29th August, 2017.

There’s been a great deal of talk about leadership – or lack of – at the top of British equestrian sport just lately, writes ETN editor Liz Benwell.

In the midst of it all, Britain’s eventers’ European championship team gold earlier this month came as fantastic news.

That discipline appears to have its leadership sorted in the shape of two new team managers.

The visionary Christopher Bartle came with solid form, having delivered medals galore for the German eventers.

His counterpart, the popular ex-soldier Richard Waygood, runs the British team’s logistics impeccably - just as he did for our medal winning dressage squad in his old job.

That military influence is interesting. On completely different level, as a Pony Club child I recall the starter at our hunter trials being a retired Brigadier.

As each young competitor approached the start, he would raise his bowler hat and announce: “You may go…”

What he actually meant was “you must start now, no dithering about, no jumping the gun, go exactly when I tell you…” Yet it was done with gentle authority that no-one even thought to question.

And, my goodness, he made each one of us kids feel important. No wonder we all kicked on confidently to the first fence!

The other attribute good leaders have is respect. Those on a team need to be able to look up to and listen to their mentors. And that’s a big ask when it comes to teams comprising the best in the world.

Well, in the case of last week’s gold medal winning Irish show jumping team, they’ve also cracked it by putting Brazilian rider Rodrigo Pessoa in charge.

He (and his father Nelson before him) have won pretty much every medal and championship show jumping has to offer.

Rodrigo, like Chris Bartle, has scarcely a peer in terms of achievement. They’ve earnt every ounce of respect.

So, as we say well done to the British eventers and Irish show jumpers - neither of whom was a medal shoo-in - let’s hope the example of their leaders sets the standard for British equestrian sport’s leaders to come.


29th August, 2017.

Creating leather toys for boys is the unusual challenge facing saddlers competing for a major award.

The Society of Master Saddlers (SMS) National Saddlery Competition will see an innovative and thought-provoking President’s Choice class in 2018.

Sue Norton, the society’s President, has developed the idea of ‘Boys’ Toys – any leather toy for a boy of any age’.

“As part of my year as President, I was given the opportunity to put forward the idea for the theme for the President’s Choice class and wanted to come up with something that was really different and that would give everyone plenty of scope to be creative,” said Sue.

“I am very fortunate to have a one-year-old grandson, a husband enjoying semi-retirement and a Dad who, at 93, is still active and well - what more can I say!”

Sue hopes saddlers who enter will throw themselves into the theme and wow the judges with their designs and craftsmanship.

The class is open to all SMS members and their employees and must be entrants’ sole work.

The class will be part-judged at BETA International on 21 - 23 January where the boys’ toys will be displayed at the SMS stand. Entries close on 18 January, 2018.

Final judging is at the SMS National Saddlery Competition at Saddlers’ Hall, London on 5 February.


29th August, 2017.

Immediately the August bank holiday is over - retailers should be kicking off their Christmas campaigns, say consumer experts.

“This week marks the end of summer and the start of the Christmas countdown,” says retail analyst Ian Tomlinson of RetailStore.

“While shoppers might feel despondent because the summer is drawing to a close, the excitement of Christmas begins to lure them into the festive buying spirit.”

A recent study from eBay underlines the trend.

Over the bank holiday weekend last August, searches for Christmas-related items increased significantly, spiking by up to 57%.

Searches for “Christmas stocking” and “Christmas jumper” rose by 50% and 39% respectively - suggesting consumers were seriously preparing for Christmas four months ahead.

Experts say that it’s a misconception that retailers lead customers towards early season shopping spending.

“It’s not just the retail industry that’s looking so far ahead,” adds Ian Tomlinson. “Our data shows that consumers start thinking about the festive season in summer.”

• See the October issue of ETN for the latest Christmas gifts ideas.


29th August, 2017.

A Yorkshire retailer’s fun day next month will raise funds for Cancer Research UK in tribute to the family business’s founder.

Iron Horse Equestrian Supplies was established in 2004 by Roy and Jean Waterworth and their daughter Vanessa Townsend.

In 2014, Roy was diagnosed with cancer and lost his brave battle with the disease that November.

“Roy put his all into the store, every fine detail,” said Thomas Byatt, manager of the Moss, Doncaster based retailer.

