30th November, 2016.

Online dressage competition and training provider E-Dressage Limited announced it had ceased trading yesterday (29 November).

In a circular email, the company said that all memberships were cancelled and its website had been shut down.

E-Dressage also invited creditors “to issue winding up proceedings” should they wish to do so. When ETN contacted the company asking how, E-Dressage failed to respond.

Cheshire based E-Dressage was incorporated in April 2014. Roseanna Sunley remains the sole director.

E-Dressage had been seeking sponsors for an autumn awards ball. But the event failed to go ahead.

Sources have told ETN they are pursuing the company for outstanding debts. E-Dressage declined to answer our questions about current creditors.

An anonymous emailed response said it was still listed as an active company “as we have only announced and informed Companies House today [29 November].”


29th November, 2016.

Names of the judges for the 2017 BETA International Innovation Awards, sponsored by Equestrian Trade News (ETN), have been announced.

They are safety expert Ken Law, Millbry Hill retail director Serena Jones, equine nutritionist Dr Teresa Hollands and retailer James Edwards of Acorn Saddlery.

BETA International takes place on 22 – 24 January at the NEC, Birmingham.

The show's innovation awards are presented in eight categories: country clothing & footwear, feed & supplements, general, horsecare equipment & (horse) clothing, pet products, rider clothing & footwear, saddlery & tack and safety & security.

All exhibitors are eligible to enter products introduced to the market no more than 12 months before BETA International.

The awards will be presented on Monday, 23 January, with visitors and exhibitors invited to join the celebrations with a glass of bubbly and slice of BETA International cake.

Visiting BETA International is free on pre-registration at


28th November, 2016.

Westgate EFI’s former joint managing director Ed Vant has sold his shares to business partner Bruno Goyens.

Mr Vant, whose father Michael founded wholesaler Westgate in 1958, has left the company.

He says he will “explore other avenues outside the equestrian industry.”

Bruno Goyens is now the managing director of Westgate EFI which will retain its current base on the Romney Marsh in Kent.

Having worked for the company since leaving school, Ed Vant became managing director of Westgate in 2005.

He merged the business with Mr Goyens’ Equestrian Farming and Innovations (EFI) in 2006.

Mr Vant described his decision to sell his shares and leave Westgate EFI as “in the best long term interests of the company.”

Westgate EFI is well known for its Gatehouse helmet range and Mark Todd Collection of rugs and clothing.

The Mark Todd label came about when Bruno Goyens kept his horses at Mark Todd’s UK yard during the 1990s.

Mr Goyens had moved here from his native Belgium to establish Jumper’s Horse Line and the distribution company EFI.


24th November, 2016.

“Modest and medium-term” is how small business leaders have labelled yesterday’s Autumn Statement.

However, the Chancellor Philip Hammond’s announcement on business rate reduction - including relief for small rural firms - has been welcomed by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).

“We’re pleased with the confirmation of plans to reduce business rates by £6.7 billion, and the decision to make rural rate relief fairer for small firms,” said FSB national chairman Mike Cherry.

“We welcome Government responding to our calls to increase investment in local roads and digital connectivity to help rebalance the UK economy.

“We also back the £2 billion per year boost for research, development and innovation, plans to improve management skills, the £400 million to improve small business finance through the British Business Bank, and the doubling of export finance.

“The latter is vital as we need to reach new markets in the wake of the Brexit decision.

“Today’s statement is modest and for the medium term. There will need to be stronger fiscal interventions to boost the economy next year, with the prospect of weaker longer-term growth looming.

“Small firms want to grow, export, innovate, recruit and be more productive - and they need to know as soon as possible the framework they will operate in.

“We also call for Ministers to act to bring down the costs of doing business.

“Today's moves to tighten conditions for the self-employed must also be followed up with help to give them parity in benefits so that the UK's army of genuine self-employed people will continue to grow."

The FSB says the Government’s confirmation to permanently increase business rates relief will provide crucial support for small businesses.

“This will take 600,000 small firms out of the rates system altogether and will mean lower bills for many thousands more,” said Mr Cherry.

“FSB has campaigned on this issue for many years and we are delighted that from April 1st next year small businesses will start to benefit.

“We are particularly pleased to see that the Government listened to our calls to give rural businesses 100% relief on rates.”


22nd November, 2016.

TopSpec has appointed Justin Ridley as its export manager.

