31st October, 2017.

Study showed fungal contamination of hay increased 2.5 hours after steaming. But further work is needed to evaluate the risk of feeding steamed hay to the respiratory health of the horse, says BETA Equine Thesis of the Year winner.

Reaseheath College student Louise Swindells won the 2017 BETA Equine Thesis of the Year award for her dissertation An Investigation into the Efficacy of Steaming Hay for Horses.

She joined the competition's two other finalists - the University of Limerick’s Sandra Hurley and Warwickshire College’s Lee Ann Imboden - on Sunday (29 October) to present her thesis to the judging panel and audience of academics, industry representatives, friends and family.

Louise's dissertation, which aimed to quantify the reduction of fungal and bacterial species through steaming hay, and identify the fungal species that remain in hay after steaming, was named the winner by judges Dr Georgina Crossman, Dr Catherine Dunnett, Liz Benwell and Karen Coumbe.

The winning student’s undergraduate work was divided into two studies. The first used serial dilutions to quantify the microbial content of steamed and unsteamed hay on sabouraud dextrose agar (SDA) and plate count agar (PCA) – growth mediums for cultivating bacteria and fungi.

The second study consisted of aerating hay samples before steaming, 0 hours post-steaming and 2.5 later. Resulting suspended particles were cultured on SDA. Mycological analysis was then carried out on the results of both studies to identify the surviving fungal species.

Both studies saw reductions in microbial content of hay through steaming. The first study revealed that bacterial levels were reduced by 99.28%, while the second showed that fungal contamination of hay increased 2.5 hours after steaming.

Additionally, both studies revealed Aspergillus Fumigatus in post-steamed hay samples.

Louise concluded these results suggested that further work is needed to evaluate the risk of feeding steamed hay to the respiratory health of the horse.

“I am absolutely thrilled and a little shocked to have won,” said Louise. “The award is a great way for student work to be recognised and I have really enjoyed taking part.

“I knew that there had been studies showing a reduction in microbial contamination after hay had been steamed, but there did seem to be a gap when it came to looking at the bacterial and fungal species that survive the steaming process. I know that my study is just the start, but I do think that this is an area that should be looked into further.”

Dr Georgina Crossman, chair of the judging panel, praised each of the finalists on the high standard of their work.

“It took a great deal of consideration and plenty of discussion before we made our final selection, which reveals how difficult our task was,” she said. “However, in the end, we decided that the award must go to Louise because she did a great job of taking this fascinating subject and presenting it in such a clear and easy-to-understand way.”

Claire Williams, executive director of the British Equestrian Trade Association, added: “We were tremendously impressed with all the students and really enjoyed listening to each presentation.

“Louise did incredibly well and we send her our congratulations and very best wishes for the future. She tells us that she is now working as a science teacher and we are sure that she will do extremely well in her chosen career.

“The BETA Equine Thesis of the Year award is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate undergraduate study and we would like to thank the colleges and universities that have taken part – and the preliminary and final judges whose expertise, knowledge and enthusiasm made it all possible.”


31st October, 2017.

Ema Odlin from The Horse Bit Shop urges the trade to support her black tie event.

Riders and rugby players are joining a retailer in her bid to raise funds for Mind, the mental health charity.

And now Ema Odlin is urging the trade to support her black tie event on 2 December at the Keepmoat Stadium in Doncaster, South Yorkshire.

Ema, who runs The Horse Bit Shop, says tickets and tables are still available.

“We have a live band, magician and photographers, and the support of Doncaster Rovers’ wing back Matty Blair,” said Ema.

An auction and raffle features items including a chartered yacht from Palma, Majorca and a hot tub. Equestrian suppliers Vale Brothers, Shaws Equestrian and Zebra Products are among those to donate prizes so far.

“It’s guaranteed to be a great night, but we need people to book tables,” said Ema.

To book tickets or donate prizes email info@thehorsebitshop.com


31st October, 2017.

The retailer behind a new superstore in Cheshire is backing Liverpool International Horse Show.

Hope Valley Saddlery is the new headline and grand prix sponsor of this year’s Liverpool International Horse Shows supporting this exciting equestrian and family event.

The retailer, a regular on the show circuit, recently opened a new superstore at Somerford Park Equestrian Centre in Cheshire.

