This should have been posted days ago… but my laptop snuck down to 0% charge (while plugged in) while I wasn’t looking and proceeded to commit hara-kiri, so, my apologies. After a lot of swearing, turning it off and on again, and Googling how on earth to reset the clock from 1.1.2001 (wish I could turn back time that easily!), fiddling with the charger so it would work again, and persuading the chuffing thing that the internet does exist and honestly is safe to go near (website licences don’t go back to 2001, so it resolutely refused to go online!), it is now up and running again, and I managed to get this finished, so here goes.
I was lucky enough to have a second day at BETA, but it passed in an absolute whirl so I didn’t get to see the whole thing or see half of the stands and products I intended to, for which I can only apologise – it was so big this year. I even missed Deborah Meaden (who was there doing a Q and A session on successful business practices), who I’d have loved to have seen. Although, the temptation to kidnap her and try to force her turn me into a business whizzkid might have been too much, so she had a lucky escape. I also missed the fashion show, but as I gather it was getting a bit ’50 Shades of Grey’ ish, with a guy whipping things on the set, that might have been a lucky escape too!
I don’t think there’s much point going on about the stuff we have all seen before, so I’m devoting this to things I’d never seen or heard about before, or new versions of proven products, as I think that is what BETA is really about.
This is something new and very snazzy – really bright hoof-paints, but in a water-soluble format, with added Keratin, so they condition the hoof, from Equinail. No nasty solvents or a nightmare getting this stuff off, it will just wash off with water. There’s a huge range of colours, enough to do any national flag, or girly colours, whatever people want. If I’m ever lucky enough to represent my country abroad again, I am going to have perfected a snazzy version of my flag! The black is of course a great, rich colour for traditionalists, and for the dressage phase. They don’t have a U.K. stockist at the moment but the products can be ordered direct from their website. I wonder which event rider has a really patient and artistic groom and is going to be the first to go for the patriotic look?!
Also on the Hoof front, I had a good look at the Ungula Naturalis range, and was lucky enough to secure some samples to try, after saying that my young horse’s seedy toe is proving a nightmare to eradicate. All of their ingredients are natural, and apparently their Regenerating Balm will make the horn grow at 4x the normal rate, which will be fantastic if it works! First application was this morning after the farrier had been, and I will keep everyone posted. The ‘SOS Frogs’ liquid is very strong and I am applying that to the seedy toe crack and excavated V part that my farrier exposed on the last trim. I have everything crossed that it will work.
Horseware had a huge and very popular stand showcasing their absolutely enormous range of rugs, and their less well-known clothing and accessories lines. I’ve had Horseware rugs from the start, in fact I still have one of their classic green-with-red binding turnout rugs somewhere. If you do too, send in a picture of it in action – they want to see their stuff still going strong! They have various things planned this year, including giveaways and treasure hunts, to celebrate their 30 year anniversary, so it’s worth keeping an eye out.
Their Hypocare spray is now a standard go-to option for me and most of my friends if there’s a cut or abrasion on a horse, dog or person. They have expanded the range to cover different applications: there are different strengths suitable for treating Infections (fungal, bacterial, viral), Cuts and Wounds, and a Mud Fever option (does exactly what it says on the can). This is a yard essential, the speed of healing with it is seriously impressive. I have a sweet-itchy mare and will be using it on her mane and tail, having been told of that new use for it. It’s pretty much Miracle Spray in my opinion.
Horseware Rambo’s Ionic range has been expanded too, with various products for humans (wrist, ankle, knee, elbow, arm supports, + socks). Ionic means it contains a printed layer of powdered tourmaline crystals, which are negatively charged, and apparently help to improve circulation, therefore clearing lactic acid, toxins, etc. The leg wraps look like a good design too, helping to avoid fluid build-up. I managed to wangle a knee support and have worn it for two days straight, in the hope that it will magically reduce my chronically swollen right knee (which never went back to normal after my last Op on it a few years ago). So far so good… since I was even contemplating begging some poor surgeon to do lipo on it, i’ll be over the moon if this works!
The Ionic rugs come in three options: a fleece, liner, and a stable rug, and they look like lovely quality. The leg wraps (shown) are a great way to keep legs warm and increase circulation, with no danger of doing damage as an over-tight bandage can.
The SportzVibe rug and boots are still going strong, and there is a new ‘wireless’ version of the rug coming out in the autumn, but having had the Pros and Cons of both types explained to me, I have decided that I would prefer the original option, and I’ll be doing a Tried and Tested on one soon, so watch this space for a full report. I use the boots and am always really impressed by how well designed they are.
This QuickDry rug, which feels a bit like heavyweight towelling on the outside, and apparently dries a horse in 15 minutes, really caught my eye. They’re not due out till the autumn and I bet I’m not the only one thinking “I need one of those NOW”!
In the background of the same photo you can see a silver exercise rug. This is called the Rambo Night Rider, and it is designed, using glass bead technology, to illuminate if any light touches it, rather than to reflect light. It has a waterproof membrane and is therefore breathable. It will give 360 degree visibility to horse and rider while allowing the horse to stay totally dry while being worked – great idea. I wonder whether this material could be used in turnout rugs too, to make horses show up super-bright if they ever escape?
If all that technology is a bit much for some, the Horseware range is comprehensive enough to manage to please the traditionalists too. The Rambo Deluxe Fleece is reminiscent of a Witney blanket in appearance (hands up if you’re old enough to remember using them?) and is a lovely heavy quality fabric. This would be great for travelling horses in winter or as an under-layer, I think. Since it’s in my colours this is definitely going on the Purchase List!
The Micklem Competition Bridle has had a full make-over, and is now made of much higher quality leather, with various options. The left one in the picture is black with a row of diamante on the browband, the right one is brown with decorative stitching. I’m sure these will become even more popular now, as many horses really seem to prefer the feel of this design. (I have one and must be one of the lucky ones as the one I bought a few years ago is very nice leather!)
Moving on from horse clothing to riding wear, the Airmax jacket, from their new HorsewAir range, won’t be available till the Autumn, but it felt fantastic and you won’t have to save up much, apparently it will be very affordable. There are men’s and women’s versions, and they have mesh panels for thermoregulation, are stretchy, and beautifully cut.
I tried one on and have never felt a less restrictive smart show jacket, it was very impressive, very comfortable and fluid. It might need a dark-backed shirt underneath so that the panel doesn’t look weird, I guess.
1/2 chaps made from the same fabric will also be available.
I had a good look at their top-end AA (Alessandro Albanese) range too, and the white show shirt in particular was totally beguiling – wonderful feel and quality to the fabric, more like top-end designer than equestrian clothing.
They will be doing made to measure tails, which looked beautifully cut, and the Athens breeches with ‘technical socks’ as the lower leg part will solve the problem of tight boots and uncomfortable breeches.
Last of all, the Equestrian Trade News Innovation Awards. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to stay till the end of the day, due to having to get home to ride horses, but the list of winners is below, and a detailed description of the winners is HERE.
I am genuinely over the moon to report that my lovely sponsor, the herbal horse, won the Feeds and Supplements section, for their excellent 3-in-1 feed supplement, Ultimate Mix. This award is so well deserved, and is a huge accolade for a small company that only started selling in the UK last year (although it’s been going strong in South Africa since 2000) and the biochemist/zoologist behind it, whose carefully-thought-out inventions these mixes are.
So a brilliant BETA was made even more special for us. Congratulations to all winners. Next year I’m going to have to try to move heaven and earth to do 3 days at BETA, because this year proved that 2 days just isn’t enough to see it all. Bravo BETA and all their team, great job.