1985 – 1992:
Dr Deborah Carley BSc (Hons) Biochemistry, PhD Biological & Nutritional Sciences gained a first degree in Biochemistry from Sheffield University. She then went on to study for a PhD and post-doctoral research at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, on ‘Molecular Analysis of Plant Cell Wall Hydrolases of Bacterial Origin’. This work involved the detailed genetics, molecular and cell biology of enzymes which break down cellulose and xylan – components of the grasses and grains that horses eat
Dr Deborah Carley BSc (Hons) Biochemistry, PhD Biological & Nutritional Sciences, is the founder and Managing Director of Thunderbrook Equestrian Limited
2001 – 2009:
Haven taken up new position in Cambridge, working for The Welcome Trust, Dr. Carley moved her small family run stud from a Wiltshire farm surrounded by cattle and sheep farming, to Norfolk, on the edge of Thetford Forest, surrounded by arable farming.
Over the next few years, other problems started to occur with the herd of horses including persistent mane and tail rubbing, ventral midline dermatitis (itching under the belly), summer COPD, allergies, runny eyes and noses, infertility and then bang! We had major problems.
In 2007, two mares developed acute laminitis requiring remedial farrier work. A couple of other horses developed foot soreness, despite already being on poor grazing. Feed and exercise regimes hadn’t changed over the years, the horses carried ‘summer condition’ as usual but were not obese, so the sudden onslaught of lamintis was most peculiar.
Why had we gone from a position of never having had laminitis in over 70 years, to suddenly having 4 mares afflicted with it?
Then Harlequin, our 16.2hh ex-eventer Welsh Cob gelding who had never been overweight, began to drastically lose condition and developed laminitis in all four feet, with pedal bone rotation. This proved to be the beginning of a number of findings and life changing events that came our way over the following two years…..and led to the formation, in 2009, of a family run business – Thunderbrook Equestrian.
Click here to read Harlequins story
2009 – 2014:
Through word of mouth and referrals from her vet, farrier and barefoot trimmer, horse owners began to contact Dr. Carley to know if they could buy the feed and supplements she had developed for her own herd.
The first feed was named ‘Base Mix’ (now called Synergy) and the first supplement was named ‘Gut Restore’
Soon, due to increased demand, a website and online shop were built and the first staff were recruited to help Dr. Carley with processing orders, making up feed etc.
Demand continue to increase which meant that in …….
JULY: Thunderbrook relocated from Dr. Carley’s house and stable yard to a local industrial estate. This meant we were able to expand our range of feeds and supplements and really focus on starting to supply retailers with our feeds.
NOVEMBER: Thunderbrook Equestrian began to operate as a limited company rather than Dr. Carley as a sole trader. We also became member of BETA (British Equestrian Trade Association)
As a little known equine feed brand, we took the decision to exhibit at BETA International at The NEC Birmingham. BETA International is the world’s leading international equestrian trade show exhibition for products and services from the equine industry.
We had a great show, a really busy three days, and as a result, we started to supply more and more retailers.
From as little as 10 stockists at the beginning of the year, by December 2015 we have over 200 stockists.
Through the summer of 2015, we also exhibited at our first shows, including Hickstead, Equifest and Your Horse Live.
We returned to BETA International, taking a much bigger stand than the previous year and we were delighted to launch our Healthy Herbal Muesli and HayCobs at the show.
We had a extremely busy three days, and met with lots of both existing and new stockists.
Due to continued growth of our brand, we had to move from our rented unit into a purchased 11,000 sq ft warehouse and offices.
We name our new building ‘Harlequin House’ in memory of Harlequin.🐎
After 12 months of research and development, we were delighted to launch our ‘Wild Boar, Venison and Pheasant’’ Dog Food.
Formulated without grain and using unique protein sources, making it suitable for dogs with sensitive digestion. No dried or dehydrated meat, bone meal or derivatives were used in its formulation.
We were delighted to win the EDP Future 50 ‘One to Watch’ Business Award.
Future50 One to Watch award recognises an early stage business which shows the potential and drive to become a success story.
The judges said they saw ‘unrivalled passion’ from the owners, who had made a ‘huge impact on their market’.
Once again, we exhibited at a number of shows and events throughout the UK.
We love getting out and about and meeting customers, formulating diet plans explaining all about our products and ethos.
In January 2019, at BETA International @ The NEC, we launched our range of certified organic horse feed.
May 2019 – September 2019:
We exhibited at Badminton Horse Trials for the first time.
We were delighted to exhibit at Dublin Horse Show, which is one of Ireland’s largest events, a highlight of the summer, each year welcoming tens of thousands of people from Ireland and all over the world.
We exhibited at Burghley Horse Trials for the first time
Well, we had big plans for 2020, but alas, along came Covid 19 so all those plans were put on hold. No Badminton, Hickstead, Burghley, Your Horse Live etc etc.
Being classified as a ‘essential business’ we were able to remain open throughout the lockdowns, and we are very thankful for the continued support of our customers.
After 9 months of planning and development, we launched our completely new website, hope you like it!!
Because of the continuing uncertainty around Covid restrictions, we have taken the decision not to exhibit at any events in 2022.