Shires Equestrian Products founder Malcolm Ainge has received a Lifetime Achievement award from the British Equestrian Trade Association.
Ainge was among several individuals and companies honoured at the BETA Business Awards at a gala dinner in Birmingham on Monday night.
He started Shires Equestrian from humble beginning, taking out a £200 loan to buy stock that he sold at cattle markets and racecourses. As the years went by, this tiny business grew to manufacture its own products, employ staff and move into large premises. Today, the business is a major player on the world stage, with a huge base in Leominster, Herefordshire, and its own factory in China, and distribution centres in Ireland and North America.
Ainge’s love of horse and all things equestrian is a life-long passion and something that strongly influenced his career path. He hunted until recently and, in addition to being master of the Clifton-on-Teme Hunt, he has also served as chairman and treasurer.
Shires Equestrian is now a trusted household brand, and it’s still a family business, too, employing Malcolm’s son Stuart, daughter Louise and nephew Marcus Cridland. In fact, Stuart and Marcus took over as joint managing directors at the start of 2017, with Malcolm handing over the reins to become chairman, a role that sees him still travelling to the Shires offices and visiting overseas customers.
His concern for the environment and the impact our industry has on it led to Malcolm’s involvement with the World Wildlife Fund. He backs the organisation’s Ganges leather project alongside retail giants such as Tesco, Next and John Lewis. Together, supporters of this crucial initiative seek to raise awareness among leather buyers around the world of the negative impact that the Indian tanning industry has on the River Ganges.
Shires Equestrian also won the BETA Trade Supplier of the Year award.
Leading eventer William Fox-Pitt was named the BETA Sponsored Professional Rider of the Year, nominated by Musto. The Amateur award went to Georgie Wood, who was nominated by Simple System Horse Feeds. Bramham International Horse Trials was named Equestrian Event of the Year.
A fundraising raffle on the night brought in £1568 for the Riding for the Disabled Association.