Plaidcast 360: Cynthia Montague, Barbara Jacobsen & Amy Hassinger by Taylor, Harris Insurance Services

Plaidcast 360 Cynthia Montague Barbara Jacobsen Amy Hassinger


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Piper speaks with Cynthia Montague about her supplement company Biostar US. The owner of The Engraver, Barbara Jacobsen, joins to talk about the evolution of her business. Lastly, Amy Hassinger joins to talk to being an owner and entrepreneur in this sport, and we also talk about her latest fashion venture, AP Hassinger. Brought to you by Taylor, Harris Insurance Services. Listen in!


  • Host: Piper Klemm of The Plaid Horse Magazine
  • Guest: Cynthia Montague “Tigger” is the founder and owner of BiostarUS. Her company makes whole food supplements for horses and dogs. Tigger has spent the last 30 years in the nutrition field with emphasis on Eastern Medicine, particularly Ayurveda. 
  • Guest: Barbara Jacobsen is the owner of The Engraver & The Green Hill Collection located in beautiful Chester County, Pennsylvania. For over four decades The Engraver has specialized in all things involving equestrian engraving, from wholesaling to select shops across the country to engraving the trophies for the prestigious Devon Horse Show. Our customers range from Olympians to the most humble of back yard ponies. As always, our products are all hand-crafted in the USA.
  • Guest: In the hunter ring, Amy Hassinger is recognized as an active competitor and the owner of the well-known stallion Cadouch Z, currently ridden by Tori Colvin. But outside of the ring, she’s a multi-business owner of well known companies such as Equine Healthcare International, Hassinger Biomedical and A.P. Hassinger, her latest fashion venture which you can read about in the September issue of the magazine.
  • Title Sponsor: Taylor, Harris Insurance Services, Taylor, Harris Insurance Services (THIS) was founded in 1987 to provide specialized insurance for all types of equine risk. THIS places their policies with the highest rated and most secure carriers, meticulously selected for reliability and prompt claims settlement. THIS is proud of their worldwide reputation for responsive and courteous service, and welcomes the opportunity to discuss your equine insurance needs and provide you with a quote.
  • Subscribe To: The Plaid Horse Magazine
  • Sponsors: American Stalls, Purina Animal NutritionAmerica CryoAlexis Kletjian Jewelry, LAURACEA, BoneKare, Show Strides Book Series, With Purpose: The Balmoral Standard and Good Boy, Eddie

This transcript was generated automatically. Its accuracy may vary.

Piper Klemm [00:01:02] This is the Plaidcast, I’m Piper Klemm, publisher of the Plaid Horse magazine. And coming up today on episode 360, I talk with Cynthia Montague about her horse and dog supplement company, Biostar U.S.. Then I’m joined by Barbara Jacobsen, the owner of the engraver, talking about the evolution of her business over 40 years. And lastly, I will speak with Amy Hassinger about being an owner and entrepreneur in the sport. And we talk about her latest fashion venture, AP Hassinger. This episode is brought to you by Taylor Harris Insurance Services. 

Piper Klemm [00:02:39] Cynthia Montegue known as Tigger is a founder and owner of Biostar US. Her company makes Whole Foods supplements for horses and dogs. Tigger has spent the last 30 years in the nutrition field with an emphasis on Eastern medicine. You can find more information at biostarus. com. Welcome back to the podcast, Tigger. 

Cynthia “Tigger” Montague [00:02:59] Thanks, Piper. It’s great to be with you again. 

Piper Klemm [00:03:01] Absolutely. So can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you decided to start Bio Star? 

Cynthia “Tigger” Montague [00:03:07] My background originally was more medical surgical, and that’s kind of where I started my career. And I got very interested in alternative medicine and I went to work in the early 1980s. I left Medical surgical and went to work for a human supplement company. And as they say, the rest is history. I’ve been in the supplement industry since 1982, so a long time. And. And it’s been a a great journey that’s allowed me to. Get deeply involved in my passion, which is horses and dogs. 

Piper Klemm [00:03:58] What has really changed about the supplement industry? It seems like where everyone knows that they need something, but what what exactly they need, we’re just kind of bombarded with everything for our horses, for our dogs. 

Cynthia “Tigger” Montague [00:04:11] You know, it’s funny because I started another company back in the late 1980s and. We were the first herbal supplement company for horses. The company was called EquaGenesis. And at that time the supplement industry in equine was tiny. I mean, the human on the human side, it was exploding, right? Sort of like what’s happening now in the equine and canine industry. But back in the late 1980s, I mean, I could probably count on one hand the number of companies that had products. And I sold that company. And in the time between when I sold it and then started Biostar, the industry really started evolving very fast. And more and more companies coming into play and creating new formulas and. I started Biostar in 2007. So it’s it’s been amazing how it’s grown and grown and grown and grown and grown. It’s a huge industry now where let me tell you, back in 1988, when I had my first supplement company, it was pretty tiny. 

Piper Klemm [00:05:35] I’ve heard the argument that horses need more supplements because of kind of lifestyle. Can you talk a little bit about some of these lifestyle changes? I, I know people think absolutely nothing of shipping and shipping and shipping their horses and today’s world. I think that’s a huge lifestyle change since since the time of very few supplements. You know, we have horses eating less, grass, we have less turn out. We live a very different life than they did in the eighties. And and I think supplements probably would have exploded either way. But I think it’s been a kind of an interesting two case scenarios coming at the same time horses lives changing very much and the explosion of supplements and I think they’ve converged into this this mega need. 

