SWINDLING RACEHORSE OWNER JAILED


30th September, 2015.

A chartered surveyor, who attempted to steal almost £213,000 in income tax and VAT by failing to declare his earnings and submitting false repayment claims for the upkeep of a racehorse called Thunder Cat, and four others, has been jailed for 18 months.

Lawrence Conway from London was investigated by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) after he submitted fraudulent VAT repayment claims of £135,325 on behalf of a business partnership called Tallulah Racing for the cost of keeping a racehorse from 2003 to 2013.

However, HMRC’s investigation revealed that Thunder Cat had failed to race since being placed ninth in 2001 at Lingfield Park racecourse.

HMRC also discovered that Conway had worked as a chartered surveyor, but never declared his earnings for ten years, evading over £61,500 in income tax and National Insurance Contributions. He had also charged VAT on invoices, even though he was not VAT registered, to pocket a further £16,000 of taxpayers’ cash.

“Not content with stealing money through his racing syndicate, Conway went on to steal through his profession as a chartered surveyor,” said John Cooper of HMRC’s fraud investigation service. “He clearly thought he was invincible, and could not get caught.

Jailing Conway, His Honour Judge Morrison said that it was "an extensive and long running fraud" and that it "was a serious matter and that he must discourage others from committing fraud against the public purse."


NEW SADDLERY SHOP OPENS NEAR TAMWORTH


30th September, 2015.

A new saddlery shop opened near Tamworth on Saturday (26 September).

West Midlands Saddlery trades from Copnill Farm, Ashby Road on the outskirts of the Staffordshire town. It also has an e-commerce website.

The family business is run by Eve Bickley with the support of her parents Roy and Kim Bickley. Eve is also an equestrian photographer.

The new shop stocks useful equestrian supplies including hats, clothing, boots and rugs. Toggi clothing is among the latest additions.

The shop is open from 10am to 5pm, Tuesday to Saturday.

West Midlands Saddlery’s first few days’ trading had been “nice and steady,” said Kim. “People are gradually finding out we’re here. We’re also keen to build up more stock and will be going to BETA International to help with that.”

• BETA International is earlier next year - on 24 – 26 January at the NEC, Birmingham. Find out more about exhibiting or visiting at www.beta-int.com


NEW BRAND MANAGER FOR FEED FIRM


29th September, 2015.

Mars Horsecare UK has appointed Luke Saunders as brand manager for Spillers.

He is responsible for the 30-strong range of equine feeds and is planning new developments over the coming months.

After gaining a degree in design and technology management from The University of Leeds, Luke joined Fox’s Biscuits where he worked with major grocery accounts.

The equestrian world is new to Luke who says he’s enjoying the challenge of learning about horses while offering a fresh perspective to the business.

“It doesn’t matter whether you’re selling biscuits, chocolate or horse feed, the same fundamentals of marketing still come into play,” he said.

“It’s extremely exciting to have joined Mars Horsecare. The business benefits considerably from the wider support of the Mars Corporation, particularly from substantial pet brands such as Royal Canin with whom we share ideas, innovation and marketing practice.

“Spillers is renowned for its superior range of feeds and we aim to make accessibility and category navigation even better for retailers and consumers.”


SHOWJUMPERS’ CONTAMINATED FEED SOURCE NAMED


28th September, 2015.

Swiss showjumping riders Steve Guerdat and Alessandra Bichsel, whose horses tested positive for prohibited substances earlier this year, have been cleared of any wrongdoing.

International horse sports’ governing body, the FEI, has accepted that the positives were caused by poppy seed contamination of the horses’ Swissfritz feed.

There will be no sanctions against either rider, other than automatic disqualification of the horses’ results at the events where they tested positive.

Samples taken from Nino des Buissonnets, ridden by Guerdat, at the La Baule CSIO5* in France on 17 May returned positive for the banned substances codeine and oripavine and the controlled medication substance morphine.

Nasa, also ridden by Guerdat at the same show, tested positive for codeine and morphine. There were also traces of oripavine, but not enough for a ‘positive’.

Samples from Charivari KG, ridden by Bichsel, at the young riders’ show in Deauville on 8 May also returned positive for the same three substances, codeine, oripavine and morphine.

The FEI hearing learnt that laboratory tests were carried out on the two Swissfritz horse feeds “in question” to determine which of the ingredients was responsible for the poppy seed contamination.

