A New Business Model with Altruism at the Core
Weatherford, Texas 12-12-2018, FullBucket develops the #1 probiotic based products for performance horses and dogs in the US. The top veterinarians, equine clinics, Universities, trainers and owners use our products on some of the best and most expensive animals on the planet.
In 2011, FullBucket cofounders Dr. Rob Franklin, Dr. Keith Latson and Robo Hendrickson traveled to Central America to learn more about working horses in underprivileged areas.
These horses, donkeys and mules are used on a daily basis to haul water, milk, crops, children and plow fields. Unlike horses in the US, these animals are a necessity for sustaining life in the poorest countries.
What they discovered was shocking and disheartening. Overwhelmingly, the horses were malnourished, deformed, wormy and covered in ticks and saddle sores from ill-fitting equipment. The open wounds often plague them for their entire lives as they are never given a chance to heal. Teeth were broken, rotted and cutting into gums preventing the horses from chewing the limited amount of food properly for digestion.
The horses and their owners face several challenges that most of the developed world no longer have to deal with. Long hours of labor requires extra energy in a diet and they do not receive it. Often the people have only scraps of fruit skins, corn husks or washy grass to feed these important beasts of burden, which destroys their teeth and digestive system and doesn't provide enough energy to keep their bodies healthy.
They often live in volcanic regions where ash has reduced the essential minerals and vitamins in the soil and thus the natural feed around. These essential nutrients are required for optimal health and without causes major bone, joint and skin problems.
Parasites, diseases and bat bites cause infections and create additional healthcare issues that can lead to death. They have little to no access to veterinary or any kind of healthcare products due to economic struggles. To replace one of these important animals can cost a family 2 years wages, so sustaining life is very important.
"Aside from the obvious nutrition and health care issues, ignorance is the number one challenge here." said Robo Hendrickson. "The people just don't know the proper healthcare & nutritional procedures required to keep their working animals healthy."
FullBucket set out to address these challenges and create a sustainable program by creating the first One-4-One program in the animal healthcare industry. And it's a giant task as there is an estimated 80 million of these horses living in poor conditions throughout the world.
For every single serving sold here in the US, they provide a serving of nutritional supplement for working horses in the poorest of communities. Working side-by-side with the University of Guatemala's veterinary students and faculty, they use blood and stool samples and formulate a specific blend of the missing nutrients. Each owner is provided a 6-month supply during FullBucket's Giving Trips they conduct 4 times a year.
"We not only wanted to help with nutrition, but build a bridge for others to help. So we take 8 to 10 volunteers with us as we set up and work from village to village providing dental, feet, saddlery, de-worming, vaccinations and educate the locals about proper horse health care." said Dr. Rob Franklin. "The students from the University work side-by-side with some of the best horse vets in the world. It's an amazing experience for both."
Since 2011, FullBucket has provided thousands of free nutritional supplement to thousands of families for their work horses. And hundreds of volunteer veterinarians and industry professionals have participated with a variety of healthcare services.
"Our goal was to create a sustainable model that doesn't disrupt the community. We've trained several young men to trim feet and float teeth, supplied them with simple tools and demonstrate how to run a business." remarked Dr. Keith Latson. "Because of this, there are many villages we no longer have to visit because the horses have good body scores, teeth and feet."
And with focused effort, the FullBucket Giving program is working.
"It's very gratifying to see progress in these communities and their horses. To know that the program is working - is growing as our business grows. Sometimes I'm in wonder that we're actually pulling it off. The logistics of doing this is insane. But I guess maybe we are too." said Robo. "The people are just so nice and appreciative. And the horses are stronger and better off. We're proving that a business, a for profit business, can get involved and make a difference even if it's a small one."