Hope Valley Saddlery, run by Judy and Nigel Young, also operates an e-commerce site and has a second store at Beaver Hall in Staffordshire.

“The new sponsorship of the Liverpool International Horse Show is a very exciting development for the team at Hope Valley Saddlery and we are delighted to be both the headline and grand prix sponsor,” said Judy.

“Exciting new ventures like the show need support from both within and outside the industry and we are very keen to make the most of this great opportunity for the business and brand as well as the event itself.”

Liverpool International Horse Show president, Nina Barbour said Hope Valley Saddlery’s support was “very much appreciated.”

The Liverpool International Horse Show, supported by Hope Valley Saddlery, takes place at the city’s Echo Arena on December 29 to 31.

• Find out more about Hope Valley Saddlery in Retailer Profile, ETN November issue.


27th October, 2017.

The show has named the panel members appearing in its Talking Business feature.

BETA International has announced who will take part in its popular Talking Business debate.

With ITV newscaster Alastair Stewart as host, the following representatives from the equestrian and commercial worlds will participate in what are traditionally lively discussions.

● Philip Tyler, managing director of TopSpec Equine, a leading producer of feed balancers.

● Roy Burek, chairman of Charles Owen and Airowear.

● Jo Snell, chief executive of Bransby Horses.

● Kathryn James, managing director of NEC Group Conventions & Exhibitions.

● Rhian Gibson, chief executive of the Pony Club.

“We have a fantastic line-up of panellists and we can't wait see them under the spotlight, wrestling with the latest industry conundrums and topics,” said BETA International organiser Claire Thomas.

“Each will bring their own experiences and views to the table, which is certain to make for another highly entertaining and thought-provoking instalment of Talking Business, which is back by popular demand for a third year.”

Talking Business will take place in The Charles Owen Hub on Sunday 21 January – the first day of the show.

BETA International is the world's leading trade fair for equestrian, country clothing, outdoor and pet products. The 2018 show takes place at the NEC, Birmingham, UK, from 21 to 23 January. Visitor entry is free on pre-registration at www.beta-int.com


27th October, 2017.

Trade discount on luxury boot brand coincides with the British Dressage National Convention.

Konig - Charlotte Dujardin’s boot brand of choice - is offering retailers 7.5% off all orders placed throughout next month (November).

The promotion coincides with the British Dressage National Convention (25/29 November) which has a German theme this year.

“The offer covers all Konig boots, so take advantage while you can,” said a spokesman for UK distributor Zebra Products.

A German company of more than 150 years’ standing, Konig is believed to be the oldest maker of high quality, made-to-measure riding boots.

Its range spans tradition and latest trends, with a dash of technical excellence.


23rd October, 2017.

Show organisers collaborate with Channel 5 television to draw record crowds.

More than 15,000 people visited The Yorkshire Vet at Countryside Live, held at the Great Yorkshire showground, Harrogate, last weekend (21/22 October).

The revamped event, jointly organised by the Yorkshire Agricultural Society and Channel 5 television, boosted attendance by 25% over previous years when it was simply Countryside Live.

The Yorkshire Vet is a Channel 5 television documentary following life in the famous fictional vet James Herriot’s former practice.

Stars of the series, Julian Norton and Peter Wright, met fans at the show. There was also a surprise appearance by rugby hero Mike Tindall – better known in the horse world as Mr Zara Phillips – who judged a beef tasting competition.

The Yorkshire Vet at Countryside Live also hosted equine, livestock and poultry classes.


23rd October, 2017.

Deal to be reviewed by competition watchdog and some stores will close.

Countrywide has agreed to sell its retail business to Mole Valley Farmers.

Mole Valley will acquire 48 of Countrywide’s 53 currently trading stores, support teams and IT systems. Stores at Amesbury, Glastonbury, Honiton, Towcester and Wenvoe are to close.

Completion is expected to be before the end of January, 2018. The price will depend on stock levels in the business at completion.

Countrywide is to retain all freehold properties, with Mole Valley entering into lease agreements as a tenant.

The sale is subject to review by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), Countrywide announced earlier today.

The sale of Countryside’s retail business will affect around 750 employees who the company expects to transfer to Mole Valley

Countrywide Farmers’ chief executive John Hardman said the deal “represents an excellent opportunity to secure the future of our retail business with an established sector leading company.”