“He may have gone, but Roy left behind a legacy that is doing better than ever.”

The Iron Horse Equestrian Supplies Fun Day and Fundraiser for Cancer Research UK takes place at the store on 16 September.

Suppliers including NAF, Ariat, Horseware and Dubarry have donated prizes for a mega-raffle. Experts will be on hand to advise customers too.

Visitors can also enjoy animal petting, face painting, a BBQ and a bucking bronco competition with prizes for adults and children of up to £1,000 for the longest survivor.

Iron Horse Equestrian Supplies started life in a converted barn with a small selection of equestrian items and a few bags of feed.

It’s since been a winner of the BETA/SEIB Small Retailer of the Year Award in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Customers travel from Leeds, Sheffield and Manchester to shop at the store which recently opened its own tea room with alcohol licence.

All are welcome to the Fun Day. The postcode is DN6 0HH.


22nd August, 2017.

A company hoodwinked consumers into believing they could apply its product to their horses’ hooves, when in fact it’s illegal for anyone but a registered farrier to do so.

The content on Equicast’s website has been deemed misleading by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

The company had claimed that Equicast could be used as “a spare tyre” until a farrier could replace a shoe. Application instructions followed.

The ASA told Equicast the advertisement [website content] must not appear again.

The company must also make it clear that it’s illegal for people other than registered farriers to apply Equicast.

Equicast was also criticised for failing to respond to the advertising watchdog’s enquiries.

Read the full ASA ruling here www.asa.org.uk/rulings/equicast-uk-a17-388696.html


21st August, 2017.

Legacies and donations have helped fund an intensive care unit at a leading equine charity.

The new unit is on Lincolnshire based Bransby Horses’ quarantine yard.

The organisation is the chosen charity for BETA International, the trade fair taking place at the NEC, Birmingham on 21 – 23 January, 2018.

Bransby Horses rescues equines in desperate need of help.

“Many require intensive medical care and help to stand as they are so weak,” said spokesman for the charity.

“Before the intensive care unit was built, those too weak to stand had to be lifted by hand by six or more people.

“These frail horses were at risk of injuries from falling against the breeze block walls.”

Stables within Bransby’s new unit have padded walls, rubber floors and hoists for lifting and supporting horses.

Last year, the charity rescued 144 equines, all of which were initially cared for on the quarantine yard.

Building the intensive care unit was largely funded by a £126,886 legacy donation from Miss Joan Muriel Lawford, a £1,000 legacy donation from Anne Isabella Thornes, appeal donations totalling £1,626 and £45,000 of further charity donations.

• Find out more about Bransby Horses and BETA International in ETN September issue.


21st August, 2017.

The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) has agreed new four-year deals with two sponsors.

Dodson & Horrell is the official supplier of equine nutrition. The BEF’s official air jacket supplier is Point Two.

The agreements span next year’s world championships in Tryon, USA and the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“We are delighted to be continuing to work with both Dodson & Horrell and Point Two to ensure that our athletes are the best prepared and supported throughout the Tokyo cycle,” said BEF performance director Gordon Burton.


21st August, 2017.

Highlights from the eventing, dressage and show jumping FEI European Championships can be seen on Horse & Country TV from Saturday.

Britain’s eventing team won team gold – with Nicola Wilson the taking individual bronze medal – in Strzegom, Poland yesterday.

The show jumping and dressage take place in Gothenburg, Sweden this week.

Fans can relive all the action at the following times on Horse & Country TV:

• Eventing – Saturday 26 August at 9pm
• Team dressage – Sunday 27 August at 9pm
• Team jumping – Tuesday 29 August at 9pm
• Dressage Grand Prix Special – Wednesday 30 August at 9pm
• Dressage Freestyle – Thursday 31 August at 9pm
• Individual jumping – Friday 1 September at 9pm
• FEI Europeans Round-Up – Monday 4 September at 8.30pm
In addition to these highlight shows, Horse & Country TV has a film crew in Gothenburg to capture backstage action and exclusive interviews.

All the video content generated from this activity will be available to watch for free on the H&C website and social media platforms.


15th August, 2017.

Eligible retailers are being urged to sign up to a scheme that reassures the public when buying animal medicines online.

