Rural living/horses: Going down a treat with picky eaters
Meath teenagers Kate and Annie Madden have successfully launched flavoured feeds for horses
You can take a horse to water but you cannot make him drink it. The same can often be said for feeding horses, but an ingenious idea by two young horse enthusiasts has changed the way 'picky eaters' feel about their daily grub.
Rated recently by the Irish Independent as one Ireland's hottest 30 start-up companies, Fenuhealth, which produces a range of tasty supplements for horse feed, has seen teenage sisters Kate (14) and Annie (13) Madden go from schoolsgirls to young businesswomen overnight.
As members of the Meath Pony Club, Summerhill-based Kate and Annie often had difficulty getting their ponies to eat their hard feed after a long day in the saddle.
The problem set them thinking and it was only when they began doing some research during the 2014 Dublin Horse Show that they realised they had a viable project on their hands for the 2015 BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition.
Having previously examined the possibility of horses running faster if fed on Mars Bars, Junior Cert student Kate decided to get her sister on board for the 2015 exhibition when she joined her at Loreto College, St Stephen's Green in September.
"From the start horse feed company Connolly's Red Mills offered us great support and helped us to get it going. Our parents, Flor and Orla, have also been fantastic," Kate said.
Through the media they then circulated a survey and received 110 responses from horse and pony owners willing to take part in their project.
"We did a lot of research into flavours to see which might encourage a horse to eat their feed. These were caramel, vanilla and fenugreek. We also tried feed with no flavouring."