31st July, 2015.

A review of papers presented at an international saddlery conference has been published by an eminent veterinary journal.

The document is available for anyone to download.

The in-depth report from the Saddle Research Trust’s (SRT) International Conference and Research Workshop is published in the Equine Veterinary Education Journal from the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA).

Horses, Saddles and Riders - Applying the Science by Professor Hilary Clayton, Dr Sue Dyson, Professor Pat Harris and Anne Bondi, is a six-page review of the papers presented to the conference in November.

Around 400 delegates included vets, saddlers, equine therapists, professional and leisure riders and trainers as well as leisure owners and riders.

The event was sponsored by World Horse Welfare, the British Equestrian Federation, Amerigo Saddles, Albion Saddlemakers and Horse & Hound magazine.

The review can be downloaded at courtesy of the Equine Veterinary Education Journal.

The SRT 3rd International Conference will be held on 2 December 2017, with a researchers' workshop following on 3/4 December 2017.


30th July, 2015.

An e-Bay seller has been fined for illegally retailing animal medicines.

Andrew Kennard pleaded guilty at Newport Magistrates Court on 19 June to one charge under the Fraud Act.

He had previously admitted six offences under the Veterinary Medicines Regulations at an earlier hearing.

Kennard was fined a total of £855 including costs and victim surcharge.

The case related to the sale of NFA-VPS products such as Drontal, Frontline and Advantage via the internet site.

A veterinary medicine classified as NFA-VPS may be supplied by an RQP (a vet, pharmacist or appropriately qualified SQP [suitably qualified person]) provided the requirements for supply are met. These medicines do not require a prescription.


28th July, 2015.

The provisional suspensions on Olympic champion showjumper Steve Guerdat and fellow Swiss rider Alessandra Bichsel have been lifted by the FEI.

The decision is mainly based on the scientific evidence presented by the riders which suggests the likelihood of feed contamination, said a statement from international horse sports’ governing body.

Both riders had been provisionally suspended after horses on which they were competing tested positive.

Samples taken at La Baule in May from Steve Guerdat’s ride Nino des Buissonnets returned positive for the banned substances codeine and oripavine, and the controlled medication substance morphine.

Tests on his other ride Nasa were positive for codeine and morphine. The horse’s sample also showed traces of oripavine, but not at a sufficiently high level for the testing laboratory to declare a positive for the substance.

Samples taken from Alessandra Bichsel’s Charivari returned positive for codeine and oripavine as well as morphine.

The FEI confirmed last week that poppy seed contamination of the horses’ feed was suspected.


27th July, 2015.

Two months from today Barnaby Franklin will be lining up at the start of the Berlin Marathon.

Barnaby, the manager of Chesterfield, Derbyshire based Thomas Irving’s Equestrian Superstore, will run for Team Men United, raising money for Prostate Cancer UK.

“Wish me luck. I hope I can stay sound for the next eight weeks,” said Barnaby.

He aims to raise £750 for the charity by completing the 26 miles and 385 yards long course on 27 September.

To support Barnaby, pledge a donation here


24th July, 2015.

Oli Cutmore, who makes videos for equestrian companies, finished fifth in his class at the 2015 UCI BMX World Championships in Zolder, Belgium this week.

As well as taking part in the dare-devil cycling sport, Oli runs OC Media Solutions. His specialities include filming and editing, managing social media, photography and web design.

See the August issue of ETN for his advice on how retailers and suppliers can best use video to promote products.

BMX became an Olympic sport for the first time at the 2008 Beijing Games.


24th July, 2015.

Great value hotel deals are available via BETA International’s new official agent.

Worcester based Event Express can handle any accommodation sourcing and booking for 2016 trade fair visitors and exhibitors.

“As the show’s official accommodation agent, Event Express takes the hassle out of hotel booking and allows us to access great value deals in preferred locations close to the NEC [Birmingham],” said BETA International organiser Claire Thomas.

Event Express negotiates the best rates for individual reservations, with discounts of up to 50% off list prices.

Find out more or book accommodation for BETA International 2016 at the Travel & Accommodation page on the show’s website


23rd July, 2015.

New, more relaxed regulations are making it easier and cheaper for retailers to offer credit to their customers.

Payment terms are particularly attractive to consumers buying high value items such as saddles, which can commonly cost £2,000.

“People are sometimes reluctant to reach for their credit cards,” says lawyer Saby Sambhi of Black Solicitors. “So the obvious way for retailers to close such sales is to offer the chance to buy ‘on tick’.”

The loosening up of regulations covering consumer credit follows a transfer of responsibility for overseeing them from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) earlier this year.

“The FCA has identified that the best way to protect consumers is to focus on so called high risk firms such as payday lenders and debt collectors,” explained Saby.

“Meanwhile, it’s been reducing obligations and costs for others, including small and medium sized businesses, to obtain licences to provide consumer credit services.”

Among the changes is an exemption removing the requirement for retailers offering consumer credit services to be licensed by the FCA, provided they meet certain criteria.

