Inside this issue Features 10
Targeting health through nutrition
Preparing for emergencies
Summer hoof health advice
Building a website
The latest industry news
Websites on show
Useful trade contacts
Front cover image courtesy of Robinson Animal Healthcare.
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often be assured of future sales – and this issue of Equestrian Business Monthly aims to help you do just that.
Staying healthy Welcome to July’s issue of Equestrian Business Monthly – a summer healthcare special. Health and welfare is a subject that preys on the mind of most horse owners at one time or another. Horses more than any animal do seem to have a particular talent for illness and injury, which is undoubtedly largely due to the demands we place on them as performance animals and the immense deviation in how they are kept compared to how nature intended.
There are many everyday health issues and endemic problems – such as lameness, obesity and allergies – faced by the UK’s equine population. In response to the need to collect more widespread data and establish a ‘standard’ for these serious health concerns, The Blue Cross, British Equine Veterinary Association and Josh Slater, professor of equine clinical studies at the Royal Veterinary College, developed the National Equine Health Survey, to run twice yearly in November and May.
makes the point that, whilst the latter figures are also lower than expected, this may be due more to the subjective perceptions of their owners! In my view, there certainly is a great need to raise more awareness of proper equine nutrition – I know several people who continue to feed their fat, lazy horses overflowing buckets of wrongly balanced rations in the belief that they might get hungry without it. They won’t be told by friends – they need it from the experts! Back to the study, and skin disease and wounds (5% and 4% respectively) were also found to pose a significant problem, whilst colic (2%) was another common occurrence, with a 6:1 ratio between medical and
The first survey took place in November 2010, with the results announced at the National Equine Forum in March. Although the survey was relatively small – 306 sets of records were submitted for 3,120 horses, mainly in private ownership – hopefully as the concept grows the results will build into a useful bank of data in the years to come. Lameness appeared to be the most common problem affecting horses (11%) but the foot was not the most common
surgical cases. They may seem small percentages, but these problems can strike any horse at any time, and highlight the importance of being prepared for emergencies. The study for May 2011 has just been completed and the results will soon be available. One lucky participant has won the chance to be the face of the campaign for future surveys – look out for the promotional posters and leaflets. For more information, visit www.bluecross.org.uk/ NEHS.
Healthcare products are usually repeat-buy items, so once you’ve secured that loyalty, you can often be assured of future sales
Potentially, a lot of time, money, effort and success, as well as emotion, hangs on keeping horses at the peak of fitness, and even when budgets are tight, many owners are prepared to go without just so they can keep their horses healthy. Healthcare products are usually repeat-buy items, so once you’ve secured that customer loyalty you can 4
cause. Laminitis (3%) was less common than previous surveys had suggested – although I think this statistic risks making some horse owners too complacent about this very serious health issue – whilst weight management was the next most common issue, with 9% recorded as overweight and 8% underweight. The study July 2011
Another health concern is the threat of infectious or exotic disease, a threat only likely to increase. Several outbreaks have hit the headlines recently, including the Equine Infectious Anaemia found in Britain at the end of last year, and more currently the Equine Herpes Virus outbreaks in the Western United States and two outbreaks of Dourine (‘covering sickness’) reported in Sicily. World Horse Welfare, in conjunction with Defra, is monitoring the cases in Sicily, and is also running a ‘Keep Your Horse Healthy’ awareness campaign
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for concerned horse owners, including a free information pack and guidance on how to prevent the spread of disease. More information can be found on the charity’s website.
Quick reminder Our new website www.ebmonthly. co.uk is now fully up and running, with a new design, new features and more frequent updates. Here you will find all the latest news (including the stories we just don’t have room to squeeze in the main magazine), interesting business features, job advertisements and a brand new online trade directory where manufacturers can be included by sector. The latter includes photos of the products, contact details and even a helpful map giving directions for each listing. As I mentioned also last issue, Let’s Talk Products is taking a break for July, but will be returning in August to showcase some of the best of the winter rugs on the market. This new feature will also be on the website.
Clarification Aerborn have pointed out to us that our secret surfer’s visit to their website (which featured in last month’s issue) was somewhat unfortunately timed, as the site was actually deactivated and then re-launched with a new design just days after being ‘surfed’. Says a spokesperson: “Our new site is still very much work in progress, but is so much better than the old site bearing the Aerborn name.”
r Don’t keep your
thoughts to yourself! - email editorial@ebmonthly. co.uk or write to Equestrian Business Monthly, The Old Dairy, Watton Road, Hingham, Norwich NR9 4NN
News In Brief
Sponsors return to BETA
A round-up of the UK’s equestrian trade news
BETA Feed Industry Conference a recipe for success The first BETA Feed Industry Conference was hailed a success by organisers and 70 delegates who gathered to hear some of the equestrian sector’s most prolific speakers discuss a wide range of nutrition-related issues. With a guest list reading like a Who’s Who of the feed industry, the conference welcomed leading lights from across the world of equestrian feed manufacture and distribution, including British Horse Feeds, NAF, Spillers, Baileys Horse Feeds, Mitavite UK, Dodson & Horrell, Friendship Estates and Chestnut Horse Feeds. An informative programme of nutrition topics was rolled out by speakers such as Mars Horsecare commercial director Robert Clegg, who explored the outlook for raw materials; Professor Tim Morris, from the British Horseracing Authority, who put medication control in British racing under the spotlight; James Pheasant, of Burges Salmon, who discussed the highprofile case of the FEI v Christine Yeoman; and Joseph Nicholas, of the FSA, who delivered a legislation update. “We were really pleased that the
Petplan Equine offering retailer rewards In recognition of the important role equestrian retailers play in the care of their customers’ horses, Petplan Equine has launched the Petplan Retail Rewards scheme which rewards retailers for promoting Petplan and Petplan Equine policies to customers, explains Stuart Geeves, Petplan Equine’s marketing development manager. As part of the scheme, retailers
BETA Feed Industry Conference was able to provide a much needed forum for a combination of really useful talks covering a wide range of topical issues, as well as delivering a prime networking opportunity,” said BETA executive director Claire Williams. “The feedback we have received has been extremely positive. Some really interesting ideas have been raised and we are certainly planning to do this again.” Mitavite UK agent Cam Price added: “The concept was brilliant, the topics were good – particularly the Sportswise stats, which had some great-quality content and everybody hanging
on every word, and the NOPS update, which created a very active forum. It was amazing to have all those people in one room for one day only. It was specific to our industry and there is nothing else quite like it!” The BETA Feed Industry Conference, on 25th May, was held at the British Horse Society Lecture Theatre, Abbey Park, Kenilworth, and organised following consultation between the association and its members. It was aimed at those working in the feed and supplements industry, such as manufacturers, distributors, retailers, nutritionists and university lecturers.
are encouraged to display or hand out leaflets that give their customers their first month’s insurance free when they buy horse insurance or a rider plan policy. Petplan Retail Reward Credits are awarded when customers take out full Petplan Equine policies and can be exchanged for Love2shop vouchers. These vouchers are accepted by over 85 leading high street names and in over 18,000 outlets nationwide, including Boots, Comet, House of Fraser, River Island, HMV, Homebase, JJB, WHSmith, Matalan and Iceland. Retailers receive 200 credits for
every horse insurance or rider policy sold, and a further 25 credits are earned every time a policy is renewed. If you are interested in being part of the scheme, you can register free of charge at www. petplanretail.co.uk. You will be given a unique number, and can order free promotional material to display in your outlet. All you need to do is add your unique number to each leaflet, as this will help Petplan identify sales that come from your business. To find out more, contact +44 (0)8001 976270.
TopSpec will sponsor the Coffee Shop at BETA International for the third consecutive year in 2012, and Redpin Publishing, with its portfolio of regional monthly equestrian titles, will take up the New Product Gallery’s sponsorship mantle for the second time. BETA International 2012 will take place at the NEC, Birmingham, from 19th to 21st February. For further information about exhibiting at the show, contact James Palmer on +44 (0)1937 582111 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mackey APPOINTED distributor for Horse Quencher Mackey Equestrian Wholesale Ltd has been appointed distributor for Horse Quencher in Ireland. This completely natural product has been formulated to get horses to drink, and is suitable for use under FEI rules, making it ideal for equines that are reluctant to drink when at competitions or events.
EquiAmi granted US patent EquiAmi, a small Shropshire based company that has developed unique equine training aids, has been granted a full patent in the United States of America. This follows just over a year from the granting of a full UK patent and increased recognition for the products. Equestrian Business Monthly
UK UKNews News
Sixth year of Gatcombe sponsorship for BETA The British Equestrian Trade Association is set to be presenting sponsor of the Festival of British Eventing for the sixth consecutive year. The sponsorship puts BETA before an audience of more than 50,000 visitors who will head to Gatcombe Park, Gloucestershire, from 5th to 7th August, for three days of thrilling competition, including the British Open, the Intermediate and Novice Championships, and the Pony Club Team Showjumping Championships, which are supported by BETA. The trade association will maintain a high-profile presence at the show with its familiar
red, white and blue branded information stand where its team will promote BETA’s work and invite riders to bring their hats and body protectors along for a safety check. The BETA Trade Pavilion – packed with BETA-member trade stands – will once again play host to RoboCob, the mechanical horse that allows riders and non-riders to try out their skills in the saddle. BETA will be holding its famous luxury prize draw in which visitors could win a hamper of horse and rider equipment worth £2,000, as well as handing out its highly prized goodie bags. As part of its commitment to the
trade, BETA will host its annual Trade Breakfast, where all tradestand holders are treated to hot bacon rolls and coffee. Winners
of the coveted BETA Best Stand Awards will be announced at the breakfast, bringing a definite celebratory air to proceedings.
FSB calls on government to re-focus its policy for the smallest firms Small firms would employ new staff if the government reduced National Insurance Contributions (NICs), new figures from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) confirm. Small businesses continue to be stifled by challenges that affected them during the recession, including late payments from other firms and a lack of finance from the banks, which forced many small firms to close. Despite tentative economic growth, many small firms say these issues continue to prevent them from taking on staff. While FSB members have said they are supportive of the government’s plans to cut the deficit, policies such as cutting NICs have to be at the heart of plans for growth. The FSB’s ‘Voice of Small Business’ survey, with more than 1,700 respondents, showed that insufficient work
and uncertainty over contracts (37%), the state of the economy (33%), cash-flow (31%) and access to finance as well as the cost of credit (16%) are preventing them from employing. With 2.46 million people out of work, the FSB believes that it is crucial that the government provides incentives to help small businesses to take on staff and tackle unemployment. According to the survey, ensuring invoices are paid within 20 days would encourage 17% of small businesses to take on staff. Most significantly, nearly a third (31%) of respondents said that reducing NICs payments for the first six months of employment would encourage them to take on more staff, and 11% said extending the NICs holiday scheme would be an incentive. The government introduced a NICs holiday for start-ups that
take on up to 10 employees in 2010, but the FSB believes this does not go far enough. The FSB is urging the government to extend the NICs holiday to existing firms with up to four members of staff that take on up to three new employees. The FSB is also calling on the government to help small businesses employ more apprentices and interns: 29% of respondents said increased support would encourage them to take these on. John Walker, national chairman, FSB, says: “We have been saying for some time that small businesses would be encouraged to take on staff if National Insurance Contributions were reduced. Small businesses want to employ but have told us that they need incentives to do so. The government must extend the National Insurance Contributions
Saracen aims to educate the nation The Saracen Horse Feeds Gala Conference Day at War wickshire College on 6th July 2011 promises to ‘Educate The Nation’ with a host of talks and demos from 9.00am to 5.00pm. The day includes nutritional talks from Joe Pagan PhD, President (Kentucky Equine Research) and Brian Waldridge DVM, MS, Veterinarian (Kentucky Equine Research). Saracen Horse Feeds is the only UK feed company that has an association with this world leader in equine nutritional research, making this a unique 6
opportunity for visitors to learn about the latest research as well as hearing about Joe’s experience at WEG, where KER were the official feed, hay and bedding suppliers. Saracen Horse Feeds’ own nutritionist Lizzie Drur y MSc RNutr will also be giving an insight into what the company’s panel of sponsored riders feed, and the impact that feed can have on per formance and well being. The day will include demos from three of Saracen’s sponsored July 2011
riders: top Olympic dressage rider Carl Hester, carriage driving star Georgina Frith and a western demo from newly signed western champion Shane Borland. Tickets cost £42.50 including refreshments, lunch and afternoon tea plus goodie bag worth over £25.00. Full details of the day can be found on www.saracenhorsefeeds.com and tickets can be purchased online, via telephone or direct from your local Saracen area manager.
