29th July, 2016.

In a deal signed on Tuesday (25 July), Stirling Sales Agencies has taken on sole UK and Irish distributorship of Hauke Schmidt gloves.

The German brand specialises in sports gloves, offering equestrian styles in leather and synthetic materials.

The range includes riding gloves noted for their high performance and durability. Other models are designed to combat extremely cold weather.

“We’ll stock all fast-moving lines here in Staffordshire and do all top-ups from here, so stockists only need pay UK postage,” said David Whale of Stirling Sales Agencies.

The Rugeley based company also distributes the French brand Paddock Sports, Spooks from Germany and Danish label SD Design.

It plans to exhibit Hauke Schmidt gloves at BETA International 2017 in January when brand owner Herr Hauke Schmidt is expected to be on the stand to meet UK and Irish retailers.


27th July, 2016.

Thunderbrook Equestrian lines up alongside some of East Anglia’s fastest growing companies this evening.

The natural feed and supplement specialist is celebrating being chosen for the Norfolk and Suffolk Future50 business growth programme.

The Thunderbrook team will be marking their selection by dashing from Hickstead, where they have a tradestand, to a reception and ceremony in Lowestoft.

Future50 identifies innovative, expanding businesses – the region’s ‘ones to watch’.

The scheme aims to accelerates companies’ growth via mentoring, networking and funding opportunities. Job creation is an important criteria for selection.

Griston, Norfolk based Thunderbrook Equestrian has developed rapidly since 2013 when it was a two-person cottage industry operating from founder Dr Debbie Carley’s house and a shipping container.

Today, the firm employs ten people (and is currently filling a vacancy) and is headquartered in a 13,500 sq ft premises, the majority of which it owns.

''Thunderbrook is very proud to have been chosen to be part of Future 50. It's great to be recognised as an innovative, expanding business and makes all our hard work over the past three years really worthwhile,” said business development manager Eddie Linehan.

“Being part of Future 50 will help us to continue to grow our business and create further employment within the local community.”

Eddie cites exhibiting at the BETA International trade fair at the NEC, Birmingham for the last two years as an important factor in Thunderbrook’s growth.

“It’s helped give us the credibility as well as the exposure we needed to flourish,” he said.


26th July, 2016.

Two products are the first to gain the British Equestrian Trade Association’s (BETA’s) latest feed approval mark.

BETA has launched the scheme to help consumers identify feeds suitable for horses and ponies prone to equine gastric ulcer syndrome (EGUS).

Mars Horsecare’s Winergy Equilibrium Growth and Baileys Horse Feeds’ Ease & Excel have passed an examination of ingredients, labelling, marketing claims and independent laboratory analysis.

Both products are now entitled to feature the new feed approval mark – a red BETA logo with the wording ‘Suitable for equines prone to gastric ulcers as part of a balanced diet’ on their packaging.

“We’re very proud to be one of the first feed companies to join BETA's important EGUS scheme with Winergy Equilibrium Growth,” said Clare Barfoot, research and development manager at Mars Horsecare.

“The Waltham Equine Studies Group provides the science behind all our feeds and has been very involved with research on EGUS over the years. It is imperative to us that the knowledge generated through research is used to help horse owners make informed feed choices to enhance the health and welfare of their horses and ponies. To this end, the BETA EGUS scheme is an invaluable tool.”

Baileys Horse Feeds’ marketing manager Jane Buchan added: “We'd been trialling Ease & Excel for a while, then, when we heard about the new BETA EGUS scheme, we decided to time our launch so that the feed hit the shelves carrying the mark from the start.

“It has been extensively trialled by international riders and trainers across the disciplines and it's great to launch with the new approval mark, as it helps to reinforce the feed's credentials for the horse owner.”

The new BETA feed approval mark was developed by the trade association in consultation with the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD).

It was introduced after regulatory organisations decided to permit the term ‘prone to’ only when referring to laminitis. The move excluded other conditions such as equine gastric ulcers, where feeding also plays a management role.

Feeds submitted for approval to the BETA scheme must fall into one of two categories:

● A compound complementary feed that provides a balanced diet when fed at a rate stated by the manufacturer.

● Feedstuff typically advised to help manage horses prone to EGUS, including chopped or high-fibre feeds and sugar beet, or alternative energy sources to cereals such as high-oil concentrates.

Nutritional supplements are excluded from the scheme.

“We’re pleased that companies have recognised the tremendous opportunities that the approval scheme offers them – and delighted that Mars Horsecare and Baileys Horse Feeds are first past the post,” said BETA executive director Claire Williams.

