30th September, 2016.

Updated business rates values, released today by the Valuation Office Agency, will apply from April 2017.

The revaluation - described by pressure groups as long overdue – aims to bring business rates into line with the real value of business property.

The business rates system is an unfair tax which takes no account of how businesses are actually performing, according to Mike Cherry, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) which has long fought for reform.

“This review has been delayed by two years and means small businesses have been paying rates based on 2008 valuations which are now out of date,” he added.

Many businesses should now get some relief following years of overpayment, or at least see their rates remain steady.

But others could experience a hike compared with their previous valuations.

Transitional relief plans, announced by Government earlier this week, include tapering increases over five years plus a new band for medium-sized businesses.

"We urge the new Government to commit to the changes to Small Business Rate Relief announced in the March 2016 Budget,” added Mr Cherry.

“Small firms with a rateable value of less than £12,000 will pay no business rates at all, with further assistance provided to those with a rateable value of under £51,000.

“This means that today’s revaluations could have big consequences, especially for those firms on the margins of these cut-off points.”

Businesses can check their new rateable values at the VOA website


29th September, 2016.

The Horse of the Year Show (HOYS) will be covered by Horse & Country TV with evening highlights programmes at 7.30pm, from Thursday 6 to Monday 10 October.

The broadcasts are in association with leading feed manufacturer TopSpec.

Each nightly highlight show will bring viewers up to speed with the previous day’s action.

Coverage will include the puissance and grand prix show jumping as well as showing classes from the TopSpec Arena.

Each highlights programme will be repeated at 10am the following morning on Horse & Country TV.


28th September, 2016.

BETA International is rolling out its free coach service for retailers once again.

Return journeys are available from Carlisle, Durham and Exeter to the NEC, Birmingham on Sunday, 22 January – the first day of the 2017 show.

The service, with collection and drop-off points en route, provides a cost-effective and comfortable travel solution.

“Our complimentary coaches always prove extremely popular,” said BETA International organiser Claire Thomas.

“Making sure that a visit to the trade fair is as easy as possible remains a priority for us.”

The service departs early from each location and arrives at the trade fair at about 9.30am.

Timetables for the three routes are on the BETA International website at where online bookings can be made. Demand is expected to be high, so reservations should be made as soon as possible, say organisers.

BETA International is the world’s leading equestrian, country clothing, outdoor and pet products trade exhibition. The 2017 show takes place at the NEC, Birmingham, from 22 to 24 January.


27th September, 2016.

Ken Lyndon-Dykes has been appointed president of the Society of Master Saddlers (SMS).

He takes over from Laura Dempsey, with Sue Norton moving into the vice president’s role.

“I would like to thank Laura for her exceptional year as president of the society,” Ken told the SMS AGM held at The Metropolitan Mounted Police Branch in East Molesey, Surrey.

“My aim throughout the year will be to encourage and support both qualified saddlers and saddle fitters and to ensure we work towards maintaining standards at all times.”


20th September, 2016.

Spillers has invested £1m in feed production equipment at its Milton Keynes headquarters.

A high efficiency press has been purpose designed to enhance the consistency and quality of pellets and cubes.

It also ensures an even coating of oil.

The new equipment will give Spillers greater flexibility to produce a wider variety of high oil feeds.

The company says the new process is also far more efficient with significantly reduced dust and wastage.

Another benefit is said to be reduced energy intensity, which is better for the environment. The new equipment has improved ergonomics, reduced noise levels and needs less maintenance too.

“This is an exciting and important investment for Spillers showing our support for the future of British manufacturing,” said Dominic Jenkins, supply director.

“We are already renowned for the premium quality of our feeds, but the new equipment brings our pelleted and cubed performance feeds into a new class of excellence altogether.”

The Spillers brand is owned by Mars Horsecare.


20th September, 2016.

Intellectual property is a valuable commodity – so beware of others having an unexpected claim to yours, warns Ailsa Pemberton.

It’s common for companies to commission IT design consultants to produce their websites.

Much of the content is supplied by the company, but the style, layout, imagery and often some of the content is created or supplied by the designer.

So who owns the intellectual property (IP) in the website? Is it the instructing - and most likely paying - company? Or is it the hard working designer?

It may surprise you to learn that without a formal transfer of the IP, ownership remains with the designer.

IP law has, over the years, been developed to protect persons creating the work. So, in the eyes of the law, the first owner of the copyright in the commissioned website is the designer or their employer, if they are an employee.

This remains the case even if the company pays the designer for their services – something that often comes as a shock to their paying clients.

Most clients assume that where a consultant produces work for them, and the client pays for the work, then ownership will automatically transfer. But this is not the case.

