JUNE 9th IS HAT SAFETY DAY

31st May, 2012.

The British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) is backing International Helmet Awareness Day. The annual initiative, run by Riders4Helmets to highlight the importance of correctly fitted, up-to-standard riding headwear, takes place on 9 June.

“Rider safety sits at the very heart of our organisation and, for many years, BETA has worked with key members of the equestrian industry to develop standards and train retailers to fit garments such as hats and body protectors,” said the trade association’s executive director Claire Williams.

Hat brand Gatehouse is supporting participating retailers by offering a 10% discount to be passed on to end users who purchase hats from its range on 9 June.

Its Snell approved Gatehouse HS1 jockey skull is worn by many top event riders including Mary King, William Fox-Pitt and Mark Todd. In 2010, the company kitted out top dressage rider Emile Faurie and his entire team with Gatehouse hats after he introduced a ‘no hat, no ride’ rule on his yard.”

As reported earlier on www.equestriantradenews.com hat manufacturer Charles Owen is also supporting International Helmet Awareness Day.

For more information, visit www.riders4helmets.com. You can also follow the campaign at www.facebook.com/riders4helmets and http://twitter.com/riders4helmets.

Riders4Helmets was founded in early 2010 after Olympic dressage rider Courtney King Dye was seriously injured in a riding accident. King Dye, who remained in a coma for a month following her accident, was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident and is still undergoing rehabilitation.


SADDLERY GETS INTO JUBILEE SPIRIT

29th May, 2012.

Ingatestone Saddlery Centre is marking The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee by entering its village scarecrow competition.

Everyone at the Essex based retailer is keeping their fingers crossed that Charlie, designed and made by Susan Cook and Mags Magin who work at the store, will scoop first place in the Margaretting Village Jubilee Scarecrow competition being judged next week.

“The scarecrow has been made by hand,” said Ingatestone proprietor Lynda Mortlock. “Susan and Mags spent several hours sourcing the outfit, sewing and hand-making the helmet using paper maché.”

Charlie is on show at the store’s entrance gate, has already received many comments from customers – and no doubt brought a smile to their faces too.


TAX CLAMPDOWN ON E-COMMERCE TRADERS

28th May, 2012.

People trading on the internet who haven’t paid all the tax they owe have until 14 June to get their tax affairs in order on the best terms available, warns HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

Under the e-Markets Disclosure Facility, online marketplace traders who come forward before that date and pay the tax, duties and interest they owe can benefit from lower penalties than those who wait for HMRC to catch up with them.

Once the facility expires, HMRC says it will clamp down on those who have failed to declare earnings and paid the tax that they owe.


OLIVER TOWNEND BANNED FOR DRINK DRIVING

25th May, 2012.

Oliver Townend, the event rider whose name appears on a branded clothing range, has been convicted of drink driving.

Shrewsbury Magistrates Court heard on Monday (21 May) how Townend was stopped by police after his Mercedes SLK 300 was seen being driven excessively fast and swerving across lanes on a Shropshire road earlier this month.

His blood was found to contain almost twice the legal limit of alcohol. He was banned from driving for two years.

Townend (29) admitted the offence but told Magistrates that a driving ban would incriminate his chances of being selected for the British Olympic team. He was also fined £110 and £85 costs.


RETAILERS GET HELMET AWARE

22nd May, 2012.

The 2012 International Helmet Awareness Day happens on 9 June.

Launched by Riders4Helmets in the US two years ago, the initiative is well on its way to going global. It aim is to educate riders about the benefits of wearing a properly fitted, secured, certified helmet.

Hat manufacturer Charles Owen is urging its stockists to get involved this year – and is offering incentives by way of a special promotion to those who do so. Last year, 500 retailers from the US, Canada, Australia and UK participated.

To sign up, retailers need to go to www.riders4helmets.com/ihad/ . They will then appear a Google map which enables consumers to find their nearest participating retailer. There is a small fee [$25/approx £16] to enrol.


SADDLE OF TWO HALVES

21st May, 2012.

A new saddle, designed in Sweden and made in Walsall, has a clip-on seat making it interchangeable between different riders and/or disciplines.

