22nd June, 2018.

Former HOYS employee to visit saddlery stockists in new role.

Sally Unwin has joined Zilco Europe as key account coordinator.

UK based Sally will be visiting British stockists as well as representing the supplier of driving, endurance and racing tack at European trade shows.

She was previously with Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) organiser Grandstand Media.

In her spare time, Sally events her home-bred horse Harry. She’s also a racing and point-to-point enthusiast having worked in mixed racing yards after university.


22nd June, 2018.

Another big name brand is backing BETA International 2019.

Wholesaler Battles’ Hy brand is to sponsor the visitor bags at BETA International for the fifth year in a row.

Sporting the Hy logo, the pink bags are handed to all trade fair visitors to carry promotional literature and samples gathered during the three-day trade buying event.

“We are really pleased to be supporting the show once again where Hy will be showcasing lots of new products,” said Battles’ commercial director Anna Dewey Clarke.

“We will put some great freebies inside the sponsored bags and there is also a competition to win an exciting collection of Hy products. Visitors just need to take their entry along to the Battles stand, G4.1.”

BETA International organiser Claire Thomas added: “This is great news for the trade fair and a brilliant opportunity for us to work alongside Battles once again. The visitor bags are a brilliant way to enhance the visitor experience and we are really pleased that Hy is playing such a key role.”

Hy joins the trade fair’s fellow supporters, official media partner Equestrian Trade News, Champagne Bar sponsor NAF, New Product Gallery sponsor Shires Equestrian, official clothing supplier Toggi and main sponsor Neue Schule.

BETA International is the world’s leading trade fair for equestrian, country clothing, outdoor and pet products. The 2019 show will take place at the NEC, Birmingham, from 20 to 22 January. For further information about exhibiting, contact James Palmer, telephone +44 (0)1937 582111 or email


22nd June, 2018.

Who better to test reins with grip than the trainer of a string of hard-pulling racehorses?

Racehorse trainer Nick Kent has been trying and testing rubber rein grips on his Lincolnshire yard.

Two sets of reins were used three or four times a day for six months. And as Nick admits, the training environment really does pose the ultimate test for saddlery.

“It was a hard test we put them through,” he said. “And in the racing world, tack isn’t looked after particularly well or cleaned very often either.”

The rein grips which came out on top were the Equus brand made by Abbey England from a UK sourced rubber compound.

“They are still being used now,” added Nick. “With the pimples still intact and absolutely fine to use.”

Equus rein grips are designed to cover leather reins. They’re available in fine pip or a large pip designs.


21st June, 2018.

A well-known name in the trade has links with provider of £37,000 grant.

Plans to complete Riding for the Disabled’s (RDA’s) first ever national training centre have moved a step closer thanks to a £37,000 grant.

The funds have been awarded by Allchurches Trust.

SEIB Insurance Brokers has been owned since 2008 by Ecclesiastical Insurance Office. Both companies are ultimately owned by the Allchurches Trust and all profits are used for good causes.

“As a national charity, we are reliant on voluntary donations and grants to enable us to provide life changing therapy through horses” says Ed Bracher, CEO of RDA UK.

The RDA’s purpose built facility at Lowlands Farm, Warwickshire will have two riding arenas and stabling for up to 20 horses. The wheelchair accessible training facilities will also boast an arena viewing gallery and community rooms.

RDA needs to raise £1.6 million to develop the site. Completion is scheduled for next year, 2019 marking the charity’s 50th anniversary.

James Laing, director of grants and relationships at Allchurches Trust, said: “We’re proud to play our part in making the dream of this state-of-the art training facility come true, knowing that it has the potential to transform lives and help people with disabilities to reach their full potential.”

The RDA has 500 volunteer groups throughout the UK. It brings the benefits of riding and carriage driving to 25,000 adults and children. Each year, 19,000 volunteers give a total of more than 3.5 million hours of their time.

To find out more about RDA’s National Training Centre and the charity’s work at


19th June, 2018.

Show trader and ETN diarist Guy Roper reports from what was a brilliant Bramham for many - just not for all.

Brammers is one of those events that always has a good feel. It’s got the warmth of a local event coupled with international competition. It’s a package that draws in a wide range of punters from the tattoos to the toffs.

