It all started with a man in a van back in 1986 when Larry Masterson began distributing healthcare products and supplements to the thoroughbred and racing industry. Thus Thoroughbred Remedies Ireland (TRI) came into being. Over the past 35 years the range of horse and riding products on offer has grown exponentially. Some 8,500 of those are also sold online. In addition, there are three sales representatives on the road serving 1,500 trade customers around the country. TRI now employs 70 staff and according to managing director Brendan Murphy, they could add five more if they could get them.
Their trade is now 50/50 between the thoroughbred and sport horse industries. Brendan notes: “While it began with supplements and healthcare, we now cater for the whole spectrum of horse and rider needs within a growing equestrian world. In a normal week we average 3,700 people coming into our shop at the Curragh and a further 960 to the outlet at the Meadows Equestrian Centre in Armagh.”
He also pointed to the fact that more and more young people are getting involved with pony clubs and that there is a very buoyant business in that sector. But it is not all one-way traffic, it should be noted that the company does a good deal of pony club sponsorships. They also give a leg-up to 12 young riders who are trying to progress their careers.
In the senior sector they sponsor Greg Broderick through their TRM brand. They back show jumping’s Spring Tour along with localised classes at equestrian centres and they have an ongoing input at racecourses around the country.
In the Irish Year Book for 1921, it was noted that: “Most of the harness used in Ireland is made from Irish hides, tanned in Ireland and made up in Ireland.”
This, of course, is no longer the case since – with few exceptions – we do not now have a saddler or craft footwear industry in Ireland to speak of. Hence TRI’s large product portfolio has to be imported from the UK, Germany, Holland, Italy and India, but Brendan says: “We still attempt to give a value-conscious service to our customers.”
They have an entry-level pony saddle at €250. Adult saddles range from €365-€850. If there is a need for size customisation they do have interchangeable gullets.
Finally, Murphy pinpoints the company’s basic philosophy: “We are a commercial operation providing jobs and service to an industry that has 100,000 thoroughbreds and 150,000 sport horses and which I believe is on an upward trajectory.”