The Accredited Internet Retailer Scheme (AIRS) was launched by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) to counter concerns about buying drugs – including horse wormers - over the internet.

The scheme, launched in 2012, lets consumers know that by purchasing from an AIRS retailer they’re dealing with a reputable, UK-based seller.

There are now 41 accredited websites operated by 32 businesses with further applications in the pipeline.

Websites currently complying with AIRS can be seen here www.vmd.defra.gov.uk/InternetRetailers/accredited-retailers.aspx

A spokesman for VMD said: “We have worked closely with retailers to explain the assessment criteria and what changes they need to make to their websites for compliance with both AIRS and the Veterinary Medicines Regulations.

“While doing this, the VMD has built some very good working relationships with retailers and has gained a better understanding about how internet businesses operate.”

Although the scheme focusses on licensed veterinary medicines, applicants must declare that they do not make medicinal claims for non-medicinal products on their websites.

AIRS is open to all UK-based SQP [suitably qualified persons] retailers plus vet practices and registered pharmacies that supply veterinary medicines online.

Membership is voluntary and it’s free.

Retailers approved to join the scheme can display the ‘VMD Accredited Retailer’ logo with a unique accreditation number.

Find out more about the scheme here www.gov.uk/guidance/sell-veterinary-medicines-on-the-internet

The VMD is a government agency and the regulatory authority for animal medicines.


14th August, 2017.

Ekkia will return as sponsor of BETA International’s Fashion Show in January.

It will be the fifth year the French wholesaler has supported the trade fair’s catwalk show at the NEC, Birmingham.

Famed for its striking choreography and foot-tapping soundtracks, BETA International’s country clothing and ride-wear showcase is named after Ekkia's Equithème brand.

The Equihème Fashion Show is the first port of call for the trade fair's audience of industry buyers on the lookout for new stock.

“We’re thrilled that Ekkia has chosen to sponsor once again,” said BETA International organiser Claire Thomas. “The company has a great reputation for quality garments and contemporary good looks that are also hallmarks of the fashion show.”

Ekkia director Eric Imiola added: “The Fashion Show at BETA International is the place to unveil our new collections to customers in a fun and modern way.”

BETA International is the world’s leading trade fair for equestrian, country clothing, outdoor and pet products.

The 2018 show will take place at the NEC, Birmingham, from 21 to 23 January. For further information about exhibiting, contact James Palmer, telephone +44 (0)1937 582111, email jamesp@beta-int.com or visit www.beta-int.com

ETN is the official media partner of BETA International.


14th August, 2017.

The fifth generation of the I’Anson family is to join British Horse Feeds.

Hattie I’Anson, daughter of sales director Will I’Anson, is to work for the North Yorkshire based feed manufacturer in sales support.

An international business with Spanish graduate, Hattie has competed with British Eventing. She starts with British Horse Feeds in October.


9th August, 2017.

An equine jewellery company that’s a regular exhibitor at many of the big shows and events had good cause to celebrate this week.

Griff Equine Jewellery & Giftware is run by Maggie Evans and Arthur Griffiths, mother and step-father of eventer Jonty Evans.

ETN spoke to Arthur on the day the news came though that Jonty’s crowd-funding campaign to raise £500,000 to secure the ride on his top horse had been successful.

Cooley Rorkes Drift (Art) had been put on the market by his owner, leaving Jonty desperately trying to raise the cash to keep the horse on which he represented Ireland at the 2016 Olympics.

“We’re all so emotional,” Arthur said. “the equestrian community has been phenomenal in its support. I know a lot of the international riders from all nations have pitched in, such is the camaraderie of their sport.

“The most wonderful part is that Art will now have a home for life with Jonty. And that means a lot because the two of them have such a bond, they almost share a brain.”

North Wales based Griff Equine Jewellery & Giftware exhibits at around 20 shows a year. Next stops for Maggie and Arthur, who often create bespoke pieces for customers, include Blair and Burghley horse trials.

Meanwhile they – along with Jonty’s sister Hannah Evans who helped co-ordinate the crowd-fund initiative – hope to get together for a family celebration soon.

“It’ll probably be at an event,” said Arthur. “And we’ll definitely be drinking a toast to Jonty and Art.”


