An outing to Glorious Gatcombe
British Equestrian Trade Association executive director Claire Williams tells us about BETA's Festival of British Eventing experience.
We have not long finished unpacking after a highly successful outing to the Magic Millions Festival of British Eventing, at Gatcombe Park, Gloucestershire, where we sponsored the Pony Club Team Show Jumping as part of our commitment to promoting rider safety.
We have lent our backing to this competition for a number of years, but 2018 must certainly go down as one of the most exciting, as a nail-biting jump-off saw the South Hereford & Ross Harriers Hunt team take the lead by one point, pushing Minchinhampton into second place, with Clifton on Teme third.
All three teams were presented with rosettes and cash prizes, and the champions received a BETA-branded rug. All competitors were given a BETA stable plaque and an invitation to visit the BETA stand for a free safety garment check and a BETA goody bag.
Enjoying a high-profile presence at Gatcombe is a fantastic opportunity for us to engage with a large and enthusiastic audience of riders and allows us to discuss all aspects of safety and equine welfare, and highlight the range of initiatives that BETA has developed.
Many visitors took us up on our invitation to bring their riding hats and body protectors along to the BETA stand for a free safety check. Those needing new models received a discount voucher giving them a 10 per cent saving on the price of a new one when bought from a participating BETA retail member.
We were thrilled that the BETA stand remained a hive of activity throughout, with visitors offered the chance to win a £100 shopping voucher to spend with a BETA retail member if they signed up to the BETA National Equestrian Research Panel – an online resource for members to provide feedback to the industry on all things horsey.
Visitors could also enter our Equestrian Calendar Competition, with its top prize of a luxury hamper, and be in the running for a Collegiate bridle on nominating their favourite retailer for an SEIB Retailer of the Year Award. Many also supported our fundraising efforts for the Riding for the Disabled Association by picking up a BETA doggy bandana in exchange for a donation to the charity.
In addition to the Pony Club presentations, I was extremely pleased – and considered it a real honour – to award the BETA Anniversary Trophy, introduced in 2015, to Emily King for being the highest-placed rider to complete the British Open Championship for the first time.
As part of our commitment to the trade, we were pleased to host our annual Tradestand Holders’ Breakfast, where the winners of the gold and silver standards in the BETA Best Stand Awards were announced.
In Equestrian & Saddlery, gold was presented to retailers Ayr Equestrian, Wychanger Barton and Horse Direct, and TopSpec Equine and Dodson & Horrell, while silver went to Noble Outfitters, Style Equestrian Products, Treehouse Sporting Colours and Horses in Sport.
In the Lifestyle, Pet & Fashion section, gold was won by country womenswear company Gamebirds Clothing, leather boot and accessories maker Finlows, pet business Ruff & Tumble, lampshade-maker Berry & Grouse and fish-based dog food company Fish 4 Dogs. Silver went to Sarah Beevers Jewellery Design, Accessory Attic, Kitted in Cashmere, shoe and accessories business World Secrets and giftware specialist Grays.
In Food & Beverages, gold went to Roll Me Up – Cotswold Ice Cream Rolls and The Cheesecake Bar, and silver to Greek Souvlaki and Pop Up Grub.
Best in Show went to milliner Caroline Nicholls, maker of bespoke headwear.
With Gatcombe now firmly behind us, our sights are fixed on the Land Rover Blair Castle International Horse Trials, where we will have a stand for the very first time.