Craftsmanship, design, technology and invention were put under the spotlight in the 2017 BETA International Innovation Awards, which were presented during this year's trade fair at the NEC, Birmingham, on Monday 23 January.
These highly regarded industry accolades are sponsored by Equestrian Trade News – official media partner of BETA International – and open to all exhibitors with products that have not appeared on the market more than 12 months before the show.
The judging panel was made up of industry experts FEI vet Lesley Barwise-Munro, retailer James Edwards, of Devon-based Acorn Saddlery, international event rider Piggy French, Dr Teresa Hollands a senior teaching fellow in veterinary nutrition at the University of Surrey, Millbry Hill retail director Serena Jones and horse riding safety practitioner and consultant Ken Law.
“We were bowled over by the large number of entries – and high quality of the products entered into each of the awards' eight categories,” said BETA International organiser Claire Thomas. “Creating an item that is truly innovative is certainly not easy, but the entries clearly reflected the impressive amount of work that has gone into delivering something that can be described as such. Congratulations to all those who won an award and to everyone who entered the competition. There are certainly some fantastic products out there.”
Companies that won a trophy are entitled to use the Innovation Awards winners’ logo for the winning product in their marketing over the next 12 months.
The 2017 Innovation Awards winners were...
COUNTRY CLOTHING & FOOTWEAR
Product: Women’s lightweight machine-washable Gore-Tex tweed jacket
This completely waterproof women’s jacket with hand-warmer pockets is made in tweed that can be machine-washed without it discolouring or becoming rough. The two-layer Gore-Tex liner provides protection from bad weather and allows perspiration to escape. The inner cuffs’ durable water-repellant coating prevents water running up the sleeves.
Judges’ comments: “The jacket, with a lovely trim and suede on the collar, has subtle feminine styling and is ideal for various outdoor pursuits.”
These boots, in a range of colours aimed at the equestrian and country markets, provide an ergonomic fit and superior comfort. They have a high degree of both visibility and safety, complying with standards for hi-viz and safety footwear.
Judges’ comments: “These boots are both functional and comfortable, with an impressive steel toe and hi-viz combination that is very innovative. The colours are very striking for the equestrian market.”
FEED & SUPPLEMENTS
The only supplement with a patented use of ficus glomerata to support the medical treatment of equine gastric ulcers, GastroKind has seven years of clinical trials behind it. It is proven to assist the reduction of Grade 1-3 gastric ulcers and enhance recovery time when used alongside prescription drugs and medication.
Judges’ comments: “This product has met NOPS and UFAS standards and its ingredients list is transparent. It was supplied to the judges with clinical examples of it being successfully used by horse owners under the direction of vets, alongside medical treatment.”
Company: Stable & Barn
Product: Tack trolley
This British-manufactured trolley, in a modular design, is intended to carry horse and rider equipment up to 40kg across all terrains. It has pneumatic tyres and is robust enough never to fall over – the weight is evenly distributed across the base tray.
Judges’ comments: “While being robust, the trolley is lightweight and we were impressed by its multi-functionality, making it of use in eventing and showing, on yards and in veterinary practices.”
Company: Keratex HoofcareProduct: Coconut oil hoof balm
This hoof balm is a high-quality blend of natural coconut oil, beeswax and tea tree oil. It is formulated to make coconut oil last on hooves, with the beeswax glossing them. The tea tree oil gives it an anti-bacterial quality.
Judges’ comments: “This is an innovative use of a popular product, coconut oil. It is available in two colours, at a reasonable price. Perhaps providing a small brush for application would be a good idea.”
HORSECARE EQUIPMENT & [horse] CLOTHING
Company: Harry Hall
Product: Protechmasta infrared rug
The Protechmasta therapy rug has infrared technology, featuring ceramic fabric to reflect infrared rays back into the body to increase blood flow gently, detoxify and promote healing for the horse. Super-wicking air mesh material makes this lightweight rug ideal for travelling as well as for use after exercise.
Judges’ comments: “This product will appeal to both professionals and amateurs, and help a variety of horses with different strengths and weaknesses.”
This egonomically designed ice wrap, which is easy to apply, moulds to the horse’s lower leg to cover all major tendons and ligaments. Reversible so that it can fit either the left or right leg, it maintains temperatures in the medically recommended range of 10 to 15°C for at least 20 minutes.
Judges’ comments: “A quality product at a good price, this is marketed well, with plenty of information and clear instructions. The storage bag is useful, too.”
Company: Doggy Bag
Product: Doggy towel
This towel, which is super-absorbent, dries and cleans wet and muddy dogs. The microfibre material means that dog owners will have less hair-drying and laundry, and cotton towels are replaced with an environmentally friendly, economical and practical solution.
Judges’ comments: “This is a really useful product for all dog owners, at a good price. It is easy to carry, store and keep in the car.”
Product: Thermal dog jacket
This self-heating jacket, supplying warmth to the dog’s muscles on brisk morning walks, has a soft shell exterior to give excellent protection against wind and rain while retaining its breathable qualities.
Judges’ comments: “A nice dog coat that is both comfortable and looks very smart.”
RIDER CLOTHING & FOOTWEAR
Company: Kask Spa
Product: Kask helmet with merino wool padding
This helmet’s internal padding provides comfort and the merino wool natural fibre in contact with the skin maintains body temperature, ensures high breathability and dries quickly. The efficient temperature regulation enables riders to sweat less and smell better.
Judges’ comments: “The helmet is good-quality and very stylish, and the merino wool makes it a comfortable fit. The padded lining can be easily removed for washing.”
Company: Ariat Europe
Product: Vortex riding boot
This tall boot is lightweight with elegant, modern detailing. Independent testing has shown the innovative Shock Shield technology to provide 30 per cent more shock absorption in the heal, while the TPE – thermoplastic elastomers – midsole was 33 per cent more shock asorbent in the forefoot.
Judges’ comments: “There is plenty of research and technology behind this stylish, good-quality product.”
SADDLERY & TACK
Company: Neue Schule
Product: Turtle Tilt Weymouth bit
The result of research into the action of bits and how double bridles work, the Turtle Tilt Weymouth sits further forward on the tongue, creating a greater degree of separation between curb and bridoon.
Judges’ comments: “We were impressed by the extensive research that has gone into this bit, which gives variation and choices to riders.”
Product: Salamo detachable flash comfort bridle
This tanned leather bridle with a discreet detachable flash strap eliminates the bulky, untidy look usually associated with detachable nosebands.
Judges’ comments: “The bridle provides very good value for money, appears comfortable and will look smart in competition.”
SAFETY & SECURITY
Company: Harry Hall
Product: Masta Avante hi-viz turnout rugv
This rug is made from fully waterproof, breathable 600-denier ripstop fabric and 200g of filling. It has 360°C reflectivity, using reflective piping and large chevron reflective prints combined with high-visibility fabric.
Judges’ comments: “This good-quality, well-fitting rug offers high levels of visibility and safety, especially if having to use roads when moving to a field for turnout.”
Product: HackCAM UGlow camera vest
The camera vest is a high-quality padded garment with detachable shoulder pads, changeable wording on the back and glow-in-the-dark tape. It is a good alternative to helmet-mounted cameras.
Judges’ comments: “All the components of the camera vest are good ideas that have been brought together in one product.”