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holiday to existing businesses if small firms are to take on new staff and so help tackle high unemployment. “Throughout the recession, we all heard the struggles small firms faced as many had to shut up shop because they were being paid late, and couldn’t access finance from the banks, leaving their cash-flow in a volatile position. While our members have told us the situation has improved slightly, these same issues are now preventing small firms from taking on staff – crucial if the country’s small firms are going to help to secure and promote recovery. “It is not only imperative that the government creates an environment for job creation, but that the banks lend to small firms and businesses are paid on time, to give small firms the confidence they need to grow their business and employ.”
Maxavita supporting World Horse Welfare Maxavita has agreed a sixmonth initiative with leading international equine charity World Horse Welfare which will see the company donate 25p from each sale of promotional tubs of its ‘Maxa’ supplement rang, until November 2011. The promotional tubs will be distinguished by a World Horse Welfare branded sticker on the lid with the slogan ‘Help Horses’.
Horseware Ireland supports ISPCA Horseware Ireland has announced it has made its association with ISPCA official. Although Horseware Ireland has supported the organisation in the past few years, a formal arrangement was made last month when the Horseware team met with ISPCA officials in Keenagh, Co Longford. As official supporters of the organisation, Horseware Ireland will supply both horse and dog rugs for the
much needed animals at the ISPCA. Noel Griffin, CEO of the ISPCA, says he is delighted to be associated with Horseware Ireland: “Horseware Ireland has always been a great supporter of the ISPCA but with the increasing cases of neglect and cruelty we are more in need of the company’s help than ever before and it is therefore of huge benefit to formalise the arrangement.”
NAF is new title sponsor for Hartpury International Hartpury College has announced that NAF is the new sponsor of its International Horse Trials, from 11th to 14th August 2011. Says director Janet Plant: “We are privileged to have NAF as title sponsor to our most prestigious event. They have supported Hartpury College in many ways over the last two years, the team at NAF are a pleasure to work with, their products are
outstanding and this partnership is a win-win benefit to eventing.” Says Tracey Lloyd, sponsorship manager for NAF: “We are delighted to be associated with such a prestigious International event as Hartpury. It draws riders from Novice level all the way through to Advanced, which is important to NAF as we are great believers in supporting equine sport at all levels.
Retailers benefit from sales skills course
Momentous milestone for equine research
On June 1st owners and managers from the equestrian retail trade attended a Retail Sales Skills Course run by Mike Potter at Ide Hill in Kent. The day started with coffee and Danish pastries, which set a relaxed tone for the rest of the day. The first part of the day looked at attitudes and motivation to selling, dispelling some of the myths around sales skills and looking at some of the communication skills that assist with the ability to sell. The bulk of the training then revolved around the actual sales skills required in a retail setting, based on the stages of a sale, which can make such a difference to turnover. This was presented in such a way that those attending would not only be able to practice these skills themselves but would be able to pass them on to their staff. After a buffet lunch the afternoon concentrated on the management systems and skills needed to ensure that the skills learnt could be effectively used within each retailer’s business, and used to drive the business forward. This was based on the understanding of the interaction of four key areas of retail – visual merchandising, stock control, management and staff skills.
Tom Young from Speedgate Saddlery was impressed with the day: “It was an excellent course based on real proven experience, delivered in a slick presentation style which prompted relevant discussion in an open training environment.” Debbie Holliman from Southern Equestrian Supplies felt the day had been, “Very useful and provided a lot of food for thought, it was money well spent.” Mike was also pleased with how the day went: “My main aim was to try and give retailers some essential but often overlooked skills in how to make the most of every customer who walks through the door, especially relevant in these challenging trading conditions. Everyone gave positive feedback and it’s nice to know that people gained something of benefit to moving their business forward. I also got some useful pointers for future courses of which I have several others planned in other areas, as well as another day in the South East, so I’d be happy to hear from any other retailers who might like to benefit from this crucial training.”
The country’s first free source of research summaries available for the public to use has reached its first milestone, having just passed its 2,000th research upload. Whilst research might sound like a dry subject, people within the horse world may often have asked themselves whether anyone has ever looked into how much exercise a horse needs to reduce the risks of laminitis, or the effects of rein tension on the bit position in a horse’s mouth.
Anyone interested in attending a future course can contact Mike on email@example.com.
Fuller Fillies is delighted to welcome the latest member of the Fuller Fillies family, Paul Hurst. “We’re thrilled to have Paul on the team,” says Suzanne Wild, managing director. “He will be undertaking a creative role, and will be responsible for an overhaul of our website. In addition, he’ll also be handling our photography, graphic design and brochure production.” Paul has been involved in the equestrian sector for a number of years, having worked for both Robinsons and Ride Away as photographer and graphic designer.
Equipe sponsors Blyth’s return to the saddle Legendary eventer Blyth Tait is back in the saddle competitively and riding in Italian saddlery brand Equipe. Blyth, who retired after the 2004 Athens Olympics, had returned to New Zealand to breed racehorses, but the
looming Olympics in London has proved to be a big factor in Blyth’s decision to return to eventing and UK soil. The deal will see Blyth training and competing in the Equipe collection of bridles, saddles and leather accessories.
Within the 2,000 research summaries (abstracts) on the British Equestrian Federation’s Researching Equines Database (BEFRED) at www.befred.org, you can find the indicators. The research featured on BEFRED ranges from work carried out by undergraduates to full-blown PhDs and the status attained by each research project (in terms of whether it has been reviewed by independent authorities or not) is always made clear.
New Appointments Jenny Lightfoot joins Blue Chip Jenny Lightfoot has joined the Blue Chip team to take on the role as marketing co-ordinator, while the current marketing manager, Liz Sayfritz is away on maternity leave. This is Jenny’s first appointment in the equine industry following the completion of an Equine Science degree at the University of Lincoln. She is very much looking forward to the challenges and opportunities this appointment will bring.
Paul Hurst joins Fuller Fillies
Virbac welcomes new equine product manager Tom Blacklock is to join Virbac Animal Health as equine brand manager. Tom takes over from Callum Blair BVMS MRCVS; Callum will now assume the role of senior veterinary adviser. Tom is a Natural Sciences graduate and moves to Virbac from Roche, where he worked in medical sales and latterly as product manager for Tamiflu. “We are looking forward to welcoming Tom to the team, he brings a wealth of experience into a market that he has known all his life,” says Virbac marketing director Chris Liggett. “Tom will be continuing the development of our 3D worming initiatives that are supporting our drive for sustainable worming.”
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UK News PROFILE COMPANY
Eazitools Equestrian Eazitools Equestrian is a specialist manufacturer of innovative stable and field tools. The company has one simple aim, to make difficult, labour intensive jobs around the yard easier and less stressful on the users’ muscles and back. Customer Service
The eazitools concept began in 1999 with the launch of the Rag-Fork; an equestrian tool designed to effortlessly remove the poisonous weed ragwort and help prevent back-strain, even in the hardest of soils. Since then the company has grown significantly and has extended its range of products to include shavings forks, muck-forks and accessories.
features a double-cranked shaft to minimize leverage and improve posture. Specially sharpened and rounded prongs lift and cup with additional ease and curve at the back to help sift shavings and reduce waste. All tools in the range are available in attractive and easy to spot colours and are rust and rot proof, as well as easy to clean. “Our products are designed to be the best possible tool for the job. If a prototype doesn’t work well in my own yard, then it isn’t good enough for our customers. A lot of thought has gone into making our tools as user-friendly as possible and this is reflected in the feedback we receive,” says Becky.
The company is family run and based in Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Day-to-day operations are overseen by managing director, Becky Ball. Becky says: “The necessary everyday tasks associated with stable and yard management, such as mucking-out, can be hard work for horse-owners. We spotted an unfulfilled niche for making equestrian tools more user friendly, in particular tools that are lightweight yet strong and safer to use.” As an experienced horse rider, eazitools Equestrian products have been designed to reflect Becky’s own practical experience in the yard and to help make caring for horses as easy as possible. For example, the Ergonomic Shavings-Fork
Eazitools products are sourced in both the UK and Far East. Quality control is stringent and tools are subject to rigorous testing processes before being sold on to customers. So confident is eazitools in the quality of its products that the company has introduced a lifetime guarantee on all its tools. Says Becky: “Durability is a must and we don’t compromise on quality just to keep manufacturing costs down. Our tools are designed to last, so that customers know that they are getting value for money. However, if a customer is not happy with the quality of their tool we will immediately replace it or provide a refund, no questions asked.”
of the products. “People want innovative products that last but don’t cost the earth,” says Becky.
Customer service is also of paramount importance to the company and it is keen to build on its well-earned reputation for high levels of client satisfaction. “We often get calls from our customers saying how friendly and helpful we are,” says Becky, adding: “Aside from our high levels of customer care, we offer excellent margins for wholesalers and retailers alongside heavyweight PR and advertising support.” Eazitools Equestrian products have received widespread coverage in the leading national equestrian and country magazines and the company has established strong brand awareness. “Our customers often ask for the Rag-Fork by name,” says Becky. As part of its pro-active marketing strategy, the company will shortly be launching a trade section on its website, which will feature an online ordering system and highlight monthly product promotions and special offers.
Value for money Despite current economic conditions, the company is keen to keep its products at affordable prices, which reflect the quality
Sales success Although the UK accounts for the majority of sales, there has been a year on year increase in sales to Europe, including the Netherlands. Within the UK the company has widespread experience in selling to some of the largest wholesalers and multichain retailers, but is equally happy to do business with independent retailers. “There is no minimum order on any of our products.” Says Becky.
Plans for the future Eazitools is currently working at expanding its range, with plans to add plastic stable and field products for the 2011/2012 winter-season. “As well as expanding our range it’s also important to reinvent our products to keep them fresh. We’re always adding new ‘funky’ colours, which prove very popular with end users”, says Becky. “We always listen to customer feedback and recently introduced a longer version of the Rag-Fork, which is more suitable for taller users and helps prevent backstrain.” The company has also recently diversified into the gardening sector and in 2009 Becky launched Pet Possessions (www. petpossessions.co.uk) – an online pet accessories store. “Our current client base includes many pet owners and so we decided to diversify ‘horizontally’, and supply products that are different from our core business but still likely to appeal to existing customers.” To find out more about the eazitools Equestrian range visit www.eazitools.co.uk or call +44 (0)1302 746077.
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Made to measure Supplements form a significant and ever-expanding section of the healthcare market. Equestrian Business Monthly investigates the development of supplements and how they can be used to help target specific health concerns.