Invented by Swedish vet Per-Martin Andren, the saddle from Rebel’s of Sweden was launched at the Norrkoping International Horse Show last month.

Find out more in a ‘saddles and saddle fitting’ feature in the June issue of ETN.


ARIAT OFFERS FREE SHOW GIFT PACKS

17th May, 2012.

Ariat has a number of limited edition, leather care gifts available for retailers with tradestands to give away to their customers at upcoming shows.

Comprising liquid wax conditioner, black or chocolate polish and an Ariat keyring, the luxury packs are intended as a ‘thank you’ to show visitors making Ariat purchases.

Ariat had organised the gifts for Badminton to celebrate 15 years’ trading in the UK. Now the company says it’s pleased to support stockists who missed out on trade at the cancelled event.

Find out more from Ariat-Europe tel 0845 600 3209.


TRIO CONVICTED OF ILLEGAL HUNTING

15th May, 2012.

Three members of the Crawley and Horsham hunt have been found guilty of offences under the Hunting Act following a seven day trial at Haywards Heath Magistrates’ Court yesterday [14 May].

Former huntsman Andrew Phillis of Totnes, Devon, was found guilty on two counts, but not guilty on a third. Hunt secretary Rachael Holdsworth of Washington was found guilty on two counts. Joint-master Neill Millard of Shipley, was found guilty on one count.

Mrs Holdsworth and Mr Millard were each fined £1,000, and ordered to pay £2,500 legal costs each. Mr Phillis was to be sentenced later.

Charges against a fourth member of the hunt, joint-master Jamie Hawksfield, were dropped. All four were originally charged with 11 separate offences and had pleaded not guilty.


NEW WHOLESALER HAS BIG BRANDS

15th May, 2012.

Walk Trot Canter (WTC) Limited is a new equestrian wholesale business.

Established last year, WTC is the master agent for well known brands including Under Armour, Glenbrae, Iris Bayer, Dapple, USG and Celtic Equine.

“We have over 20 years’ experience in the equine market, in both retail and wholesale,” said WTC’s managing director Jay Bavington.

“Through a network of sales agents across the UK, we pride ourselves on customer service and a unique portfolio of specialist and ancillary products. We’re always looking to work with the right retailers and right brands.”

WTC has a showroom in Harrogate, North Yorkshire.


CHATSWORTH TO REFUND TRADESTANDS

14th May, 2012.

Following a visit from its insurers, Chatsworth Horse Trials – abandoned last weekend due to recent heavy rain - is hoping to refund its trade exhibitors.

“There had been 22ml of rain in six hours and the ground was totally waterlogged. Even with good weather from then on the going on the cross country would not have been safe,” the event’s director Tissie Reason told ETN.

“The loss adjuster came today [Friday, 12th May] and it is hoped that we will be able to make refunds to the trade stands.”

Mrs Reason added that “it's very unlikely that we can reschedule due to the very busy diary of events at Chatsworth.”


WHAT'S ON THE MENU AT BETA FEED CONFERENCE?

11th May, 2012.

New labelling regulations, social media, mycotoxins and research and development funding are just some of the hot topics to be discussed at this year’s BETA Feed Industry Conference, at Stanford Hall, Leicestershire, on 13 June.

Speakers will include Ruth Bishop of Mars Horsecare, Tim Franck of the Food Standards Agency, and Chris Allen of Blacks Solicitors.

The conference is aimed at those working in the feed and supplements industry, such as manufacturers, distributors, retailers, nutritionists and university lecturers. “We decided to make it an annual event after last year’s inaugural BETA Feed Industry Conference was such an overwhelming success,” said BETA executive director Claire Williams.

“It’s the perfect way to update members on current legislation affecting the equine feed industry, look ahead to future challenges, agree priorities for further discussion and research, and provide plenty of prime networking opportunities.”

The BETA Feed Industry Conference will run from 9.45am to 4.30pm and is open to both members and non-members, at a cost of £80 plus VAT and £100 plus VAT respectively. To book a place contact the BETA office for a booking form or telephone Tina Rogers on 01937 587062.


WATERLOGGED CHATSWORTH IS OFF

10th May, 2012.