He added: “I would like to thank all of our staff who work within the retail business and have remained committed through a significant period of change and uncertainty. We are very grateful for their contribution and wish them all the very best for the future.”

Countrywide says it will now focus on its Rural Energy - LPG business which supplies bulk LPG and bottled gas to commercial and rural domestic customers.


23rd October, 2017.

A leading fibre feed brand is to sponsor the national championship series.

Fibre-Beet is the new sponsor of the British Riding Clubs (BRC) Festival of the Horse.

Brand owner British Horse Feeds has signed a three year agreement to back the championship series of area qualifiers and final. The 2018 running is on 19/20 May at Aston le Walls.

Said Rachael Hollely-Thompson, manager of BRC: “It’s fantastic to be working with Fibre-Beet. Their support helps BRC to continue to offer high quality competitions to our members.”

Added Will I’Anson of British Horse Feeds: “We’re delighted to enter our first sponsorship with BRC through support of the BRC Fibre-Beet Festival of the Horse.”

Fibre-Beet combines beet pulp with alfalfa, to build condition and deliver essential amino acids.

“It makes the ideal feed for riding club level horses and ponies that are going out to training, rallies and competitions as it provides them with everything they need while keeping them calm and focused at the same time,” said Will.


23rd October, 2017.

Training Tuesday is a new feature of BETA International 2018 when the trade exhibition takes place at the NEC, Birmingham, on 21 – 23 January.

Information, advice and CPD points will be in plentiful supply during the day dedicated to learning for retailers and their staff.

Free seminars and teach-ins will take place in The Charles Owen Hub, BETA International’s theatre stage, with its large digital screen and comfortable seating, on Tuesday 23 January.

Sessions include:

● Redworms with Green Genes, an AMTRA-approved SQP seminar worth 10 CPD points, hosted by veterinary management consultant Jim Wishart.

● Is the Customer Always Right? A Brief Guide to the Consumer Rights Act 2015, with the Trading Standards Institute’s Sylvia Rook.

● Equestrian Retail – Progress from Novice to Four Star, with David Gaule, of Citrus-Lime.

● Update on Safety Equipment Standards & Rules, with BETA's Claire Williams. This seminar counts towards the CPD face-to-face requirements of BETA-trained City & Guilds fitters and is worth five points.

● Saddle fitting, with Kay Hastilow.

● Visual merchandising, with Kirsty Kean, of Visual Thinking.

● Customer service, with Visual Thinking.

● Riding hats, with Roy Burek, of Charles Owen and Airowear.

● Bits and Bitting, with Heather Hyde, of Neue Schule.

To make it easy for all retailers and their staff to get to Training Tuesday, BETA International is to run its complimentary return coach service on the day, with collection points en route to the NEC from across Britain.

“Training Tuesday is a really exciting initiative for BETA International,” says show organiser Claire Thomas. “It covers a fantastic array of specialist subjects to help equip those working in today's retail environment with appropriate – and much called for – skills and training.

“Where else could you harness such educational provision in one day and all under one roof? A day at BETA International learning from the very best in the business is priceless!”

Exhibitors’ stands will be open as usual on Training Tuesday.

• To get involved with ETN’s exclusive official BETA International preview, call Beth Crow on 01937 582111 or email bethc@beta-int.com


17th October, 2017.

Personalities from the worlds of sport and television are set to appear at BETA International 2018 at the NEC, Birmingham, on 21 – 23 January.

Eventing’s William Fox-Pitt and television personality Amanda Owen - the Yorkshire Shepherdess, will enthral and entertain visitors to BETA International in January.

Amanda and William will be in the Charles Owen Hub – the trade fair’s theatre stage - on Monday 22 January talking about their lives and careers.

William will share anecdotes and memories as he looks back on many years at the top of his sport. The father-of-four, who suffered serious head trauma in 2015 in a cross country fall, will chart his road to recovery and participation in the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Amanda, a busy mother of nine children, will provide an insight into her life as a shepherdess on a 2,000-acre hill farm, Ravenseat, at the top of Swaledale, in the Yorkshire Dales.

The best-selling author appears on television shows The Dales, Ben Fogle's New Lives in the Wild and Countrywise.

