Invention allows horses to be transported with studs fitted

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Graf Enterprises has been helped by Invest NI to develop StudSafe, which allows horses to be transferred with their studs in place . Pictured are Olive Hill, of Invest NI, and  Graf Enterprises founder Brian Livingstone.
Graf Enterprises has been helped by Invest NI to develop StudSafe, which allows horses to be transferred with their studs in place . Pictured are Olive Hill, of Invest NI, and Graf Enterprises founder Brian Livingstone. © Matt Mackey/Press Eye Photography

A company in Northern Ireland has developed a product that allows horses to be transported with studs already fitted to their horseshoes.

Brian  Livingstone, a retired teacher, came up with the new product idea while helping his daughter, a vet, with her horses at equestrian events.

His product, StudSafe, took two years to develop.

“When horses are competing on grass surfaces in show jumping or eventing, metal studs are fitted to the shoes to provide better grip,” he explains.

“This is usually done on arrival at the show as there is considerable risk of injury to the horse or others in transit, if travelling with pointed studs already fitted.

“StudSafe is a polymer cover that can be used to allow studs to be fitted to horseshoes before travelling, when the horse is in its own stable and is calm and relaxed, saving time at shows. It’s also much safer for the handler.

“When fitted, the cover leaves the hoof level and balanced, whereas without this cover, the horses would be standing on the higher studs, just like high heels, putting strain on tendons and the very delicate bone structure of the hoof. The protective cover also prevents possible damage to the transporting vehicle’s floors and walls.

“StudSafe provides a cover for a studded horseshoe, which is quickly and easily fitted and removed.”

Livingstone said no fastening devices were required. “It simply pushes on and peels off. The studs’ cover leaves the hoof both level and balanced and enables the horse to walk safely on hard surfaces with studs fitted.

“As horseshoes and studs are similar in all countries, this product has the potential to sell worldwide. Feedback from contacts in the equestrian industry has been very positive.”

Livingston set up a business, Graf Enterprises, in Banbridge, to develop the product.

The business used a voucher from Invest Northern Ireland to develop the product. This enabled Livingstone  to seek advice and practical support from experts at Queen’s University’s CNC Machine Shop to develop a mould tool required to make the protective polymer covers.

Graf Enterprises also received assistance from Invest NI towards patenting the product.

Invest NI’s director of technology and process development, Olive Hill, said the product was  innovative and provided a proven solution to a longstanding problem for equestrian professionals and enthusiasts involved in what is now a global industry requiring products and services worth around £4 billion annually.

“The product is an excellent example of how an Innovation Voucher can be used to transform a smart idea into a marketable product with significant export potential.

“The voucher enabled the company to benefit from the expertise and facilities available at Queen’s University Belfast and to take the idea forward to a stage in which it could be manufactured in volume.”

 

 

 

 

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