Image courtesy of Maxavita
The first commercially available for retailers to select key horse really even need a vitamin and mineral product or equine supplement – a tonic products to provide choice for supplement?’ Heather explains: lick on the other hand is often by the name of ‘Black Drink’ the consumer. Joint supplements “Horse owners come under a sufficient for maintenance. In – hit the market in 1834, and are the most popular with around professed amongst other things 33% of equestrian consumers Many supplements can actually reduce the to ‘cure like a charm fret, colic feeding supplements for joint or gripes, shivering fits and health, followed by calming (19%) expense of caring for a horse through lower chills in horses and cattle’. It and hoof supplements (18%). veterinary and farriery bills. took almost another century of research and experimentation Other before vitamin and mineral lot of pressure to feed their many cases the latter should 6% Immunity mixes and oils began to horses supplements when in only be provided if the horse 4% emerge, whilst compound many cases it may not be is receiving less than 30% of feeds and balancers necessary. Put your customer its daily diet as compound Joint Health developed throughout in touch with an independent feed – i.e. a diet based mainly 32% the 1960s, 70s and equine nutritionist who can or entirely on grass and forage Calming 19% 80s. Supplements advise if the horse has a – as most concentrates are targeting more specific particular nutritional need. already fortified with many needs hit the shelves Alternatively, suggest of the nutrients a healthy on a greater scale they use versatile but horse requires. Horse owners towards the start of the inexpensive supplements must be careful to avoid overRespiratory Health 1990s, and continue to such as garlic, apple cider supplementation, and should 8% be developed to this day vinegar, seaweed or a rock only feed in accordance with as scientific knowledge salt lick. Whilst this might the manufacturer’s guidelines expands. sound like shooting yourself in after carefully assessing Energy Hoof Health 4% Today, the range available the foot, our experience is that their animal’s own nutritional 18% Digestion to the consumer is vast horse-owners welcome objective requirements. 9% and complex. The danger to advice rather than ‘hard-sell’ on a For those customers worried retailers however is selecting product they don’t need, and will about the cost of feeding a Why do you feed supplements? the wrong products to stock come back again to your shop.” supplement, Dr J. Frank Gravlee Maxavita survey results, and ending up with unwanted Certain horses have specific of Life Data Labs provides some Badminton 2011 goods taking up too much space needs or conditions which may advice: “Many supplements and coming to the end of their at least partly be relieved by actually reduce the expense of shelf life. Heather Giles, sales Many horse owners however a specialist supplement – for caring for a horse through lower and marketing manager at still take one of two approaches example joint nutraceuticals can veterinary and farrier bills, and Hilton Herbs, emphasises the – either ignore supplements be used as part of the longersome supplements will actually fact that retailers should carry completely as costly and term management of horses reduce feeding expense by supplements because they have unnecessary, or buy one or with joint problems, stiffness making the feedstuffs more feed higher margins than horse feed more based on little more than or arthritis, whilst horses with efficient. The most ‘expensive’ and take up less room, adding their own, often uninformed, poor and brittle hooves may supplements are the ones that that shops with limited space, supposition. Here the retailer benefit from a hoof supplement are ineffective or do not meet “should concentrate on ‘bestmust step in to advise containing biotin and amino the manufacturer’s claims.” sellers’ such as products for accordingly; to their own acids. Supplements containing Value for money is of key mobility, veterans, digestion and advantage also as the correct antioxidants such as vitamin E, important, but is perhaps harder respiration, with a good mix of supplement purchase is bound to vitamin C or selenium meanwhile to discern with supplements due dry and liquid products.” lead to repeat sales and custom. can help support older horses or to the nature of the product and Hollie Chapman of Maxavita Heather Giles believes those battling illness, infection or the choice available. concurs, adding: “When shelf responsible retailers should stress. The feeding costs per day can space is limited, it is important ask the question, ‘Does your A simple broad-spectrum also vary quite considerably
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SUPPLEMENTS between brands. Heather Giles advises: “Work out the cost per day for the supplements you stock and have a chart with these costs available. Some products require a ‘loading’ dose, which can make it initially more expensive.”
product. All marketing claims are monitored by the Veterinary Medicines Directive (VMD), and it is currently illegal to make medicinal claims for a product without a pharmaceutical license. Most supplements sold by retailers do not carry such licenses. Heather Giles continues: “The required procedure to obtain these licenses is (rightly) stringent, time-consuming, and expensive. To have to obtain pharmaceutical licenses for herbal or nutraceutical supplements would be a financial impossibility for most supplement manufacturers and would inevitably result in a high-price tag.” The argument behind licenses is that extensively and clinically trialled products are deemed ‘safer’; however pharmaceutical products carry their own risks. Equally, just because a product is ‘natural’ does not mean it is automatically safe, which is another reason for retailers to stock products from a manufacturer whose expertise in formulating such products is to the fore.” Heather adds that it is currently a legal requirement to list the ingredients of a product on the packaging, along with typical analysis and dosage requirements: “Trading Standards police labelling and packaging, and offenders risk having their products removed from sale in extreme cases. “Retailers are advised not to stock supplements that do not comply with current labelling and packaging legislation, and no horse owner should consider
Image courtesy of Hilton Herbs To help customers choose, Dr J. Frank Gravlee emphasises: “Supplements that are backed by research, utilise quality ingredients, and are manufactured under strict quality control standards typically provide the best benefits to the horse and the owner’s pocketbook. The old adage ‘You get what you pay for’ certainly rings true in the equine supplement business.”
Legislation and quality control Supplement manufacturers are subject to much legislation as to what claims they can and cannot make about their
Image courtesy of Life Data Labs
feeding a supplement that does not have the ingredients listed on the packaging. Supplement manufacturers have successfully lobbied to avoid having to list percentage ingredients, and quite rightly so as such a requirement would make products very easy to copy, however ingredients should be listed in order of importance.” Quality control over ingredients used is of key importance during supplement manufacture. Leading companies are careful to source ingredients from reliable and reputable sources (where relevant, the ingredients of high quality supplements are often human grade), and carry out batch testing to check for quality and contamination. Dr J. Frank Gravlee explains more about the process of the production at Life Data Labs: “Ingredients are sourced from well known companies with excellent quality control. The ingredients that contain nutrients important to the effectiveness of the product are required to be tested for quality prior to delivery to our manufacturing facility, including NON-GMO (Genetically Modified Organism) testing. All lot numbers of our products have ingredient traceability from the source and through the manufacturing and distribution process. The quality system at Life Data Labs, Inc. is ISO 9001:2008 registered. As a final assurance of efficacy the nutrient content of the finished product is tested by an independent testing laboratory.” Many supplement companies are accredited under the Universal Feed Assurance Scheme (www. efsis.com) to signify compliance with specific quality standards, whilst BETA operates two assurance schemes designed to reduce the risk of naturally occurring prohibited substances (NOPS) in feedstuffs. The UFAS NOPS Code is designed for manufacturers of compound feeds, and the Feed Materials Assurance Scheme (FEMAS) NOPS Code is aimed at raw material and straights providers. Horslyx is one such company, and Anita Watson explains: “Horslyx takes part in both the UFAS and the BETA NOPS monitoring programs which requires members to source all raw materials only from assured suppliers. Not only do the suppliers themselves have to provide routine quality control
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data for their products, but Horslyx also undertakes its own independent analysis to ensure all raw materials meet both the rigorous quality control standards and all legislative requirements. “All finished products are regularly analysed by an independent laboratory to ensure they meet the declared specifications. Independent university research is also conducted to ensure the products do what they say on the tub!”
Understanding a supplement Kate Jones, senior nutritionist for NAF, explains more about the labelling of supplements. We get many enquiries from retailers and consumers alike arising from information stated on the back of a supplement pack, for example “Why does this supplement contain Ash?” or “I’m worried about the protein content.” These points have to be included on supplement labelling by law but it’s easy to see why they lead to confusion.
Category An equine supplement is categorised as either a ‘complementary feeding stuff’ (a blend of ingredients); a ‘straight feeding stuff’ (a pure ingredient), or a ‘mineral feeding stuff’ which indicates that it’s particularly rich in certain minerals, such as limestone flour which is high in calcium. If none of these categories are listed then question whether the product is designed for horses.
Analysis Under European law supplements need to declare the analysis. Oil or energy may be quite high depending on the type of product, but this doesn’t mean it will fizz up or fatten the horse. Consider just how little is fed on a daily basis, perhaps 20g, compared to the 10 to 12kg of its regular diet. Ash can cause confusion, but ash is simply a technical
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SUPPLEMENTS term that relates to how much of the product would be left after burning at 500ºC and usually relates to minerals. The 52% ash in NAF Haylage Balancer shows that it is rich in minerals, and in this case that includes the antacids that would also show up as ash.
Ingredients Legally ingredients must be listed in inclusion order, i.e. with the largest first. Look out for products high in fillers, such as dextrose (sugar) or soya, these may not represent the value for money they initially appear to.
As of September 2010 the European laws surrounding labelling have been updated, resulting in differences showing up on the labels. Rather than just ‘Ingredients’ listing everything in the product, you are now likely to see ‘Composition’ and ‘Additives’. Composition relates to those ingredients that are classified as feedstuffs. This encompasses a long list including herbs and fruits, plants and cereals, some of the major minerals such as magnesium oxide, and some of the digestive support materials such as brewer’s yeast. Additives are those ingredients classed as additives rather than feed materials in their own right, including the vitamins and minerals seen in many supplements. Under the new law the additive, its ‘e’ number and its inclusion level must all be listed on the label. E numbers can be good! Labels that include a long list of ‘e’ numbers may cause concern, due to the negative press that some of these have received in human nutrition. It’s worth being aware that an ‘e’ number is simply a classification number applied to any additive. So essential vitamins and minerals, such as Vitamin A (E672), Vitamin D3 (E671), Iron (E1), Copper (E4) and Zinc (E6), amongst many 14
others, will all have their own ‘e’ number. This should reassure the owner that it is an approved ingredient and therefore suitable to feed. Also listed under ‘Additives’ are the digestibility enhancers, which will include the live yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae and the digestive clay, Bentonitemontmorillonite for optimising gut condition. Again the inclusion rate will be listed. You may also find a ‘Sensory’ section which usually relates to ingredients for palatability. Under European law ingredients may be listed individually or in certain pre-specified groups; for example, ‘Products from processing herbs’ may cover a range of herbal ingredients in one heading. A little knowledge of how to read the label can really help you and the horse owner to understand a supplement – what’s in it, how economic it is to feed, what quality assurance it reaches and whether it’s safe. However, if you still have concerns it always pays to call the freephone advice lines that most reputable manufacturers have; these are manned by experts and most consumers greatly appreciate this extra mile to help them.
Probiotics for top performance A probiotic is a useful supplement to the diet of the competition horse as the horse derives benefits in many different ways: it helps replenish friendly bacteria in the hindgut and so promote and maintain condition, optimise stamina and performance, combat the symptoms of stress and support natural immunity. Jonathan Nelson of Protexin explains how this relatively simple additive can have such far-reaching beneficial effects. July 2011
Image courtesy of Protexin
A live yeast can help to counter the negative effects of a high starch diet and the stress associated with competition
The lifestyle of today’s competition horses could not be further from that of their distant relatives who roamed free, browsing and grazing for up to 18 hours a day. Competition horses are frequently stabled and fed a diet high in readily available energy derived from starch-rich cereals. Access to grazing and fibre-rich forage is often restricted to minimise ‘gut fill’ while allowing the equine athlete’s energy requirement to be met within the limits of their diet. This type of dietary regime can have negative consequences on the horse’s health. Starch which escapes digestion in the small intestine and arrives in the horse’s hind gut can lead to a series of physiological events which can disturb normal fermentation and for scientific reasons, may result in the horse’s failure to thrive and, in severe cases, can contribute to the incidence of colic, laminitis or colitis. A live yeast can help to counter the negative effects of a high starch diet and the stress associated with competition. It helps to maintain the hind gut environment by reducing acidity and controlling oxygen levels to ensure that friendly bacteria such as the fibre digesters and lactic acid utilisers can flourish. This in turn helps the horse to use its diet effectively. An efficiently working hindgut also ensures better water reabsorption from the gut, helping to prevent dehydration.