Cynthia “Tigger” Montague [00:06:24] Yes. And I would say that in the eighties, we used to give horses the winter off. I mean, we might, you know keep them legged up or the eventers. A lot of them just literally turned out for the winter. That was it started legging them up at end of February, beginning of March. So now we show year round. And I mean, I remember turning out horses in groups, you know. And now they’re turned out individually because, you know, they they can hurt themselves. And we show all the time and the food is changed. The ingredients of the food have changed a lot. So. And, you know, the grass seed is change because. We had more native grasses. And now when you buy seed for your for your paddocks, it’s really seed made for cows. It’s generally a coated seed and it’s like a one strain. It’s either fescue or it’s rye or it’s orchard grass or. And that’s changed a lot since the 1980s. And there’s more sugar in grass seed that’s made for cattle because you want them to get fat. And I think that’s. One of the many reasons that the supplement industry has exploded is the need is so great. To help balance the imbalances. 

Piper Klemm [00:08:02] So tell us a little bit about some of your specific products and and where they evolved from both both out of this need and and out of your expertise. 

Cynthia “Tigger” Montague [00:08:12] You know, sometimes they evolve out of. Being in barns and seeing the same issue over and over again. And I’m going to pinpoint, I think the biggest single issue is ulcers. And I, I, I think we can say, yes, we’re much better at diagnosing them. But I also think more and more horses are getting them. So the gut has always been my focus. I’ve always been interested in it. And. My personal little area of. Study has been the microbiome. So I would say that the gut related products and a lot of biostar products, even if they’re not directly related, will always have gut supported them. That’s the gut to me is the key to health in horses and dogs and animals. 

Piper Klemm [00:09:17] Are there other factors that are making the gut, you know, making horses guts and dogs guts probably people’s guts too. Worse than they used to be. Like what? What do you think is causing that stress? 

Cynthia “Tigger” Montague [00:09:32] It’s 100% or I would say 90% stress. And then we treat the stress with medicine. Which always has, you know, its own unique side effects to some degree one way or the other. And we never address the stress. And horses have taught me that even if they live. What I, as a human, would say, My God, you’ve got this wonderful life, this beautiful stall, great food, high quality hay. You’re not overworked. Get turned out. And you still have ulcers. And what the horses have taught me is that they can stress over somebody in the barn who’s stressed. They can stress if a neighbor moves. They can stress if a groom is having a bad day or some emotional problems or there’s drama in the barn or they don’t like the music. Horses are incredibly sensitive. And some of them are very stoic. Some of them are internalized. The externalizers are kind of obvious. But a lot of them just it’s almost like they kind of suck it up. So changing stress for horses, sometimes it’s not possible. I mean. If a horse is perceiving that there’s drama in the barn, sometimes it’s hard to, you know, get rid of the drama. But there are things that we can give horses that will reduce the cortisol. It will also help produce more serotonin in brain and serotonin. 90% of it is produced in the gut. So if you have a happy gut. Serotonin to me is like chocolate. It’s that happy, positive neurotransmitter. So if we can can help the body produce serotonin, the horse is better able to cope with the stress. 

Piper Klemm [00:11:49] It sounds like we need to be giving people people like giving people some paste in the barn, though, at the barn, too. Do you think people are that much more stressed in the barn than they were 20, 30 years ago? 

Cynthia “Tigger” Montague [00:12:01] 100%. 

Piper Klemm [00:12:03] Is it? What do you what do you attribute that to? Do you think that’s like social media? 

Cynthia “Tigger” Montague [00:12:07] Yeah, I think it’s I think it’s technology. 

Piper Klemm [00:12:09] Technology in general. 

Cynthia “Tigger” Montague [00:12:11] Yeah. And a much faster paced life and expectations are higher. Quicker. We want results quicker. 

Piper Klemm [00:12:21] I mean, I’m not going to disagree with that. One of your products is the horse Hydrator, which I think is absolutely genius, because you literally just attach it to the hose. Can you tell us a little bit about that and how you came up with that? As we all know how important drinking is. 

Cynthia “Tigger” Montague [00:12:38] I mean, we sell it, but that is not a Biostar created product. It’s just this ingenious filter that two guys out West invented. And it it’s a dual action filter. And so it filters out lots of different impurities and more of the potential toxins in water, arsenic and. And stuff, high sulfur. And so it makes it makes the water taste better and you know horses can be fussy about when they travel. They don’t like different water. And I know in Florida, you know, some of the water is like a little dicey. So you just attach, you just attaches to a hose and you filter out the impurities. I wish I had invented it, but I didn’t. 

Piper Klemm [00:13:31] I’ve been reading more and more studies about about traveling. What what do you recommend for horses that are on the move a lot? As it seems like, you know, if you even just look at indoors of how many horses went, you know, Harrisburg, Washington National California or wherever. 

Cynthia “Tigger” Montague [00:13:50] The Maclay! I was just in shock at how big that was. I mean, it’s a giant class. 

Piper Klemm [00:13:56] It’s so shocking. And then I’m like, sitting here being like, okay, like the first horse in the ring at seven was braided at seven, and then it tested at six. And then, you know, like, I just I look at all these pieces of it and I wonder who’s thinking about the horses. 