The only way that ownership can move to the client is if the designer transfers the copyright to the client in writing. This type of legal document is called an assignment.

If ownership is not transferred the designer could, at some later date, object to certain uses of the work.

For example, a design produced for a website home page is then used by the company in TV advertising. The designer could argue that the fee paid only covered use of the design on the home page, and that a much higher fee would have been charged for the design of a TV advert.

Although such arguments are hard to prove in practice, it’s always better to avoid costly conflict and ensure that intellectual property ownership is where you want and expect it to be.

• Ailsa Pemberton is an Associate Solicitor and Head of the Intellectual Property (IP) Team at Blacks Solicitors. She advises companies and individuals on the existence, extent, protection and exploitation of their IP including carrying out IP audits and drafting the necessary commercial agreements. You can contact her at


19th September, 2016.

The Hub will be a new feature area when BETA International 2017 opens at the NEC, Birmingham in January.

Charles Owen & Co (Bow) is to sponsor the venue for product displays, celebrity interviews and retailer seminars.

Talking Business, the trade fair's industry discussion hosted by TV newscaster Alastair Stewart, will also happen here.

With bright, contemporary staging and large overhead screens, the Charles Owen Hub replaces the show's Horse Demonstration & Seminar Arena – also sponsored by the riding hat manufacturer for the past four years.

The Charles Owen Hub’s arrival is part of a move to develop and enhance the trade fair's modern B2B environment, say organisers.

“Supporting BETA International's building of this strong educational centre has been important to us from the very beginning,” said Charles Owen managing director Roy Burek.

“Education and shared innovation is key to our design and production process. We are thrilled to bring that focus to the forefront and this fantastic new feature is the perfect setting for us to engage with our retailers on an entirely new level. We are looking forward to sharing in the illuminating experiences that they will enjoy this year at The Charles Owen Hub.”

BETA International organiser Claire Thomas added: “We are thrilled that Charles Owen has decided to continue its sponsorship. The Hub's clean, simple lines are great on the eye and its significant digital capability can only enhance the visitor experience.”

Charles Owen joins fellow BETA International supporters Battles, Ekkia, ETN, Henson Franklyn, Hy, NAF, Shires Equestrian, Schockemöhle Sports, Toggi and main sponsor Neue Schule.

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

Next year’s 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

ETN is the official media partner of BETA International. To get involved with ETN’s exclusive show preview, contact Nicki Lewis on +44 (0)1937 582111 or email


19th September, 2016.

Form Nutrition has acquired the Maxavita brand to add to its family of supplements.

Cheshire based Form Nutrition is the company behind EquiForm Nutrition. It also undertakes contract manufacturing.

A number of outlets have told ETN they’ve recently been unable to source supplies of the green lipped mussel based Maxavita range.

Form Nutrition says it expects to be able to supply stocks to the trade from the beginning of next week (26 September).


13th September, 2016.

Businesses can’t afford to bury their heads in the sand following the Brexit vote, warns a global delivery company.

Exporters should move away from high-volume, low margin products to avoid the impact of potential trade restrictions with the EU, says David Jinks of Fastlane International.

Even though the UK Government appears to be in no hurry to trigger Article 50, British businesses can’t continue as if the vote had never happened, he adds.

Britain has committed to leaving the EU and, if the UK fails to achieve continued access to the single market, manufacturers and exporters must have plans in place to move their products and services upmarket.

UK manufacturers and traders shouldn’t be lulled by what’s currently a phoney war, says David.

“British businesses are holding their breath and hoping for the best; but they should also plan for the worst. And the imposition of duties on UK goods being shipped to the EU could make sales of cheaper, high-volume products uneconomic.”

Right now, exporters are enjoying more favourable trading conditions than before the EU referendum - thanks to sterling’s low value making UK goods a bargain abroad.

But UK companies could find themselves in a very different place if free access to the EU market is not secured.

Large, low value items will incur high transport costs and potentially steep tariffs. So the best bet is to look to smaller, high value items which are not reliant on small margins to make a profit, adds David.

Fastlane International says it’s already seen a rise in upmarket products shipping to the EU post-Brexit. They’re typically high-end, hand-crafted products that can command greater profits.

“Since the vote, we’ve shipped notably more high-quality products to the EU than previously. They include polo equipment, prom dresses, toy soldiers, dolls’ house furniture and hand-made chairs.

“These are all the kind of products that will continue to make money even with increased shipping costs and duties.”

It sounds like promising news for high-quality equestrian goods including specialist safety gear and saddlery.


12th September, 2016.

Taking care of the small things around horses and stable yards makes a big difference to equine health.

That’s the message from the Keeping Britain’s Horses Healthy (KBHH) campaign which is running Horse Health Week this month, on 26 – 30 September.

