20 May 2024

Unanderra’s horse gut health pioneer saddles up for US market expansion after massive growth

| Kellie O'Brien
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Poseidon Animal Health

Poseidon Animal Health owners Peter Lord and Linda Goldspink-Lord. Photo: Supplied.

An ailing horse and backgrounds in animal pharmaceuticals led a Kembla Grange couple to pioneer an equine gut health supplement in 2017 which has not only experienced significant international growth but has now led to branching into the massive US market.

Husband and wife, Peter Lord and Linda Goldspink-Lord, who own Unanderra-based company Poseidon Animal Health, have witnessed an 85 per cent growth across its domestic and export markets in the past year.

The business, which specialises in manufacturing animal digestive health supplements for horses and more recently canines, went national after only six months of operation, before expanding into New Zealand in 2019.

Since, it’s become the biggest player in the horse gut health supplement market across Australia and New Zealand through being in 400 retailers, and is exporting to the UAE, Europe and Asia.

As of this month, it has launched its equine products in the US, setting up stateside manufacturing, distribution, sales, customer service and veterinary expert support.

While Australia makes up 85 per cent of its sales, that’s likely to shift with the move into the US.

Linda said a large part of the business was educating people about the gut and digestive health of their animals through webinars, including educating vets, nutritionists and scientists.

“The nature of the digital world now means you can be delivering education that’s reaching someone anywhere in the world,” she said.

“What would happen was people [from the US] would be sitting on our webinars and ask, ‘How do I get this product?’ and I’d have to say, ‘I’m sorry, you can’t.’”

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Peter said the decision for the expansion was a combination of this continual demand from US customers and knowing the equine industry contributed $122 billion to the US economy – a market that was 10 times the size of Australia and New Zealand combined.

“We see the opportunity to mirror our success in the USA where we know consumer demand is high, due to the volume of enquiries and product requests from US customers we already receive,” he said.

“It’s much easier to be able to service them from the US rather than trying to juggle with export and border control.

“It’s plans we’ve had for a long time, so it’s nice to get there.”

Peter said the largest sector within digestive health for animals was in production animals, such as cattle, sheep, pigs and chickens.

“There’s lots of research that occurs within the production animal space, but equine is much smaller than production animals, but it’s still a large market,” he said.

Linda said it was a market that was growing rapidly in what was a “forgotten space”.

“We’re basically pioneering it, because we haven’t known about gut bacteria until recently,” she said.

“I think as awareness of gut microbes and the role of microbiome grows, people are understanding how important it is.

“The supplements space is massive, but gut health is going to be increasingly important because the lifestyle of animals means they are having more and more health challenges.”

She said that wasn’t just with horses.

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“Across all domestic animals, we’re changing the way they used to live but particularly horses,” she said.

“They don’t always have access to pastures and to roam freely, and they’re under more stress through competition, transport and lifestyle.

“We’ve rapidly changed the way they live and what they eat, so that’s put pressure on them.”

It was getting sick herself that first sparked the idea for supplements, as Linda began learning about the power of gut health.

“I quit sugar, looked at how stress impacts on your gut and it transformed my health,” she said.

“I had a horse at the time that wasn’t doing as well as I thought it should, so I thought: Is gut health important for horses?”

When the products they tried didn’t work, and with Peter having a background in animal pharmaceuticals and manufacturing, they thought they could “do better”.

As University of Wollongong graduates, Linda said it was amazing to see all they had achieved, considering it was a homegrown business employing Wollongong people.

“I think it’s a reminder that if you really believe in something, and you’re prepared to get out there and really work hard and do things a bit differently – because we are industry disruptors – the sky’s the limit,” she said.

“We started this in our 50s, so it’s great to challenge that belief that when you get to your 50s you’re approaching retirement.

“And we’re getting massive growth, despite the current economy.”

Poseidon Animal Health products are used by equestrians at all levels, from Olympians, international show jumpers and Grand Prix dressage riders, to breeders and pony club riders.

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