Infra-red rugs and washable tweed — winners of the 2017 BETA innovation awards revealed

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  • A high-vis turnout rug, a washable tweed jacket and a supplement for gastric ulcers were among the winners of the 2017 BETA International innovation awards.

    The judges of the products, which were exhibited at the British Equestrian Trade Association event at the NEC Birmingham (21-24 January) said they were “bowled over”, both by the number and the quality of the award entries.

    Harry Hall scooped the horse care equipment and clothing category, with its Protechmasta infra-red rug, and the safety and security award for a high-vis turnout rug.

    Rachel Bowles, of Harry Hall, told H&H the difference between the Protechmasta and other therapy rugs is that the ceramic is within the fibre of the rug, rather than in a layer on top, which means it will not wear off with washing.

    “It also gives more coverage, which helps the infra-red do all that great stuff like breaking down lactic acid,” she said. “The rug is undergoing clinical trials but early indications are that the horses get huge benefits.”

    The judges said the rug would “appeal to professionals and amateurs, and help a variety of horses”.

    Ms Bowles said Harry Hall is “absolutely over the moon” to have won both awards, adding that the high-vis turnout rug would benefit owners whose horses have to be led across or along roads en route to and from their fields.

    Stable & Barn director Charlotte Boyes was delighted to win the general category for her tack trolley, which impressed judges for its “multi-functionality”.

    She told H&H: “I didn’t expect to win. Now there’s lots of hard work, I’m not going to sit back and celebrate!”

    The feed and supplement award went to GastroKind, which was supplied to judges with “clinical examples of it being successfully used by horse owners”. A spokesman for maker Science Supplements said: “Our ethos is to continually produce the best products based on the most recent research and clinical evidence. To win this award for a second time is a very proud moment and a first for any supplement company.”

    Musto’s machine-washable Gore-Tex shooting jacket for ladies won the country clothing award, as judges said it is “ideal for various outdoor pursuits”.

    A Musto spokesman explained the Gore-Tex is under the wool layer, which makes it waterproof. The tweed has also been treated differently to the norm, which means it can be machine washed without damaging the fabric.

    “We’re ecstatic,” she added. “We’ve come back to BETA after seven years and to make an impact has boosted our confidence and shows Musto is back and better than ever.”

    Doggy Bag won the pet products section for its “doggy towel”, which judges said is “a really useful product for all dog owners”, and Italian company Kask was “very proud” to win the rider clothing and footwear category for its merino wool-lined helmet.

    Neue Schule took the saddlery and tack award for its turtle tilt Weymouth.

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    “We’re absolutely thrilled,” said Neue Schule founder Heather Hyde, who explained the “turtle top” is the company’s mouthpiece designed to be more comfortable for horses when a rein contact is taken.

    The turtle tilt Weymouth has a larger weight-bearing surface, so there is less pressure on the horse’s tongue, and there is greater separation between it and the bradoon, so it is easier to differentiate between the bits, and less chance of the horse’s tongue being caught between them.

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