25th September, 2014.

There are 50 new exhibitors among the 207 currently signed up for BETA International 2015.

Newcomers at the trade fair on 22 – 24 February at the NEC, Birmingham include Animalife, Tandy Leather, Bradshaw Taylor and Derriere Equestrian.

Bookings from overseas companies are also buoyant with 27% of exhibitors coming from outside the UK.

“With many companies choosing to make their début, launch new products or develop export markets at BETA International, the NEC next February is certainly the place to be,” said BETA International organiser Claire Thomas.

Companies wishing to book space should submit an application form before next Wednesday - the 1 October deadline. Click here to apply.

For more information, contact James Palmer on 01937 582111 or email

ETN is the official media partner of BETA International.


23rd September, 2014.

Kate Hoey MP is to step down as chairman of the Countryside Alliance.

She quits as the rural campaigning organisation’s chairman after the political party conference season.

“I leave with new generations queuing up to join the hunting field,” she said.

Lord Mancroft, Countryside Alliance deputy chairman, said of Kate Hoey: "Everyone who follows hounds, shoots, fishes or simply supports the freedom to do so, owes her a huge debt".


23rd September, 2014.

SQPs can earn extra CPD points thanks to a new feature in ETN.

The magazine’s first AMTRA accredited CPD feature on feed and nutrition will appear in the November issue.

Written by vet Tom Beech on the subject of fibre feeding, the feature will be followed by a quiz.

SQPs who successfully answer the questions will earn two CPD points. Other readers may enjoy testing their knowledge.

Feeding and nutrition is part of the SQP [suitably qualified person] syllabus set out by AMTRA (the body that oversees training for and maintenance of the SQP [suitably qualified person] qualification to prescribe animal medicines such as wormers).

ETN also runs AMTRA accredited SQP CPD features on equine parasites in its February and September issues.

The next CPD feature for saddle fitters, accredited by the Society of Master Saddlers (SMS), appears in the December issue of ETN.


22nd September, 2014.

Rachael Tuck, sales director of Snuggy Hoods, has qualified to compete at the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) next month.

She will also be working at the show on the equine clothing company’s tradestand.

Rachael, from Luckington in Wiltshire, is due to ride her own Kilcahill Kylie (stable name Mandy) in the South Essex Insurance Brokers (SEIB) Search for a Star showing finals.

“I’ve worked at HOYS for the past six years, so I’m excited to be a competitor as well this year,” she said.

“It will be a very hectic week and I’m going to have to ask many favours from friends and family to help, but we'll definitely make it happen”.


17th September, 2014.

As the sun sets on the 2014 outdoor circuit, show trader and ETN diarist Guy Roper reports from a busy Blenheim (11 – 14 September).

The trouble with a show that marks the end of the season is that the visitors know that and want discounts.

Ah, well, at least they came and this year’s ‘Blenners’ was good. The event also summed up some of this strange season’s most topical issues...

Like others, Blenners is presented as a four-day show; but for traders it's really a two-day show. This year, although Saturday had perfect weather for an event and was a cracker for trading, it was only really a day and a half.

Saturday's sunshine brought out bank holiday style crowds, making up for the two slow days beforehand, but Sunday was over just after lunch...not that the stand prices reflected that.

Credit card readers
At two thirds the price of a Badders stand, and roughly comparable with what Gatters [Gatcombe] charges, the one third average footfall doesn't justify the premium. And that’s especially so when credit card readers only really worked well at each end of the day when, presumably, mobile traffic was less.

This has to be a capacity issue, not a coverage issue. When will show organisers realise that good telecoms is now as basic a part of event trading as loos or car parking?

One thing Blenners got right though was the signage. It was plentiful, very clear and well done for the boards with maps of the tradestands and the cross country course.

Handsome profit
As for admission prices, I can only repeat that people have to think carefully about what cash they have left to spend. If the tradestands are truly partners in these shows, as organisers like to tell us, they should take that into account.

I find it hard to believe that the gate money doesn't cover costs and turn a handsome profit. On the cheapest possible analysis, an advance season ticket for Blenners was £46 per person plus car parking at £2 per day. But most families would do Saturday at £22 per person (£25 on the day) and/or Sunday - £22 with a seat for the showjumping. A family of four would therefore pay between £88 (Saturday only) and £176 (both days) with parking and food on top. That’s a serious hole in anyone's wallet.

The published attendance figures over the event are 68,000 people. That’s £1,496,000 taken then, if they all came on Saturday or Sunday!