Cynthia “Tigger” Montague [00:14:11] Yeah, you know, that’s interesting that you should say that, because I read an article last night about a Australian vet and he’s made some very interesting. Calculations about squamous ulcers and glandular ulcers that to reduce squamous ulcers, one thing that we need to focus on is not overdoing electrolytes. And for glandular ulcers, we need to think about the time of day we ride because he feels that riding in the morning there’s not enough buffering. The horse has probably slept for a few hours that night that he’s get gotten his feed and hay and then he’s worked and. But if you ride him in the afternoon, he’s already had a lot more hay, maybe some forage, maybe some lunch. So there’s been a lot more buffering going on from the saliva, the bicarbonate that the saliva produces. And I thought that was really interesting. And he also points out that horses need to touch other horses. That that’s the stress reliever for them when they can groom the horse next to them. And he doesn’t think horses should work more than five days a week because that added sixth day can add enough stress to cause an ulcer to happen, particularly in the glandular area. So it’s a fascinating article. And I I’m I really think he’s on to something that maybe we need to take some. A different approach to management in terms of. Our expectations of when we ride, when we compete. How much time off? I mean, he was recommending ride a day, rest a day. now, as a former rider and trainer myself. That, to me, with a lot of horses isn’t really workable, but I can see sort of a work three days off a day, Do you know what I mean? So that you rotate, get two days off a week, and a lot of horses that are traveling and showing regularly, they’re lucky if they get one day off a week. If you’re if you’re going to to ship. There are there’s. Two things that I really recommend. Make sure you have a very good probiotic on board that you’ve started a day or two before. And bio star has a product called Tri Guard, which is our alternative to a result without being a proton pump inhibitor. Because you definitely want to keep the stomach happy. And then when the horse gets to the destination, we have a paste called Elixir. And it rehydrates because a lot of us don’t drink well, and especially in the summer, it’s when it’s hot and they get to a stall and they’re stressed and maybe they’re not eating very well either. Elixir will pick them right up. 

Piper Klemm [00:17:39] That’s, you know, riding in the afternoon is so interesting because it’s so antithetical to what all of the type horse trainers want us to believe. And I know timing and all of that stuff. 

Cynthia “Tigger” Montague [00:17:49] You even think of the racetrack. I mean, those horses are running early, too, when they’re breezing at 5:00 in the morning. So, you know, ulcers were originally sort of discovered in the racehorses. That was then the linchpin. And now when I read this vet’s analysis, I thought, that makes sense. And it makes sense when you because he’s saying now ulcers aren’t just in the performance horses, They’re not just in jumpers and dressage horses and event horses. They’re horses that are that are backyard horses. They are, ulcers are in horses that are just trail ridden. Therapy horses. It’s it’s really an epidemic. 

Piper Klemm [00:18:35] All of these things are like treatment and and management. Like, is there a world where we. We change the game enough that we can cure ulcers? Is that too much to ask at this point? I mean, I. Or is it just an endless battle your horses entire life, you know? Realizing you spend more on ulcer guard than your own mortgage. 

Cynthia “Tigger” Montague [00:19:02] Well, there I would say that there are things that you can do that are not ulcer guard and that don’t take mortgaging your home to maintain your horse. I, I may be cynical. I’m not sure you can change the equine show industry to the degree of, you know, only classes in the afternoon. And, you know, I just don’t think that’s realistic. But I do think there are little things we can do to make performance horses lives better. One of them being something very basic and letting them have a friend that they can, you know. Be in physical contact with scrunch their necks, you know, bite on their necks. That’s a very important herd dynamic in wild horses and an in domestic horses. They need physical contact. And maybe keeping them in a stall 23 hours a day isn’t the answer. Now, I understand some horses can’t be out all day, and there’s a lot of management issues around that. But I think getting the horse out, hand walking in the afternoon. These are the great benefit. Gets them out of the box, gets them moving, gets them eating grass which. Even if they have to nibble on the, you know, not so great grass, not a pasture grass. It’s just better for their overall well-being. So I do think there are little things we can do. Do. Do we end ulcers? I, I don’t know. 

Piper Klemm [00:20:49] Let’s talk about dogs. We have a lot of dogs running around the barn and the horse show. What what do people need to be thinking more of with their dogs that they’re not thinking of yet? 

Cynthia “Tigger” Montague [00:21:00] You know, 50% of all dogs in the US are going to get cancer. It is just a horrible, scary thought. Anybody, listening to this podcast is probably going to go, ‘God, this is so depressing’. The good news is, is that there are things we can do to feed dogs that unless they are genetically predisposed, that can lessen the chance of it. And there are some amazing studies coming out of Scandinavia. You know, the Europeans really love their dogs. They take them to restaurants. You know, they’re very they’re very dog centric. And there was a study done on kidney disease, which is is a big problem in dogs. It’s very common. And they have to go on a special diet and they have to be careful of high protein. And this study showed that if you fed your dog, your puppy, rawhide, bones, rawhide, chews, it created a greater chance of developing kidney disease later in life. I mean, by a lot. By 33 or 35% huge. So just by doing changing one thing. You’ve really decreased the odds. 

Piper Klemm [00:22:33] What’s in Rawhide Bones? That is getting them? 