“The new feed approval mark really helps riders with the management and welfare of their horses and provides greater confidence when buying feed products.

“We’re sure that it is going to play an important role not only in supporting the welfare of horses and ponies prone to gastric ulcers, but also in raising awareness of this painful condition.”

● Find out more about the BETA EGUS approval mark in the September issue of ETN.


26th July, 2016.

Tattoos have become more mainstream. But where does that leave the employer who thinks they’re an eyesore? Paul Kelly of Blacks Solicitors explains.

The cultural change that’s made tattoos, piercings and ‘body modifications’ more acceptable raises an interesting dilemma for employers.

Increasingly bosses are asking if they can dismiss an employee - or refuse to hire them - simply because they have tattoos.

However, having a tattoo or a body modification is not a ‘protected characteristic’ under the Equality Act 2010.

So, unlike a person’s sex, sexual orientation, race, age, gender, disability or religious belief, an employer can ‘discriminate’ against an employee or job applicant who has tattoos.

The Equality Act 2010 (Disability) Regulations 2010 even go as far as to exclude tattoos and body piercings from the definition of ‘severe disfigurements’ which might otherwise amount to a disability.

Broadly speaking, employers have the right to set dress codes for how they want their staff to dress. The code will vary with the type of organisation and the sector it operates in.

Many businesses in the service, retail or professional sectors will not want client-facing staff to have visible tattoos or other body modifications as they may conflict with a company’s corporate image.

So, as harsh as it sounds, employers are perfectly within their rights to refuse to offer employment to someone with a tattoo.

Employers can even dismiss an employee because they have been visibly tattooed – provided a fair dismissal procedure is followed.

It’s ultimately a decision for an employer to make whether visible tattoos and modifications will affect the employee’s ability to do the job for which they are being hired.

While an employer might have a reluctance to hire someone who has visible tattoos to work in a client-facing role, there may be less concern if that employee will have no contact with the public.

The best advice for all employers is to put in place a comprehensive policy setting out what is and is not acceptable when it comes to tattoos and body modifications. This way, staff know what is expected of them - and why.

Many organisations specify that tattoos/modifications cannot be visible on the hands, neck or face, and that any tattoos deemed offensive are banned.

However, employers still need to be careful about enforcing a blanket ‘no tattoo’ policy. An employee might have visible tattoos for religious reasons and so be protected from discrimination if they can demonstrate that the tattoo is connected to the expression of their religious belief.

Society’s attitude is changing. The issue of tattoos in the workplace will most likely come up for consideration by the courts in the next few years.

However, no matter how acceptable they may now be considered, for the time being anyone with a visible tattoo or body modification is potentially at a disadvantage in the employment market.

● If you have questions about employment law, contact Paul Kelly at Blacks Solicitors on tel 0113 227 9249 email or visit


25th July, 2016.

The Trade Suppliers Directory (TSD) is being updated for the publication of its 2017 edition.

The retailer's guide to suppliers, brands and products is packed with listings from the equestrian, pet, country and outdoor sectors.

It features a show calendar, diary and more than 2,300 entries from the UK and overseas manufacturers and suppliers across 250 categories.

“Retailers have been relying on the TSD for its valuable contact details for more than 30 years; it’s always their first port of call for reliable and up-to-date information,” said Claire Thomas, commercial manager of Equestrian Management Consultants (EMC), publisher of the directory and a subsidiary of BETA.

“The printed format is widely regarded as a retailing essential and kept behind the counter as a handy reference guide at equestrian and country stores.”

Companies with listings will be asked to update their details next month (August). Entries are free, with enhancements and advertising available in both print and online formats.

A digital version of the TSD can be found at and the book is sent free to all UK BETA retail members in December.

It can be purchased for £18 in the UK, £21.50 in Europe and £22.50 for the rest of the world.


21st July, 2016.

Dean Mastouras has joined Noble Outfitters.

He is the clothing and equipment brand’s new area sales manager for the south of England and Republic of Ireland.

Dean is well known in the trade thanks to 13 years at Matchmakers International and four years with Ekkia.

He has been nominated for Sales Rep of the Year (a BETA Business Award) five times in a row.


19th July, 2016.

Bedmax has appointed Katherine Forrest as national sales manager for the East of England.

Katherine joins the shavings bedding manufacturer from Leighton Buzzard retailer Denne Country Stores.

She will remain based in Bedfordshire in her new role.

Out of work, Katherine plays polocrosse. She's been on a winning national championship team and collected ‘best player’ awards for her performances on the pitch.