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Dehydration is a significant factor in poor performance, especially where heat and humidity is high, and can also be a major issue during and following travel. Finally, a healthy hindgut also means a healthy immune system as the gut represents the frontline for combating infection, with large numbers of immune fighting cells present. Stress that can compromise the immune system, dehydration and infection, particularly related to the respiratory system, are common in competition horses that travel. Protexin has seen a considerable increase in the demand for its products across all disciplines in recent times as horse owners are becoming more knowledgeable about the importance of a healthy digestive system to the horse’s health and performance. Increasingly top riders such as Piggy French, Jeanette Brakewell, Laura Collett and Louise Bell are including Protexin’s Equine Premium Gut Balancer in their horses’ diets safe in the knowledge that it is not possible to overdose. There are no restrictions placed upon its usage as it contains no prohibited substances as defined by The Jockey Club and the FEI. All equine products produced by Protexin are accredited for FEMAS NOPS. In addition, retailers should note that probiotic products are licensed feed additives within the EU.
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Important summer care advice for your customers Ali Howe, brand manager for mobility supplement LitoVet, shares some advice on how to help customers keep their horses moving freely through the summer. Recent English summers have presented horse owners with a variety of challenging ground conditions from concrete-like baked earth to deep mud, traditionally the preserve of winter months, all of which can bring about tendon, ligament and joint issues. With the unusually dry conditions already experienced in the spring, 2011 is set to be another challenging year. If horse owners want to help protect their horses from soft tissue and joint issues they need to be pro active and not reactive. Customers are increasingly looking to retailers to provide added value, and one way of doing that is by providing sound advice, not only about which products to buy, but also practical steps to support the
health and wellbeing of their horse. LitoVet recently conducted some research which found that nearly 70% of horses surveyed had suffered some form of muscle or joint pain, with 100% of horse owners reporting problems at some time with stiffness in their horses*. However, the following steps can help manage these issues:
regularly to ensure owners know what they look like normally and then can easily spot any sign of swelling or heat. In the event of swelling or heat, advice should be sought from a vet as soon as any changes are noticed, rather than waiting for signs of stiffness or lameness. Horses should always be warmed up and warmed down with appropriate stretching exercises in order to support the entire musculoskeletal system. If a horse is getting tired while working, the rider should stop. If the horse is fatigued his muscles will tire, putting the muscles, tendons and joints at a higher risk of damage. Owners should always be realistic about a horse’s ability. If he is no longer happy competing at the same level, it could be time to lessen his workload.
Many of your customers expect more from their horses in the
in performance horses showed that it can help to maintain joint mobility and soundness by assisting the horse’s natural repair processes. LitoVet is 100% vegetarian and is the only equine supplement in the UK that contains
invaluable to be able to have the opportunity to engage their customers and being able to bring them up to date information on health issues can go some way to be able to do this.
The better an aloe vera feed supplement is made, the greater the improvement one finds in digestion, coat, mane, tail, hooves, natural ability to overcome inflammation, to repair and recover. Unique quality control for Aloeride made for valued horses is identical to Aloeride made for valued people, but with dosage corrected for equine body mass. Proudly made in Great Britain to GMP, independent laboratory tests confirm Aloeride to provide way more working molecules of a far superior spectrum. A carton is one month supply (30 individual sachets) of very palatable powder that is sprinkled over feed or is put into a syringe (add water, shake) and fed into the horse’s mouth. Aloeride NOPS results are available on request; clearance for other competition prohibited substances is proactively pursued. Aloeride: +44 (0)1858 464550 email firstname.lastname@example.org www.ebmonthly.co.uk
GOPO (glycoside of mono and diglycerol), one of the main active ingredients of the Rosa Canina rosehip. LitoVet and all of the information that supports it, can really help keep a horse on top form. Many retailers know it is
• Joints should be checked
Aloe vera for valued horses
summer, so it’s important to ensure that your customers are giving their horses the appropriate nutrients to cope with the increased workload and help to manage the day-to-day wear and tear. An independent trial of LitoVet
TopSpec Comprehensive is a granular supplement that contains a broad-spectrum supplement plus several specialised supplements, for example, a superb hoof supplement, generous levels of antioxidants and digestive aids. TopSpec Comprehensive has been designed to supplement the rations of all horses and ponies by adjusting the rate at which it is fed and the products it is fed with. As it contains insignificant calories it is recommended for good-doers. When mixed with a little chopped forage it ensures a good supply of micronutrients for horses that convert feed so efficiently that any concentrate feed would make them overweight. It can also be used highly effectively for horses and ponies susceptible to laminitis. TopSpec: +44 (0)1845 565030 www.topspec.com
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SUPPLEMENTS Natural rock With many horses getting most of their summer nutrition from grass, they may be short of some minerals depending on local soil conditions and grass quality. Redmond Rock, hewn from the ground in Utah, is the ideal supplement as it contains not only salt but also many trace elements, and is both easy and economical to feed. It will not crumble in the rain, nor can horses easily break it up. Redmond Rock is also very useful for stabled horses as a natural adjunct to their more concentrated diet. It is an unprocessed source of trace elements with a palatable taste. Free access to a piece of Redmond Rock allows the horse to adopt its natural feeding stance and pattern. One piece will last most horses three to four months. Many owners report a definite improvement in their horse’s overall health and condition. RRP: £9.85 (minimum weight 3.15kg). Equi Matters Ltd: +44 (0)1494 721763 www.redmondrock.co.uk
Easy to balance The only feed balancer you will ever need – new Equilibra 500 + Omega 3 replaces Equilibra 500 feed balancer. It is designed to provide optimum vitamin and mineral content, whilst complementing the feeding of forages, chaffs, hard feeds and now, crucially, oils and fats. GWF Nutrition believes the whole feed balancer market has become very complicated. All equines digest their feed in the same way and if the formulation is right, one product in this sector is all that’s required. The New Equilibra 500 + Omega 3 feed balancer also contains a new Non-GM soya free formulation. GWF Nutrition: +44 (0)1225 708482 www.gwfnutrition.com
New apple flavour Since its launch, Hickstead Horse Feeds’ ‘Neddy’s Nibbles’ have proven to be popular amongst horses, ponies and their owners alike. Neddy’s Nibbles are a delicious, healthy treat for horses and ponies. The high fibre, low sugar formulation and natural flavouring make them a perfect treat or reward. Badminton 2011 will see the launch of Neddy’s Nibbles in new apple flavour, which are sure to be as delicious as the existing natural herb flavour! Hickstead Horse Feeds: +44 (0)8457 165103
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SUPPLEMENTS Hoof & Health
Are you and your customers lost in a minefield of supplements? Simplify your life and theirs with an inexpensive solution from Hilton Herbs – Hoof & Health, combining the best of sea & soil. Contains deep sea kelp, calcified seaweed, bladderwrack and rosehip shells. Helps support healthy hoof growth, improve coat and skin condition, provide a balanced blend of vitamins and minerals, deepens coat colour, provides a bio-available source of Vitamin C and promotes mane and tail regrowth. Sizes from 4kg to 12kg. RRP: from £27.00. Feeding cost is 0.23p per day (assuming dosage of two scoops per day).
Kentucky Performance Products Infinity Rice Bran Pellet is a dense source of calories derived from a unique combination of fats. Contains natural vitamin E. A rich source of fatty acids, it contributes to the maintenance of healthy skin and coat, even with daily bathing. Also includes a proprietary blend of yeasts that supports normal digestive function. Suitable for horses of all ages. When used in combination with a low-starch diet, it offers nutritional support for equine athletes prone to muscle stress. Guaranteed to increase muscle, stamina and make the coat on any horse super shiny. Research proven and scientifically developed. Results within 40 days.
Hilton Herbs Ltd: +44 (0)1460 270701 www.hiltonherbs.com
Karoo Equine Ltd: +44 (0)1706 559569 www.karooequine.com
Horse First supplements are the choice of many of the world’s leading riders, because they deliver the performance and results demanded in a highly competitive world. Its products are ideally suited for all horses irrespective of their use, formulated to include optimum levels of high-grade active ingredients. The range ensures the horse gets maximum health benefits and the customer gets exceptional value for money. With Horse First your customers can be sure that every penny they spend on supplements is financially the best the best option.
LitoVet, from Lanes Health, is the only equine supplement in the UK that contains GOPO, one of the main active components found in the Rosa Canina rosehip that can help to maintain soundness, suppleness and mobility. LitoVet was clinically trialled in 44 performance horses before being brought to market, despite GOPO being clinically proven in extensive human trials. Tests following the trial showed that the body’s natural repair processes were more active in the horses taking LitoVet than those on the placebo. Those on LitoVet also recorded significantly higher levels of vitamin C than the placebo group. Of the trainers, 70% said horses appeared more lithe, supple and easier to work the day after strenuous exercise. LitoVet is 100% plant-based and does not contain glucosamine or chondroitin.
Horse First Ltd: +44 (0)2830 848844 email@example.com
Battle Hayward & Bower Ltd: +44 (0)1522 529206 www.battles.co.uk
For healthy hooves
Every Horslyx product provides a comprehensive nutritional package of vitamins, minerals and trace elements including ingredients known to improve and maintain hoof quality. These include biotin, methionine and zinc which, when combined with the balance of nutrients found in every Horslyx tub, work together to optimise health and support all round vitality. Feeding Horslyx also balances the deficiencies in forage and provides a trickle-feeding pattern to promote gut health and reduce boredom. Horslyx is available in four formulations, Original, Respiratory, Garlic and Mobility, allowing owners to feed specifically to their horses’ requirements in one cost effective, easy and effective method. Horslyx is available in 5kg and 15kg weatherproof tubs, plus 80kg in Original only. RRP: from £9.80.
MaxaFlex is a unique supplement from Maxavita which combines the soothing power of Green Lipped Mussel with glucosamine, MSM and HA to help maintain joint health and support mobility. The key active ingredient, a patented green lipped mussel extract called SuPerna, contains high levels of Omega 3 ETA fatty acids which are known for their natural anti-inflammatory properties. MaxaFlex works quickly to ease stiffness and improve mobility, with results often visible in as little as seven to 10 days. MaxaFlex contains no listed banned substances and is veterinary approved. RRP: £29.85 for 900g/30 day supply.
Horslyx: +44 (0)1697 332592 www.horslyx.com
Maxavita: +44 (0)8450 752754 www.maxavita.com
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SUPPLEMENTS Five star treatment The veterinary approved Superflex formula from NAF has been developed using pharmaceutical grade natural ingredients. It’s the formulation of these key ingredients, all provided at optimum inclusion levels and supported by powerful, naturally sourced, antioxidant rich nutrients, that makes Superflex the unique product it continually proves to be. Furthermore the antioxidant content sets Superflex apart from other joint supplements. These antioxidants ‘mop up’ the excess toxins that may accumulate around the joint and safely excrete them from the system. Remember, minor strains and traumas, which occur as part of daily work and training, often become a more serious issue due to the proliferation of toxins around the area. Superflex works to ensure this does not happen. NAF: +44 (0)1600 710700 www.naf-uk.com
Daily immune support Equine Premium Gut Balancer is a daily probiotic supplement to help bolster natural immunity. It is ideal for horses that don’t ‘do’ well, as well as stabled horses that compete at any level and veteran horses. It helps ensure the gut microflora is optimised for immune system support, and that nutrition is fully absorbed for maximum energy release. Containing only Protexin probiotic and Preplex prebiotic on a grass meal–based powder, Gut Balancer is a regular supplement to help ensure every-day good health. Protexin: +44 (0)1460 243230 www.protexin.com
New brand, new packaging, same recipe NoBute, the leading alternative to Bute that does not contain phenylbutazone, has been given an extensive branding and packaging makeover. NoBute has been a popular natural joint comfort for equines for the last 14 years. The complementary liquid feeding supplement offers a genuine alternative to the pain relief drug Bute, is produced from natural ingredients, does not produce the side effects associated with Bute and can be legally used by competing horses and ponies. The range includes; NoBute (for joints); NoBute Premium (repairs and maintains cartilage, joints and coat); NoBute Navilam ‘O’ (to assist the laminae, pedal bone and navicular) and NoBute No Wheeze (to soothe the respiratory system). SP Equine Health & Herbal: +44 (0)1787 476400 www.equinehealthandherbal.co.uk www.ebmonthly.co.uk
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FIRST AID AND INJURY MANAGEMENT
Preparing for emergencies
Horses are susceptible to injury all year round, and so a well-stocked first aid kit is a must-have item for every owner. The heat of summer brings with it additional problems, and with this in mind Equestrian Business Monthly looks at some of the things to consider when supplying first aid products.
