I first started selling supplements for calming back in 1996 for Horse Health Products UK Ltd, a franchise of Farnham Inc, USA. The product was called ‘Ez Calm’ and the formula was based around Tryptophan (an essential amino acid), it’s called essential because the body can’t make it and so must be acquired from food. I personally supplied this product as part of a range (Red Cell, Electro Dex, Ice Tight, Maxflex) to stores, vets and end users across the entire UK as I became the director of sales for the 8 franchises that covered the country, including Lisa Hunt (now Lemieux) and Cotswold Horse (Jonathan Nelson’s company).
Ez Calm was a yellow / cream type of powder and was only available in a 1kg tub. It had a purple lid on a white tub and from memory retailed at around £25. As always, there was a trade price (around £17) and a wholesale price that the franchises purchased the product at (around £11). So I’m guessing that for us to make a profit on this product, having paid for the marketing and the shipping of the product, we would need to be buying it at around £5 per tub. Now the scary thing is that Farnham was making a profit on selling it to us!! So I worked out that having considered the overheads of Farnham and for them to make a profit on the product, then the active ingredients in the tub would probably have actually cost around just £2.
I know what you’re thinking, ‘the formula needs to be pretty damned good’ to have the desired effect on every horse when the ingredients cost just £2. Well the truth of it was that despite this now being a banned substance, the re-order rate was only around 40% with end users and it never became a big seller in the stores either.
We then moved on to a valerian based product called Quietex which was in white tub, white lid, blue writing and retailed at around £30, once again supplied by Farnham. With the route to market being the same as Ez Calm, I’m guessing that the ingredient costs would be around £3. This formula would now not be allowed to be used in competition but even so the reorder rate was very similar at just 40% and sales were not huge.
Feedback kept coming in from customers using Promax, a re-branded Protexin Pre & Pro Biotics product that was just as effective at calming tense horses as the calming powders. In the turn of the century, others formulas hit the market including So Calm, Nupa Feed, Magnoplex and even Slut Mix.
Some worked better than others but after 10 years of analysing feedback and trends it became clear that there were specific ‘types of horses / ponies’ that responded better to different ingredients. In my personal area of Newmarket and East Anglia I began to target these different types of horses with different calming formulations and low and behold the re-order (retention) rate increased substantially.
Moving on another decade to where we are today, I’m pleased and proud that the retention rates of our bespoke formulas is as high as I’ve ever known. Using the experience I’ve gained in the last 25 years regarding the ingredients that have had the best effect on different types of horses and ponies, us formulators can tailor what is required for the individual far more effectively. The information submitted on the specific enquiry forms gives us an excellent idea if their bespoke formula requires more digestive components (Pre & Probiotics / Zeolite) or herbs to assist with seasons (Chamomile / Milk Thistle). We can assess condition, add whey protein if required to increase muscle mass / strength, or indeed add many other ingredients to help hooves, coat or what ever is required. We create feeding rates to suit the individual and often refine formulas for horses throughout the year as their situations change, perhaps moving yards or for a mare that suffers seasonal issues during the spring/summer.
There is a definitely a need for instant calming for short term specific occasions and the sugar free Liquid Caalm option ticks this box perfectly. It’s effects are short lived though and it will not address underlying issues that the individual horse or pony has. That box needs to be ticked with good management and by a daily fed calming bespoke.
These bespoke calming types of formula work so much better than any ‘one formula suits all’ formula as we have the ability to tailor make them to the individual horse. As all horses are different this unique way of formulating is absolutely essential, not just important. If you do choose the Bespoke way then you’ll also be comfortable in the knowledge that you’re getting far better value too as our fresh, powerful ingredients arrive at Felixstowe docks from their country of origin and are delivered direct to us as Hack Up Bespoke HQ where our hand making factory creates the bespoke formula. It is then sent directly to you, within 24 hours. This means there are no middlemen (retailers / wholesalers) taking their cut and bumping up the price and pushing down the value for money for horsey folk.
Bespoke formulas for calming are not just important, but ESSENTIAL!!
CALM20 is the coupon code to use this July to get 20% extra FREE in your 1kg & 2kg bespoke that's designed to calm/settle.