Cynthia “Tigger” Montague [00:22:35] They they didn’t they didn’t identify it. They were just identifying different ways of feeding and treating. And that was the big red flag was the rawhide Bones. Even over kibble. And I would say. You know, Don’t be afraid to feed your dog table scraps. Dogs have lived for thousands of years off human food. You know, and I think this whole idea that, you know, you shouldn’t feed table scraps and they shouldn’t have, you know, the food that human has. I really disagree. You know, if you want to feed kibble as a base, that’s great. But add some real food to it and, you know, not junk food. Give them some of your potato chips, but, you know, a protein and a veggie a little leftover from your plate. It’s they’re getting real food, because kibble is not real food. So there are things we can do for our dogs that are pretty easy. 

Piper Klemm [00:23:39] What about dogs that are traveling all the time or are you seeing the same stress things? Or how do you keep your dog? You know, I feel like I talk to people at horse shows all the time who’s dogs are sick, you know, sick to their stomach from something that went on at the horse show. 

Cynthia “Tigger” Montague [00:23:52] Yeah. And and diarrhea seems to be a really big issue. You know, the stomach of a dog. The g.I. Track is really short. It’s not long like a horse’s. Probiotics are good probiotics. A probiotic that has anoth c f use, that’s colony forming units. That’s how you measure a live bacteria. So if you buy yogurt, it’s measured in S.F. use. If you buy a real probiotic, it’s measured in CFUS and dogs. You know, you’re talking about 3 billion, 5 billion, 10 billion. CFUS preserving because there are trillions in the gut, Right? So a billion really, it’s it’s a good amount. But you’re talking about a vast ecosystem. In horses, it’s got to be a hundred billion or more. So a really good probiotic that that has enough. Bacteria that’s measured by the colony forming units. C.F.U’s is a really good start and you know, try not to let the dog you know, the opportunities at a horse show for for dogs is so incredible. To get into somebody’s garbage or eat the wrong food or or even pick up a virus from another dog. But you know, if you can keep the gut happy by keeping them the balance in the of the microorganisms, you’re you’re a big step ahead. 

Piper Klemm [00:25:31] Tigger = Thank you so much for joining us again on the plaidcast. 

Cynthia “Tigger” Montague [00:25:34] Oh, thanks for having me. 

Piper Klemm [00:27:44] Barbara Jacobson is the owner of the Engraver and the Greenhill Collection, located in beautiful Chester County, Pennsylvania. For over four decades, the engraver has specialized in all things involving equestrian engraving from wholesale to select shops across the country, to engraving the trophies for the prestigious Devon Horse Show. The engravers customers range from Olympians to the most humble of backyard ponies. As always, the engravers products are all handcrafted in the USA. Welcome to the plaidcast, Barbara. 

Barbara Jacobson [00:28:14] Thank you, Piper, It’s good to talk to you today. 

Piper Klemm [00:28:17] So you started the engraver in 1982. Can you tell us what that was like to get started and the need you saw in the industry then? 

Barbara Jacobson [00:28:26] Well, it’s hard to think about needs in the industry from that many years ago, but I think at that point we were probably my partner, Jack and myself. We were 25 years old and the only needs we were probably seeing was trying to avoid real jobs, which got us, you know, going on the engraver. I had been a manager actually of a Things Remembered and was fired from my job and needed to, you know, got the usual things about what what was I going to do at 25 years old with a college degree and some retail management experience? And I said, I’m going to get an engraving machine, travel to horse shows and engrave to my father, who was kind of like, Oh my God, But that is pretty much what we did. That was what got us started. 

Piper Klemm [00:29:20] We’re other people engraving things or like, Where did this idea come from? 

Barbara Jacobson [00:29:24] Yeah, there were a couple companies that did engraving for the equine industry and people had used like brass plates on the back of their saddles and on equipment for years, and people had done door plates, things remembered. People would come in and get plates, but the plates that things remembered were not geared for the equine industry. They weren’t heavy duty enough. The engraving wasn’t deep enough. They didn’t have the right fasteners to attach it to equestrian equipment. So we did see the need for that and and thought it would just be kind of cool to go to horse shows and engrave. I don’t think we realized how hard we would have to work. But again, we were 25. 

Piper Klemm [00:30:08] I never thought of almost the it until you explained it to me one day almost that the danger of like attaching a halter plate, for example, like not correctly. Can you talk us to us about like, why it’s so important to have. 

Barbara Jacobson [00:30:21] Well, yes, I’d love to see that. Definitely. Yeah. This is a bug up my butt with the industry in general. Horseback riding equipment, as everyone knows, is just under tremendous. Anything that’s attached to a horse is under tremendous stress. And if a horse can injure themselves on a piece of equipment. They seem very good at that. So the plates really have to be put on securely and safely. We put all of our plates on and I was taught from professionals, Wayne Rasmussen of the it’s now the country saddler had been a saddlery was one of the first to teach me but Jimmy from what was it Jimmy’s 20th century saddelry taught me gave me some tricks and stuff too. We do all of ours with esscussion pins and washers, which is really one of the only safe way to do it. There’s some plates done in Kentucky with copper rivets on the front, which are also quite safe. But if you put them on with Chicago screws or jiffy rivets or quick rivets, they can come off Chicago screws are which the alternate name for Chicago screws, interestingly enough, our sex bolts. But they’re you know, they’re meant to be screwed on and off. So if you want them to be secure, you really have to lock tight them on which, you know, they’re just not they’ll come unscrewed and come off and can go right in like little halter plates could swing right into a horse’s eye. And the same thing with a Jiffy Rivets. They’re just the hammer to hit the both sides again on the halter. If it comes off, it could potentially blind a horse. And the other thing on all the halters, when they’re put on by doing it our way with the escussion pins and the washers, they we cut it. It’s cut to the right lengths for the back of the halter. And with the quick rivets or the Chicago screws, you really need a halter. The way they’re assembled has what’s called a turn back, which is why one side is thicker than the other side. If you look at most halters and you need it like 3-ply on one side and two ply on and the other side, and any of the companies that are sending out the mail order companies. They’re sending out their plates with the quick rivets. They never do this. So one side might fit and the other side’s not going to fit. Just leaving a gap, which just is an invitation for a horse to hurt themselves. And incidentally, on our website, we do have written instructions on how to use the discussion pins and washers, as well as the video of me attaching so that you can you can watch and see how to do it correctly. And I’m always happy to answer the phone and help people with how to put it on safely because the thought of it not being on safely, it just is a is a bug up my butt. And I’ve had conversations with some of the big mail order companies and they’re like, well, it’s just an acceptable corporate risk to have some on, you know, with this way that we use because it works for most people. And if you know, it’s okay if there’s an occasionally an injury, it doesn’t happen very often. And I think one pony being hurt is one pony too many. 

