New saddle tree wins British innovation award

Joey from War Horse wowed the crowds at BETA International, which finished on Tuesday.
Joey from War Horse wowed the crowds at BETA International, which finished on Tuesday.

A heated jacket for riders and a saddle with a new tree design are among the winners of innovation awards at BETA International 2014.

The expo at the NEC, Birmingham, from February 16 to 18 has been declared a big success by organisers, with exhibitors from around the world launching new lines and showcasing products to an audience of 5026 over the three days.

BETA-International-StandLS Sales new Stride Free Exercise Saddle took out the Saddlery and Tack innovation award. The saddle is built on a revolutionary tree that does not cut down into the shoulder and impede its action, thus giving the horse more freedom for movement.

Moving and dissipating the pressure of the tree to a flat plate, rather than a pointed iron tree that interferes with the shoulder, allows greater freedom for movement, and is also muscle stress-free. Designed for racehorses, Stride Free is also available in jumping and dressage saddles.

The judges comments on the saddle were: “A very well-designed exercise saddle providing enhanced freedom of movement for racehorses. The saddle is not only uniquely functional, but also excellent quality and an attractive design.”

The Ladies’ Heated Jacket by Mobile Warming won the Rider CLothing innovation award. The  waterproof jacket incorporates heating panels that are fully controllable. With three heat settings and various timer options, the jacket is powered by a lightweight battery and is machine-washable. The judges said: “Stylish and lightweight, the jacket provides warmth at the push of a button. A great product at an affordable price. Time spent outdoors in cold weather will be a lot more enjoyable.”

Sponsored by Equestrian Trade News, the show’s official magazine, the judging panel for the awards was made up of vet Beth Pritchard, show rider and producer Katie Jerram, retailer Simon Wetherald and medical doctor and safety consultant Michael Whitlock, who had the tough task of selecting worthy winners in each of the awards’ nine categories.

Several other new products were also showcased in the Shires Equestrian New Product Gallery, which had a record number of entries.

There were also live-action product displays in the Charles Owen Learning Centre @ The Horse Demonstration & Seminar Arena, with teach-ins and demonstrations including World Horse Welfare, which gave a heart-warming presentation on its work, introducing some of the horses that have been successfully rehomed and rehabilitated by the charity; sponsor Charles Owen’s managing director, Roy Burek, who hosted an informative session on the safety of riding hats; and main sponsor Neue Schule looking at the concept of bitting and bits with the help of side-saddle rider Sophie Webster.

For entertainment, BETA International organisers wowed the crowds with a return visit from War Horse. This hit West End show brought a large helping of equine glitz and glamour to the NEC with its leading puppet Joey – star of the enchanting tale by Michael Morpurgo – which took part in two daily performances, as well as leaving the Horse Demonstration Arena to embark on an impromptu tour of the halls.

All exhibition stands are automatically entered into the Best Stand Awards, which recognise and reward well-planned and effective stands – Large (32 sq m and over) and Small (under 32 sq m).

Judging was carried out by Tony Morley, of The Wine & Hamper Company, which has sponsored the competition for the past 12 years, and Vicki Campling, of BETA International 2014’s chosen charity, World Horse Welfare. Winner of the Best Large Stand was Charles Owen & Co, with the Best Small Stand accolade going to Racesafe.

Paul Davis, of Leonard Coombe Saddlery, and Gail Johnson, of Horse Bit Hire, were named Neue Schule Expert Bitting Advisers of the Year – in a new national competition organised by the show’s main sponsor to reward retailers and bitting clinicians offering sound, knowledgeable advice to their customers.

Craftsmanship and attention to detail were key elements in a series of bridle-making competitions run by the Society of Master Saddlers throughout BETA International. Each day saw trainees and apprentices hard at work, creating their entries ready for submission.


2014 Innovation Awards winners: 


Winner: Trilanco – Science Supplements Gut Balancer

Science Supplements Gut Balancer contains specially protected live yeast to ensure that a significant amount reaches the hindgut to benefit its function. In a trial involving 30 horses with gastro intestinal problems, Gut Balancer showed improvements in gut health in just seven days. Other ingredients stimulate the growth of good bacteria and bind mycotoxins produced by fungal contamination of feed.


Highly commended: L S Sales (Farnam) – Simplify Fly Inhibitor Supplement

Simplifly Fly Inhibitor feed supplement kills fly eggs and larvae, breaking the life cycle so that adult flies do not form. Working through the gut only, and not absorbed in to the blood stream, the supplement is clinically proven 97-100% effective and is highly palatable in feed. It also kills any eggs laid in manure piles left by horses that have been fed Simplifly.

Judges’ comments: “An innovative supplement formulated to break the fly life cycle. This is a clever product which has the potential to revolutionise pest control.”




Winner: Carr & Day & Martin – Equimist 360

Equimist 360 is an innovative new technology that is set to revolutionise product application in the horsecare world. The stylish and highly functional dispenser can spray a full 360 degrees, allowing users to apply product even when the dispenser is upside down, perfect for those hard-to-reach places. It also delivers a wider spray pattern of fine droplets for even application and the ergonomically designed trigger head provides prolonged spray action and minimal sound.

Judges’ comments: “This unique spray action quietly delivers the product with minimum effort from the user. An even application is easily achieved and horses that are sensitive to noise will not be upset. A brilliant design!”


Highly commended: Equomed Lumark – Ion Diodes Magnetic Therapy

This product combines ion diodes with magnets for a more effective therapy than just magnets used alone. Popular with human athletes for more than three years, Ion Diodes Magnetic Therapy is now yielding positive results for horses by increasing circulation and reducing swelling, and for rehabilitation. It is also ideal for prevention when used before and after training and competition. A tendon boot, hock boot, knee boot or Velcro straps allow a variety of usage options.