The results showed that oats, originating from France, were the source. Oats were added whole to the feed and, through that process, poppy seeds hidden in the oat hulls came to be added to the processed Swissfritz feed.

Steve Guerdat has used Swissfritz feeds for ten years and his horses ‘dope tested’ on many occasions, the hearing was told.


HALTING DECLINING RIDER NUMBERS IS CONFERENCE AIM


28th September, 2015.

Rider participation – and the knock-on effects for the equestrian trade - is the theme of the 2015 BETA (British Equestrian Trade Association) Conference.

The annual event, which is preceded by the BETA AGM, is at Whittlebury Hall Hotel & Spa, near Towcester, Northamptonshire, on Monday, 2 November.

Delegates will hear a series of thought-provoking presentations under the title Participation – Is the future of the equestrian trade at risk?

Speakers include Anna Hall, the British Equestrian Federation’s (BEF) head of participation, who brings a governing body’s view on how to increase rider numbers. Ex-marine commando Jay Hare, now operations manager of HorseBack UK, reveals how the charity works with horses to empower service personnel and veterans suffering from life-changing injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Equine coach Kay Scott-Jarvis, owner of Rockstar Equitation Centre, will base her presentation on years of teaching experience to bring a riding school’s perspective. While Unicorn Trails holiday provider Wendy Hofstee explores a different route to riding and Anna Franklin, the Thomas Irving Equestrian Superstore’s assistant manager, speaks candidly on how one of the UK’s largest independent retailers has done its bit to generate new riders.

BETA executive director Claire Williams, who will provide a statistical overview for delegates, said: “The 2015 National Equestrian Survey revealed a drop in rider numbers - a downward trend that has also been noted by Sport England, which has found a significant decline in new and regular riders.

“We experienced a similar situation in the late 1990s and BETA responded with the National Riding Festival, a countrywide initiative designed to encourage people to take up horse riding. To a certain extent, it succeeded, reining in the decline to see numbers increasing in the early 2000s.

“The livelihood of the equestrian trade is reliant upon riders and their support, so we really need to do something to put the brakes on these falling figures. The BETA Conference is a great place to start, as it will help us as an industry to focus on ways in which we can reverse the trend.”

The conference is open to BETA members at a cost of £45 plus VAT and non-members for £75 plus VAT. The AGM, held earlier in the day, is exclusively for BETA members.

For further information about attending the conference and AGM, or to book your place, please contact Laura Clegg in the BETA office, telephone 01937 587062 or email laurac@beta-int.com


MOUNTAIN HORSE SETS UP OWN UK OPERATION


23rd September, 2015.

Mountain Horse has taken over the distribution of its own products in the UK and Eire.

For the past 22 years, Horsemasters Distribution has handled import and supply of the Swedish clothing label to the UK and Irish trade.

A new company called Mountain Horse UK has been set up with a team of UK based staff. UK retailers can also order directly from Sweden.

Mountain Horse is to exhibit at BETA International 2016 in January.

Lucy Ward has run Horsemasters Distribution since its founder, her husband Nick Ward, died suddenly in 2003.

Lucy will remain as a consultant during the handover to Mountain Horse UK. After that, she says she’ll take on new challenges and offer more time to her family.

Bertil Sjosward, managing director of Mountain Horse in Sweden, said: “Without both Nick and Lucy, Mountain Horse would never have been so successful in the UK and Eire. We hope to do justice to all they have achieved and we will do our utmost to continue their good work.”


IS YOUR COMPANY GOOD TO WORK FOR?


22nd September, 2015.

Firms with happy employees have just over a week to let the rest of the world know.

Entries for the Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For List 2016 close on Friday, 2nd October.

The award is based on the premise that salary is not the be-all and end-all for many workers. Job satisfaction counts for far more.

Indeed more than half (53%) of people would rule out working for a company that has a poor track record of job security, poor leadership and dysfunctional teams, according to new research by Linkedin.

Previous companies listed as ‘best to work for’ include McDonald’s and American Express. In 2013 the Tangerine Group, whose divisions include Carr & Day & Martin and Day, Son & Hewitt, were included.

To enter, visit www.b.co.uk/SignUp.aspx


92% OF BETA INTERNATIONAL STAND SPACE SOLD


22nd September, 2015.

More than 92% of BETA International’s commercial stand space has been taken following the show’s deposit deadline ten days ago.

