The arrival of this year's array of dazzling new products was celebrated in the Innovation Awards – leading B2B accolades – during BETA International 2019, at the NEC, Birmingham, on Sunday 20 January.
Sponsored by the show's media partner and leading industry title Equestrian Trade News magazine, the awards are designed to reward creativity, craftsmanship, technology and inspirational invention. Every exhibitor is invited to enter products in the competition, provided that they have not been introduced to the market during the 12 months preceding the show.
All products entered into the awards' eight categories are considered by a panel of independent judges – each carefully chosen for their skills and expertise in a specific field. This year, those with the challenging task of selecting the winners were British Eventing team vet Liz Brown, master saddler and saddle-fitting expert Kay Hastilow, Steve Hodgson, owner of retail store Nags Essentials, Kathryn Jaquet, managing director of retail business RB Equestrian, independent equine nutritionist Catherine Rudenko and international event rider James Sommerville.
“We have been bowled over by the quality of new products being launched at BETA International,” said show organiser Claire Thomas. “It’s extremely exciting to see the industry working so hard to generate all these fantastic new things, with a great deal of enthusiasm, time and money being invested in them. We were thrilled to see the winners collect their trophies and our congratulations go to all those who played a part in their success.”
The winners of the 2019 Innovation Awards are...
COUNTRY CLOTHING & FOOTWEAR
Company: Sioen UK
Product: Baleno Pembroke jacket
This jacket with soft, printed fabric in a traditional tweed style is light, stretchy, waterproof and breathable.
Judges’ comments: “We loved the magnetic pockets and tailored cuffs, and the waterproof tweed is eye-catching.”
Company: Aigle International UK
Product: Mujal vest
This quilted vest is designed in a lightweight and water-repellent fabric.
Judges’ comments: “We really liked the traditional look and comfort of this vest.”
Company: Grubs Boots
Product: Cyclone boot
The new boot from Grubs features an Australian, V-cut, three-piece, full-grain Iberian leather upper and oil and acid-resistant sole.
Judges’ comments: “We were particularly impressed with the boot’s sleek lines, combined with hard-wearing sole.”
FEED & SUPPLEMENTS
Product: Five Star Magic
Five Star Magic, which has helped owners, riders and horses to retain calmness, confidence and concentration, now has a new formula tested in trials.
Judges’ comments: “This is a well-researched and presented product, clearly labelled and with instructions that are easy to understand. We were impressed with the depth of research and development that has gone into the new formula.”
Company: Stride Innovations
Product: Steady wrist band
This training aid helps riders to maintain a low hand position, which can be set from a mobile phone, with high, medium or low sensitivity.
Judges’ comments: “Here is a genuine innovation suitable for riders of all levels and abilities, providing a benefit to performance.”
Company: Crafty Ponies
Product: Stableyard set
All the tack and equipment looks realistic, and works realistically, in this stableyard set, which comes with illustrated booklets to help children learn.
Judges’ comments: “The many accessories, all with educational information, make this an interactive product with a craft element.”
HORSECARE EQUIPMENT & [Horse] CLOTHING
Company: Equilibrium Products
Product: Therapy hind and hock magnetic chaps
These chaps, designed to be worn in the stable to support hock health, fit the contours of the horse’s hind legs closely to ensure comfort without restrictions, over-tightening or slipping.
Judges’ comments: “Cleverly designed and of excellent quality, the Vitaflex magnetic chaps fit beautifully to address the long-time issue of slippage and are commercially viable at a good retail price.”
Product: Silver bandage pads
The fabric of these bandage pads contains silver ions with antibacterial and antistatic properties for maximum hygiene and comfort.
Judges’ comments: “The silver technology makes these pads good for skin conditions and injuries.”
Company: Horseware Products
Product: Amigo Bravo 12 Reflectech Plus Med rug
This rug, with interwoven reflective yarn in the body and hood, increases a horse’s visibility in low light and night-time conditions.
Judges’ comments: “The innovative fabric is impressive and the product quality fantastic, with a good profit margin in a high-end market.”
Company: Product Global
Product: Mud Daddy portable washing brush
This 5-litre brush with built-in sprayer combines water and air pressure, with no need for mains electric or a battery.
Judges’ comments: “An innovative and versatile product with multiple uses, the brush can be taken everywhere and kept in a car.”
Company: The Golden Paste Company
A complete turmeric supplement for dogs and cats, TurmerEase is ethically sourced, has 100 per cent recyclable packaging, supports joint health, aids digestion and promotes coat, skin and general health and wellbeing.
Judges’ comments: “The attractive packaging features useful information on ingredients for a product with an appealing smell.”
RIDER CLOTHING & FOOTWEAR
Company: Mountain Horse
Product: Illusion reflective jacket
This technical padded jacket features reflective threads integrated to fabric on the upper part, front and back, and has a detachable hood and water-repellent finish.
Judges’ comments: “The Illusion is a smart, practical jacket with clever use of reflective technology.”
Company: Ariat Europe
Product: Devon Pro Nitro boot
The latest Devon Pro boot, featuring Nitro technology, boasts premium full-grain leather on the upper part, with a soft leather lining and cushioning around the top line and shorter zip than previously.
Judges’ comments: “This stylish, quality, high-end boot is backed up with sound technology.”
SADDLERY & TACK
Company: Bliss of London
Product: Sportiva Dressage FLX saddle
The saddle features a fully interchangeable knee block, allowing existing blocks to be angled or changed to a completely different shape and style
Judges’ comments: “We found this to be a really exciting idea, neat and well designed.”
Company: The Bombers International Trust
Product: Relaxed Performance Weymouth bit
This spring-loaded bit is designed to ensure a relaxed performance by the horse, softening the curb and poll pressures typically associated with a Weymouth bit.
Judges’ comments: “This is an innovative design we have not seen before.”
SAFETY & SECURITY
Company: Charles Owen/Airowear
Product: MS1 Pro jockey skull
This new skull introduces MIPS (multi-directional impact protection system) technology to the Charles Owen range of helmets, providing greater protection at speed.
Judges’ comments: “This is a genuine innovation in safety, lightweight, with good fit, shape and ventilation, and removable liner.”
Company: Finest Brands International
Product: Champion Revolution MIPS deluxe hat
The hat offers six areas of protection, using MIPS (multi-directional impact protection system) technology.
Judges’ comments: “We were very excited by the use of MIPS technology, as well as the great quality and labelling. This is a product that Champion and retailers can really shout about.”