of Fly Away’s Seal To Heal: “A transparent, flexible wound dressing containing an acrylic resin which seals the cleaned wound - it is flexible so the protection remains constant even when the horse is moving around.” Though first aid kits should be well stocked, in case of emergency there should be no confusion or difficulty Images courtesy of Robinson Animal Healthcare identifying which product to use. Furthermore, in this All retailers should have a good economic climate people are supply of first aid products in stock year-round, to give horse loath to spend unnecessary money. Tracey Morley Jewkes owners access to emergency items and allow them to replace continues: “The consumer likes anything past its use-by date. to keep things simple. Why have several products when one can As Tracey Morley Jewkes of Fly Away Ltd emphasises: “Wound do the job effectively? Having one product it is more appealing care is not seasonal – horses get up to no good throughout to the consumer and less work the year!” for the retailer – win-win!” As treating injuries quickly and To encourage a healthy turnover effectively is key, not only are of stock however, consider seasonal first aid displays to first aid items vital to have to encourage customers to prepare hand, but the quality of these products is paramount. Adds for any problems. Adds Tracey: “Often a small wound care item Robert Ibbotson of Robinson Animal Healthcare: “Medicinal can be displayed by the counter, and becomes a great add-on item products deteriorate with age. at the till.” Indeed, in summer Licensed products, such as Animalintex, have been tested horses are more likely to be out to show that if they are used by in the field or out competing, increasing the likelihood of an the use-by date they will be safe injury or wound. and effective. A non-licensed product carries no assurance Horse owners should ideally have two first aid kits – one for – who knows what happens to these products with age.” the yard and one for travelling. These should include veterinary Stocking only those products poultices and gamgee, produced by the leading bandages, antiseptic cleansers manufacturers is therefore and wound dressings. The latter recommended. Continues may be in the form of a powder, Robert: “They are the top brands for a reason – they have spray or cream, or, in the case 22
Marketing Authorisation Robert Ibbotson explains more about the process of licensing medicinal products: “The Veterinary Medicines Regulations state that if a product is medicinal by presentation or by function then it is deemed a Veterinary Medicinal Product. All Veterinary Medicinal Products need a Marketing Authorisation (MA) before they can be manufactured and sold, issued by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD). The MA number has to be printed on the product. To obtain an MA, the manufacturer needs to make application to the Secretary of State, via the VMD. The manufacturer also has to be separately approved (by the VMD) to produce Veterinary Medicinal Products.” Many healthcare products are sold as being ‘Veterinary Approved’; however, Robert warns that this can be a source of confusion: “’Veterinary Approved’ is very misleading as it actually means nothing! Only the VMD can ‘approve’ Veterinary Medicinal Products, in the form of a MA. Consumers (or retailers) may assume that the phrase ‘Veterinary Approved’ means that a product is licensed and has been legally approved for sale by the VMD when the product has not been through any approval procedures. “The main growing trend is for low-cost country (LCC) manufacturers to market their products through UK companies. The majority of these products are unlicensed, with no control over the design, composition or manufacture of the products. If the products are unlicensed, how can the retailer know what the ingredients are or what effect they will have when used?” Robert continues: “All Robinson Animal Healthcare products go through rigorous development and testing procedures before being brought to market. In some cases this involves controlled trials during and at completion of the development. However, this does not stop when a product is launched. Post market surveillance is undertaken and a pharmocovigilance system is employed (indeed the latter is a legal requirement for Veterinary Medicinal Products). This means that products are continually monitored, adopting a system of continual improvement.” been tried and tested over many years. If any retailer sells a poor product, the consumer will view that retailer badly for stocking and selling sub-standard goods.” Tracey Morley Jewkes adds: “Customers love to use a product that someone else has recommended, so it would be good for retailers to use the products they sell and give a personal recommendation. “Alternatively if retailers contact companies directly, they can get access to testimonials promoting the product, which they can then display in store.”
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Cooling therapy For many years, horse owners and trainers have seen the benefits of cold-hosing horses’ legs. In recent years this has led to the development of cooling therapy boots, bandages and sprays, which do the job much more effectively. Cooling therapy is particular useful for treating tendon problems, sore shins, splints, soft tissue injuries or swelling, and can even be used as a preventative measure by cooling the legs before and
FIRST AID AND INJURY MANAGEMENT after exercise. It is particularly useful during the summer when horse’s legs come under more strain from the firm ground, as well as from the heat, and is most effective during the first 48 hours after injury or inflammation. Kay Russel of Equiplus explains: “The use of cold compression therapy is a proven method to aid in mending injuries and speeding up postoperative healing, particularly for orthopaedic work and trauma.” Cooling the legs can also provide pain relief, as Kay continues: “The use of Equi-NicE for cold and compression produces anaesthesia by decreasing nerve conduction velocity, thereby reducing pain and the use of drugs. Equi-N-icE works by drawing heat out. By throwing out heat and allowing blood flow to the damaged area and keeping the build of fluid down, this helps to speed up healing. The easiest way for a retailer to sell a product like
Equi-N-icE is to demonstrate it on the arm of the customer. There is nothing like a demo to really breathe life into a sale!”
Keep hydrated Another potential problem caused by hot weather – or indeed by illness or infection – is dehydration. As Lucinda Stapleton of Horse Quencher UK explains: “Keeping a sick or injured horse hydrated should be an essential consideration.” Products that encourage the horse to drink make a more unusual display, reminding customers of this problem that they may not have considered for an ailing horse. David Scott of The Isle Veterinary Practice is an advocate of Horse Quencher: “Sick horses do not usually choose to drink” he says, “but I find that this is when their fluid needs are at their highest, and failure to achieve reasonable hydration can have severe consequences.”
Sore No More Equilite Sore No More is an exceptional blend of arnica, witch hazel, lavender and lobelia that contains no chemicals or harsh abrasives. Use pre exercise to loosen and warm muscles and post exercise to soothe and relax tired limbs and muscles. Suitable for horses with sensitive skin and is great for knocks, bruises and swellings. Paint it on the feet for sensitive soles and stone bruising. It is a cooling liniment, therefore safe to use with magnet and ceramic fibre therapy to help speed healing. It is also a useful pain indicator, sore muscles will lather as you rub it in. Available as the original Liniment, new Trackside Liniment (replaces Lobelia with Comfrey making it FEI compliant), GeLotion and Shampoo. Also available is Sore No More Poultice – mixed with bentonite clay, The Sauce – mixed with iodine and new Sports Salve – mixed with tamanu butter and aloe vera. Horsefair (UK) Ltd: +44 (0)1264 811425 www.horsefair.co.uk
FIRST AID AND INJURY MANAGEMENT VetSet go!
The VetSet range is a complete range of bandages, dressings and wound care accessories offering exceptional value for money, extra profit and new opportunities. Professional packaging and the renowned ‘VetSet reward scheme’ has been acclaimed by many retailers as “an excellent idea”, “very simple and worthwhile!”, “It’s generous and keeps bringing customers back”. Consumers receive a generous £5.00 shopping voucher for every 14 ‘Confidence Coins’ collected from the outer packaging, for use in many high street shops. Excellent retailer support is available – special promotions, literature and staff training – as well as bespoke first aid kits to ensure that horse owners can ‘care with confidence’ like professionals. Following the success of the VetSet products in veterinary surgeries across the UK, the range is now available to retailers and wholesalers.
Equi-N-icE draws heat away from the surface of the skin as opposed to driving cold in as in the case of ice packs. The skin is as much as 15 degrees cooler after the bandage or rug is removed. The coolant contains a unique mixture of non-irritating, rapidly evaporating alcohols ideal for use on sensitive thoroughbred legs. Cold and compression is well documented as the most effective way of treating inflammation, swelling and bruising of muscles, tendons and ligaments. Forms a vital part of any yard’s first aid box and now used by top vets and trainers to reduce recovery time. Also available is the Cool-Air Travel Boot and Rapid Cooler Rug.
D&H Group: +44 (0)1553 819590 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Equiplus: +44 (0)1935 83188 www.equiplus.co.uk
First aid essentials
Seal To Heal is a stain free, flexible and transparent dressing for horses with minor wounds, cuts and grazes and also for those with mud related problems including cracked heels. This flexible barrier helps protect against the bacteria found in mud as well as dirt, flies and other irritants. Easy to use in an emergency and ideal for areas where more conventional dressings are difficult to apply, Seal to Heal forms a protective layer in 60 seconds. RRP £9.99 100ml. Available from all wholesalers. One happy customer reported: “This product is quite simply amazing! I used the product once a day on a wound and his cracked heels and the results were amazing. The product is great because it keeps the wound pristine while allowing the air to get to it so it heals quickly. Within a week the amount of healing was so noticeable and by the end of the four-week test, there was no sign of a wound and his heels looked better than ever. This is a vital product for anyone’s first aid kit and will form a staple part of mine from now on.” HD- May 2011.
The Horse & Rider First Aid Kit provides all the essential items for the yard and horsebox. Available in an easy to carry kit bag, Animalintex poultice, Gamgee, Dressings, Equiwrap bandages, Vetalintex wound gel and blunt-ended Scissors are all included. For the rider a FastAid essentials travel pack is also included for minor cuts and grazes. Rapid attention if correctly administered will have an important influence on the outcome of an injury and will often help reduce healing time. Even a fresh wound, despite not looking contaminated will normally be infected after six to eight hours and cold therapy is extremely effective if applied immediately following a knock or strain. RRP: £24.95.
Fly Away Ltd: +44 (0)1384 877857 www.flyaway.ltd.uk
Robinson Animal Healthcare: +44 (0)1909 735000 www.robinsonhealthcare.com
New name in first aid
The immune system in a bottle
NAF has turned its expertise in natural equine care to first aid, with the launch of NaturalintX. Within the new first aid range is a choice of veterinary approved, 100% natural dressings for wound management, together with naturally formulated applications to support the healing of minor wounds, cuts, abrasions and strains. NaturalintX Poultice is a veterinary approved poultice for use on minor wounds and abrasions, formed from multiple layers of 100% natural cotton wool. Designed to be applied in three different ways depending on the nature of the wound to be dressed – either as a hot, cold or dry poultice dressing. Also available is the NaturalintX Hoof Poultice - a 100% natural, veterinary approved poultice designed to fit the horses’ hoof comfortably, reducing preparation time and enabling ease of application.
Vetericyn Wound & Skin Care is not a steroid, antibiotic, bleach, toxin or organic homeopathic. Vetericyn is a scientifically engineered topical solution for wounds and skin care issues, yet is completely nontoxic and environmentally friendly. Backed by real science with over 25 clinical trials completed, Vetericyn is the animal version of the FDA-cleared Microcyn formulation that has been used successfully on over two million human patients worldwide. Vetericyn is completely bio-compatible because it mimics the body’s natural immune system’s response to a wound or skin issue. Because it is safe as saline, the animal can lick its wounds or skin after application. It can even be used in or around the eyes, nose and mouth. Vetericyn contains no steroids or antibiotics which can hinder the healing process or weaken the immune system. It also tests free for all competitive animals.
NAF: +44 (0)1600 710700 www.naturalintx.co.uk 24
Equestrian Business Monthly
Equestrian Business Monthly
The early part of 2011 brought glorious sunshine, but the effects of the warm weather are not all positive. The hard ground caused by lack of rain can lead to hoof problems such as solar bruising and joint conditions linked to concussive stress. Here, the experts provide their essential summer hoofcare advice.
