Since 2018, EQUITANA Melbourne, partnered with Show Pony Creative has been running the EQUITANA Business Awards for participating exhibitors as part of Australia’s largest gathering of horse lovers – EQUITANA Melbourne.
The 2022 EQUITANA Melbourne Business Awards heralded great success with over 50 entries across four Innovation Award Categories, with some exciting innovations taking out the coveted awards.
The Innovation Awards were open to EQUITANA exhibitors for products released to the Australian market after 2018 (the last time EQUITANA was held due to COVID-19). The awards are initially judged on a written submission to select the three finalists in each category, who then presented in person to the Judge’s Panel during EQUITANA Melbourne. All finalists also received the opportunity to display their products at the EQUITANA Business Awards Display which was very popular with ticket holders.
The Innovation Awards this year were judged by a panel of three experienced, esteemed Judges from Australia, the United Kingdom, and New Zealand. Claire Williams, the Executive Director of the British Equestrian Trade Association, Lisa Sweeney, the Director of Business in Heels, an organisation working to empower women in business and Sarah Mckinlay, Advertising Manager for New Zealand’s iconic equestrian publication, NZ Horse & Pony.
The Technology Innovation Award celebrates new technology in the equestrian industry and was won by Sonaray Equestrian with their Complete Off Grid Light and Power Solution. Judge Sarah Mckinlay said she could see this product being a game changer for rural communities and properties. The runner-up was awarded to Duncan Equine’s electric fencing wire Shockcoat. Judge Claire Williams noted it was a clever product and she had not seen anything like this in the UK.
Innovation award celebrates new and innovative saddlery or horse items. The 2022 winner was Scoot Boots with their new hoof boot Scoot Enduro. Judge Lisa Sweeney noted the export opportunity with this product was huge. The runner-up was Hairy Pony with their clever Plaiting Apron which had a spot for everything!
The Rider Innovation award celebrates innovative products suitable for the equestrian rider on and off the horse. The winner was ARRO Helmets with the C3 Helmet. All three judges were impressed with the improved level of safety this helmet uses, being approved by the highest safety standard Snell E2021 but in a smart-looking helmet. The runner-up was Herm. Sprenger with the fairRider Spurs, which bring innovation to traditional spur usage.
The Vet and Feed Innovation award celebrates new and innovative vet or feed products for horses. The 2022 winner was Benchmark with the Benchmark Perfect Mash. The judges loved the sustainability of the recyclable bags, and the simplicity of the product using super fibres and an industry first Melo-feed extracted melon fruit pulp and juice. The runner-up was Bare Equine with the Beeswax Blue Balls, a clever way to treat seedy toe, white line distortions and resections in horses and donkeys.
The final award is the popular People’s Choice Award where EQUITANA Ticket Holders were able to vote for their favourite exhibition display. Voting took place at the EQUITANA Business Award display, and ticket holders also went into the draw to win a prize from Schockemöhle Sports. Hairy Pony was a clear winner with their beautiful display, including custom wood railings and clever features such as shopping baskets for visitors.
The Business Awards finished off with a presentation of the winners at the close of the exhibition on Saturday Night. Equine Productions CEO Rod Lockwood along with Despina Mitrakas, Director of Show Pony Creative and judge representative Claire Williams from BETA presented the winners with their prizes.
We would like to thank all of our entrants and winners for taking part in the event – as the equine industry in Australia thrives on innovation and creation, making it stronger and more resilient for the future – which after the last few years, we all now see as being vital to sustain the industry we know and love.