“We are thrilled that William and Amanda are coming to the show,” said BETA International organiser Claire Thomas. “They are sure to be a real hit with our visitors and exhibitors.”

• Find out more about BETA International at www.beta-int.com


16th October, 2017.

Four finalists for the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) Equine Thesis of the Year award have been named.

A quartet of undergraduates has made it to the finals of the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) Equine Thesis of the Year award have been announced.

The contest highlights students’ academic research, with entries received from 11 UK and Irish universities and colleges running equine-related degree courses.

The 2017 finalists are:
• Reaseheath College – Louise Swindells. Thesis: An Investigation into the Efficacy of Steaming Hay for Horses.
• The Royal Veterinary College – Rebecca Standen. Thesis: Stability of Equine Atypical Myopathy-Associated Toxins in Serums and Plant Tissues.
• University of Limerick – Sandra Hurley. Thesis: The Effect of Commercially Available Equine Influenza Vaccines on the Risk and Level of Virus Shedding; A Meta-Analysis.
• Warwickshire College – Lee Ann Imboden. Thesis: Investor Demographics and Psychographics in the Thoroughbred Yearling Market.

The students will present their theses to a judging panel during a reception at the Woodland Grange Hotel, near Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, on Sunday, 29 October.

The judging is open to the public and members of the academic community. Those wishing to attend should telephone BETA office beforehand on 01937 587062.

The winner and runner-up will be awarded a trophies and cash prizes.

The judges are: research consultant Dr Georgina Crossman, Equestrian Trade News editor Liz Benwell, independent nutritionist Dr Catherine Dunnett, and equine vet and author Karen Coumbe.

“The level of undergraduate work submitted has been of an extremely high calibre and really reflects the quality of study being carried out at our universities,” said BETA executive director Claire Williams.

“Selecting the finalists is always tough, but our judges have done a fantastic job in narrowing the field down to the remaining four. We are all looking forward to hearing the presentations and wish each of the candidates the very best of luck.”


16th October, 2017.

Funding from the Rural Development Programme for England is helping a supplier launch two new products.

Silvermoor Haylage is to introduce two new products - Silvermoor Swingers and Treatsies - with the help of a Leader Programme grant from the Rural Development Programme for England.

The grant, worth a total of £76,140, amounts to 40% of the total project.

The Alnwick, Northumberland based company has been producing haylage since 1992.

Silvermoor Haylage is one of 12 businesses taking part in the inaugural Entrepreneurs’ Forum Scale-up Leader’s Academy.

The 50-hour programme, spread over 12 months, is designed for owners of high-growth companies who want to scale-up speedily through the programme’s workshops, coaching, mentoring and learning sessions.

Ralph Thompson, managing director of Silvermoor Haylage, said he was particularly proud of the new products.

“We’ve applied for a patent for Silvermoor Swingers as it will be the only hanging forage block on the market,” he said. “We have every confidence that it will help to take our company to the next step.”

Gillian Marshall, chief executive of the Entrepreneurs’ Forum, added: “We have a strong, diverse range of entrepreneurial businesses operating in the north-east, and it’s important that we have a system in place to support the growth ambitions of the region’s companies.

“The Scale-Up Leader’s Academy is the ideal way for entrepreneurs to come together with likeminded people who have the ambition to grow their business quickly. It helps them to identify and overcome the barriers to scaling-up and to build a clear plan that will allow them to achieve their vision and goals.”

The Rural Development Programme for England is jointly funded by Defra and the European Union.

More information at http://www.gov.uk/rural-development-programme-for-england-leader-funding


13th October, 2017.

All horses do droppings, even the equine stars of the Horse of the Year Show (HOYS). But help was at hand last week thanks to the new Red Gorilla brand.

A superior pooper-scooper has won a ringing endorsement from equestrian arena specialist Andrews Bowen.

Earlier this year, Faulks & Cox Ltd (FCL) acquired Speedskip. Having improved the registered design, the company is now marketing it as The Red Gorilla Big Tidee.

Last week at HOYS, Red Gorilla Big Tidees were used by the arena party in the Andrews Bowen International Arena throughout the show.

Now the arena supplier says it likes the product so much, it’s giving one away with every riding surface installed.