Piper Klemm [00:33:50] You’ve had your store at the Devon Horse Show. What year did you start doing, Devon, with the engraver? How long has it been Now. 

Barbara Jacobson [00:33:59] That has been we started the next year. We started in 82 and we were at Devon, their first temporary booth outside under a tree on a folding table in 83. And we just sort of meandered around the showgrounds a little bit and a couple of different booths. We’ve been down in our current location that everyone knows us for down by the blacksmith shop out of the country area since 2011. But yeah, it’s been many. We’ve been at Devon longer than any other vendor has ever been there. Yeah, it’s been it’s been fun and we’ve been very lucky to do it. But it’s been a lot of days spent on the historic Devon Showgrounds. 

Piper Klemm [00:34:45] What, what have people’s needs changed over the years? Like what were you spending a lot of your time doing then or over the decades? What are you spending a lot of your time doing now? Like what? What do you see as as what people need changing? 

Barbara Jacobson [00:35:04] It really, thinking back our most popular plates are still our most popular plates. The halter, I mean, little things like some of the halters where a one inch halter was truly a one inch. Now they’re a little narrower. So we use a little narrower plate. It’s sort of like dimensional lumber. You know, a 4×4 is not really indeed 4×4 anymore. But the bridle plates, um, we’re doing the same one we still do. We probably do less saddle plates Now, before everyone used to get a plate in the back of the saddle. And now, especially with some of the carbon fiber and the different sort of artificial material trees, you can’t always put a plate in the back. So it might not be doing quite as many. But I think also some of the plates we’re doing more than ever from like the rise of the big show barns where everyone’s tack looks the same and it’s gotten so expensive people want to market. And some of the items like, you know, the the pony bracelets, they just have stayed popular for all of these years. We still do a lot of the little padded bracelets that have the, you know, people get their horse or their ponies names or there you know, we get mothers that get their kids names to their dogs names. I mean, it’s just a lot of the items have been big popular. The big difference is that we went from what, like everything that we used to take because it was just, you know, we started with just the name plates and now we’ve added so many of the leather goods to the name plate that we now provide our own. But so originally we could fit everything in a. I have to think of what year I think it was in 1978, Toyota Corolla, everything fit in, and now as we’ve been in the booth at Devon. It basically takes a moving van to move everything. It’s it’s we’ve added a lot of things and we’ve added, you know, most of the things. We’ve added plates, different sizes we do. I guess the other in going back to your original question, the difference now where we started with pretty much everything in brass, we now do probably still two thirds brass, but a third of it is now nickel or silver colored. And we use solid nickel for everything, but we do more silver colored plates in 2023 than we ever did. And in 1982. 

Piper Klemm [00:37:40] You have some phone cases and some other stuff that obviously we’re not running around. Yeah, people are not riding with their phones a long time ago. What kind of new kind of things are we hearing? 

Barbara Jacobson [00:37:54] We start in 2010, 2011, we moved down to the larger location on the Devon grounds. We realized we kind of had to fill the booth and that, that and frustration with some of the equipment not being as good as we like, but made us start the Greenhill Collection, which started with just halters and Lead shanks, and then added some belts and then evolved and took on a life of its own. And so the latest item that we’re making is a phone case that you can ride in or have around your, you know, around your belt for every day, especially for, you know, as attached as we are to our phones. The one of the fun features on this new phone case is it snaps onto your belt so you don’t have to take your belt off and thread it through. You can just leave your belt on and just snap it on and snap it off. That closes just with two magnets in the front, but the back of it snaps onto your belt and it’s sort of made a little bit in the style of the old fashion like Flask or Sandwich case.  It it has that kind of sort of a little bit of an old fashioned equestrian feel. 

Piper Klemm [00:39:13] Talk to us about leather and all your different working with leather and all these different things. How did you get involved to want to do that, to picking out the leathers to all the different facets? I mean, this is a massive undertaking to to learn. 

