocol for the live export of horses from the UK to China was signed on Tuesday (1 April) by Environment Secretary Owen Paterson and his Chinese counterpart Minister Zhi Shuping.

BETA was instrumental in arranging officials’ visits which led to the agreeing of conditions under which UK based horses of all breeds can be sold to China.

The move also brings the UK into line with other EU nations with access to this lucrative market.

“Next on the agenda will be the development of a similar protocol for horse feed and supplements,” said BETA’s Claire Williams.

“It’s also a significant step towards introducing equestrian equipment, facilities, expertise and knowledge to the [Chinese] market.”


2nd April, 2014.

Dengie Horse Feeds has sent an articulated lorry of forage to Somerset farmers whose grassland was ruined by flooding.

The hay and alfalfa –a type suited for cattle feed – have been grown by the Essex based Dengie farmers.

“We wanted to do something to help,” said Dengie chairman Michael Pudney. “As farmers ourselves, we understand the difficulties that are now being faced as pasture has been destroyed and stocks of haylage and silage ruined.

“Dengie began life as a farmers’ co-operative and supporting UK farming has always been very important to us.”


2nd April, 2014.

Wholesaler Westgate EFI has appointed Lauren Beattie as area manager for Scotland and northern England.

Ripon based Lauren previously covered the area for Global Herbs.

Lauren is from a Yorkshire farming family, has ridden since she was six and now competes in unaffiliated dressage with her former event horse.


2nd April, 2014.

Companies employing up to 75 full-time staff have their own category at this year’s British Chamber of Commerce (BCC) Awards.

Entries for the Small Business of the Year Award, sponsored by insurer NFU Mutual, will close on 27 June.

The judges are looking for flourishing local businesses making an impact within their market and communities – something many equestrian businesses do well.

The BCC 2014 Awards are open to members and non-members of the BCC. For further information visit www.chamberawards.co.uk


1st April, 2014.

Equine bedding manufacturer Bedmax has appointed Lucy Taylor as regional sales manager for the West Midlands and Wales.

Lucy was previously with Chestnut Horse Feeds where she was office sales manager.

She has also been a groom to international dressage horses, worked for the British Horse Society and was employment service manager for the National Farmers Union.