Chatsworth Horse Trials, due to take place this weekend (11-13 May), has been cancelled.

Up to 90 tradestands were due to exhibit, many hoping to recoup some of the losses felt due to the cancellation of Badminton which also fell victim to bad weather.

Several Olympic hopeful combinations were aiming to impress the selectors with a good run at Chatsworth, an FEI World Cup event, some having re-routed from Badminton.


TRULY A 'COUNTRYWIDE' CYCLE RIDE

10th May, 2012.

Charles Delf, national alternative feeds manager for Countrywide, set off from the retail chain’s head office in Evesham on 30 April for a 1,125 mile bike ride to raise funds for Riding for the Disabled (RDA).

On his epic cycle, Charles was planning to visit 50 plus Countrywide stores as far afield as Melton Mowbray, Wrexham, Carmarthen and Exeter. He’s due back in Evesham tomorrow (11th May).


PLANT A PINE TO MARK JUBILEE

8th May, 2012.

Shavings bedding supplier Bedmax is celebrating the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee by encouraging horse owners to plant a pine tree.

The campaign is also designed to highlight the unique health benefits that horses and owners gain by using shavings made, like Bedmax, from pine.

The company will be giving away Scots pine saplings to visitors to its stand at shows such as Bramham, Blair Castle, Burghley and Your Horse Live.


MAN DIES IN ACCIDENT AT FEED PLANT

3rd May, 2012.

A 63 year old man died in an industrial accident at Dengie’s Asheldham site in Essex on Tuesday (1st May).

Dave Dow, who had worked for the feed company for eight years, is understood to have been working on a trailer being prepared for the alfalfa harvest.

The emergency services were called to the plant at lunchtime, after which the factory was shut down.

It remained closed on Wednesday as a mark of respect for Mr Dow and to allow investigations to happen. There has been no impact on production or supply, said a spokesman.

“The accident happened during work on a new trailer and not in the factory or as part of the normal production process,” he added.

Police confirmed that the Health and Safety Executive is investigating.

Ian Hassard, managing director of Dengie Crops, has issued a statement:

“Dengie Crops can confirm that a fatality has occurred at our Asheldham site. We are deeply concerned about the incident and our thoughts and sympathies are with the family involved.

“The emergency services are involved and a full investigation into the death is underway. Dengie’s first concern is always the welfare of its staff and visitors and we are doing all we can to help with the inquiry.

“The individual was a highly valued and long serving member of staff who was well liked. He will be sincerely missed by all of us.”


BRITAIN BIDS TO HOST EVENTING EUROPEANS

3rd May, 2012.

Scottish venue Blair Castle could host the 2015 FEI European Eventing Championships if a bid by the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) is successful. Four other nations are in contention; Germany, Poland, the Netherlands and Belgium. A decision will be made by international equestrian sport’s governing body, the FEI, next month (June).


BADMINTON CANCELLATION "A DISASTER FOR THE TRADE"

1st May, 2012.

Traders who were to exhibit at Badminton have been speaking to ETN about the devastating effects of the event being cancelled due to bad weather.

The turnover of business on the tradestands over the event’s four days is usually in excess of £10 million – representing huge losses for businesses when this year’s event was called off.

As Adrian Charley at Townfields Saddlers said: “You never make up that revenue. The moment has gone.”

“I’m sure [tradestands’ takings] vary enormously from a few hundred [pounds] to six figures,” said Badminton director Hugh Thomas. “The total would have to be over £10 million.”

Postponing was impossible, he added. “This is a ‘greenfield’ site where the infrastructure takes a couple of months to put up. Any new date would require competitors, exhibitors and contractors all to be available and there would simply be no dates available.”

Locally in Gloucestershire, figures suggest that the demise of Badminton 2012 has cost concerns such as hotels and restaurants in excess of £50m.

With the chance to see Olympic contenders in action, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge presenting the prizes on the Monday and William Fox-Pitt’s bid for the Rolex grand slam following his Kentucky victory, the indications were for a record attendance.

In a ‘normal’ year, Badminton draws in 170,000 plus people, for many of whom it’s also the chance to shop for the new season.