Barbara Jacobson [00:39:32] Yeah. And not one that we ever would have expected to get in. I think that the problem- we’ve found some very good suppliers and they’ve been able to educate us on the leather. We try to use everything American made. Most of our leather is actually from Wicked and Craig, which is I believe still here in Pennsylvania. But we’ve kind of learned through doing it that like when you go to put a nameplate on, you can really feel the difference between the good leather and some of the leather that has been tanned differently or isn’t necessarily cowhide and it doesn’t you know you can’t you can’t do as good a job. So it’s it’s been learning through experience. I still don’t feel like I know as much as I I know more from feel than actual true education on that but it was a frustration with some like would get in triple stitched halters to put plates on for awards and we want everything we do to look as good as we can get it to look. And we realized the the triple stitching wasn’t in the center and you couldn’t you couldn’t center it properly that way. So we started making our own that were made to our specs and we’re just fussy. I think that’s probably our reputation in the industry is that we might not be the least expensive and we’re certainly not, but we will always do a quality job. We’ve worked very hard for that reputation and I hope we’ve succeeded in that of doing the best we can ever do. And so that’s what led to doing the everything from the belts to the halters to the phone cases is that feeling that there was a need for, that we could do it a little better. We could just finish it that much, you know, that much nicer and get our stamp on it. And it’s a very traditional classic line. It’s very not trendy. I’d say, you know, more of our customers are probably a little more mature than younger because it’s not a fashion forward type line. It’s very, very traditional and very classic. 

Piper Klemm [00:41:55] What’s the longest you’ve you’ve heard of one of your halters lasting, or do people bring stuff in the shop that they got like decades and decades ago? 

Barbara Jacobson [00:42:04] Oh, yes. And not just I mean, the halters, you know, we definitely have people who’s like, yeah, I got a halter ten years ago. It’s still good. And but the one that’s the funniest is the pony bracelets and the keychains that we’ve had for years. I mean, I have now because we’ve been doing it so long and it really sometimes makes me feel ancient. I’ll have people come in and be like, you know, we have third generation customers and we’ll have kids say that I just saw my grandmother’s bracelet, ‘she still has it in her jewelry box!’. 

Barbara Jacobson [00:42:39] And, you know, and the grandmother was 18 when she got the bracelet. And now, 40 some years later, we’re making stuff for her grandchild. You know, who’s who’s not a little kid. It’s. A little depressing, but it’s kind of a good problem. But so I’ve seen bracelets and you’re talking about at the point that they bought them. Even now, the bracelets aren’t there. I think they’re $24. But the point that like some of these bracelets, I think they were 12 or $15 when we first started and and people have them that are 30 some plus years old and we want a little more obsolescence in them. So they’ll come back a little more frequently than that. But yeah, it’s pretty funny. 

Piper Klemm [00:43:27] I got one from you in probably the late nineties, I’ll have to look for it and see if I have it. In a box. Somewhere because I still have the pony who’s name is on it. 

Barbara Jacobson [00:43:41] Oh that’s perfect. Yeah!

Piper Klemm [00:43:41] She’s still running around. 

Barbara Jacobson [00:43:42] So every so often we do a post on Facebook or something and we should do something with you asking people to submit the pictures, the older things that they have from us. And some of them are really funny, which shows up. We do that and then we play around with and I’m never as good at putting that up as I want like the best names of the week, because sometimes you get some really clever names. For one, we just get red hot chili peppers, red hot chili pepper. I thought that was a great name. We get, you know, some of them really stick. But we should we should do that with you as there’s something fun with getting people to talk about the oldest thing that they have from us. 

Piper Klemm [00:44:26] Absolutely. Yes. You must get all the great horse names coming through.

Barbara Jacobson [00:44:30] Oh, you do. And it’s really it’s funny. And then some of them, you know, and some of them are. Oh, Daddy’s promise Mommy’s mink. I mean, you know, some of them give a little history. Some of them, you know, you definitely can tell the breeding, you know, And there and some of them are just fun and some of them you can’t. Yeah. You don’t know. They’re very they’re very clever. And they can be trendy, too. Like I remember years ago, we did, like, I think every gray gelding was named Remington Steele. And I haven’t seen a Remington Steele in a long time. But. But, Dakota, you know, Max, it’s really kind of funny what names, you know, And they’re kind of like kid names. They they kind of cycle. It’s pretty pretty interesting to watch. But, you know, but it’s been fun and, you know, getting to. Getting to do them for the famous horses, getting to do Gem Twist’s plates and things like that were. Were always, always a good time. And and you never know who you know, what what kid you’re going to do some name plates for that’s going to grow up to be a team rider. It’s always fun. 

Piper Klemm [00:45:47] Barbara, thank you so much for joining us on the plaidcast. 

Barbara Jacobson [00:45:50] Thank you for having me Piper, it was fun. 

Piper Klemm [00:47:32] In the Hunter ring, Amy Hassinger is recognized as an active competitor and the owner of the well-known stallion Cadouch Z. Currently ridden by Tori Colvin outside the ring. She’s a multi business owner of well-known companies such as Equine Health Care International, Hassinger Biomedical and AP Passenger. Her latest fashion venture, which you can read about in the September issue of The Plaid Horse. Welcome to the plaidcast, Amy. 

Amy Hassinger [00:47:57] Thank you for having me. 

Piper Klemm [00:47:58] So you have so many facets to your life. Let’s first start by talking about your stallion Cadouche Z. Can you tell us a little bit about the fairytale year you’ve had with him? 

