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Stateside beckons for Gateshead horseshoe innovator

Gateshead equestrian firm GluShu is closing in on doubling its sales growth this year, following a surge in demand for its innovative horseshoe product from the United States.

The pioneering firm behind plastic coated and slip-on horseshoes, the business is on a mission to revolutionise the 500-year-old practice of horse shoeing by swapping nails for glue.

The system, developed by design engineer John Wright, was initially produced for horses with damaged hooves. Global growth since the company launched in 2015, however, has opened up a number of new opportunities.

Its latest success comes in the US, where the company has signed a deal with a Florida-based distributor and formed a close working relationship with renowned equestrian institution, the Kentucky Horseshoeing School.

GluShu representatives will travel to the US later this year to demonstrate its products to horse riders, vets, horseshoeing students and farriers (professionals who shoe horses).

Director John Wright explained: “The US market is a much easier territory to sell into than the UK. They have big ranches and so many horses – and riders often like to go on long trails lasting days at a time. It’s much more convenient for them to carry our products, rather than heavy tools, in the event that a horseshoe comes off.

“Unlike in the UK where horse shoes must legally be fitted by a qualified farrier, anyone can shoe horses there so they are keen for anything that makes the process easier.”

The company’s global growth this year has been supported by innovate2succeed, a programme of business support which helps SMEs to capitalise on new ideas. Innovate2succeed is delivered by RTC North and funded by Innovate UK and the European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020.

The scheme enabled GluShu to broaden the appeal of its products, target overseas opportunities and join forces with Newcastle University to research ways of developing glue application methods to suit extreme conditions.

David Boath, innovation specialist at RTC North, said: “GluShu is disrupting an industry that hasn’t changed for hundreds of years. With exciting opportunities emerging on several fronts around the world, it looks to have a very bright future, as more markets open up and it continues to innovate.”

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