8th August, 2017.

A supplement supplier has been reprimanded for making medicinal claims for an unauthorised product.

Feedmark Ltd was told by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) to stop presenting SarVoid for the purpose of treating sarcoids in horses.

The claim was made in an advertisement distributed by email.

The Harleston, Norfolk based company had already been contacted by the government agency over similar medicinal claims relating to SarVoid.

SarVoid is not authorised as a veterinary medicine in the UK for use in the treatment or prevention of sarcoids.

In an Improvement Notice issued by VMD, Feedmark Ltd was told to remove all medicinal claims for SarVoid from its marketing material.

The company has complied.


8th August, 2017.

Show trader and ETN diarist Guy Roper reports from a very British weekend (4 – 6 August) at Gatters, also known as the Festival of British Eventing at Gatcombe Park, Glos.

There are very few more British things than a country show. And there are very few more British counties than Gloucestershire.

Someone once suggested, back in the days when every company had a mission statement, that Britain’s national tag-line should be "mustn't grumble". Well, maybe the time has come to change that stoic attitude.

This year's Gatters had the worst weather I can remember. Normally if it rains, it drains. That's why it's a fantastic venue.

The steep, twisty terrain was used by course-designer Cap'n Mark [Phillips] to beyond best effect for the cross country. All the punters said the competition in all classes was brilliant.

Trouble for me was that on the narrow shelf of the tradestand area between the car parks and the Park Bowl, things didn't quite stick by the script. Saturday's thunderstorms flooded the stand a few times and there was little one could do.

Silly mud

Frankly, the mud was silly. To be clear, mostly business was OK. But, as ever, it was a typical Gatters; a bit up, a bit down, covering costs. You'll never make a fortune here but that's not why you go.

It's a lovely event. One of my favourites and among the friendliest. Being there leads to future orders; you meet people you would never see anywhere else and that means follow-on sales in the leaner winter months.

But for some of the chums trading down the slope, the first two days were a literal wash-out with punters unwilling to cross the mud barrier to see what was on offer.

This raises a basic point which was addressed by event director Tim Henson in his welcome at the stand holders’ BETA breakfast. Over rather cold bacon rolls, Tim did his annual stressing of the importance of the tradestands to the event’s success. Apparently, we are a vital part of the offer…

And, crucially, this year he also mentioned the amount we pay for a pitch as a major part of the event’s income. And he said thanks.

Covering costs

Yes, I get that. But I have a baseline too. If I can't cover my costs because the admission price limits the number of punters - and some of them can't get to my stand because they don't want to fall over in the mud - I'm still stuck with diesel costs, staff costs, the accommodation bill (unless we stay onsite and walk up to the only showers - believe me with a new generation that's now an issue) and the still dodgy wi-fi.

Tim wanted feedback. He said that he wanted to know what his team did right and what was not right. So far so normal. But this year he explicitly raised the pitch fees. He wants to know if they are at the right level. I admire his openness.

I know nothing about the books at Gatters except the punters’ ticket price, what we pay for pitches and the sponsorship deals all pour in on the one side, while the logistics, security, impressive PA and commentary coverage all pour out on the other. Oh, and the prize money. Which isn't small.

I love Gatters; everyone that goes there does. It’s a rare and special place. I particularly appreciate the generosity of the Princess Royal in welcoming us all to what is basically her home and putting up with the inevitable consequences.

Bigger margin

But as a business, could I be elsewhere and do better? This weekend, maybe. Countryfile Live [which took place over the same long weekend at Blenheim] would probably have given me a better turnover and a bigger margin.

Then there are the upcoming British Riding Club champs up the road near Banbury, Oxon. Obviously it's a decision I have to make for next year.

Last time I wrote, I flagged up the changing audience for these events and the need for us traders and the organisers to note and adapt.

This was never truer than at The Game Fair at Hatfield House, Hertfordshire [the previous long weekend]. This was the first game fair I can remember that you could virtually get to on the Tube (which just seems wrong!) but many chums reported having their best show in years.

The passing pound is now equally in the pocket of the would-be country resident, not just those who live there. If there is to be a future for these events, then they need to embrace both.

Lightning strike

Back at Gatters, I encountered the best expression of Britishness I've heard of in a while.