Market logic dictates that in that mix everybody should find a place to trade. Trouble is, this year logic seems to have gone out of the window. We appear to be in what they ironically call a perfect storm. No, not at Brammers where the weather was pretty good overall (I’ll come back to that) but with regard to trading.

Running a business is mostly about margin. OK, of course it’s about staff, product and presentation, but if you aren’t making an adequate margin then you won’t be able to support the rest.

We have to face it - it’s been a rubbish season so far. The weather has just wrecked the normal patterns of trade. Many of us are carrying stock bought at the usual time which we’d normally have shifted by now. But it’s still here.

I don’t know if it’s Brexit uncertainty, or that we’re all watching the pennies a bit more closely, but from what I’ve seen at the shows so far this year the passing pound is staying in the pocket of the passing punter like never before.

The staples are still bearing up. Horses still need feed, some supplements, and replacements for worn out tack and the rugs they ingeniously ripped over winter. But if I’m not shifting stock, I’m not ordering from wholesalers. If wholesalers aren’t shifting stock, then they’re going to discount to maintain their turnover.

So I now increasingly find myself on a stand I booked a year ago with stock I ordered a while back and no customers because one of the chums down the way got a silly price for the same kit from the same supplier.

It’s the market, I accept that, but it’s becoming a market for the agile only. It’s a bit like going to Aldi or Lidl - you go in for a few basics and come out with a bargain which was priced at a point you couldn’t pass up.

At the Brammers BETA traders’ breakfast - where do they get those sausages? And hey, coffee with caffeine in it - event president Nick Lane Fox was pretty clear about the vital part of the visitor experience that the trade stands provide.

And he’s right. People travel from across the north partly for the shopping. You’ve only need to listen to the accents; obviously a lot of Yorkshire, but Cumbria and the north-east are there in numbers plus punters from Cheshire and Derbyshire.

Trouble was, on Saturday the weather lured them out of the trade village onto the cross country course early on - and then they didn’t come back.

Sunday was about perfect with brisk business until late morning. Then the sun came out and it was as if someone had pulled the plug on a bath, only minus the gurgling. After that, only the ice-cream sellers went into meltdown.

Again, the trade stands are left carrying the risk. I pay for the pitch, the hook-up, the wi-fi and the stock and the staff costs. Brammers is pretty good overall, but this year, talking to other chums, nobody was going to get a fortnight in the Caribbean out of it. Even a week in Frinton was looking unlikely.

Right now, my business is tied to a market model that doesn't reflect reality. Fees are based on what happened a few years ago; the price of the stock reflects my best guess when I ordered it, and every passing punter has a web-enabled price-analyst in their pocket.

We’re in an era of dynamic pricing and there is only one way this can go. If you can’t reduce the fixed costs - diesel, accommodation, staff and stand fees - then you really have to make some tough decisions. And the first three are pretty much givens.

You can’t fault Nick Lane Fox and his family for their support of the equestrian world. It’s been second to none, and for many years. And Bramham needs to make a margin like all of us.

But I increasingly feel that the trade stands are partners in the event offer, not an income stream for the organiser’s bean counter. In the not too long term, I have to think about my business too.




18th June, 2018.

If you’d like to network with major players in the feed industry, the West Midlands event is the place to be.

The 2018 British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) Feed Conference takes place at St John’s Hotel, Solihull next Wednesday (27 June).

A few tickets remain available for the annual fixture attended by horse feed retailers, manufacturers, distributors and nutritionists.

As well as hearing a line-up of top speakers on the latest news and developments in the sector, many delegates enjoy the opportunity to network over lunch, tea and coffee breaks.

This year’s venue offers dinner, bed and breakfast at competitive rates. Preferential delegate ticket prices are offered to BETA and SMS members.

For enquiries, contact the BETA Office on tel 01937 587062 or email


18th June, 2018.

The one in three businesses could be giving themselves a bad name, lawyers warn.

Businesses with no social media policy are leaving themselves exposed to reputational damage, disclosure of confidential information and inappropriate or harmful content or behaviour.

The warning comes from lawyers whose survey reveals that 30% of businesses do not have in-house protocol for online activity.

Law firm Howes Percival asked 220 business leaders, representing firms with turn-overs of less than £1m to global players, how they engage with social media.

LinkedIn and Twitter are the most used, with the majority (86%) having a presence on LinkedIn and just over three quarters using Twitter.