Before joining the feed company, he was commercial manager at Equine Products UK.

“The new role at TopSpec is very exciting,” said Justin, who has worked in exports for the last ten years.

“I’m already working on emerging markets and across the world to look at new opportunities for TopSpec which has undergone a great deal of growth in the last five years.”

Justin’s career started in the racing industry. He spent 12 years working for Sheik Mohammed, first in Oxfordshire before moving Newmarket to manage Hadrian Stud.

After four years in New Zealand, also running a stud, he took time out to study for a law degree.

A keen supporter of all country pursuits and hill walking, Justin follows National Hunt racing and has ridden for much of his life, hunting and point-to-pointing.

TopSpec products are currently exported to the Middle East, Eire, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, France, Poland and Slovenia.


21st November, 2016.

Every business will be affected by the outcome of the Brexit negotiations.

So now’s the time to contact your MP to express your opinions, hopes and concerns.

That was the message from political commentator John Arnold, speaking at the 2016 British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) Conference earlier this month.

In a Brexit-focussed presentation, John said he thought Article 50 will definitely be triggered and urged delegates to write to their MPs to share their thoughts.

You can contact your MP here

Brexit is also likely to be on the agenda for Talking Business, a discussion forum to take place during BETA International.

The Question Time style debate, hosted by ITV newscaster Alastair Stewart, takes place on Sunday, 22 January (the first day of BETA International) and is open to all visitors and exhibitors.

Find out which industry experts will be on the Talking Business panel in the December issue of ETN.

Visiting BETA International is free on pre-registration at


21st November, 2016.

Sophie Conway has joined Zebra Products sales team.

She has become the distributor’s southern sales rep looking after Veredus, Bucas, PK Sportwear, Fleck, Konig and Amerigo and Equipe accessories.

Sophie was previously in advertising sales for publishers Archant and Think where she worked on British Dressage magazine.

She has also worked at eventer Joe Meyer’s yard, and has a young event horse she’s hoping to compete next year.

“We’re delighted to welcome Sophie,” said Simon Middleton, managing director at Zebra Products.

“She has a great combination of sales and equestrian experience and I’m sure she will be a valuable addition to our already knowledgeable Zebra herd!”


21st November, 2016.

University of Limerick student Alison Brassil won the BETA Equine Thesis of the Year award for her dissertation titled The Effect of Paternal Age on Progeny Performance in Thoroughbreds.

She joined three other finalists - Lucy Morgan of Harper Adams University, Anna Williams of the Royal Agricultural University and Tegan Hemingway-Wood of Moreton Morrell College – last month to present her thesis to the judging panel.

Alison's dissertation, which studied whether the proportion of successful progeny changes as stallion age increases, was unanimously declared the winner by judges Dr Georgina Crossman, Dr Pat Harris, Ruth Bishop and Lucy Higginson.

Using extensive data and focusing on 20 stallions and 26,650 progeny over a 25-year period, Alison's research suggested that breeders could benefit from breeding to younger stallions because age did appear to have a significant effect on all parameters of racing performance. Noticeable decreases occurred after 16 and continued after 22 years.

She also noted that the mechanism behind the effects of advanced paternal age was not clear and highlighted that this could be an interesting area for further research.

“I am absolutely delighted to win,” said Alison. “The competition is great for students and the industry. I want to work in the Thoroughbred sector and, while I know that my study is just a scratch on the surface and there is still a lot of work to be done, I would like to think that people will find it interesting.”

The runner-up was Tegan Hemingway-Wood with her thesis The Effect of Water Depth on Equine Limb Swing Phase Kinematics During Walk Exercise on the AquaIcelander Water Treadmill.

“The standard of work has been extremely high, with presentations that took complex data and presented it in a way that was easy to understand,” said Dr Pat Harris, chairman of the judging panel.

Claire Williams, executive director of BETA – which relaunched the competition this year after a three-year break – added: “We would like to congratulate our winner, runner-up and the other finalists, who did so incredibly well. It was lovely to meet them, their tutors and families who came along to show support. Our thanks must also go to all the preliminary and final judges, whose expertise and knowledge has made this all possible.”

The Equine Thesis of the Year award was originally developed by Pat Harris and Graham Suggett in the late 1990s to reward the good work done by equestrian undergraduates.