Read the full story in the July issue of ETN.


21st July, 2015.

Three Swiss showjumping horses – including Nino des Buissonnets, ridden by Steve Guerdat to London 2012 individual gold - have tested positive for prohibited substances.

Poppy seed contamination is suspected, the FEI has confirmed.

Samples taken from the horse after winning the La Baule grand prix on 17 May returned positive for the banned substances codeine and oripavine, and the controlled medication substance morphine.

The FEI has announced similar doping control results for Steve Guerdat’s ride Nasa and Charivari, the mount of young rider Alessandra Buchsel.

Both riders have been provisionally suspended from today, while the three horses have been provisionally suspended for two months.

“The presence in all these samples of Oripavine, which is not found in any veterinary products, suggests that this could be contamination, but obviously we still have to follow standard procedure,” said FEI secretary general Sabrina Zeender.

“The combination of oripavine, morphine and codeine have frequently been seen in contamination cases from other equestrian sport regulators, and the FEI already has three outstanding cases from 2014 involving oripavine and morphine in which we proactively sought the lifting of the provisional suspensions.”

Oripavine is an opioid analgesic that is not used clinically due to its very narrow therapeutic margin and extremely high toxicity levels. Oripavine positives are frequently the result of poppy seed ingestion. Codeine and morphine, both of which are found in poppy seeds, are also analgesics.

Due to increasing evidence of poppy seed contamination resulting in positives, the FEI downgraded morphine from a banned substance to controlled medication in 2013. Codeine is listed for a similar downgrading next year.

• See the August issue of ETN for a report on the fifth annual BETA Feed Industry Conference at which the principle focus was NOPS. The BETA NOPS assurance scheme works to reduce the risk of naturally occurring prohibited substances (NOPS) in equine feeds.


21st July, 2015.

Lizzie Reid has been promoted to deputy retail manager of R&R Country’s Selby, Hemingbrough store.

A graduate in animal science, Lizzie has been with the retailer’s North Yorkshire branch for just over two years, working mainly in the saddlery department. She also has basic saddle fitting experience.

“We’re extremely pleased to promote from within the team and welcome Lizzie to the management team,” said Sue Moxon, managing director.

“She’s a great asset to R&R Country and will do well in this role.”

Lizzie competes in British Eventing (BE) and aims to qualify her two rides for the KBIS young horse finals.


20th July, 2015.

Facebook looks set to launch a direct shopping function.

The social media site has reportedly tested a ‘buy now’ button on some of the advertising it carries.

Allowing consumers to shop directly from a business’s Facebook page, rather than being directed to an e-commerce site, enables brands to convert reviews and discussion into sales.

Google has already announced a ‘buy’ button for its mobile search advertisements with Pinterest and Twitter also joining the trend for what’s being termed ‘social commerce’.


20th July, 2015.

The days of horse owners tolerating farriers turning up late are long gone.

Poor time keeping or a bad attitude towards the horses are the main reasons horse owners change their farriers, according to new research.

Being too expensive was the least likely reason for switching, however, quashing a commonly held misconception in the farriery profession.

There’s also a demand for well-informed farriers. Nine out of ten owners want their farrier to engage in CPD [continuous professional development] training. Many cited extra qualifications in corrective farriery as a sought-after attribute too.

Also considered important were the ability to give advice on diet and other aspects of equine management for healthy hooves.

The majority of owners think farriers should have a “good professional appearance”. Although a well kitted-out vehicle and hand-making shoes were considered less important, as was the ability to ride or participate in farriery competitions.

Asked about additional services farriers should offer, 80% wanted emergency call-out. Two days was considered the maximum waiting time before a lost shoe should be replaced, with most owners happy to pay for this service.

Only 8% thought farriers should supply and sell other horse products, the figure dropping to 6% specifically for hoof products.

Overall, farriers are highly respected with most owners asking their advice second only after a vet.

• The survey was conducted by the Farriers Registration Council with the results first appearing in Forge magazine.


17th July, 2015.

Mapping specialist Ordnance Survey (OS) has teamed up with Craghoppers to release a range of outdoor clothing.

The OS Collection, described as “active, fast and lightweight”, is designed for multi-activity use.

Products feature the OS logo on zip pulls and labelling.

The men's and women's ranges include technical jackets, soft shell trousers, jackets and fleeces. The collection will be available to consumers from next Spring.


14th July, 2015.

Online retail sales in the UK grew by 17.6% during June this year compared with 2014.

It’s the strongest percentage increase since last August.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) figures released today cover non-food items.

Such significant growth in online shopping highlights the need for skilled people to develop e-commerce operations, says Helen Dickinson of the BRC.

It also indicates the value of seamless connection between physical bricks and mortar stores and their digital space.

Booming online retail sales have been largely driven by promotions, particularly in the clothing sector, the figures show.

“As ever, websites are popular during the sales, providing greater clarity of stock availability for consumers,” said Helen.

