Jenny Gregg is a unique young person – part champion equestrian, part entrepreneur – all while she finishes her university degree.
She’s the founder and CEO of Crafted Equestrian, a company dedicated to ending the discomfort of girth galls for horses.
If you, like me, have never been horseback, you may not be aware that girth galls are sores, similar to a blister, which horses get under their legs from the friction of the saddle.
Jenny is looking to target a UK equestrian market worth £4.3 billion annually, with more than 19 million equestrian consumers. Her research indicates that 70% of equestrians have experience with girth galls, and 78% said they have a horse with a sensitive girth area.
Girth galls require expensive veterinary care, and they can keep competition riders out of events.
Jenny explains, “I designed a girth – the piece of equipment that goes under the horse’s tummy that holds the saddle in place – with an innovative pressure-release system. I used moisture-wicking fabrics and foams to come up with a suitable prototype. I’ve re-iterated around 12 times, testing different materials, until I came up with the current version that’s been used effectively in competitions.”
Recently Crafted Equestrian won funding through an International University Pitch-off, to pay for her US patent application. She’s received assistance from Research and Impact for her UK patent.
Her market position benefits from the horse product market being “traditional, with almost all equestrian tack being made the same up until maybe five years ago.”
Jenny goes on to say, “There are no competitive products with a pressure-release system like mine.”
Her innovative girth “allows the skin to wrinkle back and forth so no nipping happens.”
It’s not often I meet an entrepreneur who is fighting against a status quo that’s literally thousands of years old. The only other solution for girth galls is to apply a sheepskin under the saddle, a solution that Jenny says is problematic because they get dirty very quickly, and they can “go through three of them in just one weekend, at a cost of £50 each.”
Jenny competes on the international stage in Mounted Games, at events like the Royal Welsh Show for the Northern Irish team. She insists that her horse hasn’t suffered any girth galls since using her prototype. One of her fellow competitors had a pony with such bad girth galls, it was out of work and had developed a fungal infection.
Jenny proudly says, “I sent over a prototype and they said this was the best the pony had ever gone. With the pressure release system, it was completely dry and the pony went on to win Scottish Championships.”
“That was absolutely fantastic – it was brilliant,” she enthuses.
Jenny’s next plans are to get her prototype tested at UCD’s Veterinary College. She has initial designs for more products that will help horses and riders.
“I’d like to manufacture a pressure-releasing rug for the winter. Horses’ rugs can be quite tight because they’re supposed to be one-size-fits-all, and that’s impossible,” she says.
Jenny is clearly dedicated to using modern materials to improve the welfare of horses. She will also finish her undergraduate degree at Ulster University this year.
Crafted Equestrian is based in Comber, Northern Ireland and is a finalist in this year’s Invent competition in the Agri-Science category.