Obviously an event like this is expensive to organise, but shopping is part of the attraction for people and I doubt my pitch was charged to me at cost. We all have to make a living; some of us have to make most of it in fewer months’ trading than others.

Bust their budgets
Yes, Blenners showed there was trade to be had. That fact was confirmed when two carrier-laden ladies plumped down on the corner of my stand to review their purchases and add up their spending before deciding they'd bust their budgets and departing in search of a cuppa. Thanks girls; it would have been nice if you'd even looked...

However, it was good to meet up with trader chums and hear about a bumper Burghley (‘Buggers’, as I like to think of it since I can't get a stand there) where the pent-up pound appears to have finally escaped the passing pocket. Good for them - at least most of us have come through this patchy season in a position to be around next year.

At Blenners, I was still deciding which of the display stock was too faded or dusty after months on the road, and what to write it down to, when the show died. It seemed Sunday's crowd went straight from the cross country to the show jumping, then lowering clouds at four o'clock sent people scuttling for their cars without a thought of shopping.

Overall a pretty good show, though, and a pleasant end to what seems like a long season. Time to put the Dormobile on bricks again for the winter.

Cheers, Guy


17th September, 2014.

Peter Wilkes, the managing director of Vale Brothers, is the new president of the Society of Master Saddlers (SMS).

He was appointed during last Thursday’s SMS AGM, held at The King’s Troop RHA in London.

The SMS is heralding Peter’s tenure as “an exciting 12 months for the society”.

“We see change in the market happening at a pace and these new developments should be embraced,” he said.

“It’s important that we never let go of our traditional craftsmanship, while also adopting and looking into new manufacturing processes.”

Peter takes over from past president Helen Dart. Laura Dempsey becomes SMS vice president.


17th September, 2014.

Companies wishing to exhibit at BETA International 2015 are urged to submit their application forms and 10% deposits by 1 October to secure a stand.

Next year’s trade fair takes place at the NEC, Birmingham, from 22 to 24 February.

“More than 88% of commercial stand space has already been taken, so we’re advising potential exhibitors to meet this deadline in order to guarantee a presence at the show,” said BETA International organiser Claire Thomas.

“Booking before 1 October also gives a greater choice of exhibition space as stand allocation begins on that day.”

All companies applying before the deadline are eligible for a 5% prompt payment rebate on the net price of a stand*.

For further information about exhibiting at BETA International 2015, contact sales manager James Palmer, telephone +44 (0)1937 582111 or email

*Terms and conditions apply.


16th September, 2014.

Fewer young competition horses are either too fat or too thin, says a leading equine nutritionist.

As part of Baileys Horse Feeds’ sponsorship of the BEF Futurity Young Horse Evaluations, nutritionists from the company assess each entrant’s body condition and muscling.

This year, they were delighted to see few extremes as far as condition scores were concerned.

“It was good to see some very well presented young horses with only a few overall that were a bit podgy and some that were a little lean,” said Liz Bulbrook, director of nutrition at Baileys.

“The evaluations are a great opportunity for us to explain to receptive breeders the importance of optimum nutrition to support correct growth.”


10th September, 2014.

A new government scheme is helping UK companies reach consumers overseas.

The UKTI’s e-Exporting programme aims to link exporters with e-marketplaces as well as providing help and advice.

The best-known e-marketplaces include Amazon, Tmall and eBay. But UKTI has identified more than 400 others worldwide.

By selling through an e-marketplace, says UKTI, companies can find new overseas customers, analyse data on what consumers are searching for and build awareness of their brands.

Under the e-Exporting programme, firms get an advisor who helps them find appropriate e-marketplaces around the world.

There’s also the opportunity to attend events and webinars about retail/e-commerce opportunities.

Retailers new to online selling can also get help with trademark registration, website URL registration, packaging, shipping and payments, tax registration and marketing.

UK online retail exports are set to reach £60bn by 2018, according to UKTI figures.

Find out more from UKTI’s retail team at

BETA has for some years secured UKTI finding to subsidise trade missions to overseas shows. To find out about participating, visit or tel 01937 587062.


10th September, 2014.

Winter feeding is the subject of a new one-day seminar for retailers.

Saracen Horse Feeds hosts the event on 1 October 2014 at Askham Bryan College in North Yorkshire.

The programme includes an AMTRA accredited module enabling attending SQPs who successfully complete a test to earn six CPD points.

