'Good time to be exporting' – BETA
Hay steamers and riding holidays, boots and bridles were among the products promoted via an export mission led by the British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA) to the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event in the US on 23-26 April.
Many of the nine companies exhibiting within the British Pavilion during the international event benefited from UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) funding secured by BETA. BETA had its own stand at the event, as well as making logistical arrangements for the British group.
“'Rolex' visitors comprise leisure and business-orientated horse people, many of whom are on the look out for new ideas. British equestrian goods and services are renowned in the US for high quality and innovation – so the British Pavilion was very busy,” said Claire Williams, executive director of BETA.
Norfolk based footwear specialist Tuffa was delighted to discover a buoyant market for sheepskin lined boots on its first foray to Kentucky – even in temperatures of up to 90 degrees.“It was very useful to be part of the British group, it gave us instant identity and was like being part of a family,” said Richard Girling of Tuffa. BETA's support was very helpful too on what was a learning curve for us. “We made a lot of contacts and the Americans liked our prices. This is a good time to be exporting.”
American shoppers also warmed to the prospect of a riding holiday, taking in the Lake District scenery from the enviable vantage point of a Clydesdale horse.
“We had serious interest for next year and even the year after that,” said Andrew Butcher of Cumbrian Heavy Horses. “Lots of visitors hadn't considered holidays on heavy horses, but were really excited by the idea.”
Andrew applauded BETA's inclusion of equestrian tourism into its trade mission concept. “We were something different and I hope we enhanced the British group. It's a relationship we would like to maintain.”
American riders have lost none of their enthusiasm for British saddlery, according to Garry Baines of Walsall based Frank Baines Saddlery who joined the BETA-led group to support its US stockists.
“We wanted to promote our brand and let the American public actually see our saddles and sit in them before referring them to their local stores. There was fantastic interest in our Enigma cross country saddle and Omni dressage saddle which both use very soft, tactile English leather.”
Other companies exhibiting in the British Pavilion were Barnsby Saddlery, Black Country Saddlery, Happy Horse Products, Propress Equine, Alexander James of Pendlebury and KC Sports.
BETA is a UKTI Approved Trade Organisation. Access to funding is open to eligible BETA member and non-member companies of any size and to manufacturers, distributors and retailers. BETA-led trade missions particularly appeal to new exporters or businesses seeking to explore new overseas markets.
BETA has also secured UKTI funding for exportmissions to the Spruce Meadows Masters, Canada (9-13 September) and the World Equestrian Games (WEG) in Kentucky in 2010.
The British Equestrian Trade Association (BETA)