Brilliant BETA Showcases Innovation and Awards Brilliance
The 2019 BETA International trade fair once again took place in the halls of the NEC Birmingham this week. Held over three days (20th – 22nd January), more than 300 exhibitors claimed exhibition space to showcase the latest in innovation, trends and style.
With awards being presented throughout the three day equestrian industry extravaganza, there were honours to be claimed and new relationships to be formed.
Renowned for its excellent networking opportunities, BETA also offers visitors a platform to forge new relationships with trade companies, well respected brands and fledgling entrepreneurs in a bid to continue to bring equestrian consumers the latest in innovative products.
The Innovation Awards are designed to reward creativity, craftsmanship, technology and inspirational invention. Each year, exhibitors are invited to enter products in the competition, provided that they have not been introduced to the market during the 12 months preceding the show.
There were a total of eight categories (five listed below) which were considered by a panel of independent judges. Those with the challenging task of selecting the winners were British Eventing team vet Liz Brown, master saddler and saddle-fitting expert Kay Hastilow, Steve Hodgson, owner of retail store Nags Essentials, Kathryn Jaquet, managing director of retail business RB Equestrian, independent equine nutritionist Catherine Rudenko and international event rider James Sommerville.
Out of the eight categories, the outcome of five are listed below:
Horsecare and Equipment Winner – Equilibrium products for the Therapy hind and hock magnetic chaps. Boots designed to be worn in the stable to support hock health, fit the contours of the horse’s hind legs closely to ensure comfort without restrictions, over-tightening or slipping.
Pet Products Winner – Product Global with Mud Daddy portable washing brush. A 5-litre brush with built-in sprayer which combines water and air pressure, with no need for mains electric or a battery.
Rider Clothing and Footwear Winner – Mountain Horse for the Illusion reflective jacket. A technical padded jacket featuring reflective threads integrated to fabric on the upper part, front and back with a detachable hood and water-repellent finish.
Saddlery and Tack Winner – Bliss of London for the Sportiva Dressage FLX saddle. A saddle featuring a fully interchangeable knee block, allowing existing blocks to be angled or changed to a completely different shape and style.
Safety and Security Winner – Charles Owen/Airowear for the MS1 Pro jockey skull. This new jockey skull introduces MIPS (multi-directional impact protection system) technology to the Charles Owen range of helmets, providing greater protection at speed.
MOUNTAIN HORSE – PRODUCT LAUNCH
Mountain Horse celebrated the launch of a new boot called the Arora, along with the new Autumn Winter 2019 range. Available in two colours; brown and black, the boots comes in three different styles; jodphur, zip and lace.
The Arora boot (pictured above) features the brand’s new 4-Layer Vertical Technology. A non-slip durable rubber outsole offers a multi-directional grip pattern and a water-dispersing heel tread to provide great grip in all weather conditions. The unique Z-shaped steel shank, has been designed for unparalleled stability in the stirrup and extreme comfort on the ground. A pressure absorbing insole establishes the base comfort to reduce fatigue and a new footbed, made from durable closed-cell memory foam, gives added depth in the heel to reduce impact by increasing cushioning…quite the boot!
HORSEWARE IRELAND – PRODUCT LAUNCH
Horseware Ireland not only announced a brand update, that will be rolled out over the following year, but they also showcased the latest in cutting-edge products launched for 2019, which include:
The Sports-Vibe ZX Baselayer: An equine therapeutic solution designed to deliver close contact and targeted treatment for your horse.
Amigo Bravo 12 Reflectech Plus: A turnout with reflective yarn to help keep horse and rider safe.
Amigo Three In One Evolution Vamoose: Now with revolutionary colour technology that acts as a natural insect repellent. Also a waterproof and breathable turnout infused with Vamoose.
Horseware Ireland Technical 3 in 1 Jacket: Designed for a substantially-sized horse with a generous neckline and cleverly placed darts for extra maneuverability and comfort.
Other items include the HWH20 ¾ trousers and the Hybrid Aqua X Pull up Breech.
These additions to the collection are much anticipated by consumers and continue the Horseware Ireland tradition of making life better for horse and rider since 1985.