Creating a brand identity, positive brand associations, and raising brand awareness were the predominant reasons for businesses' social media presence.

In addition to building and raising brand awareness (49%), other reasons businesses gave for maintaining a social media presence included improving communication and interaction with key audiences (21%), tracking competitors (10%) and increasing web traffic (9%).

Only 40% of respondents said they participate in discussion groups for their sector on social media.

The survey also questioned companies about their ‘go to social media'. The most used sites were LinkedIn (89%), Twitter (54%), Facebook (37%), Google+ (16%) and YouTube (11%).

Worryingly, 4% of the organisations surveyed admitted to having a significant issue with the misuse of social media and/or the internet in their business.

Commenting on the research findings, corporate lawyer Edward Lee said, "Regardless of the industry you operate in or whether your business is a multi-national or a one-man band, social media offers a great opportunity for companies to establish and promote their brands and products. With millions of subscribers, they're also an effective platform to connect with customers.

"While social media is undoubtedly a great marketing tool, inappropriate use by employees can cause real problems. We were concerned to see that nearly a third of companies don't have a social media policy to help guard against potentially damaging postings or online behaviour, such as harassment, by employees.

“Thankfully, most companies said they haven't experienced any significant problems with their employees' online behaviour, but a small minority had.

“Anecdotal evidence from our survey suggests that distractions caused by social media usage by employees, especially Facebook, while at work is a major concern for some businesses."

To help avoid social media pitfalls, companies should implement a written social media policy, Mr Lee advises.

“This should be clearly communicated to staff and should outline if, and how, internet use is limited during working time and using company computers. Sanctions for breaching confidentially online, or posting material which could damage the company's reputation, or making offensive or discriminatory comments, should also be included."

You can view the Howes Percival Social Media Impact Survey report here:


18th June, 2018.

The retail solutions company’s newest recruit has previously worked as a trek leader and eventing groom.

Clara Kellock, who has joined e-commerce specialist Citrus-Lime as equine account manager, has been around horses all her life.

She had her own cob on the family farm where she grew up in North Cumbria.

Then, after graduating from Myerscough College with a first class honours degree in equine science, she worked in a trekking centre and riding school where Clara qualified as a ride leader.

A two year stint in an eventing yard, which also breeds a few National Hunt horses, followed.

Clara’s equestrian career then took a new turn when she joined Citrus-Lime. Here she’s on hand to help apply Citrus-Lime Cloud POS and e-commerce to meet equestrian businesses’ needs.

Her love of horses remains, however, as she has a five year old Irish x warmblood on part loan, enjoys trekking and grooms for friends.


11th June, 2018.

Ex-sales agent and former managing director at Horse&Hound’s publisher are on the team behind the website and showroom.

Niche e-commerce specialist B2C Distribution has unveiled an equestrian shopping website and showroom.

The Drillshed is offering 24-hour delivery on all orders, buying guides and a helpline manned by experienced riders.

Customers can also try the products at the company's showroom in Shoeburyness, Essex.

A one year guarantee is given for leading brands offered including Charles Owen, Dubarry, Musto, Weatherbeeta and Caldene.

Buyer for The Drillshed is the former equestrian sales agent Cath Gordon. Its managing director is Paul Williams, formerly MD at Horse&Hound’s publisher.

B2C Distribution is a specialised e-commerce company serving niche vertical markets. With 40 employees based at its Shoeburyness headquarters, a field sports portal is among its plans.


11th June, 2018.

While the print edition is no more, content will go online, say the publishers.

The regional monthly magazine Equine has ceased publication.

The June issue of the print title published by Expo Life since 2004 will not appear.

Instead, Expo Life – run by Pam Harrison and Peter Bulman - is developing a new digital platform called Equine extra.

“Family health issues of late have resulted in my partner Peter and I deciding to bring forward the planned launch of Equine extra and step away from publishing the monthly print edition of Equine, at least in the short term,” said Pam.


11th June, 2018.

Products from two manufacturers have been accredited as suitable for horses prone to equine gastric ulcer syndrome (EGUS).

Four more feeds have been approved to carry the BETA EGUS assurance mark.

British Horse Feeds’ Speedi-Beet and Fibre-Beet plus Saracen Horse Feeds’ RE-LEVE and Competition-Fit Balancer are the latest to be accredited as suitable for equines prone to equine gastric ulcers as part of a balanced diet.

