Keyflow - Putting Science back into a practical horse diet
More chaff? More mash? What kind? How much? When?
Questions about what constitutes an ideal and practical diet for horses consume and confuse many owners.
One Marlborough-based feed producer is putting the science back into it all and taking the top flight feed market by storm. New Zealander Cam Price is the brains behind the operation at Keyflow which has gone from strength to strength since launching in 2012. It now employs 10 people and disributes to more than 200 outlets.
HQ is nestled in the downs by Rockley. Cam headed to the UK along with his brother, eventer Tim Price. Tim and wife Jonelle were the first to back Cam’s idea to breathe fresh air into the horse feed market. “They have been supportive from day one. To put their trust in us from day one has been amazing,” he said.
Sir Mark Todd - New Zealand’s most successful eventer – was also an early backer.
“We feed top level horses and have sent countless horses to the Olympics,” said Cam. “But what we ask of 5 star eventers is not at all normal. We ask so much of them. They have to be super fit, but also calm, supple, relaxed and submissive - and not about to explode in the dressage.
“In terms of nutrition, we have to be able to deliver energy so they don’t explode. If you can feed an eventer – you can feed anything! Race horses are a breeze by comparison!”.
The Price boys come from a small town called Oxford near Christchurch in New Zealand, and came to the UK having grown up on a stud farm. “My Dad got into horses ‘cos of my Mum,” said Cam. “I wasn’t too talented at riding, but I loved horses and wanted to be involved with them. “So nutrition felt a natural way to do that.”
He started Keyflow on Marlborough High Street in the corner of an office. “My dear long-suffering wife was my unpaid right hand woman. We grew from there then went to Warren Farm at Savernake, and then needed a warehouse for our goods so we took over one of the old grain stores here on the Temple Farm estate.” “We set out to do things differently from the start and taking a fresh look at nutrition. We put a lot of emphasis on enhancing digest-ability of feed by cooking methods and making the feed need less volume, leaving more room for fibre.
“We use different ingredients and don’t let price guide us, but use what is best for the animal. We look at everything in terms of what is best for the horse. We always ask ourselves as a business if a horse will benefit from something, otherwise we don’t do it. It is a horse centric approach.
“Rather than trying to satisfy the owner we are trying to do what is right for the horse. Although the owner is ultimately the customer, they are not the benefactor. We will take the harder path if we have to. I suppose it is our approach that makes us stand out. The purpose here is very strong."
“We are fortunate now to have enough people on board who feed our products in the way we suggest they should. We can say we transform horses. Some horses are healthy to start with, and benefits will be marginal but noticeable enough for owners – for example being much calmer.
“Ultimately what we like to see is a healthy animal that is well in itself and is settled in its brain and that is whether it is out on a hack or competing at Burghley."
One of Keyflow’s most successful products is called Pink Mash which is designed to improve gut health. Cam believes it is this product that has helped the company grow.
“We don’t have the budgets for Horse and Hound adverts so this puts us in people’s yards and gets us to have conversations with people who want to know more about what we do.
“Our products are a by product from being nutritionists. They are there because we see a need for them.”