The other finalists were Lucy Morgan (Equitation Science in the Equine Industry – Horse Riders' Understanding of the Learning Theory in Equine Training) and Anna Williams (The Effect of Soaking on the Populations of Acidic Bacteria Found on UK Meadow Hay – Possible Implication for Equine Gastric Ulceration).


16th November, 2016.

Get your hotel booked for BETA International to secure the best rates.

That’s the message from the organisers of the 2017 show that takes place on 22 to 24 January at the NEC, Birmingham.

“Early bookings mean people have more chance of getting the most competitive deals,” said Laura Daniels of BETA International’s official accommodation provider Event Express

“We have some super offers at the moment, including rooms at the Arden Hotel, which is really close to the NEC complex, with rates of only £99 for a single occupancy and £109 for a double – both with breakfast.”

To book and to see the full range of accommodation available, visit

Admission to BETA International is free on pre-registration at


15th November, 2016.

Nikki Newcombe, of Bliss of London, is the new chairman of the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA).

She took on the role from Lynda Mortlock, of Ingatestone Saddlery Centre, at last week’s BETA AGM which preceded the association’s annual conference.

Ian Silman, of Equicraft Saddlery, became vice-chairman. Peter Phillips, of Abbey England, remains honorary treasurer.

Joining the BETA Council are Ruth Bishop of Premier Nutrition, Michael Darley of Darley Equestrian, James Edwards of Acorn Saddlery and Philip Tyler of TopSpec Equine.

• Find out which BETA Council members were re-elected and read about a lively BETA Conference in the December issue of ETN.


15th November, 2016.

Bedmax is inviting applications from young show jumpers, eventers and dressage riders to become an ambassador for the bedding brand.

The winner will scoop 150 bags of shavings, Bedmax branded clothing and horse rug plus expert support in education, training and PR.

The scholarship is open to UK based riders aged 16 to 23.

“British equestrianism has a very bright future and it is a privilege to be able to offer help and support to one ambitious young rider,” said Tim Smalley, managing director of Bedmax.

Applications must be made online by Wednesday, 30 November at


15th November, 2016.

“Black Friday is coming. The geese are getting fat”. As a variant of the old nursery rhyme, this does not quite work. But there is no denying the increasing importance of next week’s Black Friday (25 November) to retail, says Stephen Sidkin.

Many retailers feel that they cannot risk losing their share of a finite spend by consumers by holding out and not engaging in a promotion. Indeed, a perception exists that it is easier to delay going on sale in the final run up to Christmas, than to miss out on Black Friday.

Whilst recently attention has focussed on the coming into force of much of the Consumer Rights Act, it is an earlier legislation – the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 – which applies to Black Friday promotions.

The starting point for the Regulations is that they prohibit misleading actions by a retailer. If:

1. a retailer makes a promotion which is false as to (a) the price or the manner in which the price is calculated or (b) the existence of a specific price advantage; or

2. if the overall presentation of the promotion deceives or is likely to deceive the average consumer as to (a) or (b) above,

then an offence will have been committed by the retailer if it causes or is likely to cause the average consumer to make a purchase the consumer would not have made otherwise. Where the retailer is a company, its directors may also be prosecuted.

The Regulations also highlight key practices which are always considered unfair (and so are illegal). These include:

• offering products for purchase at a specified price when the retailer believes that it will not be possible to supply reasonable quantities at that price; and

• falsely claiming that a product would only be available on particular terms for a very limited time in order to elicit an immediate decision to purchase by a consumer.

But irrespective of the Regulations, Black Friday also matters to landlords, brands, and other suppliers. This is because Black Friday promotions can serve as an early bellwether of which retailers are planning to trade through Christmas before going into administration.

“Please put a penny in the old man’s hat”.

• Stephen Sidkin is a partner in Fox Williams LLP (;


8th November, 2016.

Tagg Equestrian is to cease trading next month (December).

The company (trading name TSS&P) sold its Loveson and Fal Pro divisions to Horseware in September (ETN, October issue, News).

Now Tagg Equestrian has put its remaining brands - Tagg Clothing, Comfort Zone, Polly Products and T Frost - on the market.

Tom Eastwood, managing director, said he decided to close Tagg Equestrian following a “particularly difficult” two years which saw downward pressure on pricing.

“The business has largely been successful and we have endeavoured to protect the brands that are well regarded in the industry,” he said.

“It is therefore with regret that we have decided to wind down the businesses.”