Farriers and veterinarians alike are witnessing increased incidence of bruising due to concussion on the hard ground
The natural hoof care market is displaying enormous growth, say the experts at Trelawne Equine. If your customers’ horses are feeling sore and ‘footy’, is now the time to offer them solutions that support a barefoot regime?
Image courtesy of Kevin Bacon’s
Caring for hooves during summer Across the whole of England and Wales, we have just experienced the driest spring since 1990, says Claire Brown of Handmade Shoes (UK) Ltd, distributor for Kevin Bacon’s. Some believe this trend is set to continue this summer with warmer than usual temperatures and below average rainfall, and the negative impact on horses feet and limbs has already become apparent. The appearance of unsightly splits and cracks in hoof walls increases the risk of ‘lost’ shoes and, potentially, further damage to the hoof wall. In addition, farriers and veterinarians alike are witnessing increased incidence of bruising, amongst other ailments, due to concussion on the hard ground. Water and hydration levels need to be carefully balanced. Too little water and the rigid keratin within the hoof walls becomes dry and brittle as it no longer has the flexibility and ‘elasticity’ to perform the demands placed upon it. Too much, when we experience particularly wet conditions, and the hoof walls and sole become too soft. During dry weather the sole and frog will usually thicken and harden to naturally assist the hoof to protect itself. Hooves will continue to grow and keeping up with regular farrier appointments will help to keep any cracks under control and prevent the hooves from becoming unnecessarily damaged. Horse owners should be particularly aware riding at speed, or jumping, on hard ground and of turning out and riding on uneven or ‘poached’ ground so as to avoid unnecessary risk of bruising the foot. Topical applications applied once or twice daily can help to provide moisture in particularly dry conditions and regular use has been shown to be beneficial. Owners should talk to their farrier and express any concern – he or she may advise a shorter shoeing cycle temporarily to help reduce the risk of lost shoes. Recommended from the Kevin Bacon’s Equine Care Product Range is Kevin Bacon’s Hoof Dressing. Formulated to apply moisture in dry conditions and to protect the hooves from becoming saturated in wet conditions, making it suitable for year round application. It is 100% natural and can help to protect the hooves from bacterial infections. 26
Many experts believe that horseshoes can potentially increase concussive damage, because shoes hold the frog off the ground, thus reducing blood circulation through the hoof and contributing to physiological damage to the supporting limbs and structures. Horseshoes are also said by many experts to load excess weight on the hoof wall, known as ‘peripheral loading’ – the greater the peripheral loading, the worse the blood flow throughout the hoof capsule. Barefoot advocates maintain that by taking the horse’s shoes off, the frog is no longer held off the ground, so the ‘peripheral load’ is relieved by transferring some of the load to the horse’s sole. Because solar loading appears to promote blood flow through the foot, this promotes a strong, healthy hoof – many owners of barefoot horses cannot believe how much ‘freer’ and less ‘footy’ their horses are once they have made the transition to barefoot. Many barefoot advocates use horse boots, to protect their horses’ feet in certain circumstances. Mike Chawke of Ireland’s Little Farm Stud breeds competition horses and is an RF(BngC), MF(IMFA), CE-F qualified farrier. “Even as an experienced farrier with over thirty five years’ experience, I am not convinced that all equines need nailed-on shoes,” Mike says. “Why not advise that your customers leave their animal in its natural state, with support from an experienced hoofcare professional of course, and simply fit hoof boots when they ride?” Katie-Marie Palmer helps with a horse called Remi, who recently made the transition from shod to bare. “We bought some EasyCare Trail boots, which are really simple to put on and take off, and also used comfort pads in them, which offer added shock absorption for when you’re riding on hard, concussive surfaces. “Remi started landing ‘heel first’ as soon as we put her in them, which was great as she had been very much ‘toe first’ when shod. We cannot rate the boots highly enough,” she says. Co proprietor of natural hoof care wholesaler, Trelawne Equine, Lucy Nicholas, says there’s currently a large market for natural hoofcare products. “The natural hoof care market is one of the few in the equine industry displaying enormous growth, even in these difficult economic times, and booting horses instead of shoeing is a very economical alternative for horse owners,” Lucy adds. “There are also many obvious physical advantages to horses being kept shoe-free.”
Equestrian Business Monthly
Hoof supplements Proper nutrition can play an important role in healthy hoof growth. Alongside external treatments, specially designed hoof supplements can provide additional, internal, support, particularly to those horses suffering from or most at risk of dry and brittle hooves. Equestrian Business Monthly highlights some of the ingredients found within these supplements and how they can be used to help.
Biotin is found in most dietary hoof supplements, as this watersoluble B-vitamin activates production of keratin, which is the main structural protein of the hoof. If keratin production is limited, this can result in thin hoof walls and soles, cracked and brittle hooves and disrupted growth, and studies have shown that feeding biotin daily over a longer period of time can improve the quality of poor and brittle hooves. Biotin is synthesised by bacteria in the horseâ€™s gut, and as most healthy horses produce all the biotin they require, a biotin-only supplement may not be the answer unless the horse has a digestive complaint. Another ingredient sometimes included in hoof supplements is Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), a safe and natural organic compound. MSM is a very bio-available (easily absorbed) source of sulphur, which is required for a number of functions in the body, including the formation of protein and connective tissue. Sulphur was traditionally included in the horseâ€™s natural diet of varied grazing, but the levels in grass today have been depleted due to modern land management techniques. MSM is also often included in joint supplements to reduce inflammation and enhance circulation. As proteins are made up of chains of amino acids, a deficiency in one or more of these can also cause hoof problems. For this reason, amino acids such as tyrosine, phenylalanine, threonine and particularly the sulphur containing methionine and cysteine are often incorporated into these types of supplement. Cysteine is vital a for healthy hoof wall. Zinc and copper are also key to supporting keratin and connective tissue production and strength, as well as providing antioxidant properties. Horses with suffering white line disease or thrush may have a deficiency in these trace minerals, which create cracks in the hoof allowing entrance to bacteria or weakens the frog. Those fed predominantly on forage may be more at risk, as zinc and copper are often deficient in grass and hays. As these two minerals compete for the same absorption sites, it is important to keep the ratio within the diet in check. Vitamin C, also known as ascorbic acid, helps with collagen formation. Collagen is present in all structures of the body, such as skin, hooves, tendons and ligaments, and is an important part of keeping limbs and organs in good condition. Vitamin C also helps the horse fight off infection and is a good source of antioxidant. Phospholipids and omega fatty acids meanwhile enable the hoof wall to keep moisture balance in check and maintain pliability. Oils such as soya, liseed and hemp are great sources of omegas 3 and 6, which also help give shine to the coat, and indeed many of the nutrients that benefit hoof health will also help to maintain a healthy coat and skin.
Image courtesy of Trelawne Equine 27
Total hoof care Lincoln Classic Hoof Ointment optimises hoof condition, maintains healthy supple hooves and promotes healthy growth of the horn. Manufactured to the finest traditional formula and using the best ingredients available this product will contribute to ensuring that your customers are doing the very best they can to optimise the hoof condition of their horse. RRP: £12.99 for 500g. Also available is Lincoln Intensive Hoof Moisturiser, which optimises moisture balance in dry and brittle hooves. A technologically advanced product containing natural keratin amino acids, formulated with added glycerine and vegetable oils for essential hoof condition. Contains a mild antibacterial agent to help guard against everyday hoof infection. RRP: £8.99 for 600g. Effol Summer Hoof Gel takes into consideration the faster growth of horses’ hooves in the warm weather. The light oil with the avocado oil composition provides moisture and strengthens the horn thus ensuring optimum elasticity of the hoof. RRP: £6.99 for 500ml. Battle, Hayward & Bower Ltd: +44 (0)1522 529206 www.battles.co.uk
Farrier’s Aid Farrier’s Aid from GWF Nutrition is a complementary feed for all horses, designed to maintain hoof integrity and growth. Farrier’s Aid is a high specification feed supplement, containing a blend of 12 specific nutricines and trace elements. Suitable for all horses and ponies, Farrier’s Aid provides all the elements needed to maintain hoof integrity and growth. One of the specific nutricines Farrier’s Aid contains is biotin. Biotin has been shown by extensive trial work to aid the hardening of hoof horn and so prevent cracking. It is an essential requirement for keratin production in the hoof, laminae and the coronary band and is critical to maintain overall hoof integrity and condition. GWF Nutrition: +44 (0)1225 708482 www.gwfnutrition.com
Keep feet supple Kevin Bacon’s Hoof Dressing continues to increase in popularity and the entire product range has rapidly forged a loyal client basis as their benefits are realised. Kevin Bacon’s is used and recommended by a multi-discipline group of top equine professionals which includes Henrietta Knight, Andrew Nicholson, John Whitaker, Anna Ross-Davies, five times World Champion Farrier Billy Crothers and Richard Davison. For total foot care the range also includes Hoof Solution (an antibacterial and fungicidal solution to assist in combating thrush in the frog and bacteria in the white line) and Hoof Formula (a highly digestible nutritional supplement scientifically formulated to assist the growth and quality of the horses’ hoof). Kevin Bacon’s is distributed throughout the UK by Handmade Shoes (UK) Ltd, the UK’s leading farrier supply company. Kevin Bacon’s: +44 (0)1296 662473 www.kevinbacons.co.uk
Complementary feeding Over 30 years of equine nutritional research, clinical trials and field-testing have gone into every cup of Farrier’s Formula. While no single nutrient is the key to a healthy hoof, studies show that most horses with hoof problems respond to better overall nutrition. Farrier’s Formula provides nutrients such as phospholipids, omega fatty acids, and important amino acid ‘protein building blocks’ that enable horses to build strong structural and connective tissue proteins important for healthy hoof structure and growth. Life Data Labs: www.lifedatalabs.co.uk
Equestrian Business Monthly
HOOFCARE Protect dry, brittle hooves PRO FEET Hoof Moist is an entirely natural product with a dual action – it improves hoof condition and acts as a hoof cosmetic. Oil and grease free and especially formulated to sustain the moisture content of the hoof and allow natural fluctuation of moisture levels. The ingredients are of human cosmetic grade and the manufacturing process used in its production results in a smooth gel consistency to allow for even application. Hoof Moist also contains teatree, which gives it a natural antiseptic quality. Research shows that traditional oil and grease applications can be detrimental to the health of the hoof, because both substances prevent the absorption of the very moisture essential for the maintenance of supple robust hooves. Particularly useful throughout the summer months as, applied daily it donates valuable moisture to the hoof during the warm dry weather. NAF: +44 (0)1600 710700 www.naf-uk.com
World’s easiest barefoot boot? The Easyboot Trail hoof boot, a revolutionary new barefoot boot for leisure riders of barefoot horses, is now available in the UK. The boot is distributed in the UK by Trelawne Equine and is manufactured by EasyCare. The simple design will appeal to riders and drivers that enjoy pleasure riding, hacking, endurance, sponsored rides and carriage driving – it is a medium distance riding boot, most suitable for distances of up to 25 miles. EasyCare has developed a boot that is incredibly easy to apply and adapts to a broad range of hoof shapes. RRP: £54.99 for sizes 0–6, £64.00 for sizes 7–10. Key features: sold in singles, easy to apply – simple closure, available in 11 sizes, comfortable and lightweight, drainage holes in sole. Trelawne Equine Ltd: +44 (0)8442 578585 www.trelawneequine.co.uk
New Hooflex Natural W F Young has launched the new Hooflex Natural Spray as part of its expanding hoofcare range. New Hooflex Natural 5oz Spray is a brand-new, first of its kind way to apply hoof dressing. This innovative design sprays from any angle, even upside down. The quiet, non-aerosol spray eliminates messy brushes while keeping the product free of dirt and debris. The new natural formula contains six active natural and herbal ingredients including tea tree oil, arnica, comfrey and avocado oil. These help promote strong, healthy hoof growth when barefoot or shod, and maintain the hoof’s moisture balance. Hooflex Natural spray is available in 148ml non aerosol spray, RRP: £11.99. Absorbine: www.absorbine.co.uk
Equestrian Business Monthly
Building a website Your website is a vital part of your business and business strategy. For some businesses it is key to their success, for others it is a marketing tool. Whatever your business, your website provides a virtual ‘shop window’ to your organisation. Adam Blenkinsop, head of digital services at r//evolution marketing, explains more.
