Saddlery retailers, entrepreneurs and a leading British rider were among the recipients at the British Equestrian Trade Association’s (BETA) Business Awards held in Birmingham.

The awards, which were held during the annual BETA International trade exhibition (18-20 February), are designed to recognise significant contributions to the equestrian industry.

BETA executive director Claire Williams said: “The awards are integral to BETA’s mission to promote professionalism across our industry.”

With nine categories and most winners voted for by members of the public, then judged via incognito calls and visits, Ms Williams said she had been encouraged by the response from riders and horse owners keen to register their vote.

“This year saw a record number of nominations,” she said.

Hundreds of nominations were made for the South East Essex Insurance Brokers (SEIB) Retailer of the Year category, which was divided into large retailer, small retailer and internet/mail order company for the first time this year.

Tower Farm Saddlers, which was established in 1970, scooped the prize for large retailer, with smaller concern Equimix being praised for its “helpful and friendly attitude”. Kent-based Frogpool Manor took the internet award.

Blair Castle Horse Trials was named Joules Equestrian Event of the Year by exhibitors, while Tim Stockdale took the TSM Rider Award for achieving a high level of success both in the saddle and in forging good links with sponsors.

John Harris, of Tim’s main sponsor Fresh Direct, said: “Tim is a fabulous ambassador and his presence on continental television has been superb for brand awareness.”

The BETA Lifetime Achievement Award went to SEIB founder Barry Fehler, with Rita Griggs, of Leicestershire-based retailer The Clothes Horse, named Harry Hall Retail Employee of the Year.

TopSpec Equine, praised for offering outstanding nutritional advice to consumers, traders and retails, was honoured with the Rhino Flexi Tub Feed Helpline of the Year award. Sales duo Diane Evans and Roger Donallon, Dodson & Horrell and Equilibrium Products took the remaining awards.

BETA International also hosted the 2007 BETA International Innovation Awards, which were judged by Paul Wahl, editor of the American equestrian trade journal Tack ‘n’ Togs, and Clare MacLeod, a leading independent nutritionist.

2007 BETA International Innovation Award winners

  • Saddlery and tack: HEXA Sports Bag from HEXA.
  • Rider Clothing: Sponsorship concept clothing range from LOS Clothing (Highly commended: Langton Activ-Energy ESP footwear from Joules)
  • Feed and supplements: Hay Steamer from Arthur Carter Urad
  • Horsecare products and equipment: Therapy Magnetic Back Pad from Equilibrium Products (Highly commended: EZ Tippa Wheelbarrow from the Real Barrow Company)
  • Safety and security: StudStasha from SupaStuds (Highly commended: Ultimate Tacksafe from Obsessions 2000)
  • Other: Ragtime from Nufarm (Highly commended: Gatetrix Gate Contact from Gatetrix)

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