BETA rewards the industrys finest!

Industry members gathered to celebrate and congratulate the winners of the 2017 BETA Business Awards during the British Equestrian Trade Association's annual Gala Dinner, at the National Motorcycle Museum, near Birmingham, on Sunday 22 January. The coveted accolades were presented to the companies and individuals judged to have made exceptional contributions to the trade.

The evening kicked off in style with a drinks reception before dinner, followed by dancing until the small hours with a disco provided by Keratex and high jinks in a party photo booth. A fundraising raffle raised £1,550 for the Riding for the Disabled Association and HorseBack UK. Prizes included a Fortnum & Mason hamper from Bliss of London, champagne from BETA, a signed copy of Clare Balding's first children’s book, The Racehorse Who Wouldn't Gallop, from RDA, two tickets to a West End show of choice from BETA International  and a pair of Westfield wellingtons from Caldene.

“The BETA Business Awards have continued to grow year on year and, as usual, our judges had the difficult task of narrowing down the finalists,” said BETA executive director Claire Williams. “However, they rose to the challenge and I am delighted that we have some really deserving winners. A huge well done to everyone who took part.”

The winners of the 2017 BETA Business Awards are... 

Winner: Palfrey Turner, Cornwall Farmers, Helston
Runner-up: Rebecca Kirk, Tower Farm Saddlers, Rugby, Warwickshire
This award recognises the employee showing initiative, excellence in customer service, product knowledge and commitment to professional retailing. It is intended for shop-floor employees only, not managers, and nominations were invited from employers or sales representatives. The finalists were interviewed to determine the winner, who received a cash prize of £200, with BETA training vouchers going to his employer.
One of the judges said of the winner: “From first contact, you immediately know that you are in safe hands – his experience and knowledge must be a great asset to the rest of the Cornwall Farmers team.”

Winner: Emily Brown, Allen & Page
Runner-up: Michael Darley, Darley Equestrian
This award rewards excellence in product and customer knowledge. Retailer nominations were followed by votes and an interview with the finalists.
A judge said of her interview with Emily: “She was light, bright, bubbly, focused, dedicated and a joy to talk to.”

Winner: NAF
This award is presented to the company that has achieved sustained increases in export activity over a period of three years. It was difficult to separate the top two finalists but, in the end, NAF clinched the title with its high-calibre submission and striking story in terms of growth rate in export markets.

Winner: Bramham International Horse Trials
This accolade acknowledges the event at which tradestands are present that best works with its exhibitors and takes their needs and requirements fully into consideration, and views its tradestands as an integral part of its success.
A visitor nomination said that the event provides the perfect day out for enjoying equestrian competition and shopping in a beautiful setting. Trade nominations were unanimous in their view that the event's organising team knows exactly how to look after their exhibitors and provide a venue that can yield real profit.

This award rewards the company that best embraces social media and uses it to powerful effect throughout its marketing strategy. It is divided into two categories – those who spend 15 hours or less a week on social media activity and those who spend more than 15 hours on it. The judging panel considered application presentation, innovation and use, originality of content, compelling nature of presence, interaction with audience and accuracy and engagement of information.

15 Hours and Under
Winner: Westgate Labs
Judges felt that all the company's social media platforms were clearly branded, with an extremely professional appearance. It was also successful in creating a voice that was warm and friendly, which made visitors to the sites feel part of an active and engaging community.

Over 15 Hours
Winner: Horzehoods
Judges felt that the company had an impressive following, with varied and interesting content. It clearly engages with its customers first-hand and has successfully embraced social media to help grow its business worldwide.

This award, for tack shops and feed merchants, is divided into four categories – Large, Medium and Small Tack Shops and Mail Order/Internet Retailer. The award received nominations from more than 1,000 individuals for over 150 companies. The final decision is based on the number of nominations, mystery shop visits and incognito calls.

Large Tack Shop
Winner: Aivly Country Store, Ringwood, Hampshire
Runner-up: RB Equestrian, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire
A nominator said that staff were always friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. A judge commented: “Lovely shop with good sales assistants who acknowledged us straight away despite being busy.”

Medium Tack Shop
Winner: Highfield Equestrian, Milford, Staffordshire
Runner-up: Tower Farm Saddlers , Earls Barton, Northamptonshire
The winner’s “outstanding level of service and expertise” was noted by a nominator. Judges said: “They offered an impressive level of customer service.”

Small Tack Shop
Winner: Carlton's Equine , Whitley Bay, Northumberland
Runner-up: Eskdale Saddlers, Carlisle, Cumbria
One of the nominators described the winner as “a fantastic shop with a great range of stock – staff are always helpful and friendly”. A judge said: “A delightful small shop with attention to service.”

Mail Order/Internet Retailer
Winner: The Saddlery Shop
Runner-up: Urban Horse
“They have a really clear, easy-to-use website and fantastic customer service,” said one nominator. Judges said: “We liked the clear and well-structured website with excellent search functions and easy order and returns processing.”

Winner: Allen & Page
Runner-up: Science Supplements
This accolade goes to the company that offers exemplary service in nutritional advice to customers, both trade and retail. Customer nominations – a record number this year – were followed by incognito telephone calls. To celebrate the launch of the Haygain Forager in the UK during BETA International, the winner was presented with one as an additional prize.
Judges said the winner was “extremely helpful and very thorough when answering questions and demonstrated brilliant follow-up, as they had received a large packet of information just a few days ago”.

Winner: Shires Equestrian Products
This award goes to the manufacturer, wholesaler or distributor judged to offer the best in delivery, customer service, product knowledge and awareness of retailers’ requirements. Nominations from both retailers and suppliers themselves were accepted. Judging of shortlisted companies was followed by a retail members’ vote. One nominator commented of the winner: “We wish all our suppliers were like Shires!”. Judges said: “It was a closely fought battle but, in the end, Shires pipped others to the post for its overall friendliness and customer service.”

This award acknowledges sponsored riders who make the greatest contribution to the trade and is presented to those who have participated fully in building a relationship with their sponsor to yield good results for both.

Winner: Nick Skelton
Nominator Charles Owen said: “Nick is one of the most well-respected and loved equestrians in the world. He has been at the top of the sport for many years, representing Britain, and his passion and commitment give us the best return for our sponsorship.”

LORINERY DISPLAY COMPETITION sponsored by The Worshipful Company of Loriners
This competition was introduced to encourage good in-store lorinery displays to help grow sales and increase expertise and knowledge.
Winner: Aivly Country Store, Ringwood, Hampshire
The judges said: “It was clear that a great deal of care had been taken to create a logical and workmanlike display that enables both customers and staff to access and service the extensive range. Good lighting enhanced the appearance of the horse bits and there was a plentiful supply of supporting product information.”

Winner: Chris Gordon
With a passion for horses and all things equestrian, Chris Gordon evented until recently and has been a keen supporter on and off the hunting field his entire life. He has a PhD in applied science and, after jobs in research and pharmaceutical sales, took a position at Dodson & Horrell in 1988, working his way up to become technical director.

Chris has represented Dodson & Horrell on BETA committees since 1999 and was chairman of BETA from 2006 to 2008. He became chair of the feed committee in 2002 and still holds that position today. During this time, BETA has become a respected source of feed-related expertise and a real force in lobbying with government agencies.

He led the working group responsible for the development of the successful BETA NOPS Code and chaired the working group that set up the latest BETA feed assurance scheme, for products suitable for equines prone to EGUS – equine gastric ulcer syndrome.