She’s also been involved with polo, showjumping, breeding, dressage and racing – and has the perfect surname (Forrest) to work for a woodshavings bedding brand.


19th July, 2016.

The new apprenticeship levy - to take effect from April 2017 - is designed to replace taxpayer funding of apprenticeships, writes Paul Kelly of Blacks Solicitors.

From this date all employers in the UK with a wage roll over £3 million per annum (whether they take on apprentices or not) will be required to pay 0.5% of their annual wage roll as an apprenticeship levy.

Employers with a wage roll of less than £3million will be exempt.

The levy will be collected by HMRC via each qualifying employer’s PAYE system.

HMRC will in turn pay the money collected into the employer’s own digital account. Once the levy comes into force, participating employers will be able to access the funds contained in their digital account to pay for the recruitment, training and assessment of apprentices.

The good news is that the Government will apply a 10% ‘top up’ to an employer’s digital account to encourage their spend on apprentices.

However, the bad news is that if the fund is not used by the employer within eighteen months of the digital account being credited, then the account balance (including any top up) will expire and the money will be lost.

Given that the levy will apply to all employers with a wage roll of over £3million, the new scheme will include a large number of employers who have traditionally never considered using apprentices. These employers would be well advised to review their organisational structure in advance of the commencement of the scheme to see whether the apprenticeship model could benefit their business model.

Employers who don’t consider the recruitment of apprentices could potentially be losing the benefit of the money they have paid via the levy.

● If you have any questions as to how the apprenticeship levy might affect your business, contact Paul Kelly at Blacks Solicitors on tel 0113 227 9249 or email


18th July, 2016.

Booking for BETA International 2017 is brisk with a host of newcomers signing up from the UK and overseas.

Around 73% of stand space is already spoken for, say the organisers.

A quarter (23%) has been booked by companies from outside the UK.

Many newcomers from around the world will be exhibiting at the NEC, Birmingham on 22 – 24 January, too.

Already, 24 companies that have never been seen at BETA International before have booked stands.

They include Georgia in Dublin, pet products by Hunt & Wilson, Peter Horobin Saddlery from Australia, UK based HUF Design and German companies Stiefel, Innophia and Marstall.

With stand allocation due to begin in under eight weeks’ time, organisers are urging firms interested in exhibiting to book without delay to secure the best possible stand location.

BETA International is the world’s leading equestrian, country clothing, outdoor and pet products trade exhibition. For further information about exhibiting, contact James Palmer, telephone +44 (0)1937 582111, email or visit


18th July, 2016.

Beverley Johnson, a popular member of the sales team at Jenkinsons Equestrian, died on Saturday (16 July). She was 53.

Beverley passed away at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield, after a short illness. She had been diagnosed with cancer just over two months ago.

Beverley worked for Jenkinsons Equestrian for 12 years. She was well known to many of the West Yorkshire based wholesaler’s customers as the friendly voice on the end of the telephone.

“Many retailers used to ask to speak to Beverley when phoning the office,” said Keith Ellis, managing director.

“She remained positive throughout her illness, but the cancer was found to be aggressive and spread extremely quickly.

“Beverley was a valued employee who will be greatly missed by customers and colleagues.”


12th July, 2016.

Equestrian businesswoman Nicolette Gidley Wright died at her home in Leicestershire on 27 June. She was 59.

With Slipquiz, the company she ran with her husband Nick, Nicolette was the UK distributor of Kingsland clothing and Kep helmets.

The couple, who had been married for 34 years, started out in business by launching the NAF NAF fashion label.

They later formed High Fashion UK, supplying high street retailers with fashion and home furnishings, before Nicolette turned her attention to equestrian brands.

A life-long horsewoman, she had a keen interest in all equestrian disciplines. Nicolette won a national carriage driving championship and owned international show jumpers and eventers.

In addition, she ran a busy horse dealing business. Nicolette was particularly renowned for her ability to match child riders with good jumping ponies.

Nick told ETN that Slipquiz was continuing with the UK distribution of Kingsland and Kep helmets.

A funeral service will take place at Holy Trinity Church, Thrussington, Leicestershire on Thursday (14 July).


11th July, 2016.

French equestrian wholesaler and manufacturer Ekkia is to return to BETA International to sponsor the Fashion Show for a fourth consecutive year.

This showcase of the latest country and rider clothing collections will be named after the company's flagship brand, Equi-Thème.

The Fashion Show puts the new season’s collections on the catwalk and attracts buyers searching for new stock.