Feeding and nutrition is part of the SQP syllabus set out by AMTRA (the body that oversees training for and maintenance of the SQP [suitably qualified person] qualification to prescribe animal medicines such as wormers).

Other presentations will include ‘feeding for condition’ by Lizzie Drury, senior nutritionist at Saracen; while sales and marketing director Michael Bacon addresses ‘maximising customer loyalty and profits through horse feed sales’.

Area sales manager Sarah Rushby will give a lecture/demo on assessing individual horses’ feed requirements.

Over lunch, delegates can watch a demonstration by working hunter and dressage rider Louise Bell, one of Saracen Horse Feeds’ brand ambassadors.


10th September, 2014.

Norbrook Laboratories has appointed Mark Brady as national sales manager for trade in Great Britain.

With more than 20 years’ experience in the animal health industry, he was most recently with Pfizer (now Zoetis).

Norbrook, a British veterinary pharmaceutical company set up in 1968 by the late Lord Ballyedmond, launched Noropraz equine wormer last September.


9th September, 2014.

Membership of British Dressage (BD) is at its highest since 2008.

With 14,000 members and horse registrations standing at 11,000, BD also has 38,000 free online associate members.

The nation’s economy, Olympic success, new competitions such as Team Quest and regional ‘have a go days’ have helped boost participation.

But the overriding factor is simply the appeal of the sport as an accessible equestrian discipline, said a BD spokesman.


4th, September, 2014.

Show trader and ETN diarist Guy Roper reports from his busman’s holiday as a spectator at the World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Normandy.

If you thought comments about WEG on the Horse & Hound forum and FEI twitter feed were bad, try French TV and some of their heavyweight newspapers. "A national disgrace" was one of the blunter comments.

And when it was rumoured that the Caen Chamber of Commerce had issued a statement disassociating itself from the organisation of the games camped on its doorstep, you know things are bad irrespective of the truth.

It's difficult to know where to begin. You've heard all the horror stories about the eventing dressage and cross country at Harras du Pins - deep mud, no loos, no food, traffic chaos.

As to the delays, It really depended where you were coming from. The roads were far better than the access to Badminton, but the lack of a one-way system and any effective policing reduced their carrying capacity by half. From the south, people drove straight in, but from the north, this led to virtually static six mile queues.

VIP discomfort
Tales abounded of the discomfort of foreign VIPs. I was told that a German delegation only made it in time to see the last four horses on the course. A Spanish party flew in, were shepherded aboard their luxury coach, spent four hours in the queue and had to turn round without reaching the event to get their flight back.

Actually, if you ignored the sat nav and took a picnic, the cross country was superb. The course was truly world class, an army of portaloos had arrived overnight, and the car parks, saved from traffic during the rainy dressage days, had dried out and functioned well. Yes, it was a bit of a hike in from the parking fields, but it was down a well made track.

Business at the stands in the trade village on the course was patchy but there was always only going to be only one real trading day in the three, so having a pitch there was clearly risky. WEG audiences are different - people come because they are passionate about the sport. After that, they go shopping - if it's convenient. Caveat vendor: know your market.

Dire organisation
Overall though, the organisation has been dire. We all know what it's like, having to do things at the last minute with a deadline pressing. Smaller details get lost, like traffic control, signage, basic facilities and parking. Let alone making sure there aren't any nails on the horse access road to the demo arena.

One infuriated British trader apparently picked up 20 in ten minutes and gave them to the organisers. Nothing happened - perhaps they felt he'd solved the problem by collecting them.

After all, they only had four years to get it right... Part of the problem was the committee structure; added to which was a change of government (the equivalent in France to a change of committee members) halfway through. When no-one is in overall charge, no-one takes responsibility. The question now is who the committee will blame.

I feel sorry for the volunteers. They did their best but, untrained and poorly led, fell back on ‘the rules’ whenever a challenge arrived. My favourite example was a venue where six entrance doors were open but only three functioned. The volunteers on the other three hadn't been given scanners for the tickets, so wouldn't let anyone through. But they'd been told to open the doors, so they did.

Lucky to break even
This mentality translates into stand holders’ stock deliveries blocked at the gate because van drivers didn't have passes. Why would they? It leads to boxes randomly making it to the organisers’ office but no one there charged with telling traders they'd arrived. It leads to the delivery being taken off site again to a depot 6kms away and held for days.

For most of my trading pals from Blighty, it was the worst WEG in years and some will be lucky to break even.

