A Gateshead equestrian company is saddling up for global growth thanks to increased demand from horse riders in the USA.
GluShu create plastic coated, slip-on horseshoes which swaps nails for glue in an attempt to revolutionise horseshoeing.
The system, developed by design engineer John Wright, was initially produced for horses with damaged hooves but global growth has opened up a number of new opportunities.
The company is experiencing high demand for its product in the USA, and has recently signed a deal with a Florida-based distributor. It has also formed a close working relationship with renowned equestrian institution, the Kentucky Horseshoeing School.
Representatives from the firm will travel to the US later this year to demonstrate the products to horse riders, vets, horseshoeing students and farriers.
Director John Wright says: “The US market is a much easier territory to sell into than the UK. They have big ranches and so many horses – and riders often like to go on long trails lasting days at a time. It’s much more convenient for them to carry our products, rather than heavy tools, in the event that a horseshoe comes off.
“Unlike in the UK where horse shoes must legally be fitted by a qualified farrier, anyone can shoe horses there so they are keen for anything that makes the process easier.”
The company's global growth this year has been supported by innovate2succeed, a programme of business support which helps SMEs to capitalise on new ideas. Innovate2succeed is delivered by RTC North and funded by Innovate UK and the European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.
The scheme enabled GluShu to broaden the appeal of its products, target overseas opportunities and join forces with Newcastle University to research ways of developing glue application methods to suit extreme conditions.
David Boath, innovation specialist at RTC North, said: “GluShu is disrupting an industry that hasn’t changed for hundreds of years. With exciting opportunities emerging on several fronts around the world, it looks to have a very bright future, as more markets open up and it continues to innovate.”
Growth in other markets beyond Europe – including Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Japan and South Africa – has also contributed to a projected increase in sales by 250%.
On the Continent, backed up by its partnership with a glue supplier in the Netherlands, Germany is its fastest growing market, followed by France then Finland.
In the UK, GluShu is selling to farriers, directly to horse owners and, following British Horseracing Association approval, a growing number of racehorse owners and trainers.