“Ekkia's stylish and sophisticated ranges are the perfect match for this sponsorship and we are extremely pleased that the company has agreed to continue its support for another year,” said BETA International organiser Claire Thomas.

“The Equi-Thème Fashion Show is undoubtedly one of our most popular features, with its contemporary playlist, professional choreography, dancing models and eye-catching scenes.”

Ekkia president Jean-François Vignion added: “Equi-Thème is proud to sponsor the Fashion Show at BETA International – the event of the year that should never be missed!”

Ekkia joins fellow BETA International supporters Schockemöhle Sports, Shires Equestrian, Toggi and main sponsor Neue Schule.

BETA International is the world’s leading equestrian, country clothing, outdoor and pet products trade exhibition. ETN is its official media partner.

The 2017 show takes place at the NEC, Birmingham, from 22 to 24 January.

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


11th July, 2016.

Do you know of a deserving individual who’s made a valuable contribution to the equestrian world?

If so, the National Equine Forum (NEF) organising committee would love to hear from you.

They’re looking for nominations for the 2017 Sir Colin Spedding Award.

This accolade is presented annually to an exceptional unsung hero or heroine of the equestrian world. The winner will be announced at the 25th National Equine Forum on 2 March 2017.

Equestrian enthusiasts from all quarters are invited to put forward their nominations.

The award is made in memory of Sir Colin Spedding, the founding chairman of the NEF.

“Sir Colin’s aim for the Forum was to bring all echelons of the equestrian world together to speak with one voice,” said Jane Holderness-Roddam, chairman of the NEF award committee. “The award is an extension of this philosophy.”

Nominations (of no more than 100 words) should be emailed to before midday on 31 July, 2016.


11th July, 2016.

Eminent equine vet Sarah Stoneham has joined North Yorkshire based feed company TopSpec’s veterinary nutrition team.

Sarah was for 20 years with Newmarket equine veterinary practice Rossdales where she was a partner.

She has since managed a private stud and spent three years based at Cheshire Equine Clinic specialising in equine reproduction.

She described joining TopSpec as “a fantastic new opportunity. I’ve always had a great interest in nutrition and the difference it can make to both adult horses and youngstock.”

Sarah is also an honorary lecturer at Liverpool University Veterinary School, has written clinical papers for veterinary journals and spoken at conferences in Europe and the US.

“I’m so proud of the outstanding nutrition department we now have at TopSpec,” said the company’s nutrition director Nicola Tyler.

“The combination of nutritional and veterinary experience behind the advice we give to horse owners is exceptional.”


5th July, 2016.

John Whitaker, who appeared on ETN’s front cover last month (June), has been chosen to ride for Great Britain at Rio 2016.

It will be a sixth Olympic Games for John (60) who partners the 11 year old Ornellaia, a mare by For Pleasure.

Also selected for the British Olympic showjumping team, announced today, are Ben Maher with Tic Tac, Nick Skelton and his London 2012 gold medal winning ride Big Star, plus Michael Whitaker with Cassionato. The travelling reserve is Jessica Mendoza with Spirit T.

The British eventers selected for Rio 2016 are William Fox-Pitt (Chilli Morning), Kitty King (Ceylor LAN), Gemma Tattersall (Quicklook V) and Izzy Taylor (Allercombe Ellie). Pippa Funnell with Billy The Biz is travelling reserve.

Representing Great Britain in the Olympic dressage competition will be Fiona Bigwood (Atterupgaards Orthilia), Charlotte Dujardin (Valegro), Carl Hester (Nip Tuck) and Spencer Wilton (Super Nova 11). The travelling reserve is Lara Griffith with Rubin Al Asad.


5th July, 2016.

BETA International 2017 is to host a compulsory CPD seminar for SQPs.

SQPs are suitably qualified persons who can prescribe and supply animal medicines including wormers.

Entitled The Code of Practice – Keeping Yourself Compliant, the 45 minute seminar will be presented at BETA International by AMTRA (Animal Medicines Training Regularly Authority) secretary-general Stephen Dawson.

It’s worth six CPD [continuous professional development] points to participating SQPs and will take place on both Sunday 22 and Tuesday 24 January.

The seminar will cover key points from the SQP Code of Practice, highlight important elements in the Veterinary Medicines Regulations and touch on compliance.

As part of their wider CPD obligations, all SQPs must undertake a module on the professional and legal duties of the SQP. The seminar at BETA International is a means for equine SQPs to achieve this.