However, as photographer Bob Hook who was on site at Badminton yesterday [30 April] explained, running the event was never an option. “The Colt Pond [pictured] is three times bigger and deeper than usual – and there’s a minor waterfall instead of the usual trickle feeding it.”

Traders who had arrived to set up their stands spoke of being “knee deep in mud”, of extensive flooding in Badminton Park and of fallen trees. The famous Luckington Lane had become a river.

Claire Williams, executive director of BETA, said of the cancellation: “It’s a disaster for the trade. Badminton is the barometer of trade for the year. A lot of stock is bought specifically and the sale of it funds many companies throughout the rest of the year.”

When EV Events, organiser of the World of the Horse shopping village, telephoned their exhibitors with the bad news, some broke down in tears.

“It’s disastrous for everyone but you can’t legislate for unprecedented weather and clearly the organisers had no option [but to cancel],” said managing director Jamie Hawksfield. “I will lose £50,000 over this.”

World of the Horse exhibitors will get a refund of 50% of their fees, so stand to lose half plus associated expenses.

At Pointings Saddlery, which was due to have its own stand, Ali Kinge said: “It will hit us very hard.

“This is our only show and we invest several thousand pounds in stock especially for Badminton. We try to get as much as we can on sale or return, but obviously buy in most of it. It will sell, but it will trickle out, which isn’t so good for cash flow.

“It’s such a shame as there was a glimmer of hope that it would have been a good year. I hear that box office ticket sales were at record levels.”

Carl Butcher of Gibson Saddlers in Newmarket was on the M25 on his way to Badminton when he heard it was off.

“It’s more devastating for us than most,” he told ETN. “We specialise in the racing industry and buy in stock especially for Badminton. We’re trying to negotiate with suppliers to take some of it back; if they will accept some returns, it will soften the blow.”

Although tradestands, sponsors and riders will be refunded their fees – Badminton is insured - other costs are not recoverable. Gibsons, for instance, paid £1,000 for a hire van and £200 for a money-off discount voucher as part of a Horse&Hound Badminton promotional feature.

Adrian Charley spoke to ETN having returned from Badminton today (1st May) with Townfields Saddlers’ second lorry full of unsold stock.

“Without a doubt, they made the correct decision [to cancel],” he said. “I’ve done this show for 30 years and I’ve never seen it as wet. There’s ankle-deep water lying in the tradestand area. Deep down, when we were setting up and it kept raining, we all knew it would be called off.”

Nevertheless, Adrian described the cancellation as “a massive, bitter pill to swallow.”

“We don’t rely entirely on Badminton, but it’s so important being the first big show of the season. We go to BETA International to buy for Badminton. We were going to launch the new Charles Owen four standard hat there and the new range of Dublin boots. We’d done all the promotions in readiness.

“People go to Badminton with an amount of money to spend. If they don’t spend it there, they won’t spend it elsewhere. You never make up that revenue. The moment has gone.”

Many of the 200 traders were anticipating an influx of international visitors to this year’s Badminton, in advance of London 2012. Townfields Saddlers had prepared forms to make it easy for overseas customers to reclaim their VAT on leaving the UK.

As for the British team’s Olympic preparations, eventing performance manager Yogi Breisner was not too concerned about the disruption.

“It’s a real shame that Badminton has had to cancel as it would have been great to see so many potential Olympic horses from home and abroad competing in such an exciting competition,” he said.

“However it hasn’t upset our Olympic preparations - with horses one always has to have a contingency plan! There are several other competitions during the spring where potential Olympic horses can compete. A lot of British horses have been entered and intend to compete at Chatsworth.”

Meanwhile British Eventing was looking at the feasibility of re-scheduling the Badminton Grassroots Championships for amateur riders that was due to run alongside the main event.


FOLDABLE WELLIES FOR RAINY DAYS

1st May, 2012.

As Britain receives record rainfall, Aigle has launched a range of foldable wellies called Rubberpack.

Supplied with a storage bag, these boots can be rolled up and carried around or kept in a grooming box – ready for use anytime and anywhere.

As they are so flexible, they can be worn rolled up or rolled down as ankle boots.  The RRP is £75.

See more new products in the May issue of ETN.