There are lessons here. If you haven't run a major international event before, don't decline advice. It seems to have been offered, but the Organising Committee (I love the irony of that title) declined even the local offers of help in planning.

If you can't organise it, don't pretend you can. Belated attempts to publicise the Games Village focussed on the food and drink offer and neglected to mention the shopping opportunities. Some spectators didn't realise that there were tradestands. Some who did couldn't find them.

If retail is part of the offer, create the space in which it can thrive. A trade village is like a small town and you need to encourage people to slow down, leave the main road and explore its squares and byways.

Lost opportunity
I enjoyed what I've seen of WEG 2014. But I regret the lost opportunity. Spectators came from across the globe, saw fantastic competitions with horse and rider partnerships of supreme quality, but many missed out on seeing new and different products or approaches they won't find at home.

The event is poorly organised and often frustrating, lacking the buzz of Aachen or Jerez. The quality of the competitions rescued the games in spite of the Organising Committee, but the memory of the shambolic infrastructure of WEG 2014 will linger on. Such a shame.

Cheers, Guy


3rd September, 2014.

A supplements company has been reprimanded for making medicinal claims for an unlicensed product.

Calinnova Ltd t/a EquiFeast also made misleading and unsubstantiated statements in a magazine advertisement, according to an Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) ruling published today.

The advertisement for a horse supplement made efficacy claims for the role of chelated calcium as a horse calmer.

It referred to EquiFeast’s trials and experience of the product. However, the ASA said this amounted to anecdotal evidence for the product's effects, rather than a robust, variable-controlled trial.

Additional claims were made about the negative effect of magnesium on horse behaviour. But since these were a departure from the widely-held view on the subject, a high degree of substantiation was required, said the advertising watchdog.

The ASA took advice from the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) as to whether the following were medicinal claims for an unlicensed product: “Getting both chelated calcium and controlled magnesium right improves behaviour in up to 90% of difficult horses" and "it can improve horse behaviour.”

Consumers would be likely to infer from this that the product could treat behavioural problems caused by a nutrient deficiency, it was decided.

Calinnova Ltd was told to ensure that in future they held robust documentary evidence for their efficacy claims and that future advertisements did not contain medicinal claims for unlicensed products.

The full adjudication can be found here


3rd September, 2014.

A supplements company is offering free product trials to its Accredited Retailers.

Animalife says the initiative will encourage experience-based sales and establish greater brand understanding.

“It can be difficult to persuade customers to change their way of supplementing a horse’s diet when they have used a brand for a long time,” said Animalife director Ross Riley.

“By offering our Accredited Retailers the chance to trial products on either their own horse or a customer’s horse, they can give a more detailed and personal account of the efficacy and ease of use.”

More than 200 outlets have signed up to Animalife’s Accredited Retailer scheme which is designed to support bricks and mortar retailers.

The offer is subject to terms and conditions. Read the full story in the October issue of ETN.


2nd September, 2014.

Cornwall Farmers opened a new-look country store in Devon on Saturday (30 August).

The Kingsbridge store had been temporarily closed for a refit to become one of the co-operative group’s Patch & Acre lifestyle outlets.

Among the attractions on offer for last weekend’s opening were free goodie bags for the first 50 customers and a prize draw.

Under a hat and body protector amnesty customers could trade in their used safety gear and receive a 20% discount on replacement products.

The store specialises in equine, pet and country life products, including garden machinery.

The refit programme is part of Cornwall Farmers’ £2.3 million investment that includes spend on new IT systems and staff training.


1st September, 2014.

Business consultant Laurie May has joined the Zoetis equine team in the UK to enhance the range of services offered to trade customers and equine veterinary practices.

Laurie has been with animal health company Zoetis for more than seven years, most recently in the companion animal and equine business unit. Here she assisted veterinary practices with performance management systems and coached managers in leadership, communication and team work.

Previously, Laurie was an equine account manager for Pfizer Animal Health in the Midlands.

Currently she’s a lead lecturer in marketing with a particular interest in digital marketing.

“Laurie is able to diagnose the most subtle opportunities for business improvement and implement robust programmes to help advance the business of our equine customers,” said Paul Blanc, national equine manager at Zoetis.

As a horse owner, Laurie shares consumers’ perspectives too.

• Read the full story in the October issue of ETN – and look out for Laurie’s invaluable advice for all equestrian retailers in her new business consultancy column, starting in the November issue of ETN.