The feed assurance scheme was developed by the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) in consultation with the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) to enable manufacturers to highlight feeds suitable for equines prone to or at risk from EGUS without breaking marketing regulations.

The BETA EGUS mark – which manufacturers are entitled to display on the sacks of approved products – also helps horse owners select the most appropriate products when buying feed.

Supplements are excluded from the scheme.


11th June, 2018.

No-one wants their dirty laundry aired in public, but crossing the line to buy someone’s silence could prove costly, says Paul Kelly.

Settlement agreements are widely (and legitimately) used to end employment disputes on mutually agreed terms. But negotiations can be acrimonious.

Often substantial sums of money will change hands. Without an agreed settlement, the employer might be exposed to Employment Tribunal proceedings which could be both costly and cause reputational damage.

As nobody likes their dirty laundry aired in public it’s understandable that where an employer is ‘paying-off’ an employee it will probably want confidentiality – in the shape of non-disclosure clauses in the settlement agreement.

Non-disclosure clauses are perfectly lawful. However, it is important to recognise when a non-disclosure clause crosses the line and becomes a ‘gagging clause’. Gagging clauses are unenforceable – and sometimes can be used as evidence against an employer.

The subject has gained much publicity in the wake of the revelations concerning Harvey Weinstein. The House of Commons Women and Equalities Committee has heard evidence from UK lawyers about the use - and abuse - of non-disclosure agreements in sexual harassment cases.

So, what is the difference between the two types of clause, and what can an employer legitimately protect?

Standard non-disclosure clauses

An employer can use a non-disclosure clause to:

• Keep confidential the settlement agreement, its negotiation, its terms and, perhaps most importantly, any sums paid to the employee under it.
• Prevent the disclosure of the employer’s confidential information.
• Prevent the employee from making derogatory remarks about the employer or its employees.

As the ultimate goal of any settlement agreement it to achieve a clean break between the parties, such clauses are reasonably required to give the agreement efficacy.

Gagging clauses

By contrast, a ‘gagging clause’ goes far beyond the remit of a simple non-disclosure clause. It prevents the employee from publicly disclosing wider information about their employer - even when that information is in the public interest. For example, a gagging clause may seek to prevent disclosures relating to:

• Criminal offences
• Danger to the health and safety of individuals
• Risk of, or damage to, the environment
• Miscarriages of justice
• Breach of legal obligations
• Covering up any of the above.

Any attempt to prevent an employee from disclosing such information is likely to be in direct conflict with UK whistleblowing legislation. That legislation is designed to allow employees to make disclosures about their employer without fear of reprisal.

An employer cannot simply circumvent this statutory protection by use of a contractual gagging clause. Any clause which purports to do so will be void.
It is therefore common to see standard non-disclosure clauses specifically state that signing the agreement, and so accepting the clause, does not prevent the employee from later making disclosures in accordance with whistleblowing legislation.

• If you have questions about drafting non-disclosure clauses in settlement agreements, contact Paul Kelly at Blacks Solicitors tel 0113 227 9249 or email


4th June, 2018.

Equestrian Trade News (ETN), in conjunction with the Society of Master Saddlers (SMS), has named the winner of its inaugural saddle fitters’ award.

Laurence Pearman is the first winner of the ETN Saddle Fitter of the Month award.

Presented in conjunction with the SMS, the accolade recognises those whose good practise is making a difference to horses, riders and the saddlery industry.

Laurence, who owns Cirencester Saddlery in Gloucestershire, was nominated by Ben Roberts of Fairfax Saddles.

Ben commended Laurence’s “commitment to the industry and extensive knowledge of saddle fitting.”

You can read more about Laurence’s remarkable career - and his contributions to the saddlery industry - in ETN June issue. Meanwhile, it’s good to hear that his work as a saddle fitter is “as varied and interesting today as it was when I started out many years ago.”

How to nominate a saddle fitter for the ETN/SMS award

Do you know a deserving winner of this award?

The trade – saddle manufacturers and distributors – are invited to nominate saddle fitters they feel deserve to be named ETN Saddle Fitter of the Month. Candidates must be SMS Qualified Saddle Fitters based in the UK or overseas.

To nominate a saddle fitter (or more than one), email and tell us why this person deserves to be put in the spotlight. Please include the saddle fitter’s name and business name too.


