What's in an innovation? By HUSK Director Louise

Louise Butcher

The word innovation is loosely banded around these days, but what does it really mean to find an innovation? HUSK now proudly holds the patent for their 3D Airflow technology, which is incredible news!  So all of HUSK breathable horse boots and saddle pads technology are now protected!  But what does it mean to innovate? 

Having left the medical field, jobs in companies such as Pfizer, Merck Sharpe and Dohme, and Bristol Myers Squibb, I had seen a lot of meaningful innovation, things that truly changed the lives for many.  I wanted to do the same, something truly meaningful, and health of course is the most important aspect of anyone's life.  I wanted to offer something that would really improve the health of horses.

As you might know, our horse Tia has a scar on her hind leg due to neoprene brushing boots being put on her to protect her when we put her out with a new herd.  Her legs became hot, and her skin reacted to the heat, and the result is a lifelong scar.  Thank goodness no more damage than that.  But we know now through extensive research, that much more damage can occur due to over heating of legs, as they do not have the vascularisation to sweat away excess heat as a trunk and neck does.

Finding the fabric was pretty simple, although we have searched for 4 years to locate the fabric that we have now, which is far superior than the previous.  The journey was long however, ensuring that the correct combinations were achieved, the shapes, the stitching etc!  Everything to ensure that the ultimate boot, saddle pads, and rugs were created for horses all over the world.   This was not plain sailing, and we consider us as learning still every day.

We started testing our breathable horse products from day one, our initial test was with Equine Hour, who had a thermal imaging gun, and ran a full report for us on how our products faired after exercising.  Which we were and still are so grateful for.  It gave me the confidence to perform the second test with Equine Hour and a South West Veterinary practice, again showing incredible results. In fact the vet was amazed that our boots didn't even raise the temperature over the natural rise during exercise!  Each time I would wait for the results with baited breath, as despite producing a product to achieve these results, I still worried that they would not work!  Each time the boots proved their worth.

We then performed axe tests where we placed soft wood under the boots and dropped an axe on them to see if a dent was made, each time barely any dent, proving our claims of dissipating the force of impact.  We even compared against leading brands of protective boot, and many of the harder shell boots simply split under the force and the axe cut straight into the soft wood.  We gasped in amazement.

It got to the point that along with my family, people were urging me to apply for a patent for our technology as I had really found something of value, something that would really make a difference to horses and ponies in terms of their most valuable possession, their health!

I worked with a local firm to submit the patent.  As much as I dreamt of someone valuing my innovation enough to take notice of my submission and grant it, probably like most innovators, the doubt was definitely there.

The following years I spent following polo players all over the world. Testing the products with them and their vets, still nervous that one day they might let me down!  But no, each time they left people astounded with their abilities!  Like magic!  They would ask what the secret was, and all I could say is "the power of the most natural thing, air".

As the years went on, we grew in stature as a business on the basis on the magic of our products, and we slowly watched other companies jumping on the air flow band wagon.  And this is when it really hurts to be an innovator.  To go through the emotional roller coaster of proving the worth of your innovation to others, and the value of what you have achieved, and to see big industry machines snap up the ideas with no emotional investment, only financial.  I'm sure many innovators would say the same.  And many innovators give up on their ideas due to being swept away by these corporate giants, or in fear of it happening.  As a result the amount of innovation introduced to the world, I'm sure is far less than in could be.

So with that in mind, I would like to say personally how much love, sweat, tears, hope, and joy has gone into HUSK's products.  You might not see it as these things are not tangible, but I hope that next time you touch or see one of our products you feel it.  Our products are more than 3D air flow technology, they are all the emotions that have gone into them as well.  They are made with a dream to innovate, and to change the well being of ridden horses and ponies, not financial aspiration.   

On Friday 2nd July 2021 HUSK received an email to say that the patent office has intention to grant the Air Flow Technology patent!  HUSK breathable horse boots, saddle pads and rugs are now considered to be Equine Skin Protectors. I burst into tears, my husband had thought something terrible had happened when I called him!  Tears of years of emotions, relief and pride.  Every innovator's dream!  I consider us blessed, and I urge anyone with an idea to give it a go!  The world needs variety and ideas right now, and you could be the one to deliver something special to change someone's life ..........

Louise x



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