The annual stand awards were hotly contested this year, with almost 300 companies from around the world on parade, all hopeful for an award for the best stand. To celebrate and reward the hard work and dedication that goes into delivering aesthetically pleasing commercial space, each one is automatically entered into the show’s Best Stand Awards.
The awards are broken into two categories; Best Large Stand and Best Small Stand.
Judging is carried out by a pair of independent judges. At BETA International 2019, these were Amanda Chadwick, of the Croner Group, and Kim Pengelly, of the show’s chosen charity, Hope Pastures.
BEST LARGE STAND Winner: Toggi Judges’ comments: “A beautiful stand that is open and inviting with small, intimate areas for meetings and discussions. We also liked the discreet sales areas for hats, body protectors and clothing – and the way that they made good use of height to display boots and hats. Staff were clearly branded in smart uniforms, pleasant and helpful.”
BEST SMALL STAND Winner: Harcour Judges’ comments: “This stylish stand has the feeling of a proper shop. Staff were extremely knowledgeable about the products and keen to provide information and deal with queries.”
The eagerly anticipated business awards were announced during the annual BETA International Gala Dinner on Monday evening. Awards were presented to companies and individuals judged to have made outstanding contributions to the trade.
Gala Dinner guests were treated to a champagne reception and three-course dinner before dancing the night away with a disco provided by Keratex. Fun followed in the BETA Party Photo Booth and a BETA raffle was successful in raising £1,144 for the Riding for the Disabled Association.
A small selection of this year’s winners are outlined below:
WEATHERBEETA GROUP RETAIL EMPLOYEE OF THE YEAR – Winner: Jennifer Mitchell from David Conchie Saddlery, Carnoustie, Angus
EQUINE CAREERS SALES REPRESENTATIVE OF THE YEAR – Winner: Anna Bing from Saddlery Brands International
BETA TRADE SUPPLIER OF THE YEAR – Winner: Shires Equestrian Products
BETA SPONSORED RIDER OF THE YEAR – This award acknowledges sponsored riders who make the greatest contribution to the trade and is presented to those who have participated fully in building a relationship with their sponsor to yield good results for both. Winner: David Britnell (pictured below).
EQUESTRIAN EVENT OF THE YEAR SUPPORTED BY HENSON FRANKLYN – Winner: Olympia Horse Show
STUBBS ENGLAND NUTRITIONAL HELPLINE OF THE YEAR – Winner: Allen & Page
BETA LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD – Winner: Mark Romain (pictured below).
This year’s BETA Lifetime Achievement Award winner, Mark Romain, was honoured for the huge contribution he has made to the saddlery industry. He has contributed to the training of hundreds of apprentices and more than 1,500 saddlery course candidates. He has also visited saddlery businesses all over England, providing technical advice and on-site recruitment, as well as monitoring and assessing training programmes.
SOCIETY OF MASTER SADDLERS’ COMPETITION
Always a popular draw for visitors to the trade fair, the apprentice competitions bring a lot of interest to the Saddlery Pavilion to see the range of leather work being made. The Worshipful Company of Saddlers kindly donated the prize money once again and their continuous support is much appreciated.
The apprentices and students taking part on Sunday made a High Ring Grakel Noseband which was completed in six hours.
Competitors who are training at the Saddlery Training Centre and who took part were Amy Baldwin of Saddler’s Den, Merseyside; Freya Weller of David Dyer Saddles, Kent; Samantha Wuczke of RB Equestrian, Buckinghamshire and Rebecca Simmons of Pegaso Saddlery and Leatherwork, Buckinghamshire.
The top award went to Rebecca Simmonds with Amy Baldwin claiming second place after judges, Master Saddlers Helen Reader and Catherine Baker had made their deliberations.
On the Monday, second year Capel Manor College students included: Emily Cain, Molly Grout, Zoe Hurst and Scarlette Branch who made a Plain Cavesson Noseband from the Level 2 Bridle Skills Assessment. The winning award went to Zoe Hurst, who was a last minute replacement, with Emily Cain taking the runner-up place.
They were followed on Tuesday by first year Capel Manor students who showcased their leatherworking talents by making a Bridle Headpiece. The students included Katherine Hinchliffe, Alexa Parlour, Charlotte Cheesman and Michelle Bogaerdt. After careful thought and study, the judges chose Michelle Bogaerdt’s entry as the winner with Charlotte Cheesman taking second place.