From the horse's mouth

From the horse's mouth

Mongolia may not be top of everyone’s exports wish-list but armed with the right product it can be a land of opportunity, as one North East SME has found.

Hardened by an upbringing spent in harsh, cold and windy conditions, Mongolia’s horse racing herdsmen are among the most revered when it comes to the planet’s toughest horse races.

But genetic equine superiority and the harnessing of skills that date back to ancient times can only take a man and his trusty steed so far on race day.

Like all sports in these modern times, miracle formulas, chemical compounds and science play their part in pushing for those extra performance percentages.

And in many stables across the world’s 19th largest country (says Wikipedia) , their vitamin-driven performance booster comes from the unlikely source of Tyneside.

Selling horse nutritional products to a nation in which horses play such a pivotal role in daily life is not quite coals to Newcastle, but for Newcastle-based Equine Products UK it certainly is something of a coup.

The company has just secured its first order with EuroPharma, Mongolia’s largest pharmaceutical importer.

Four pallets of supplements are now being prepared to leave the North East for the Mongolian capital Ulan Bator. Hopefully more will follow, the supplier says.

“Horses are sacred in Mongolia and there is new wealth in the country, which is being invested in the equine industry,” says commercial director Justin Ridley .

“We’re looking forward to developing a close relationship with EuroPharma to explore other regions where our products can be used as we continue to grow the business.”

Horse racing is currently undergoing a phase of development in Mongolia with the country’s jockey club buying a number of broodmares and horses in training in the UK.

Equine tourism is also thriving there, with events such as the Mongol Derby - one of the longest and toughest horse races in the world - using more than 700 horses during the 14 day race.

The majority of Equine Products UK will be used by herdsman taking part in an ancient Mongolian festival to celebrate heroism and masculinity.

Described by Equine Products UK as the Kentucky Derby, the Olympics and Christmas rolled into one, Mongolia's Naadam is an 8-centuries-old celebration devoted to the three "manly sports" — horse racing, wrestling and archery.

“This is an exciting new market for us to be exporting to and Mongolia has a very different way of doing business than the middle east, for example,” says Ridley.

“I am sure the Mongolian horses will benefit from our popular supplements, such as Selenavite E, Everyday Electrolyte and TransVite which will support their performance and general health.”

Are you an SME with an unusual export story? Email andrew@room501.co.uk with details.