We recently went behind the scenes in the EquiFit workshop and caught up with one our engineers, Caitlin Thompson. Caitlin has been with us for the past three years and helped develop products such as the AmpTeq Hind End Performance Boot, SheepsWool line, BellBoot and revamping of the Original and EXP3, just to name a few! She is an avid rider and prior to her time at EquiFit she groomed at Castle Hill for McLain Ward under the guidance of Lee McKeever!
What is the best part about being an engineer at EquiFit?
My favorite part of working at EquiFit is getting to work for a progressive, technology driven company that has an ever-growing, innovative product line. It is great to work for a company that cares so much about our four-legged athletes and has such a loyal following,
What is the process of launching a product at EquiFit?
- Identify a problem or a need within the industry.
- Research to see how people currently solve that problem.
- Several rounds of concept generation.
- Sample and test
- This helps us narrow down design direction, material choice, sizing and function. Eventually when we get to a point where everyone loves the product and it is functioning as intended, we launch!
How long does it take to develop a product? It varies from product to product. For instance, the D-Teq Boot involved a lot of development and testing time. In comparison a product like the pastern wrap which relied on using an interesting new material as opposed to reinventing the wheel didn’t take as long.
What has been your favorite product to launch while at EquiFit? The SheepsWool Line! We were able to create an EquiFit SheepsWool line that is very different than what is currently on the market. We had several requests over the years to create a fleece line, however we knew that if we wanted to do this we would have to put an EquiFit spin on it. After a significant amount of research, we were excited to learn that real wool can be used without harming any animals! Traditionally with a sheepskin liner, obviously the hide is used. By using real wool on a synthetic backer we get all of the benefits of real wool without harming animals.
We also felt that it was important to obtain some of the impact absorbing technology that is in our other liners. We were very excited to find a way to do this, by creating a liner that has both impact, absorbing foam and SheepsWool.
The line did particularly well while test
ing but it was especially exciting to see how well it was received after launching. It isn’t everyday that the No. 1 rider in the world, Kent Farrington, changes what he is used to using.
What are you working on now? We are currently working on more projects than ever before! Some are particularly exciting additions and will be new versions of current well loved products as well as branching into some new uncharted territory.
Tell us a little bit about the testing program: Our current testers range from everyday riders at local small barns to the top barns in the industry with over 60 horses to internationally top ranked riders. It is great to work with so many enthusiastic people. Testing is the foundation of our product development process. We field test each new product for months before it goes into production. Testing helps us make sure that the product fits and functions the way it should. Some of the testers have been involved with the testing process since EquiFit started and now even their children are testers!