Amy Hassinger [00:48:07] Oh gosh, Thank you so much for asking. Cadouche Z is a stallion that we imported about a year ago to come in and be my amateur owner hunter, and also to stand here at our farm and our reproduction center. And he really showed a lot of promise as an upper level derby hunter. So, yes, he had an opportunity to start doing derbies. And actually his third derby he won in Tryon, and his fourth derby was International Derby Finals in Kentucky, where he was a finalist there. And since then it yes, it’s been pretty much a fairy tale for us everywhere we go. He’s just exceeded our expectations in so many ways. He was the challenge of Champions winner this year at the 100th anniversary of the Blowing Rock Horse Show. So every time we get to go to a show, he’s been just amazing and he’s developed quite a fan club. So he now has his own social media so he can connect with his fans and let them know what he’s doing. And now we are expecting his foals in February. 

Piper Klemm [00:49:22] We don’t always have a lot of owners in this sport. And that’s what I would say, people who own horses for professionals to show that really get to enjoy them. And then we also of the people we do have, they almost don’t always seem to be having fun with it. And at Derby finals, you all had teddy shirts on like you all were having so much fun with the process. And I, I always want to encourage people to to be owners and to own open horses and support the professionals and let the professionals go out there and do their thing. But also, it’s to me it was like such a I don’t know if sustainable is the right word, but like the owners have to have fun too, and you all look like you were just having such fun with it. 

Amy Hassinger [00:50:07] Thank you. We did. We’ve had know he’s such a dream that it was always our thought that as we developed our center stallions, obviously if you’re standing a stallion, it’s because you’re hoping to be able to share that at least 50% of their genes with the industry. Obviously, we just want to share the horses with everyone else. So we did make it fun. Everyone had their Cadouche Z or Teddy’s supporting t shirts. We kind of did the same thing this year with the addition of our first Sir Sandro Stallion that was also a finalist this year at Derby finals. And and I agree with you. We want to support our professionals in this industry. And there’s so much pressure that everyone puts on themselves to be the winner when really I think people are forgetting that the process is really what we should be embracing. It’s not the ribbon, it’s it might be fun, it might be enjoyable one, but it really is truly the process and we just want to have a great time. We want people to smile, we want people to enjoy it. And so that’s been our take on ownership of these stallions. We have them. We’d love to kind of share them and share our experience with everyone who wants to join in. 

Piper Klemm [00:51:16] Switching gears, you have so much going on. You have your hunters, you have your stallions. You’re also big in the quarter horse world. You have the vet clinic and then you have Equine Health Care International. And tell us about some of the products that we probably all use already that we might not totally associate with you or think about what brand they are. 

Amy Hassinger [00:51:39] Thank you for asking. So, yes, actually in 2007 we brought the Poms equine earplugs to the global markets. So that’s something that we actually pack by hand in-house here on property. The companies are all on the same property here in Aberdeen, North Carolina. So it’s kind of fun to go to shows around the world and see poms, earplugs in use and know that they all came out of this facility. We developed a bit better product, which is something that’s used a fair amount in our Flagship’s performance supplements, the Equi calm paste and pellets, and the Equi focus paste and pellets were developed here in our veterinary hospital over a decade ago. So it’s just really items that we found that we needed personally in the industry that may not have been available. We just decided to develop them and it sort of became a thing that took off. So now most of the products that we have within Equine Health Care International and our new pro series line bits and reins and girths and boots and more, the durable goods are actually all developed here on site within our veterinary hospital and actually tested here as well. So it’s really it was something that was developed out of necessity that I’m glad that people in the market are really appreciating and enjoying. 

Piper Klemm [00:53:00] What are we have to look forward to what what’s new from from EHI. 

Amy Hassinger [00:53:06] So we have quite a few things. We have an exciting new bit tape that we’re bringing to market that’s out now. We also have a really interesting, beautiful new series of girths that we designed here in the hospital that are stabilizing girths that hold your saddle in place so they don’t shift left and right and they provide more external support for the horses. So we find that there are jumping better. They can rotate their shoulders better. They lift their backs better, they’re a bit more comfortable. So these stabilizer pro series girths again, were developed here in about a year of research and development where they came to the market. So we offer those and are the traditional brown that everyone is used to seeing. But we also rolled out a beautiful one in white with black stitching to replace the girth socks that a lot of people were using. They love the look of white, but a girth sock tends to bind up your girth, get stuck underneath their arms and can pinch and can make them a bit uncomfortable. While the look is beautiful, the mechanism of the girth soock makes the girth not as functional as it was designed to be. So we realize that with our own horses. So we developed a beautiful white girth that we’re using now. You’ll see that with the stallions that Tori Colvin’s riding for us. We also developed a new rein. It’s a patented rein called the Perfect Rein, and it was a single-laced with some modifications that was developed about six years ago after I had a riding injury and fractured my left hand. And I can’t actually completely grip my reins with the traditional laced rein. So one day I cut the laces out of the reins and re-thread them through a single pattern and realized that I actually could hold my rein and it wouldn’t slip out. So we perfected the design and patterns, and they’re actually on the market now. So this Perfect REin, as we have them for the hunters, so beautiful, raised, lovely lace rein, and we also have a flat black for our dressage and eventing and a jumper counterparts. That’s something new we brought to the market recently, along with our we’ve added a few very exciting horse boots. So that’s what’s coming out. They’ll be able to see these in tack shops here probably in December. 

Piper Klemm [00:55:23] And most of all, your products are very economically friendly too the perfect rein is $95 comes in Pony, Horse and XL. And as a as a pony owner, I know that the children let them chew on their reins way more than anyone else. We go through so many reins. 