Judges’ comments: “Utilising the benefits of memory foam, these magnetic and ion therapy boots conform perfectly to any horse’s legs for a comfortable and effective fit. The combo insert pads can be set in any position, for customised usage. Nothing else on the market allows such flexibility.”



Winner: Horseware Ireland – Sportz-Vibe massage rug for dogs

Sportz-Vibe is a massage therapy rug designed for dogs. The lightweight, portable massage blanket helps boost circulation in dogs of all ages and sizes. Ideal for dogs suffering from hip or back conditions and for high-performance dogs as a warm-up or recovery, to help prevent soreness and stiffness. Sportz-Vibe is available in a comprehensive range of seven sizes to cater for all breeds of dog.   

Highly commended

Company: Pet Rebellion – Boot Mate

This boot cover is the perfect solution for keeping car boots protected from muddy paws. It acts as a protective barrier, with super-soft luxury pile, which is absorbent, and comfortable for dogs to sit or stand on. Designed to fit most standard car boots, the Boot Mate is fully machine-washable.”



Highly commended: EquiSox & JockeySox – JockeySox

JockeySox are medical-grade graduated compression socks designed to enhance performance and recovery for competitive riders. They support the calf muscle and optimise muscle alignment and efficiency. This improves calf muscle stamina and delays muscle exhaustion. The calf muscle acts as a pump to encourage blood and lymph back up towards the heart. The actions of this muscle are compromised when encased in a long, leather, fitted riding boot. JockeySox combat this problem.



Highly commended: Ardall – Pro-Fit Studs & Pro-Fit Reamer Bit

Pro-Fit Studs are revolutionary “threadless” studs that are easy to fit with the Pro-Fit Hammer, which taps the studs in. Studs are then removed with a simple twist of the Pro-Fit Spanner. Traditional studs have a threaded stem to which studs are screwed in – this is time-consuming and the threads are easy damaged. With Pro-Fit, eight studs can be fitted to one horse in less than two minutes. The stud holes are created in the shoe using the Pro-Fit Reamer Bit.

Judges’ comments: “A unique and innovative concept, we look forward to seeing this product performing in the industry. It has huge potential to simplify stud fitting.”



Winner: Airowear – Hickstead Body Protector

The Hickstead Body Protector was designed to be worn over a showjumper’s jacket, offering discreet protection without compromising performance or style. This BETA Level 3 body protector (the highest level of safety) uses UltraFlexible foam for comfort while Coolmax lining and darts, on the front and back, encourage airflow in association with the perforated foam. Also featuring advanced chest and waist adjustments, this innovative design is all set to encourage showjumpers to wear body protectors while competing.

Judges’ comments: “A fantastic design that is virtually invisible over a jacket, the Hickstead Body Protector moulds to the body for a comfortable and very safe fit.”


Highly commended: Charles Owen & Co (Bow) – Charles Owen V8

The Triple Standard V8 features a detachable, machine-washable helmet liner, a six-point patented GRpx harness and the Free Fit System for the coolest, most stable and versatile helmet in the Charles Owen range. The new harness allows greater contact at the rear of the head while removing any tension in the chinstrap that can bring it around the throat. This allows locking the helmet on to the occipital bones for a greater range of head shapes and creating the ultimate in security. 



Winner: Olang Footwear – Montreal OC Bre

The Montreal OC Bre provides comfort, style and, most importantly, protection for icy weather and harsh winters. The hydro oiled gum leather outer and the new Breathe Tex membrane have been combined to guarantee dry feet, ready for action. The soft virgin wool lining keeps feet warm as the fibres trap air and retain heat. The boots are finished with a high grip sole unit that incorporates the OC anti-slip system. The ultimate stylish and functional country winter boot.


Highly commended: Le Jabot & Stock Company – Le Jabot Cross Over Wrap

Le Jabot Cross Over Wrap is made from 100 per cent British tweed and uses a hide or vintage fur retaining strap. Stylish, yet practical and very easy to wear, the wrap is handmade from start to finish. The design incorporates all aspects of the company’s heritage and combines it with simplicity and style while remaining contemporary.



Winner: Brogini – Simona Boot

The beautiful Simona children’s long riding boot features crystal detailing, silver piping and a patent leather top to make sure the wearer stands out from the crowd. These eye-catching and practical boots have a 2cm stretch-elasticated rear panel that allows children valuable growing room. Aimed at girls aged five to 15.


Highly commended: Brogini – Caldo Boot

This sturdy, water-repellent boot is designed for the harshest weather conditions. Tested in temperatures as low as -25°C, the Caldo boot is fully lined with thick faux fur, providing comfort as well as excellent insulation from the weather. The foot of the boot is lined with a fully waterproof membrane and the tough nylon calf is wipe-clean and water-repellent, providing protection from the elements.



Winner: Horse & Country TV – Horse & Country TV Everywhere

Until recently, only Sky subscribers could watch Horse & Country TV. Now, with the channel’s H&C TV Everywhere service, anyone can watch the live channel online on their laptop, smart phones and tablets through downloadable apps. Using the latest broadcast and online technologies, H&C TV Everywhere provides an online service that has never previously been available in the UK. It also offers a seven-day catch-up on all programmes.

Highly commended: Life Data Labs – Farrier’s Finish Hoof Protectant

Farrier’s Finish Hoof Protectant is a topical hoof solution that combats “hoof eating” bacterial and fungal invasions, which cause white line disease, thrush and poor hoof quality. Farrier’s Finish also maintains correct hoof capsule moisture balance in excessively wet or dry conditions. Easy to apply, disinfect and protect in one simple step.


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