On Sunday, I attended the Beta International event at the NEC in Birmingham.

The BETA Group

“The British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) represents more than 800 British suppliers and retailers.

Members include producers of famous brands and more than 400 tack shops across the UK.

It supports riders and horse owners by striving for excellence on behalf of equestrian shops and shoppers – and protects consumers by making sure that only tack shops run in a professional manner are allowed to become members and display the trade association’s logo.”

BETA Group


Trade Exhibition

BETA International is a world-leading trade exhibition that supports the equestrian, country clothing, outdoor and pet product sectors.

In this particular year they are also celebrating its 40th anniversary.

Usually held at this time of year [January] the event is on for three days and offers the ideal networking opportunity for members of the industry as well as a chance to see hundreds of the most exciting and innovative new products that are to be unveiled.

During the event, there is a daily timetable of top-class speakers, celebrity interviews and prestigious industry awards.

Why I Attended?

This was only my second time attending Beta but to be honest I only went to see the Society of Master Saddler’s (SMS) ‘President’s Choice’ competition entries display, as I had entered into this also.

Otherwise, I like to have a look around the other saddle and bridle manufacturers’ and see what new and exciting designs are coming out.

Going to BETA

We usually go as a family so there is little chance to network properly but all in all it’s a nice day out.

Suppliers and Manufacturers

Abbey England

I liked Abbey England’s trade stand this year.

Not only did they have a lovely inviting stand which showcased their own leatherĀ and metal work, but they also had a ‘pavilion’ section.

This was where a number of smaller companies had taken residence in and were getting some exposure.

I suspect this was a cheaper option for the smaller companies to display at BETA rather than buy a stand in their own right.

Something that hit me the most when I saw the pavilion section, was how great it was seeing British companies support other British companies.

Spire Leather (Clayton Leather Group)

I was also very surprised to see a company called Spire Leather, operating out of the old Clayton Street Tannery in Chesterfield.

I knew of the Clayton Street Tannery because they brought out Sedgwicks a couple of years prior to their own liquidation.

Thankfully, a group of local businessmen have clubbed together and revived the Clayton Street tannery under the new name of ‘Spire Leather’.

I hope they will continue to develop and supply British leather to us Saddlers.

Equitek Ltd

Whilst we were at the event the best innovative product we saw and mainly caught the eye of my daughter, was a Unicorn Saddle.

It’s not a very practical saddle, I admit, but it’s very beautiful nevertheless.

The Presidents Choice

Every year, the Society of Master Saddlers (SMS) organise a National Saddlery Competition where Trainee, Qualified and Master Saddlers enter leather work items they have produced.

There are a variety of categories available to enter and everyone hopes to win an award and in some cases a monetary prize.

Over the last couple of years, the Society of Master Saddlers (SMS) have chosen to display the ‘Presidents Choice’ entries at BETA.

This is great for us because not only do we get marked on our technical ability by the SMS judges but also get votes from the public too.

I can’t tell you which entry is mine but it is amongst these pictures.

National Saddlery Competition

On Monday 4th February 2019, I will be attending the National Saddlery competition in London.

I’m not expecting an award, but it will be great to meet some new and old friends as well as admire some stunning leatherwork.

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