“For retailers, online is an increasingly useful tool to reach customers selectively and showcase their offer.”


14th July, 2015.

Battles is returning as sponsor of BETA International’s visitor bags under its popular Hy brand for a second year.

“We were so delighted with our sponsorship experience in 2015 that we are keen to return and promote the Hy brand, with its great range of products for horse and rider,” said the wholesaler’s commercial manager Anna Clarke.

The sponsorship will see Hy-branded bags handed out to visitors on arrival at BETA International 2016.

Meanwhile Ekkia is to support the Fashion Show for a third consecutive year. The catwalk show of equestrian and country clothing will be named after the French company’s Equi-Thème brand.

“It proves a highly effective way of presenting our Equi-Thème range to an international audience of industry buyers and makes our regular appearance in this extremely attractive and appealing feature even more special,” said Ekkia president Jean-François Vignion.

Hy and Ekkia join fellow sponsors Charles Owen, Shires Equestrian, The Wine & Hamper Company, Toggi and main sponsor Neue Schule.

BETA International is the world’s leading equestrian, country clothing, outdoor and pet product trade exhibition. The 2016 show will take place at the NEC, Birmingham, from 24 to 26 January. For further information about exhibiting, contact James Palmer, telephone +44 (0)1937 582111 or email

• The only official preview of BETA International 2016 appears in the January issue of ETN. To get involved, contact Nicki Lewis on +44 (0)1937 582111 or email ETN is the official media partner of BETA International.


13th July, 2015.

A new country store has opened in Martley, nine miles north-west of Worcester.

Estate Country Feeds stocks horse, poultry, game bird and farm animal feeds.

A feed mill is due to open at the site this autumn.

The new business has been set up by Richard Soloducha whose family owns Millson Engineering which builds and maintains animal feed mills.

Estate Country Feeds delivers locally and also stocks bedding, pet supplies, country clothing and footwear.

“As manufacturers of high quality feed, catering for the agricultural and equestrian sectors, our store will be a one stop shop for all animal feed requirements,” said Richard.

The new store has stands at Tenbury Show on the 1 August and Burwarton Show on the 6 August.


7th July, 2015.

UK shoppers are the highest spenders on contactless payment cards.

Across Europe, contactless spending soared to £1.1 billion in one month (March) alone, according to Visa Europe.

The figure represents a three-fold increase compared with the same period in 2014.

This surge in contactless payments is driven mainly by UK consumers who spent £234m across 52.6 million transactions in March.

It’s estimated that there are almost 50 million contactless cards in circulation in Britain. France is in second place with 20.3 million, followed by Poland (14.5m) and Spain (11.5m).

Contactless transactions work by holding up a card to a reader. A tiny antenna inside the card communicates with the terminal, enabling payment to be completed in less than a second.


7th July, 2015.

Screwfix has become the latest mainstream retailer to stock equestrian products.

A favourite with tradesmen and DIY enthusiasts, Screwfix is offering around 180 equestrian lines on its website.

The retailer has 400 stores across the UK. Its e-commerce and mail order operation has a seven-day delivery service as well as click and collect.

Screwfix’s equestrian products cover grooming, horse wear, tack, feeders and fly control.

“Our equestrian range is part of our new extended Rural Supplies collection which launched in June of this year,” Screwfix spokesman Rachel Tillman told ETN.

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


3rd July, 2015.

Do you know of a special unsung hero who has made an important contribution to the equestrian world?

The National Equine Forum (NEF) is looking for nominations for the Sir Colin Spedding Award 2016.

Nominations for the annual award are open until 31 July. The winner will be announced at the National Equine Forum on 3 March 2016.

Sir Colin Spedding was the founding chairman of the NEF and chaired the event for 20 years until shortly before his death in 2012. He ensured that representatives of all areas of the equine sphere were made welcome to the Forum, and that topics of general interest and concern could be discussed openly.

The award was introduced in 2013, in his memory.

Equestrian enthusiasts from all quarters are invited to put forward nominations for the award. Those nominated will have made an extraordinary contribution to equestrianism over a number of years, the details of which should be specified in no more than 100 words.

The winner will be notified by 31 October 2015 and invited to attend the next National Equine Forum to receive the award in person.

Previous recipients of the award include The Animal Health Trust (AHT) Infectious Disease Group (2014) and the actor Martin Clunes on behalf of UK Equine Welfare Charities (2013).

Please email your nomination to Closing date is midday on 31 July, 2015.


2nd July, 2015.

Consumer confidence is at its highest for 15 years, say GfK who published their latest barometer of shopping trends this week.

The lowest inflation since 1965 combined with recent wages growth has boosted disposable income, the analysts add.

"We're seeing a dramatic uptick in confidence, a real post-election bounce that's put a spring in the step of consumers across the UK," said Joe Staton of GfK.

“Across all key measures we’re reporting higher levels of financial optimism for both our own personal situation and for the general economy as a whole for the coming 12 months,” he added.

“This renewed optimism could translate into a busy time for retailers.”