And I so admired the lady who walked into the first aid tent after Saturday's storm to report: "I think I may have been struck by lightning". She had been, but her umbrella grounded the strike, leaving her with some burnt hair and a scorched jacket.

The only more British attitude I can think of would have been: "I think my friend may have been struck by lightning. What should I do?"

Maybe it's time to be less British about stand fees. Maybe it's time to think in different ways?

Tim Henson has opened the debate. Are the fees fair? Do they reflect the potential take? Can we sustain them in present market conditions?

Into the future, maybe event organisers should anticipate a different lightning strike. If pitch fees mean I can't cover my costs why would I go? Maybe it's time to grumble?




7th August, 2017.

January 2018 will see a wholesaler exhibit at BETA International for the first time in its 43 year history.

Saddlery Trade Services (STS) has been in business in Walsall since 1974.

“We have some great new products we want potential new retailers to see,” says Paul Jeffery.

“Most of all, we want to be proud of who we are – an old-fashioned, honest wholesaler who’s transparent and fair to all.”

Paul does much of the buying for STS, so is a regular BETA International visitor.

“BETA International is a must for trends and new ideas,” he adds.

STS will exhibit products under its own brand – Sheldon – as well as its wholesale lines.

Find out more about BETA International (21 – 23 January at the NEC, Birmingham) at www.beta-int.com or email jamesp@beta-int.com


4th August, 2017.

Back on Track has appointed Sarah Peters as sales executive.

Based at the Swedish company’s new UK office in Reading, Berkshire, she’s also taking care of customer service.

Sarah joins the supplier of therapy products for horses, humans and dogs after five years as managing director of Cane End Stud Livery, also in Berkshire.

“I came across Back on Track several years ago, using it on my own competition horses,” said Sarah.

“I’ve seen first-hand the benefits of infrared technology to both horse and rider, so I’m very excited to be working with the company.”

Back on Track’s UK sales manager Georgia Keegan leads its UK team.


1st August, 2017.

The actress who plays Young Diana in the new WonderWoman movie is also a junior show jumper.

And now eight year old Lilly Aspell has won a sponsorship deal with Bates Saddles.

Lilly, from North Yorkshire, has another equestrian claim to fame. She’s the niece of Grand National winning jockey Leighton Aspell.

Riding her pony Turbo, Lilly was among the first to compete in the Bates Pony Elevation+ saddle.

See her in a clip from WonderWoman here : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSB4wGIdDwo)


1st August, 2017.

Two former Harry Hall sales-people have joined Trilanco.

Angela Pearson and Charlotte Ridge have been appointed area managers by the wholesaler to support its trade sales of Harry Hall International’s brands.

Trilanco agreed exclusive distribution rights of Harry Hall International to the UK trade last month.

Angela Pearson joins the Lancashire based wholesaler after 16 years with Harry Hall (formerly Matchmakers International). She will cover the north of England and Scotland.

Charlotte Ridge, who has three years’ trade sales experience, is to cover the south of England up to Staffordshire, Leicestershire and Norfolk, including the Channel Islands and Isle of Wight.

Angela and Charlotte are qualified City & Guilds hat and body protector fitters.

Angela has four horses and a beagle. Charlotte is a life-long rider with two horses.

The new roles are in addition to Trilanco’s existing area sales team.

“Angela and Charlotte’s new roles will help support trade customers with a much-extended range of equine and pet products,” said Trilanco’s managing director Martin Balmer.

Trilanco is now selling Harry Hall International’s Spring/summer 2018 range to the trade. Brands include Harry Hall, Caldene, Masta and Protechmasta.


1st August, 2017.

Experience and loyalty among the equestrian trade’s workforce are to be celebrated in ETN.

The prize for an ETN Long Service Award is an appearance in an upcoming issue of the leading equestrian trade magazine’s pages.

So tell us about your deserving employees. From the company co-director to a saddlery shop’s Saturday girl/boy, ETN would like to mark their long-standing contribution to our trade.

We need to know the employee’s name, his or her job title, how long they’ve worked for you – and why they’re a valuable member of your team. Do send us a picture too.

Please include your name, business name and location and telephone number and reply to editor@equestriantradenews.com