British equestrian traders mounted a successful trade mission to the US during the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event (23-26 April).

Nine companies, offering products as varied as hay steamers, riding holidays, boots and bridles, exhibited in a British Pavilion during the international event and report good interest in their wares.

Norfolk-based footwear specialist Tuffa was delighted to discover a buoyant market for sheepskin lined boots in Kentucky – even in temperatures of up to 90 degrees.

“It was very useful to be part of the British group, it gave us instant identity and was like being part of a family,” said Richard Girling of Tuffa.

“We made a lot of contacts and the Americans liked our prices. This is a good time to be exporting.”

American shoppers also warmed to the prospect of a riding holiday, taking in the Lake District scenery from the enviable vantage point of a Clydesdale horse.

“We had serious interest for next year and even the year after that,” said Andrew Butcher of Cumbrian Heavy Horses. “Lots of visitors hadn’t considered holidays on heavy horses, but were really excited by the idea.”

The trip was organised by the British Equestrian Traders Association with some funding from UK Trade & Investment (UKTI).

Claire Williams, executive director of BETA, said: “Rolex visitors comprise leisure and business-orientated horse people, many of whom are on the look out for new ideas.

“British equestrian goods and services are renowned in the US for high quality and innovation – so the British Pavilion was very busy.”

Other companies exhibiting in the British Pavilion were Barnsby Saddlery, Frank Baines Saddlery, Black Country Saddlery, Happy Horse Products, Propress Equine, Alexander James of Pendlebury and KC Sports.

BETA has also secured UKTI funding for export missions to the Spruce Meadows Masters, Canada (9-13 September) and the World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Kentucky in 2010.

For more information, including confidential export advice, contact BETA on 01937 587062 email info@beta-uk.org or visit www.beta-uk.org