Antoinette is a qualified human and equine nutritionist and herbalist (Bachelor of Nutrition, Diploma of Nutrition, Equine Nutritional Therapist, Medical Herbalist, Advanced Diploma Nutritional Therapy & Genetics) with experience stretching back more than 35 years, and she is well equipped to formulate her own products and help owners to better manage their horses’ health via diet.
A horse lover from day dot, Antoinette grew up around horses and as a teenager worked with Quarter Horses – even spending time in the US riding reining and cutting horses. Returning to her English roots, she had an amazing Quarter Horse x Thoroughbred for many years and more recently purchased a Fidertanz/Belcam Calandra gelding, Coffee, to pursue a love of dressage. Coffee is currently being competed by her coach, David Boyle, while Antoinette explores “a hankering to have a crack at reining”. Her partnership with Yarraleigh Lethal Maximus is in its infancy, but her trainer David Norbury speaks highly of the horse’s reining talents. For Antoinette, the switch from dressage to reining has left her scratching her head at times – “I can’t quite understand how they ask for flying changes with reining horses; but I am sure I will learn!” – however she loves the sport’s sense of camaraderie and can’t wait to learn the ropes.
Hi Form’s all-female team has no shortage of knowledge and experience: “We actually have really amazing practitioners within the company that can really make life changing benefits for both you and your horses,” declares Antoinette. Erin Romanin is a clinical nutritionist who’s also completing her bachelor’s degree in naturopathy, while Karyn Campbell is an equine herbalist and naturopath. An integral part of the team, Antoinette’s “right hand, left hand everything-hand person”, Vanessa Gillett, works as the operations manager and is a company shareholder, while Hi Form’s warehouse manager, Sheridan Healey, is also a part-time nurse in aged care. Finally, Jane Gordon does the company’s social media, marketing and sponsorship. As an FEI athlete, she’s also one of Hi Form’s sponsored riders alongside the likes of up-and-coming international show jumping star Sameh El Dahan, Paralympian Emma Booth, dressage star Emma Weinert O’Rourke, and champion campdrafter Pete Comiskey, just to name a few.
Hi Form has some exciting programs and products in the pipeline for the year ahead. “We are developing a rider and horse health program – which we believe will be the first of its kind – as we feel there’s an absolute need for this. People who’ve got horses tend to forget about their own health and wellbeing; Covid has impacted not only what they put into their body, but also their mental state of mind as well,” says Antoinette, adding that the company is also launching a short course on equine nutrition for EQUEAL members (a not-for-profit organisation), and expanding a ‘tele-health’ type service for horses and humans.
On the product side, horse owners can look forward to a new hoof health product, a supplement and feed to support horses living with Equine Metabolic Syndrome (including Cushing’s/PPID, insulin resistance and other associated conditions, which have become an ever-increasing problem here in Australia and even more so in the UK), and an update to the company’s popular BioEquus Synbiotic formula.
Antoinette is also hopeful they’ll be undertaking some all-important research into gut health. “In partnership with Smart DNA and a vet we are looking at getting our ulcer study up and running. It’s been a long time coming but we’re getting there!”
It’s a busy year ahead for the team at Hi Form, as winning the export award has also given the company inroads into other markets. “It was pretty amazing (to win the award) and it certainly has opened more doors internationally for us. At the moment we’re looking at getting into Germany, South East Asia and the USA,” says Antoinette of her hopes for further expansion.
While the company might have been a “slow starter”, over the past three decades Hi Form has built a strong reputation amongst those in the know who have sought to educate themselves and better the health of their equine friends. This approach has seen the company build steadily over the years, working towards the well-deserved recognition it received in December. Now, the world is their oyster – and the real winners are the horses. EQ
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