Tagg Equestrian is currently fulfilling trade orders for stock it’s carrying, added Mr Eastwood. Offer sheets and an explanatory letter are going out to customers this week.

The company plans to close its Newcastle warehouse by early December and to cease trading by the middle of the month.

Expressions of interest in Tagg Clothing, Comfort Zone, Polly Products and T Frost should go to


7th November, 2016.

Rio Olympic gold medallist Nick Skelton won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the inaugural Horse&Hound Awards, presented at Ascot racecourse last week (3 November).

Accepting the award from Horse&Hound content director Sarah Jenkins, Nick said: “Thank you to everyone who voted for me. It’s been a long road. There are so many people to thank … owners, horses, riders, grooms, vets and blacksmiths.

“Obviously, the highlight was ten weeks ago [winning individual gold in Rio]; to do that was a dream, and to have a horse like [Big Star] makes life a lot easier! He's had his ups and downs and breakages, and came back. He’s an amazing horse and without him, I wouldn’t be standing here.”

Ten awards, including Nick’s, were nominated and voted for by the public.

Two-time individual Olympic gold medallist Charlotte Dujardin won the Spillers Professional Rider of the Year award, while the dressage horse she rode to victory in London and Rio, Valegro, was recognised as an equine hero, winning the Country & Stable Horse of the Year award.

The Charles Owen Most Memorable Moment of the Year award went to three-day eventer Ben Hobday for the 28-year-old’s double clear round at Badminton Horse Trials earlier this year.

Ben was diagnosed with cancer in June 2015 and following completion of chemotherapy in September 2015, he got back into training ready to contest the most challenging three-day event in the calendar in May, making his achievement there a truly incredible and moving moment.

A special Inspiration award was added by Horse & Hound to honour late teenage event rider Hannah Francis, who passed away this year from bone cancer.

Hannah caught the attention of the horse world and beyond with the blog she wrote during her illness. She also founded the Willberry Wonder Pony charity, raising thousands for bone cancer research and to grant those suffering from the illness their equine wishes.

As well as honouring the greatest equestrians in sport, the awards celebrate the unsung heroes of the equestrian industry, too - those who make a difference to so many horses and riders’ lives every day - recognised across the vet, volunteer, groom, farrier and riding club of the year categories.

2016 Horse&Hound Award winners are:

Horse & Hound Lifetime Achievement Award – Nick Skelton
Celebrating the life and work of the individual whose contribution to equestrian sport is little rivalled and worthy of sincerest praise

TopSpec Vet Of The Year – Ken Anderson
Appreciating the singular difference this skilled professional has made to a horse or horse’s lives — in sport and/or leisure

NAF Five Star Profeet Farrier Of The Year – Paul Woodall
Acknowledging the difference the knowledge and effort of a unique farrier has made to an equine or equines’ performance or well-being

Horseware Groom Of The Year – Alan Davies
Honouring the dedication, skill, sheer effort and love of equines this individual exerts to ensure the best care of their charges day and night Volunteer Of The Year – Jane Cepok
Recognising the sacrifice made by this volunteer to enable countless others to enjoy their sport or profession week in, week out

NAF Five Star British Riding Club Of The Year - Crown
Celebrating the organisation that brings riders together and best supports them in achieving their goals — changing riders’ experiences for the better

Pikeur Amateur Rider Of The Year – Claire Abel
Acknowledging the rider who does not make their living from riding, training or competing horses, yet dedicates themselves to their passion as if they did

Spillers Professional Rider Of The Year – Charlotte Dujardin
Honouring the greatest rider of our age, who is a hero and inspiration to the rest, and whose ability is a blessing for both their horses and our sport

Country & Stable Horse Of The Year - Valegro
Celebrating our equestrian hero of today, the horse or pony who is at the top of his or her game and is pure joy to watch in the flesh and on our screens

Charles Owen Most Memorable Moment Of The Year – Ben Hobday
Appreciating the single moment in equestrian sport that has most vehemently captured our imaginations — wowing, astounding or delighting us as enthusiasts

Horse & Hound Inspiration of the Year – Hannah Francis
The winner of this special award was chosen by the Horse&Hound team


7th November, 2016.

Most outdoor workers – such as stable staff - suffer with cold, wet feet every winter.

Many also complain of blisters and chilblains, according to research by footwear specialist Dr Martens.