The starting point for any webbased project is to decide and understand what you want it to achieve; what is the purpose of your website? There is a huge difference between a ‘brochure site’ and an ecommerce site. It is crucial to determine the purpose of the website at the beginning of the project as it will be integral in determining the design, structure and functionality of the site. Consideration to the purpose of the site at this early stage will ensure that you won’t become 30
one of the many companies that only discern how they really wanted their site to perform once it is too late and it has been built. Mistakes of this nature can be time consuming and ultimately costly to rectify! It is important to understand that whilst many web projects are undertaken with great urgency, it is critical that they are not rushed. Every aspect of the project needs careful consideration and extensive thought from you as well as your development team and creating a realistic project timeline is the best place to start. Any good web development company will work with you extensively to produce visuals and a detailed specification to make sure the site will do everything you want it to before any development work begins. There isn’t really a website design ‘checklist’ that you should follow to produce the perfect website but there are some key principles that should always be used to design a website that will work for you. The most important aspect of the web design is making it easy to use. You only have about 10 seconds to make a good impression on your site visitors and point them in the right direction before they’ll leave your site so usability is vital. All designs should be clean and clear, just remember that the entire page doesn’t have to be full of text, it’s much better to break things down into bite size chunks than bombard users with lines and lines of content. Well structured navigation is also important to help users find their way around your site, we always try to operate on a three-click rule, meaning users can access any piece of content on a website from any page in no more than three clicks.
Case study – Accapi Project Accapi Nexus is a range of clothing, socks and joint supports that combine natural sources of aluminium, titanium and platinum emitting low levels of infrared, resulting in a host of beneficiaries to athletes looking to improve both performance and recovery. Recently we redeveloped the Accapi Nexus website to enhance its functionality, with the ultimate goal of generating additional awareness and sales through the site. The redevelopment focused on both the design and functionality of the site to optimise the full user experience. The design of the site was improved, moving away from the very bland ‘out-of-the-box’ style of the existing site to bring it more up to date, giving it more character and creating a stronger impact. Research suggests that a user forms their opinion of the site in the first few seconds of their visit so first impressions really count. Additional functionality was incorporated into the site including social media and email marketing integration, allowing users to leave their contact details to be contacted with news and special offers. It’s important that once you have gained a customer, you continue to nurture that relationship to keep them coming back and purchasing your products. Email marketing can prove to be an excellent, cost effective way to do this on a regular and targeted basis. The site navigation was re-structured to streamline the user route through the site, allowing easier access to the key areas of the site, such as the products page. It’s essential that the site users can quickly and easily navigate to the information that they are looking for. This is particularly important in an e-commerce site to ensure there are no ‘barriers’ to site visitors making a purchase. On page optimisation was also carried out on the product pages to enhance the search engine optimisation of the site as well as ensuring that the landing pages were optimised. When a user arrives at a website they will already have an idea of what they are expecting to see. If the page that they arrive on doesn’t have the information that they are expecting, chances are they will quickly leave. Again, in an e-commerce website the landing page optimisation can play an important role in increasing your conversion rates.
Creating content Once the design has been considered the site content needs to be addressed, the content creation process is just as important as the rest of the project. If you are to develop the content it is important that you plan your time carefully and July 2011
Equestrian Business Monthly
better business consider all of the materials that you have available. Alternatively, most web development companies will also offer you copywriting services to produce the content on your behalf. Either way, when the content is created it’s important to focus on search engine optimisation and ensure that the content is written in a ‘search engine friendly’ way. Any good development company will help you with this process and give you advice on the keywords you should be using.
Once you have your website up and running it’s time to get people visiting it. It’s all about
awareness, you could have the best site in the world but if nobody knows it’s there you won’t be getting much return from it. Online marketing is the key to driving traffic to your site and increasing awareness of your organisation. Online marketing tools and techniques such as email marketing and social media marketing are excellent ways to achieve this. The surge in popularity of sites like Facebook and Twitter in recent years has made these platforms invaluable to businesses wanting to increase awareness online. Most websites now integrate fully with social media platforms and email marketing platforms automating many of the processes for you. Relationship building and ongoing communication with your customers is a key aspect of generating traffic, and ultimately business, through your website. A strong database of relevant contacts is vital to this process. The contacts can be used in a whole host of your subsequent marketing communication including both online and offline. In order to start building this database your website should include automated data capture functionality, allowing any site visitors to submit their details for you to contact them in future. Adam Blenkinsop is head of digital services at r//evolution marketing, www.r-evolution.co.uk
Top tips for website building PR and media consultant Marie Bridgwater summarises her top tips for building a website. Design – Your website is your professional presence online. Many of you will have a business colour scheme, but keep it simple – too many colours will be too busy for the eyes. Layout – Keep it clean and simple – if you have a lot of content, make sure it is smartly laid out and your visitors can easily navigate around the site. Style – A simple, clean-cut website is what most of you will need – think sharp boxes of text and an eye catching image. For high-end clients, a classy flash banner and clever widgets can be added (without over complicating the layout). It’s personal preference and depending on your budget. SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) – Without this your website is virtually hidden; think about what you would type in a search engine to find a product or service like yours. Links are important, whether it is via social media or you swap links with like-minded websites – this will increase traffic, and your ranking. Content is key, so each page fill with as much detail as possible and keywords. Be Interactive – My top tip when advising clients is to have a Twitter, Facebook and Blog linked in to your website, and update it regularly for your visitors! Individuality – From a personal point of view, a client isn’t ‘just a client’, like your horse, they are an individual, so bear that in mind when designing a website. Marie Bridgwater is an equestrian PR and media consultant, www.mariebridgwater.com
Marie Bridgwater Equestrian PR & Media Consultant I specialise in website design, redesigns and content management. I hail from an equestrian family, so knowledge and passion is paramount. Your website is your online public image, therefore it needs to reflect you and your business correctly - whatever your budget. Each design is bespoke and personal to your requirements. Be it a modest single page or an impressive visual and interactive experience for your visitors – let me take the reins! For an affordable, dedicated service, please contact me anytime for a free consultation. Managing a small client base entitles me to personally work with a client down to ever y last detail. The design and layout is of most importance, but it’s behind the scenes that matter - SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) - your website will have this built in, this enables you have a ranking in Google. Contracts are available if required - but I won’t tie you down. CMS can be added so you control the updates and future content. Too busy? I will happily manage your updates and blog. +44 (0)7795 416511 email@example.com www.ebmonthly.co.uk
Equestrian Business Monthly
If you would like the Secret Surfer to visit your website just send us your details. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org
www.brontecountrywear.com DESIGN: 5/10
This trade-only website is quite basic in design, although easy to read. On the ‘FAQs’ page the text is not displaying properly, whilst the flashing words on the home page are a little random!
Attractive, clean and modern design with excellent imagery that is hard to fault.
NAVIGATION: 6/10 Fairly straightforward for this small site, although the menus could do with tidying and put in more logical order, perhaps with a tab for ‘Products’ along the top instead of listing them at the side? The ‘Terms and conditions’ page is blank.
CONTENT: News and media:
No news pages. Yes it is a trade-only site, but it’s still good to keep people up to date with company news or offers.
Company information: 3/10 Nothing in the way of company detail or ‘About us’. Basic contact information present, plus useful opening hours information and map, but you have to contact the company for a list of stockists. Small FAQs page available.
Product information: 4/10 The vital product detail is there, but with nothing extra, for example a sizing chart or information on materials. Some of the images could do with being better in quality, in terms of both the shot and the resolution.
OVERALL SCORE OUT OF 50 32
NAVIGATION: 10/10 Very easy and logical navigation, with everything within three clicks.
CONTENT: News and media:
A ‘News’ page lists the company’s press releases. The most recent story was posted one day ago at the time of surfing, although the second most recent is dated October 2010. Perhaps more scope for improvement here.
Company information: 9/10 No ‘About us’ page, although there is a paragraph detailing the company’s values on the home page. However, under ‘Craftmenship’ is much more information, including a pictorial account of how the products are made and a video – really nice touches. ‘Contact us’ gives all the necessary details plus a contact name and email for marketing enquiries and image of the factory. Link to trade account application form also here.
Product information: 9/10 Plenty of information on the qualities and purpose of each range under the various sections, with products well presented, although no RRPs given. Generally just one good-quality image for each product – perhaps extra shots of each product being worn might be an improvement? Detailed and informative extra page on product care, which includes sizing charts.
Equestrian Business Monthly
OVERALL SCORE OUT OF 50
Small and simple design, nothing fancy but it does the job. The image on the home page is a nice picture but doesn’t really highlight the products on offer.
Modern and eye-catching without being too cluttered, particularly on the home page. Much of the text throughout the site is in quite a light shade of grey, which some people might find harder to read.
Fairly simple, but it would be helpful to have the list of products on the left hand side in alphabetical order.
CONTENT: News and media:
News and media:
No news page. There is a good page of media reviews and press clippings, but that is it.
Company information: 4/10 ‘About us’ page is limited to a couple of sentences, much more could be added here. Basic contact information present, with a separate link to ‘Trade enquiries’, which helpfully details the contact details of relevant wholesaler. Stockist page also available.
Product information: 7/10 Product detail is basically good – many of the items have more than one image showing use, with links to some handy FAQs for each. Scope to add more however.
Navigation fairly easy using top bar menu, but perhaps the menu could be a bit more obvious, in size as well as text colour? Contact details not as apparent as could be. Good search bar.
No news page as such, but there is an e-newsletter. One good idea is the retailer news page, though not updated since November 2010. A few interesting little updates on the home page, but they don’t appear to be archived anywhere. Detailed pages on sponsored riders, plus product reviews pages.
Company information: 8/10 Good company information under ‘About us’, including background, ethos and services offered. Contact information is fairly basic, just address, care line phone number and ‘info’ email. Well organised stockist list available, plus good ‘Buy online’ page with links.
Product information: 9/10 Products all logically sorted and well presented, with plenty of images for each (even smaller items such as gloves) plus easy links to ‘Buy online’ and ‘Size chart’. Minor point – when reading the information next to a product, it is a little annoying to have to scroll as the box is small. There are several helpful additional pages of relevant information on materials and care instructions.