“We have worked extremely hard to develop our programme of seminars and presentations for 2017 and we are thrilled that BETA International is to offer a compulsory module,” said show organiser Claire Thomas.

“The trade fair is an integral part of the equestrian industry and the seminars play an essential role in our strategy to provide services that are both relevant and of great benefit to our trade visitors.

“Scheduling the seminar on two separate days keeps things as easy as possible for SQPs. It allows them to plan their timetable so that they have plenty of time to take part in a session, do their buying and enjoy our extensive range of special features.”

The seminar is free and open to all visiting SQPs. No booking is required, but those wishing to take part should bring their SQP number to register on the day.

BETA International is the world’s leading trade exhibition for equestrian, country clothing, outdoor and pet products. The 2017 show will take place at the NEC, Birmingham, from 22 to 24 January. Entry is free on pre-registration at For further information, contact operations manager Jackie Woolley, telephone 01937 582111 or email


4th July, 2016.

The surprise ‘leave’ result of the referendum does not mean that the UK has automatically left the EU.

Under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the Government must first formally submit to the European Council notice of the UK’s intention to leave. Once notice has been given, the UK has two years to negotiate terms for its exit from the EU.

As to when notification will be served (and by whom) remains to be seen, writes Paul Kelly.

After the Article 50 notice has been submitted, then also begins the process of unpicking over 40 years’ worth of employment legislation derived from our membership of the EU.

Currently, no-one knows what employment law will look like following the end of the two year negotiation period. Nor is it known what laws will be retained or repealed.

While it would be open to any post-Brexit government to discard much of the legislation that we derive from the EU (such as discrimination law, working time, holiday entitlement, parental leave rights, agency worker rights and the Human Rights Act to name but a few), much will depend on what deal is reached with the EU.

It is likely that pro-business or pro-employee legislation will be retained or modified (as the case may be) by the political party which is most successful in championing those contrasting causes.

One thing employers will already be alive to is the issue of immigration - one of the key battlegrounds of the referendum.

It is anticipated that if the UK is to retain access to the common market, the terms of any post-Brexit deal will include some element of free movement.

However, given the possibility of the UK introducing a post-Brexit, Australian-style points based system, employers are advised to conduct an audit of those employees whose right to live and work in the UK will be affected by the UK’s withdrawal from the EU.

So it’s very much a case of wait and see. Until the Article 50 notice is submitted to the EU Council, it’s business as usual with regard to employment law.

● About the author: Paul Kelly is a Solicitor Partner at Blacks Solicitors and regular contributor to ETN. If you need help with this or other employment issues, Paul can be contacted in tel 0113 227 9249, email or visit


4th July, 2016.

Shaws Equestrian takes over the sales of Roeckl gloves in the UK and Ireland this month (from 1 July).

Charles Owen has distributed the Munich, Germany based brand in the UK since 1988, and will continue to do so in America.

Under the new arrangement, invoicing, stock holding and despatching to UK and Irish retailers is fulfilled by Roeckl in Germany.

Derbyshire based Shaws Equestrian is handling sales, marketing and customer service. The two companies operate an integrated computer system.

“Everything in Germany is 36 hours away in 2016, barely more than distribution within the UK,” said Monty Stuart-Monteith of Shaws Equestrian.

The new agreement gives stockists access to Roeckl’s range of 30-plus styles, he added, as well as the fashion colour gloves that fit with seasonal colours from Pikeur [also distributed by Shaws Equestrian].


4th July, 2016.

The chance to touch and feel new products before buying has long been valued by trade buyers as well as consumers.

Retailers in the Midlands and north can now get their hands on the latest Rhinegold leather products thanks to a new sales agent for their area.

The great quality of new Rhinegold Italian bridlework and soft leather gaiters in particular must be touched and felt to be appreciated.

Ahead of the summer holidays, Rhinegold is supporting stockists with product-led publicity across the equestrian consumer media including Horse magazine, Horse&Rider and Horse & Hound.

See the latest Snowhill Trade Saddlery catalogue (issue 19) for more innovative ideas and new products for 2016/17.

The full Rhinegold range features, plus best-selling brands Heritage, Windsor, Harlequin, John Whitaker, Horsewise, Brogini, Agrifence, Global Herbs, Regatta, Tubtrugs, MacWet, Hilton Herbs and Bizzy Bites.

The totally revamped catalogue is distributed to UK retailers with the July issue of ETN. Unpriced counter-top copies are available.

● To book an appointment to touch and feel the new Rhinegold range or for a copy of the new catalogue, contact Snowhill Trade Saddlery on 01243 672323 or email