During the 1980s, Tom MacGuinness was working at his family’s riding stable in Dundalk, Ireland. Fed up with using horse blankets that leaked and slipped, he set out to create a warm, durable, waterproof and properly-fitting blanket. It became a hit among other horse owners, and in 1985, Tom and his wife Carol launched Horseware Ireland.
The couple were keen to expand their product line, so when they were approached by Louisa Williams with an idea for a massage and cooling boot for horses, they took her on board. From there, with Louisa’s help, it was a short step to developing products for dogs as well as horses.
“Our dog range started out with miniature versions of the horse blankets,” says Louisa, adding that the North American branch of the company is located in Kinston, North Carolina. “As the popularity of our dog products has grown, we have branched out into healthcare products for dogs. We recently launched Sportz-Vibe, a massage therapy coat for dogs.”
“My inspiration for creating the massage coat was that my St. Bernard suffered from hip dysplasia at just one year old,” explains Louisa. “I felt he was too young to start medicating and I wanted to find an alternative, so I built a prototype using the massage panels from the horse boots I developed, and one of our dog coats, and noticed immediate results.”
“It helps relieve pain in dogs suffering from back or hip conditions and can be used to ease soreness and stiffness after long workouts in performance dogs,” she continues. “The coat has two removable massage panels that work alternately on either side of the dog’s back to stimulate circulation. By encouraging the lymph system to move, massage helps drain inflammation and stimulate repair to damaged tissue. Using the coat before exercise can help reduce the risk of injury, as increasing blood fl ow to muscles, tendons and ligaments helps make them more elastic. The coat also helps manage everyday wear and tear on joints, while rehabilitation through injury can be achieved more quickly.”
Horseware Ireland’s mission is to create innovative products that make life easier and more comfortable for animals and their people. “We believe that people’s love for their dogs and horses comes first, and our products help us give them the best life we can,” says Lousia. This mission also extends to homeless animals. “We are a regular contributor to charities around the world. We donate over 250 blankets every year to horses and dogs with the ISPCA, RSPCA, and the IHWT, among others.”
“I love helping animals,” Louisa says. “It’s as simple as that. I love helping them have a better quality of life. I hope our products help more dogs and horses around the world live a full and healthy life.”