Throughout the week, KBHH in association with the Animal Health Trust (AHT), the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) and World Horse Welfare (WHW), will raise awareness of the benefits of preventative equine healthcare.

Everyone can take part via social media at #BonVoyageBuzz. Here you can follow Buzz the horse as he travels across Facebook during the week, providing an entertaining journey with a serious message.

There’s also the chance to win a KBHH branded gilet by taking part in a survey.

A Your Horse Health Checklist Guide, produced by KBHH for Horse Health Week, guides owners through the different health aspects to consider on a daily, weekly, monthly and annual basis as well as providing general care advice.

Horse Health Week 2016 also promotes seven pillars of preventative healthcare:
• Infectious disease and vaccination
• Parasite control
• Getting the right nutrition
• Caring for horses’ teeth
• General well-being
• Caring for horses’ feet
• Taking on a new horse

Each pillar is supported by a Responsible Horse Owner Booklet, all of which can be downloaded from


12th September, 2016.

Doug Walker has been appointed general manager of Weatherbeeta UK and Weatherbeeta USA.

He takes over the role from Ellen Bates who left WeatherBeeta on Friday (9 September) to join her family’s business, Bates Saddlery.

Before starting his new job today (12 September), Doug Walker was chief marketing officer for three years.

“Doug has taken the WeatherBeeta and Dublin brands to a completely new level,” said Adam Bucknell, Weatherbeeta Group CEO.

Meanwhile Weatherbeeta UK has a new sales manager. Bea Meitner has been promoted to the role after five years’ working for the company.


6th September, 2016.

Retailers can be in with a chance of winning a team VIP day at Badminton 2017 by entering an in-store display competition.

NAF is urging stockists to “wow us” with innovative merchandising creations. Entries close on Monday (12 September).

Displays can include any NAF products and will be judged on how effectively they build the brand, use space and place product in-store.

While the top ‘gold’ prize is a VIP day at Badminton for the winning retailer’s team, there are also silver and bronze awards for the runners-up.

The silver winning team will each receive a NAF branded jacket and polo shirt. The bronze prize is a NAF branded jacket for each team member.

Enter by sending photos of your display by email to by 12 September.

• See the September issue of ETN for more details.


6th September, 2016.

Everyone equestrian is urged to capture their favourite horsey moments on camera for the chance to feature in the 2017 British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) Calendar.

The top 12 photos depicting ‘my horsey day’ submitted before 23 September will be chosen to grace the pages of next year’s colourful, slimline BETA Calendar.

The photographer with the image judged ‘best in show’ will be presented with a fantastic gift hamper for their efforts too.

Images must be supplied in a digital format – minimum size 150 x 115mm (1,772 x 1,358px) at 300dpi.

Entries should go to Tina Hustler at along with your name, address and a description of the image (including details of what is featured).

Photographs must be taken by the person submitting them and not be subject to copyright.


5th September, 2016.

BETA International organisers are urging companies that have applied to exhibit at the 2017 show to ensure they meet its 10% deposit deadline on Friday (9 September)

This Friday is also when the first round of stand allocation gets under way.

“Exhibitors meeting the set date will be first in line when it comes to securing the most sought-after locations around our three large halls at the NEC,” said BETA International sales manager James Palmer.

“On receipt of the deposit payment, we work extremely hard to ensure that each company is provided with the best possible stand space to benefit their individual requirements.”

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

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

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

ETN is the official media partner of BETA International.


1st September, 2016.

The economic outlook for Sports Direct – owner of giant equestrian retailer Robinsons Country Leisure – has been downgraded by economic analysts.

The controversial retail group is predicted to “underperform” in a new assessment of the post-Brexit economy from Canadian bank RBC, according to media reports.

The bank says that Sports Direct is particularly vulnerable to a fall in the value of sterling because it sources its own-label products from Asia in dollars.

Across the retail sector, rising cotton prices and the living wage are predicted to lead to an overall 3% increase in retail prices next year.

BRC says that the likes of Sports Direct will be affected because “as a discounter, any price rises are likely to be noticeable to its customers, much more so than at the premium end of the market.”


1st September, 2016.

Laura-Anne Rossell has joined Noble Outfitters as area sales manager for northern England and Scotland.

Laura was previously with Carr & Day & Martin for four and a half years as technical advisor.

After graduating in equine physiology, Laura achieved an MRes [master of research degree] in biomechanics. She has also lectured at equine colleges.

“I’m delighted to join Noble Outfitters,” she said. “This is such a strong collection from both a customer and retailer perspective.

“I can honestly say that once you’ve tried the Balance Riding Tights, there’s no going back!”

• See ETN’s People page every month to find out who’s new and who’s moved.