Already, 219 companies from the UK and overseas are set to exhibit at the NEC from 24 to 26 January.

Exhibitors are made up of large, established brands and small, new start-ups from across the equestrian, country, outdoor and pet product sectors.

Latest signings include Konia Equestrian from Canada, Back on Track from Sweden, AWST Int’l from the United States and Tagg Equestrian and The House of Cheviot, both from the UK.

“This is fantastic news and a great reflection of the way in which the industry holds the show in such high regard,” said BETA International sales manager James Palmer. “We are widely recognised across the world as the ultimate trade-buying event and a powerful business platform for developing export and import trade.”

The first round of stand allocation is now under way, with companies that met the deposit deadline set to benefit from the best locations around the show’s three large halls.

“Although much of the space is now spoken for, there are still some great opportunities available,” added James. “With stands from as little as £954 plus VAT and a range of prominent stands still on offer, BETA International presents a cost-effective and high-profile solution for companies and their products to secure trade and media attention.”

To secure remaining stand space, contact James Palmer on telephone +44 (0)1937 582111 or email jamesp@beta-int.com

Find out more about BETA International 2016, visit www.beta-int.com


CANCELLATION OF CLA GAME FAIR ANNOUNCED


21st September, 2015.

The Country Land & Business Association (CLA) will no longer run its annual Game Fair.

It says the event has “failed to generate enough income” and seen falling attendance.

The abandonment includes cancelling the 2016 planned event at Ragley Hall.

“The Game Fair is an important and well-loved event with a long tradition. It is a difficult decision that we deeply regret having to take,” said CLA director general Helen Woolley

“Unfortunately an increasingly crowded summer calendar of outdoor events has contributed to falling attendance. This has led to the event failing to generate enough income and has made the event financially unsustainable.”

She added that the CLA would continue with its other work and to lobby for rural business.

The 2016 CLA Game Fair was due to be the 58th in its history. The event has traditionally been held at different venues around the country. At its peak, it attracted more than 140,000 visitors.


REDPIN ACQUIRES SHOWING WORLD


18th September, 2015.

The bi-monthly magazine Showing World has been acquired by Redpin Publishing.

The publisher, best-known for its regional equestrian consumer titles, has also taken on the Showing Council/Showing World Show Personality of the Year Awards.

Redpin purchased the magazine and awards from Robin Aldwood Ltd, the company owned and run by its former editor Sandy Wooderson.

Showing World is mailed free to members of nine leading showing organisations, reaching more than 14,000 enthusiasts. It will be based in Redpin Publishing’s head office in Devizes, Wiltshire.


TRAVELLING TO WORK RULING: WHAT BUSINESSES NEED TO KNOW


15th September, 2015.

Last week’s European Court decision that travelling to and from work can count as paid work has wide-reaching implications for businesses.

Firms with the likes of delivery drivers and sales reps could face regulatory and financial problems, warns Richard Parr of Blacks Solicitors.

There could also be implication for National Minimum Wage (NMW), he adds.

“There is a growing body of opinion that this latest ECJ (European Court of Justice) case will be interpreted as applying to NMW. It would be surprising if a trade union didn't seek to test this point,” says Richard.

• Read Richard Parr’s assessment of what this ruling means for businesses, and what you should do now, in the October issue of ETN.

• For immediate advice contact Blacks Solicitors via www.lawblacks.com


£366m LOST TO FAKED SPORTS GOODS


14th September, 2015.

The sale of counterfeit sports equipment costs legitimate EU manufacturers €500 million (£366 million) every year.

The lost revenue amounts to 6.5% of all transactions in this sector across the EU, according Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM).

A new study from the intellectual property agency covers equipment – including sports helmets, footballs and tennis rackets - but not sports clothing.

It also claims that approximately 2,800 jobs are lost across the EU as manufacturers sell less than they would have done in the absence of counterfeiting.


REAP REWARDS BY MEETING BETA INTERNATIONAL DEADLINE


9th September, 2015.

Companies wishing to exhibit at BETA International 2016 are urged to send in their applications by Friday (11 September) – the trade fair’s 10% deposit deadline – to be high up the list when the first round of stand allocation gets under way.

“Although 88% of commercial stand space has been taken, there are still some great opportunities available for those who would like a presence at the show,” said BETA International sales manager James Palmer.