OVERALL SCORE OUT OF 50
OVERALL SCORE OUT OF 50 www.ebmonthly.co.uk
Equestrian Business Monthly
SUPPLIERS DIRECTORY A bbey Diagnostics +44 (0)1638 552122 www.abbeydiagnostics.co.uk
Duralock +44 (0)1608 644988 www.duralock.com
Fresha Tank +44 (0)1733 203077 www.aquamidas.com
Innovacyn / Vetericyn Europe +353 91 796896 www.vetericyn.com
Nedz Bed +44 (0)1772 877096 www.nedz.co.uk
Spartan Equestrian Products +44 (0)1474 705065 www.spartanequestrian.com
Abbey Saddlery and Crafts Ltd +44 (0)1565 650343 www.abbeysaddlery.co.uk
E. & E. Corn Supplies (Havens UK) +44 (0)1388 603333
Fuller Fillies Ltd +44 (0)1977 625 025 www.fuller-fillies.co.uk
Intelligent Retail +44 (0)8456 800126 www.intelligentretail.co.uk
Novel gmbh (Pliance) +49 (0)894 177670 www.novel.de
SP Equine Health & Herbal +44 (0)1787 476400 www.equinehealthandherbal.co.uk
Future Forks (by Aubiose) +44 (0)1293 416759 www.futureshavingsfork.co.uk
IV Horse +44(0)1888 544261 www.4horse.co.uk
Parkgate Equestrian +44 (0)1306 631374 www.parkgateequestrian.co.uk
Spoga + Gafa +44 (0)208 6818166 www.spogagafa.com
Fynalite +44 (0)1789 764848 www.fynalite.co.uk
Karoo Equine +44 (0)1706 559569 www.karooequine.com
Osmonds +44 (0) 1948 668100 www.osmonds.co.uk
Spillers +44 (0)1908 222888 www.spillers-feeds.com
Gee Up Equine Laundry +44 (0)1254 822066 www.geeupequinelaundry.co.uk
KC Sports Ltd +44 (0)1823 681100 www. powellprotec.com
Pegasus Equine Diagnostics Ltd +44 (0)1159 124458
Stable Environment + 44 (0)1422 310483 www.stable-environment.co.uk
Gillman’s +44 (0)1452 509050 www.gillmanscommercialappliances.co.uk
Keratex +44 (0)1373 827649 www.keratex.com
Girbau UK +44 (0)1462 427780 www.girbau.co.uk
Kevin Bacon’s +44 (0)1296 662473 www.kevinbacons.co.uk
Kingshead +44 (0)1738 580080 www.kingsheadequestrian.com
Agrifence +44 (0)1432 373920
Earlswood Supplies +44 (0)8450 171351 www.earlswood-supplies.com
Airowear +44 (0)1434 632816 www.airowear.co.uk
Easibed +44 (0)161 370 2360 www.easibed.co.uk
Amigo Stable Mirrors: +44 (0)1858 432652 www.amigostablemirrors.co.uk
Eazitools Equestrian +44 (0)1302 746077 www.eazitools.co.uk
Andis Company +1 262 884 2600 www.andis.com
Eco Comfybed +44 (0)1202 593601 www.ecocomfybed.co.uk
Andover Healthcare email@example.com www.andoverhealthcare.com
Emvelo +44 (0)1494 875848 www.emvelo.co.uk
Animalife +44 (0)1527 857 920 www.animalife.co.uk
equiShopping.com +44 (0)8452 997916 www.equishopping.com
Arctic Fox – Bulls Eye International +44 (0)1923 210646 www.arcticfoxuk.com
Equivet +44 (0) 808 1084995 www.equivetanimalcare.com
Grays of Shenstone +44 (0)1543 483344 www.graysofshenstone.co.uk
Aubiose (Future Forks) +44 (0)1293 416759 www.futureshavingsfork.co.uk
Equestrian Supplies +44 (0)1254 831645
Griffin NuuMed Ltd: +44 (0)1458 210324 www.nuumed.com
B2B +44 (0)870 7510605 www.btoblinks.net B Jenkinson & Sons Ltd +44 (0)1924 454681 www.elico.co.uk Badminton Horse Feeds +44 (0)1425 658450 www.badmintonfeeds.co.uk Baileys Horse Feeds +44 (0)1371 850247 wwwbaileyshorsefeeds.co.uk Battles +44 (0)1522 529206 www.battles.co.uk
Equestrian Vision +44 (0)1403 865320 www.equestrianvision.co.uk Equistro +44 (0)1280 814500 www.equistro.co.uk Equetech +44 (0)1296 688966 www.equetech.com Equilear + 44 (0)1543 414474 www.equilear.co.uk Equilibrium Products +44 (0)1442 879115 www.equilibriumproducts.com
Bling Equestrian www.blingequestrian.co.uk
Equine America +44 (0)1403 255809 www.equine-america.co.uk
Brinicombe Equine +44 (0)8700 606206 www.brinicombe-equine.co.uk
Equine Management +44 (0)1825 840002 www.equineman.com
British Horse Feeds +44 (0)1765 680300 www.britishhorsefeeds.com
Equisorb: +44 (0)1476 585973 www.equisorb.co.uk
Buffera Ltd +44 (0)1707 852244 www.buffwear.co.uk
ESF Services +44 (0)1600 780051 www.tackrepair-rugwash.co.uk
Charles Bentley and Son Ltd: +44 (0)1509 232757 www.bentleybrushware.co.uk
Euro Front International +44 (0)1332 590460 www.eurofront.co.uk
Classic Canes +44 (0)1460 75686 www.classiccanes.co.uk
Faulks & Co. +44 (0)1455 848184 www.wmfaulks.com
Classic Showjumps 0161 765 2010 / 2014 www.classicshowjumps.com
Field Galleries +44 (0) 1932 342055 www.field-galleries.co.uk
Clipper Sharp +44 (0)1823 681076 www.clippersharp.com
Finest Brands International (Toggi and Champion) +44 (0)113 270 7000 www.toggi.com
Cox Agri +44 (0)845 600 8081 www.coxagri.com D&H Animal Husbandry +44 (0)845 270 6691270 2224 www.dandhgroup.co.uk Davies & Co +44 (0)1536 513456 www.equimat.co.uk Dodson and Horrell +44 (0)1832 737300 www.dodsonandhorrell.com Dog Rocks +44 (0)1628 822 243 www.dogrocks.co.uk
Five Star Horse Bedding +44 (0)1732 863116 www.fivestarbedding.co.uk Fly Away +44 (0)1384 877857 www.flyaway.ltd.uk For Riders +44 (0)1865 377853 www.ivriders.com Frank Baines Saddler +44 (0)1922 640847 www.frankbaines.com Friendship Estates +44 (0)1302 700220 www.friendshipestates.co.uk
Groomers Limited +44 (0)845 230 7997 www.groomers-online.com Gumbies Ltd +44 (0)1258 839100 www.gumbies.co.uk GWF Nutrition + 44 (0)1225 708482 www.gwfnutrition.com Harold Moore +44 (0)114 2700513 www.haroldmoore.co.uk HARPLEY Equestrian Ltd +44 (0)115 9611537 www.harpleyequestrian.co.uk Haybar +44 (0)1723 882434 www.haybar.co.uk Healing Tree UK Ltd + 44 (0)7850 738875 www.healing-tree.co.uk Hickstead Horse Feeds +44 (0)845 0250444 www.hicksteadhorsefeeds.co.uk Honeychop Horse Feeds +44 (0)1359 230823 www.honeychop.com Horsefair +44 (0)1264 811425 www.horsefair.co.uk Horse First Ltd +44 (0)2830 848844 www.horsefirst.net Horsemasters Distribution +44 (0)1462 432596 www.mountainhorse.co.uk Horse Source +44 (0)1924 848 438 www.horsesourceltd.co.uk Horsesport www.horsesport.com Horses with Attitude +44 (0)1274 852139 www.horseswithattitude.co.uk Horslyx +44(0)16973 32592 www.horslyx.co.uk Hows Racesafe +44 (0)1536 771051 www.hows-racesafe.co.uk Hunter-Outdoor (K & K CLOTHING) +44 (0)121 555 8334 www.rockall.info
Kitt +44 (0)1278 727755 www.kitt.eu.com LaundryStuff +44 (0)1226 717180 www.laundrystuff.co.uk Lets Talk Horses + 44 (0)1953 850678 firstname.lastname@example.org
PelGar +44 (0)1420 80744 www pelgar.co.uk Petlife +44 (0)1284 761131 www.petlifeonline.co.uk Pfizer Animal Health +44 (0)1304 616161 www.wormingyourhorse.info Polly Products +44 (0)1636 636132 www.pollyproducts.co.uk Pony Maloney +44 (0)1825 872600 www.ponymaloney.com PressPoint +44 (0)1953 851513 www.presspoint.co.uk PrimeVal www.primeval.nl
Stable-Safe +44(0)23 8083 9907 www.stable-safe.com Starkie’s +44 (0)116 2592022 www.starkiesbeeswaxcreams.com Stockshop Limited +44 (0)1392 460077 www.stockshop.co.uk Stormsure Ltd +44 (0)1638 570478 www.stormsure.com Storm waterproofing (UK) Ltd +44 (0)1773 521309 www.stormwaterproofing.com Taurus Footwear and Leathers Ltd +44 (0)1933 674679 www.taurusfootwearandleathers.co.uk
Tayberry +44 (0)1507 524816 www.tayberryoutdoor.com
Life Data Labs Inc +1 256 3707555 www.LifeDatalabs.com
Robinson Animal Healthcare +44 (0)1909 735000 www.robinsoncare.com
Terra-Vac +44 (0)1440 712171 www.terra-vac.com
Likit www.likit.com For orders Westgate EFI +44 (0)1303 872277
Rockall +44 (0)121 5558334 www.rockall.info
The British Horse Society +44 (0)8450 777692 www.bhs.org.uk
Lister Shearing +44 (0)1453 544832 www.lister-shearing.co.uk
Rockfish Riders +44 (0)1503 240615 www.rockfishriders.com
Top Paddock +44 (0)1469 563995 www.top-paddock.co.uk
LITOVET +44 (0)1452 524012 www.litovet.co.uk
Rockies +44 (0)1606 595025 www.rockies.co.uk
Trailer Vision +44 (0)1775 640737 www.trailervision.co.uk
LPD +44 (0)1215 800880 www.lpdlpd.co.uk
Rower & Rub +44 (0)1223 969740 www.roewer-rueb.com
Trelawne Equine Ltd +44 (0)8442 578585 www.trelawneequine.co.uk
LS Sales (Farnam) Ltd +44 (0)1608 683855 www.lesliesutcliffe.biz
Rugged Horse +44 (0)1233 720056 www.ruggedhorse.co.uk
Tuffa International Footwear +44 (0)1953 880914 www.tuffaboots.com
Mackey Ireland Equestrian Wholesale +353 45 404620 www.mackeyequestrian.com
Ruggles & Stopitall +44 (0)1823 259952 www.karenruggles.co.uk
Uncle Jimmy’s Brand Products +1 866 965 4669 www.jimmysballs.com
Marie Bridgwater Equestrian PR & Media Consultant +44 (0)7795 416511 www.mariebridgwater.com
Rugs R Us +44 (0)1695 716262 www.equirugsrus.co.uk
Unibed +44 (0)1977 796278 www.unibed.uk.com
Rutland Fencing +44 (0)1572 722558 www.rutland-electric-fencing.co.uk
V-Bandz +44 (0)8450 956810 www.v-bandz.co.uk
Santé Franglais Ltd + 44 (0)1858 464550 www.aloeride.com
Virbac Animal Health +44 (0)1359 243243 www.equimax-tabs.com
SCH (Supplies) Ltd +44 (0)1473 328272 www.schsupplies.co.uk
VSM Ltd: +44 (0)1664 506746 www.easywormer.com
Sherwood Forest Ltd +44 (0)1159 424265 www.sherwoodforest-uk.com
W F Young, Inc. +001 413 526 9999 www.absorbine.co.uk
ShoeSecure +44 (0)1475 54068 www.shoesecure.com
Wahl +44 (0)1227 740066 www.wahl.co.uk
Silvermoor +44 (0)1665 602587 www.silvermoor.com
Westgate Labs +44 (0)1670791994 www.westgatelabs.co.uk
Smart Grooming +44 (0)1823 681076
Your Gift Horse +44(0)1454 202033 www.yghtrade.com
LexveT International +44 (0)8003 345856 www.lexvetsupplements.com
Maxavita +44 (0)8450 752754 www.maxavita.com Measom Freer +44 (0)116 2881588 www.measomfreer.co.uk Medco Enterprises +92 524 602961 www.medcopk.com Merial Animal Health Ltd +44 (0)1279 775858 www.merial.com Natural Animal Feeds +44 (0)800 373106 www.naf-uk.com Moorland Rider +44 (0)1782 397796 www.moorlandrider.co.uk My Day Feeds +44 (0)845 6023782 www.mydayfeeds.co.uk
Equestrian Business Monthly
Solocomb +44 (0)1235 511358 www.solocomb.co.uk
Zilco +44 (0)1844 338623 www. zilcoeurope.com