HUSK. which stands for Horse Ultra Sports Kit
by Louise Butcher, Founder and Director
HUSK was built on a dream to innovate and challenge the status quo, as well as a love for horses and the desire to help improve their well-being.
I been riding since I was 3, and always had a love for horses! In fact my ballet teacher told me that if I could perform ballet on a horse then I would be the best ballet dancer that she had ever seen! I exchanged posters of film stars for horses all over my bedroom wall, I dreamt of horses when I woke up in the morning and before I went to bed at night!
I got my first horse Monty when I was 20, after having ridden the horses and ponies that no one else wanted to ride or look after for 17 years of my life! My parents promised that once I had completed university and found a job, they would buy me a horse, so I did just that and the rest was history.
The other part of me has always been entrepreneurial, and a solution finder. Having worked for pharmaceuticals, I worked my way up the ladder to creating marketing strategies and solutions for countries all over the world, which satisfied my creative, solution orientated side. Although my mind was always searching for more solutions to find and create!
I then had two children, and I found that I was away from them for too many hours, and with one being quite sick as a baby, I wanted to be with them more and more. I also dreamt of creating a business that I could offer opportunity for my children to learn and benefit from. As well as a business that was built on our family morals, rather than those of often many ruthless corporations that I had been associated with in the past. This is why HUSK was formed!
My horse Tia was a sensitive thoroughbred, she couldn't wear leg protection due to reacting to her own sweat, causing her to scar. Coming from a scientific background I enjoyed reading about medical research, and read many clinical papers that spoke of the dangers of over heating horse tendons and muscles. With both in mind, I refrained from using leg protection on my horse in fear of over heating, and searched unsuccessfully for a boot that offered protection without over heating. I also searched for a product that had been tested to prove any breathable, cooling claims that were made, and again felt unsuccessful.
Whilst I was pregnant with my second child, I had come across a 3D material that boasted of being thermoregulating, and investigated into whether this material could be used to make leg protection for horses in the form of exercise boots to prevent over heating. After much discussion with professional riders and vets, and producing and rejection of samples, the first boot was made – the HUSK schooling boot. This boot has been the foundation of our portfolio, which extends now from boots to saddle cloths and sheets.
A year into business I had the privilege of meeting international polo vet Dr Jorge MacDonough, and we shared stories of our passion for finding a solution to leg protection for horses that was light, protective, and non-heating. It was then that HUSK moved to another level, as we worked with Jorge and his son Pablo (a world class polo player) to create a boot for polo.
Two years into working on the boots, we were met with tragedy as Jorge passed away. Jorge’s nephew Jacinto told me that the day before he passed he told him that we must push on with the development of the HUSK boots, so we all knew that it was important to finalise these designs and create a legacy for Jorge. In the summer of 2018, the designs were complete, and HUSK performed a road trip around many of the polo yards trialling the boots for fit, stability, protection, and performance. We were given the green light! We called the boots La Irenita Sport Air boots, after Jorge’s stud and polo team in his honour. That year at the Argentine Open, we launched the boots, and Jorge’s son Pablo was the first to step onto the field with his horses kitted out in La Irenita Air Sport Air boots. The rest is history! We now proudly kit out all of La Irenita horses, as well those belonging to other polo legends such as Adolfo Cambiaso, Juan Martin Nero, Facu Sola, Rodrigo Andrade to name a few…..
We continue to test our products regularly to prove not only to others, but to give us at HUSK the confidence to make the claims that we do. These tests comprise of independent reviews, trials, vet assisted work, as well as our in-house work. We regularly listen to customer feedback and act quickly on making any changes that need to be made. We never, and, will never believe that we or our products are perfect, and this attitude gives us the open mindedness to continue to strive to be better, and above all listen.
Based in rural Devon, UK, surrounded by nature, HUSK are passionate about the environment. We operate as sustainably as possible mainly using local materials and manufacturers to minimise our carbon footprint, as well as recyclable materials and plastics. All our products are made with a rip stop 3D material. The outer layers are porous, and allow for airflow in and out, as well as across the layers. These two layers are held together by a network of monofilament fibres, like a 3D spider’s web! This 3D web traps the air, and the movement of the horse forces the air to move through the layers, almost like a wind tunnel. This aerates the horse’s skin constantly whilst the material is against its skin, and any excess heat or water rises up and out of the external porous layer, protecting the horse from overheating, and from staying wet for too long! The 3D web also spreads force of impact better than denser materials like neoprene, which concentrates the impact to the area at which is was applied, or hard materials that are conduits for vibration.
The excitement for the product has been phenomenal and worldwide. Our UK and Global patents are in, and we are spreading the word as far as we can to protect our horses’ and ponies’ future, as well as create a legacy for our children with our business, and hopefully be an example to others that dreams do come true.
Welcome to HUSK, the Horse Ultra Sports Kit!