PROJECT OVERVIEW: Concord Equestrian is a horse livery business based in Shropshire, which has recently moved into the development and provision of straw pellets for horse and small animal bedding, garden products and biofuel.
PROJECT OBJECTIVES: The owner of the business, Suzanne Digwood, sought a solution to the strain her daughter experienced when carrying out the day-to-day physical chores of running a livery yard after a riding accident. Straw, the traditional bedding for horses, once soiled, is heavy to move. It produces a great deal of waste and can also carry pathogens and mould which is harmful to horses. Straw pellets are effective as an alternative bedding for horses and small animals, but are not widely available in the UK. Consequently, the challenge was twofold: how to start a company selling the pellets in the UK, and how to perfect the product to provide the best bedding for equines as well as a ensuring it was sustainable, bio-degradable and kind to the environment.
PROJECT SOLUTIONS: CREST advised on setting up a new business, financial planning and funding opportunities. After providing an analysis of the market potential, CREST used the facilities at Reaseheath College to analyse the pellets and advised the company on how to generate a market and produce their own. The result is a move towards the development of pellets and evidence to support the benefits of using them. The pelleting process destroys bacteria, pathogens and mould spores so is especially good for horses with allergies or other respiratory problems. The straw pellets are 100% wheat straw, break down easily and are proving to be suitable for a number of additional uses.