Not surprisingly then, more than half (51%) of outdoor workers are unhappy with their boots.

Around two-thirds suffer with cold feet, 40% with wet feet, blisters affect 21% and 16% have chilblains; while one in four outdoor workers confessed to smelly feet.

Interestingly, comfort is considered twice as important as price by people buying boots.

Just over half of consumers questioned purchase their boots from high-street stores or online retailers. Only a quarter of employers contribute to the cost.

• See the November issue of ETN for some great ideas in waterproof, warm boots – as well as socks and gloves to beat the chill.


4th November, 2016.

Just over £200 – double last year’s figure - is what the average consumer expects to spend on Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

More than a quarter expect to buy something on 25 November (Black Friday) and 28 November (Cyber Monday), according to a new survey for PwC (Price Waterhouse Cooper).

Meanwhile more than half of shoppers say they’re holding onto their cash now in anticipation of the pre-Christmas bargain bonanza.

Black Friday is always the day after US Thanksgiving Day, with Cyber Monday coming close behind on the following Monday.

However, not everyone is a fan of these American shopping imports.

PwC’s online survey found that over a third (36%) of UK adults have no interest in either Black Friday or Cyber Monday. And one in seven (14%) purposely avoid them.


1st November, 2016.

Big names in horse feed and supplements are booking stands at BETA International 2017.

The influx from the UK and overseas has pushed exhibitor numbers for this sector up 25% compared with the same time last year.

Newcomers to BETA International, at the NEC, Birmingham on 22 – 24 January, include Coconoil for Pets, Immun-Ocean, Boehringer Ingelheim, Lickity Bits and Stiefel, Innopha GmbH.

Rowen Barbary Horse Feeds and Simple System Horse Feeds are among the famous faces not seen for years but set to return.

“The feed, supplement and treats market has been quick to respond to growing retailer demand for this type of product,” said BETA International sales manager James Palmer.

“Although area sales managers do a great job out on the road, you can't beat the way that the show puts buyers in front of a phenomenal range of brands.

“They can see and handle the products, chat to nutrition teams, find out exactly what's on offer, meet brand ambassadors, check out the best deals – some of them exclusive show offers – and enjoy the luxury of having time away from the store to make decisions and take care of buying.”

Already more than 35 exhibiting feed and supplement companies are due to arrive from Ireland, Canada, United States, Germany and France as well as the UK.

Some of those with a presence at BETA International 2017 are: Baillie Haylage, Bizzy Bites, Boehringer Ingelheim, Carr & Day & Martin, Coconoil for Pets, Country Haylage, Dodson & Horrell, Emerald Green Feeds, Equine America (UK), Finish Line Horse UK, Hilton Herbs, Honeychop Horse Feeds, Horse First, Horslyx, Immun-Ocean, Kevin Bacon’s, Likit, Life Data Labs, Lintbells, LubriSyn, Marstall Premium Horse Feeds, NAF, Nicety, Omega Alpha Equine, Rowen Barbary Horse Feeds, Simple System Horse Feeds, Stiefel, Innopha GmbH, Stud Muffins, TRM, TopSpec Equine, Thunderbrook Equestrian, Uncle Jimmy’s and Ungula Naturalis.

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

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

• ETN is the media partner of BETA International.


1st November, 2016.

Small businesses struggling to borrow from big banks will be matched with alternative finance options, under a new government scheme.

From today, nine of the UK’s biggest banks will pass on the details of firms they’ve rejected for funding to three finance platforms - Funding Xchange, Business Finance Compared and Funding Options.

These platforms will then share these details with alternative finance providers and let businesses know about any provider who expresses an interest in financing them.

What’s known as the bank referral scheme aims to make it easier for businesses to access finance when they have been turned down by traditional lenders.

RBS, Lloyds, HSBC, Barclays, Santander, Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank, Bank of Ireland, Danske Bank and First Trust Bank all have to offer access to these finance platforms.

Small business give their permission before their details are shared.

Research shows that 71% of businesses seeking finance only ask one lender and, if rejected for finance, many simply give up on investment rather than seek alternative options.

Last year 324,000 small and medium sized business sought a loan or overdraft. 26% of these were initially declined by their bank, with only 3% referred to other sources of help.

In April, the government introduced a small and medium-sized firms credit data sharing scheme which requires banks and credit reference agencies to share businesses’ credit information equally with all providers.