The founder of a major equine bedding company has been recognised for his pioneering efforts to promote equine respiratory health. Tim Smalley of Bedmax received the BETA Lifetime Achievement Award at the British Equestrian Trade Awards (BETAs) on Sunday (10 September).

Tim was honoured for his contribution to the field of bedding. He was one of the first to recognise the widespread problem of respiratory disease in stabled horses and the critical importance of eliminating airborne dust from the two main sources: forage and bedding. His vision was to create products that improved equine health, wellbeing and performance while also optimising convenience and cost for the horse owner and or trainer.

“Tim single-handedly redefined the business of equine bedding and his contribution is widely recognised and acknowledged throughout the equine industry both here in the UK and Internationally,” a spokesman for the BETAs said.

Several other individuals were celebrated, including Steph Lynch of Houghton Country, who won the Weatherbeeta Group Retail Employee of the Year. The judges said Steph was a “motivated, dedicated and capable employee who is also a focused and fun team player”. Sarah Rushby of Saracen Horse Feeds received the Equine Careers Sales Representative of the Year, who judges said has a “total dedication to her work, [and] leads her feed sales by providing training and education so that there is a true understanding, and therefore appreciation of the products that she sells can be valued and leading to flourishing sales”

Companies who came out on top included Bolerolux Equestrian & Country Wear and Redpost Equestrian, who were named Zebra Products Retailer of the Year, with Redpost receiving the online and in-store titles and Bolerolux the new company accolade. Equilibrium Products was recognised for their excellent marketing and received the Holdsworth PR Marketing Effectiveness award, while TopSpec Equine Thirsk took the Stubbs England Nutritional Helpline of the Year award.

Bliss of London were named Citation Trade Supplier of the Year in recognition of their excellence in supply and customer service, while Charles Owen received the SEIB Insurance A Great Place to Work award, which was a new accolade for 2023. The judge praised their “inclusive and considerate culture”.

Another new award for 2023, was the Equine Fitters Council Equine Fitter of the Year. Designed to recognise the work undertaken by saddle, bridle and bit fitters, the category received over 1,500 nominations for more than 100 fitters. Joint Winners were John Hirrel, of Barlaston Horse Supplies, and Lorna Hancock of Lorna Hancock Saddle Fitting. A third new award, the BETA Rider Safety Equipment Fitter, was Amanda Burrows of A2B Equestrian, who won the title thanks to her detailed knowledge of the standards.

“This year saw another set of deserving winners in the Business Awards receiving our rebranded and newly designed awards and four additional categories to the array of awards,” said BETA executive director Claire Williams. “The bar is always set extremely high and those who received a trophy represented the very best in the industry. We send our congratulations to them all and our thanks to the companies who sponsored the awards.”

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