“We’re really pleased to recommend the Red Gorilla Big Tidee to promote maximum performance and longevity of arena surfaces,” said a spokesman for Andrews Bowen.

“Wow!” was the reaction from Katherine Tuckley, sales executive at FCL/Red Gorilla. “Could it get any better than that?

“Adding a long rake to the Tidee range has been welcomed with open arms by consumers.”

FCL is finalising the launch of its new Red Gorilla brand. Due to make its equestrian debut at BETA International (21 – 23 January), Red Gorilla will bring all the tubs and tools supplier’s brands under one umbrella.

• Find out in ETN how stockists are being catered for during the transition to Red Gorilla.


3rd October, 2017.

Troubled rural retailer says it’s in talks with a buyer for its stores.

Countrywide Farmers is making “encouraging progress” towards a sale of its retail stores to Mole Valley Farmers.

However in the light of other developments today, the Countrywide Board has suspended trading in its shares with immediate effect.

In April, Countrywide Farmers announced it was considering selling off its 53 Countrywide stores.

The news followed the closure of 14 of the group’s retail outlets in February.

Announcing “exclusive discussions” with Mole Valley Farmers, Countrywide says it hopes to conclude negotiations by the end of this year.

“This represents an excellent opportunity to secure the future of the retail business with an established sector leading company for our customers and employees,” said Countrywide’s directors in a statement.

The company also confirmed today that it has completed the sale for £1 million of its 80% shareholding in MSF Welland Valley Feeds to the existing management team.

MSF Welland Valley Feeds comprises a single retail store based in Market Harborough which operates as a standalone business. Net proceeds from the sale will be used to reduce Countrywide’s bank facilities.

Countrywide is also in the process of winding down and transferring its Turf and Amenity business to an alternative provider, enabling the Turf and Amenity team to continue to serve customers under new ownership.

Its LPG business continues to trade in line with expectations.


2nd October, 2017.

A new partnership aims to promote equine health and education.

Boehringer Ingelheim, said to be the world’s biggest equine health business, has joined forces with the FEI – the global governing body for horse sport - to promote equine health and education.

The new partnership, announced in Barcelona during last week’s Longines FEI Nations Cup Jumping Final, is part of a three-year deal.

Under the arrangement, Boehringer Ingelheim becomes ‘FEI equine health partner’ and ‘FEI Campus partner’.

FEI Campus (www.feicampus.org) is an e-learning site which gives equestrians free access to experts. Boehringer Ingelheim, one of the world’s biggest pharmaceutical companies, will collaborate with the FEI on content.


2nd October, 2017.

Nominations have opened for the 2018 BETA/SEIB Retailer of the Year award.

The search is on to find the winners of the British Equestrian Trade Association’s (BETA) 2018 SEIB Retailer of the Year awards.

Members of the public are invited to nominate a tack shop, saddlery, feed merchant or website offering exemplary service.

Nominations can be made online at www.retaileroftheyear.org.uk or by completing a form in-store until the 24 November deadline.

This year, the award features a slightly different format from previous occasions, with two categories instead of four – Equestrian Retail Store and Online/Mail Order Retailer.

The award is sponsored by SEIB Insurance Brokers and celebrates the different faces of equestrian retailing throughout the UK. All aspects of good retailing practice are considered, including store displays, catalogues, websites, store layouts, presentation, cleanliness, helpful and knowledgeable staff, and delivery times.

Everyone who puts forward a retailer for the award – one of the 2018 BETA Business Awards – will automatically be entered into a prize draw to win a Collegiate leather saddle.

“The Retailer of the Year award is a fantastic way for SEIB to support equestrian retailers,” said the company's marketing manager, Nicolina Mackenzie. “They work extremely hard day in, day out, to provide an invaluable service to horse owners and riders, and we wanted to recognise and reward this.”

The award is open to all equestrian retailers – they do not have to be BETA members – and the winners will be announced during the BETA Gala Dinner, at the National Motorcycle Museum, near Birmingham, on Monday 22 January.

“We’re extremely pleased to welcome back the SEIB Retailer of the Year for 2018,” said BETA executive director Claire Williams. “It is a great way to celebrate excellence in equestrian retailing, ensuring that customers can shop with confidence.”

• See the full list of 2018 BETA Business Awards and how to nominate in the October issue of ETN.