4th June, 2018.

Extended support announced as famous show prepares to celebrate 70 years.

TopSpec has agreed to sponsor the TopSpec Arena at the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) for a further five years.

The Yorkshire based feed balancers and blends specialist has confirmed its support as HOYS counts down to its 70th anniversary.

The TopSpec Arena sees hundreds of competitors contest HOYS’ showing championships over five days. Last year, the TopSpec Arena moved to its own dedicated hall, allowing more space for spectators and creating even more ‘atmosphere’.

TopSpec had already sponsored the arena for two years, 2018 being its third.

“The new agreement for a further five years until 2023 demonstrates our strength of feeling for HOYS on both a business and personal level,” said Katy Mickle of TopSpec.

“The show gets better and better, we have been very pleased with how well the TopSpec brand is promoted at, and in the run up to the event. This is backed up by how many competitors and visitors come to see the nutritional team on the stand throughout HOYS, to ask questions and find out more about the range we offer and the feeding regimes and plans we would suggest for their horses and ponies.

“Without doubt HOYS is the end of season party in the equestrian world and long may it continue.”

HOYS 2018 is on 3 – 7 October.


4th June, 2018.

If your enterprise is under a cloud as unpredictable weather has taken its toll this year, you’re not alone.

Weather extremes in 2018 have had a serious impact on the UK’s small firms.

More than half of businesses in agriculture and hospitality – and 12% of retailers – say weather is a “real concern”.

And that figure has risen by 9% in the past two years, according new research by Hitachi Capital.

Regionally, the biggest rise in weather concerns was in Scotland, with more than two in five firms citing the weather as having a significant impact on profitability. Wales and Yorkshire also saw significant increases in weather related issues.

For businesses with seasonal fluctuations, the weather is now a number one worry for many.

“The UK’s economy has taken a direct hit early on this year from extreme weather, having experienced three bouts of the ‘Beast from the East’ and a late spring scorching,” say researchers.

“[Our survey] shows the real impact the elements have had on the small business community in such a short space of time and reveals the knock on effect on sectors that rely heavily on the weather for their businesses to blossom.”


4th June, 2018.

A charity is expanding its work by helping owners care for their horses and tackling indiscriminate breeding – and it hopes to win the trade’s support.

Hope Pastures will return to BETA International as the show's chosen charity for 2019.

The significant exposure for the Leeds based equine welfare organisation will highlight its equine rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming work in the region to a large trade-only audience.

“Hope Pastures does such an incredible job and we are thrilled to be involved with the charity once again,” said BETA International organiser Claire Thomas. “The organisation is run by the most caring and dedicated team, and their enthusiasm is infectious. You cannot fail but to be moved – and encouraged – by their welfare work and want to do your bit to help them.”

Kim Pengelly, one of Hope Pastures’ trustees, added: “Hope Pastures will enjoy the opportunity to raise awareness of the diversity of our work and build relationships with industry suppliers, whose support could help us to help more animals.

“Small charities such as ours work tirelessly to ensure income covers costs so that we remain solvent and able to carry out our work. We are a dynamic team and hope to be able to work with the equestrian trade to enable the rescue of more animals in need and help them to have fulfilling and useful lives.”

Hope Pastures, which was originally BETA International’s chosen charity in 2016, will have an information stand in the halls and a place in the presentation programme to showcase its work to visitors and exhibitors.

The charity has a lean structure, with very few overheads. 95p in every pound is spent directly on the equines in its care. Rescue, rehabilitation and rehoming continue, in addition to a range of community and therapeutic services.

The charity also focuses on improving the education of local horse owners and prioritises the rescue of entire animals and mares from breeding situations to help address the UK's current equine crisis, in which many animals are dumped in terrible conditions.

A new initiative introduced by Hope Pastures has seen the charity introduce a welfare coordinator and team of volunteers who work within the community to support local horse owners needing assistance in caring for their animals and, when this is not possible, help to find experienced new homes for equines in need.

Only when these routes are not practical do they admit the animal to the sanctuary – vastly expanding the numbers of animals they can help. For further information, visit

BETA International is the world’s leading trade fair for equestrian, country clothing, outdoor and pet products. It will take place next year at the NEC, Birmingham, from 20 to 22 January. For information about exhibiting, contact James Palmer, telephone +44 (0)1937 582111 or email