Founder & Owner of Horsemen's Laboratory
In the fall of 1992, my wife, Becky and I decided to move back to our home state of Illinois where we owned property near the University of Illinois. There was a veterinarian at the university who was interested in becoming a partner in Horsemen’s Laboratory. Unfortunately, the business was not an overnight success and after 6 months he lost interest.
The first 16 years we struggled to keep Horsemen’s Laboratory afloat. Our clients were happy and excited to tell friends about the unique service we were providing; however, we kept hearing the same two issues. First, when they talked to other horse owners or to their veterinarian, they were told that there was no need to check for worms that they should simply deworm because all horses had worms. Secondly, we heard that people were skeptical about sending fecal samples through the mail because they were not confident that the egg count would be accurate.
In 2009, articles about parasite resistance started to appear regularly in magazines and on websites. It appeared that the number one cause of this resistance was the over exposure of worms to the deworming medication. The over use of deworming medication was killing off all the sensitive worms and leaving the few resistant ones to mate with each other, thereby, creating a larger and larger percentage of the worm populations to become resistant to the dewormer. It was proposed that only those horses that were passing worm eggs should be dewormed instead of all horses thereby cutting down the exposure rate. This practice would allow some sensitive worms to remain to mate with the resistant ones to continue a line of worms that is sensitive to the medication. As this new method of parasite control has gained favor Horsemen’s Laboratory has grown more quickly because the only way to tell which horses should be dewormed is by doing a fecal egg count.
Now even veterinarians are recommending and using our service. However, our biggest source of new clients is still word-of-mouth from our loyal clients telling friends and fellow horse owners about Horsemen’s Laboratory.
When I started Horsemen’s Laboratory my 2 main goals were to make the service as convenient and economical as possible for our clients. We also wanted to be able to get the results back to the owner as quickly as possible. Starting in 1992 we advertised in magazines and did a few horse fairs and shows to promote Horsemen’s Laboratory. We handed out a lot of testing kits to horse owners to mail their horses’ samples back to Horsemen’s Laboratory. Unfortunately, most of those kits were never returned. During the early years we sent out the testing kits in the mail and asked clients to send their payment in with the sample, but that didn’t seem to catch on. Therefore, we were out the postage and the cost of making up the kit. As a result we started having clients pre-pay for the testing kits before they were mailed out. In 1996, our website www.horsemenslab.com was created and most of our promotion has been through the website and online. In 2007, the website was enhanced so clients could order testing kits and pay for them online. Horsemen’s Laboratory also started emailing owners their horses’ results. Today 99% of our clients receive their horses’ results by email. At Horsemen’s Laboratory we continue to improve our service and make it more convenient for our clients to evaluate one of their horses’ biggest health concerns, worms.
In conclusion, we would like to thank all of our clients and especially those who started to use our service back in the early years and continue to use our service today. We deeply appreciate your loyalty and thank you for telling your friends and fellow horse owners about Horsemen’s Laboratory.