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Why I started Jigs & Co.

I first met Jigs when I was 15 on our family farm in southern Ohio. Jigs was just retired from barrel racing, and my cousin offered to take me around the farm on horseback. We quickly bonded, and the next week they called and asked if we would like to bring him home.

We struggled to keep him healthy as he moved from living outside on endless pastures 24/7, to splitting time in a stall and outside. Jigs experienced colicking episodes and undiagnosed ulcers. I learned more about managing and caring for horses and how restrictive feeding leads to health and the behavioral issues Jigs exhibited. But there was no good solution. Ad libitum feeding leads to obesity in stabled horses. Less frequent meals, while adequate in caloric intake, lead to extended periods without feed causing metabolic and physiologic stress for horses. Slow feeders create safety concerns, stressful eating conditions, and promote non-natural feeding positions. I couldn't find a solution that kept Jigs healthy for long.

I started veterinary school in 2018 at St. George's University. It was during a term one equine nutrition class that the idea came to me. Studies of wild horse herds and ad libitum feeding studies show that horses with unlimited access to feed will only go 3 hours without feeding. Horses show behavioral signs and physiological stress after 4.5 hours with no access to food, and horses become prone to ulcers between 4-6 hours without feed. I knew from experience that most stabled horses are offered 2-4 large meals anywhere from 6-12 hours apart throughout the day. And I also knew it was not practical to feed horses 6-8 smaller meals throughout the day and night. For the remainder of class, I became distracted and started drawing a practical solution for the stabled horse. I still have my first sketch !

And so my journey began. Little did I know this would lead to my very own company, named after my very own horse. It's been challenging launching a business while studying to become a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, launching my Veterinary career, getting married, and starting a family. But I did it. Because I want all stabled horses to feed the way nature intended.

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