Amy Hassinger [00:55:42] And even the rainbow reins from years ago to tell the children to hold on to a certain color this way. Actually they can just they don’t have to even close their fingers that hard to hold the reins and they won’t slip. So yeah, we’re super excited about about all these products because they’re really we develop them not so much for the market, but we develop them because they’re things that we feel that we need here at our own farm and in our veterinary hospital, our rehab center, and we think we enjoy them and we could use them then we really think that everyone else probably could as well. So that’s how the products are developed here. 

Piper Klemm [00:56:15] You’re also known for your bit butter. Can you tell us what what that is and how people use it? 

Amy Hassinger [00:56:22] Yeah, absolutely. Bit butter was something that I developed about 20 years ago after an old racehorse trainer was talking to me about how they used to use Vaseline on the corners of their mouths and why they did that. And I adopted that practice when I was a professional as well. But a lot of horses have an allergy to petroleum products. So we wanted to continue this on our farm, but realized that the petroleum was a bit of an issue for horses. So we actually developed the butter because it does a couple of things. First and foremost, it definitely makes the bit more palatable in their mouth. Secondly, it causes them to suckle the bit or press their tongue up a little more to the roof of their mouth and hold the bit in place. When they do that, it loosens up that somewhat mandibular joint, that joint that’s kind of right behind their eyes. And when they do that, they tend to soften through their entire top line. And so we found that the horses tend to perform better with bit butter along the bit. And it also allows us to use a softer bit. We don’t necessarily have to go to something so strong. And when we can get a little softer bit, we find that they have a little better connection back to front. So bit butter was designed as a tool to help horses communicate with their riders better. So it definitely is something that we’ve used for about two decades now. And subsequently we found that people have found alternative uses for it. They were using it on their lips and etc.. So we have a riders version called Lip Butter Riders Therapy that you can get at tack shops, and that’s our trademark bit butter formula that just it smells so good. And then we also developed a bit wash, which is sort of a spinoff of that that you can use to clean your bits. And it leaves just a little bit of a slick surface behind. So next time you go ride, your bit’s already lubricated and ready for your horse. 

Piper Klemm [00:58:24] So you also ride as an amateur, which has as if you weren’t doing enough, which has led to your most recent business venture. Can you talk to us about what you have recently embarked on in the apparel side of things? 

Amy Hassinger [00:58:38] Oh, gosh, yeah. Thank you so much. So when I was showing this year in the winter Circuit, I got to have an opportunity to ride some of our jumpers a bit more. Usually I’m sort of cheering on mom and owner of the jumpers, but I realize that not going to be here forever. So I stepped into the jumper ring and while I was riding in the class I realized that the pants that I’ve ridden in traditionally just weren’t very comfortable. And so we set out when we got home to design the perfect riding breech. And it wasn’t something we had intended initially, but we got all the riders together and developed a new line of riding breaches for both dressage hunters and jumpers under AP Hassinger brand. And we consider those the world’s most comfortable breaches and we’re super excited to bring those to market. And they are out now. 

Piper Klemm [00:59:32] So you talked about your team. I know that you have kind of a unique way of of bringing your team in with all the ideas. Can you tell us about the whiteboard at your farm and how you encourage all of your staff to get involved? 

Amy Hassinger [00:59:46] Yeah, Thank you so much. Unfortunately, I’m sort of a serial whiteboard person and they are all over our farm, our veterinary clinic, and especially in the conference rooms and offices at Equine Health Care International and the AP Hassinger Designs offices. And we really encourage the staff that they have an idea for something that they feel that they need or an improvement on an existing product just to go write it down. And we meet regularly and embrace all of these ideas, feedback on everything associated with the horses, the product, their care and now apparel. So it became a thing that everybody started making comments that we always look after the horses that who’s going to look after us? And I said, you know, my gosh, you’re right. So Britches seemed to be the one item for riders that they seem to have a fair number of concerns about that weren’t being met in the industry. So all the riders weighed in and put their ideas, drew pictures. And so, yes, we have giant full wall dry erase boards and everybody’s welcome to come and draw their ideas and make notes. And then we meet regularly and revisit. And these are the way that the products for all the companies come to market for the industry to use. 

Piper Klemm [01:01:05] That’s amazing. What are you looking towards for your own showing this winter? What are your own goals for yourself? 

Amy Hassinger [01:01:12] Thank you for asking. Well, for myself, I’m hoping to get back into the amateur owner arena. I’ve been supporting all the professionals as an owner for years, and so this year I’m hoping to actually come out and show Cadouche Z myself. So I’m super excited about that. We’ll have him in Wellington all season and it’s a dream of mine to be able to show on the world stage on a world class horse. So this is something I’ve been waiting for my whole life and I am very excited. So I’m exercising. I’m trying to eat well, training regularly and trying to get geared up to make my debut in the amateur owners just for the experience of being able to ride such an incredibly talented animal on a world stage is something that I’ve dreamed of. And now I’m hoping to meet that goal and check that off the bucket list. 

Piper Klemm [01:02:07] Amazing. Amy, thank you so much for joining us on the plaidcast. 

Amy Hassinger [01:02:11] Thank you, Piper. Thanks for your time and I really appreciate you and everyone at the plaidcast. You do an amazing job at bringing information to the world.

Piper Klemm [01:04:01] To learn more about anything we’ve discussed on today’s show, visit You can find show notes at Follow The Plaid Horse on all the social medias. You can subscribe to the print edition of the Plaid Horse magazine at Please rate and review the plaidcast anywhere you listen to it. And if you enjoy this episode, please share it with your friends. I will see you at the ring!