Equine Degree Students visit BETA International 2014
The first and third year equine degree students were lucky enough to visit BETA International 2014 at the NEC in Birmingham during February Study Week. This trip had direct links to modules that the students are currently studying. The first year FdSc/BSc (Hons) Applied Equine Studies and Equine Therapies students are studying modules called ‘Working in the Equine Industry’ and ‘The Equine Industry’ and the third year BSc (Hons) and BSc (Hons) ‘Top Up’ students are studying a module called ‘Advances in Equine Research’
BETA stands for the ‘British Equestrian Trade Association’ and BETA International is the world’s leading trade fair for the equestrian, country clothing and pet product sectors (BETA, 2014). BETA is regarded as the ultimate trade experience and is a world-renowned exhibition built on a rich tradition of innovation, design and invention. For our students, it enabled them to witness some of the finest business and networking opportunities in a variety of areas in the equine industry where they were able to discover exciting new products, observe trade prices for products and brands that are well known to them and chat to the names behind the brands, all under one roof.
The students were excited to see new products to the market which included the newest colour schemes and designs for currently known items. They were quite amazed by the trade prices for well-known goods such as jodhpurs and boots, but then subsequently disappointed when they realised that they could not purchase just one pair for themselves because, as visiting students, they were not considered retail outlets! This led to many entrepreneurial conversations about how to go about setting up a tack shop! A specific new piece of equipment called the ‘Harmony Equine Feeder’ caught the eye of the first years who were in the process of writing an assignment on improving horse management strategies to promote horse behaviour and welfare, for their module in ‘Horse Health and Welfare’.
A further interesting feature at BETA International this year was the inclusion of a seminar on the puppetry of the War Horse puppets used in the London Stage Show. This highlighted a further area of equestrianism, not necessarily instantly associated with the knowledge obtained from completing an equine degree, where equine understanding can be applied.
Overall, BETA International 2014 was a worthwhile learning experience, especially as on the way home from the NEC we were able to stop at a tack shop where the students could directly compare the retail prices to the trade prices they had just witnessed at BETA. This may have, however, further exacerbated their disappointment in not being able to purchase at trade prices!
HE Equine Lecturer