“Clearly, the earlier we receive an exhibitor’s application, the easier it is for us to secure them a good location.”

All companies that apply to exhibit by 11 September and pay a 10% deposit, and the final balance by 6 November, will be awarded a 5% net rebate subject to terms and conditions.

BETA International is the leading trade exhibition for equestrian, country clothing, outdoor and pet products.

The 2016 show takes place at the NEC, Birmingham, UK, from 24 to 26 January. For further details on exhibiting, contact James Palmer on +44 (0)1937 582111 or email jamesp@beta-int.com


LOCAL SHOPPING PREFERRED BY 1 in 3


9th September, 2015.

A third of Britons would rather shop with local stores than large retailers and supermarkets, according to new research.

‘Better value for money’, ‘keeping local traders in business’ and ‘less queues’ top the list of reasons why shoppers are turning to their nearest outlets.

Consumers surveyed by discount brand Vouchercloud also claimed to make monthly savings of £23.97 by sourcing their needs locally.

“It’s great to see that Britons are choosing to shop with local vendors and businesses for items that they could purchase within supermarkets and national retailers,” said Chris Johnson, head of operations at Vouchercloud.

“Not only are they making a financial saving per shop, but they’re also helping to keep a small, local business alive, which in turn is helping the local economy.

“Many of us don’t realise that we have such great local businesses on our doorsteps until it’s too late and the business has gone under. Often, we’d rather choose a lifestyle where we can purchase everything under one roof, but that’s not necessarily the cheapest way to go and we’re clocking on to this.”

Vouchercloud is a smartphone app designed to help consumers make savings.


SPONSOR REACHES 1,500 CONSUMERS


8th September, 2015.

NAF offered nutritional and product advice to 1,500 competitors during the British Riding Clubs NAF National Championships last weekend (5/6 September).

Dressage, showing and showjumping classes attracted record entries from all over the country.

Griselda Handy and Eloise Chugg-Martin, brand managers for NAF, presented prizes during the show.

“Once again this championship has been a tremendous success for NAF, with so many BRC members engaging with us over the weekend,” said Griselda.

“We have been associated with it for more than ten years now and watching the junior riders progress through to the seniors has been a particular highlight for us. The overall team spirit shown by the clubs is incredible.”


€1m CLIFFHANGER TO BE ON LIVE TV


8th September, 2015.

A British showjumper’s bid for a €1m prize can be watched live on Horse & Country TV on Sunday (13 September).

Scott Brash will be aiming to pull off the Rolex Grand Slam of Showjumping at Spruce Meadows in Calgary, Canada.

The 28 year old has already bagged wins in Aachen and Geneva, and if he takes this third leg, he will become the first to collect the €1m bonus.

The rider courted controversy last month when his top rides were unavailable for British team duties at the European championships, a crucial Olympics qualifier.

Nevertheless, the British team secured its place at Rio 2016 by finishing fourth.

Horse & Country TV’s Calgary coverage begins in the UK at 7pm.


SPANISH LAUNCH FOR TUBS SPECIALIST


8th September, 2015.

Faulks & Cox, the originator of Tubtrugs flexible tubs, has set up a new company in Europe.

Tubtrugs Europe SL, based in Alicante, Spain, opened last month (August).

“We’ve supplied Tubtrugs to many customers across Europe for many years,” said managing director Dean Cox.

“Now we’re offering a much wider range of products and it’s time to consolidate and make our full range easily available to customers old and new.”

• Find out who’s heading up Tubtrugs Europe SL in the September issue of ETN.


BURGHLEY COMPLETION FOR BUSINESS MANAGER


7th September, 2015.

Alan Nolan, whose ‘day job’ is UK southern region business manager for Gain Horse Feeds, completed Burghley horse trials yesterday.

Riding Carole Warren’s 16 year old Bronze Flight (aka Colby), Alan posted a clear cross country jumping round to finish in 44th place.

Alan and Colby have also competed at the Festival of British Eventing, presented by BETA at Gatcombe Park, Blenhein and made their 4* debut at Pau in France.

“Of course, none of this would be possible if Gain Horse Feeds didn’t allow me to have [the eventing] running alongside my day job,” said Alan.

“They are very understanding of the commitment it takes and encourage me to compete at this level which is a massive bonus.’’

• Find out more about the support team behind Alan and Colby in the October issue of ETN.