Industry Interview: Kate Jupp, Helpline Coordinator Hilton Herbs
As we approach the time of year where school and college leavers start to consider either further education or employment, the team at Everything Horse interviewed Kate Jupp, to give further insight into duties involved in her varied role as helpline coordinator for animal supplement manufacturer, Hilton Herbs. We’ve also been a little cheeky and added a few questions in on common problems, recommendations and top tips too!
Kate Jupp Bsc Hons AMCST , who has recently took the role at Hilton Herbs, has collectively worked in the equestrian industry for over 10 years. Alongside being a professional event rider, historically Kate has trained as a McTimoney Corely Musculoskeletal therapist and is an active practitioner on the RAMP register.
What drove you to take on your current role?
I love helping people and I wanted a role that was more mentally challenging than my previous line of work where I was working training horses and, on the yard full time. A few hours in the warm and dry is a huge bonus, as is a five-day week!
Your current role is rarely discussed, but vital to the workings of the industry. What daily tasks do you need to undertake?
Processing orders tends to be the first job of the day, so they can go to the warehouse where they get produced, picked, packed and sent out. After this it’s replying to emails, answerphone messages and taking calls on the Helpline. When I get a few quiet moments I use these to work on ideas for marketing and competitions.
Being able to help horse owners choose supplement is a major perk of your job, but what other benefits does your role have to offer?
We like to make our clients feel that we are not here just to sell them products but to listen to them and help solve their problems, hopefully with the help of some herbs. We have a number of clients who love to call in and place their orders and have a chat, and being relatively new to the company, it’s been so lovely to hear from some of our more long-standing customers who have fed Hilton herbs since the company was founded in 1989.
What do you find the most challenging part of your job ?
Not always knowing the answer! Even with an extensive knowledge about animals, in particular horses, I’m fairly new to the herbal side. In a short space of time, it’s been a steep learning curve about herbs and products (we have over 40 just for horses!) and even about some more unusual ailments. Luckily our Herbalist, Hilary Self, is always on hand to help solve the trickier questions. We also have to abide by strict rules imposed on us by the Veterinary Medicines Directive regarding making medicinal claims for herbal products, so I’ve had to learn to think carefully about my wording.
On competing up to 4* on your own horse, has the experience you have gained within your role proved advantageous to competition?
It’s hard to say as I’ve not had much chance to compete since joining the company as by September the Eventing season is nearly over, but I plan to try the Easy Mare/Easy Mare Plus next season. I used to give my 4* horse was fed a mix of homeopathic Rhus Tox, Ruta Grav and Arnica which I’m sure helped keep her on the road.
When choosing supplements, what problems do horse owners frequently confront?
Fussy eaters, costs, feeding alongside conventional medicines and making sure the right product is selected. Some of the herbs like, the seaweed kelp (Ascophyllum nodosum) and the vitex agnus castus, have quite a strong smell but introduced gradually most horses love them.
As we are in the depths of winter, what are the most common queries you encounter from clients?
With colder weather and less turnout, fresh unsettled horses is a common one, we have a great product Calm & Collected that helps many horses during this time.
Sore scabby skin is another common query at this time of year. We recommend clients, in the ideal world start horses onto our Mud Defender mix before the problem arises, since it takes at least a couple on months for the mix to work its magic and increase the integrity of the skin and its natural resistance to mud – dwelling bacteria. However, there is no need to panic if it the problem has already arisen, we just recommend the Mud Defender Lotion to soften scabs and calm the condition alongside feeding the Mud Defender powder.
Talking to multiple horse owners a day, is there anything interesting you have taken away from their practices?
In my second week working for Hilton Herbs I took a phone order from a lady and when I checked she was happy with the dose she replied “oh no dear its not for my horse but my pet locusts!” It made us all chuckle and was a lesson that herbs really can be fed to many species!
Do you have a “must-have” product?
Garlic, it is not expensive to feed and has so many great properties for horses of all ages. It helps digestion as a natural pre – biotic and the Sulphur in garlic gets eliminated through the skin making the blood bitter tasting – very off-putting off those nasty summer flies. It’s good for maintaining respiratory conditions. Until the advent of Penicillin in the 1940’s it was used extensively by doctors in both the first and second World Wars. It’s also anti-parasitic and can be used effectively as part of a worming program alongside worm counts and targeted medication. And just as a bonus since the herbs we use are all human grade you can even grab some for the cooking!
Finally, what are your top tips for winter horse care and is there anything we can do as owners to prepare for the season?
We all know winter is tough but try to keep a routine and turnout where possible, even if it’s just for an hour. Use ‘boredom breakers’, apples on string are a great source of amusement and our mini Himalayan salt licks will fit a lick-it holder or try our Herballs in a treat ball. For the horses in limited work alongside plenty of good quality hay consider feeding a good all- round supplement like our Herb Power or a balancer rather too much hard feed.
For more information on the extensive range of animal supplements Hilton Herbs provide www.hiltonherbs.com