Cavallo Horse & Rider President Carole Herder (https://www.cavallo-inc.com) earned top honors as the Innovator of the Year in the 2021 BCBusiness Women of the Year Awards. In the publication’s new video highlighting the winner, Herder discussed how her hoof-boot company began and how her team continues to succeed with innovations in materials and products designed to help horses move naturally and comfortably.
Watch Herder’s full interview below or read on to find out more about how the Cavallo business took shape and operates at the top of the hoof-boot game.
Q: How did your business begin?
“I always loved horses, but grew up in the city and never had an opportunity to ride,” Herder says. “Through a series of unforeseen circumstances—I had a garment business in Vancouver when the Free Trade Deal came into effect. It was really tough on the Canadian garment industry. I had to reassess what I wanted in life and what kept coming up was horses. I wanted to ride horses. I wanted to live in the country. I uprooted my young family and moved out here to Roberts Creek, British Columbia and got involved with horses.
“I quickly recognized a way to help with the problem of intermittent and consistent lameness. Basically, the answer is no more nailing metal into horses’ feet. You leave them natural and barefoot on their living terrain, then when you want to ride, you put on our product. It’s a hoof boot—like a Nike—for horses. You can ride over any terrain at any speed. I’ve been working on this for the last 20 years. We are very proud that in the last two years we have really hit the tipping point. I would do public speaking and try to educate, and I’ve written two books—it was all an uphill process until recently. Now it’s being embraced worldwide. We have a purpose-built factory and we distribute to 28 countries worldwide. We basically run it all from here from our ranch in Roberts Creek.”
Q: How do you approach innovation? Where do your best ideas come from?
“It’s fun to create new colors and styles, but it’s all about the function. We look to innovation and technology—particularly in advanced materials. There are new materials coming out all the time. I have to say, imagination is the key. Without imagination we would have nothing. Everything in our world is built from imagination: forks and knives to eat our meals, to toilets, to the internet. It all first began in someone’s imagination. To quiet your mind enough so that your imagination can work is sometimes a challenge when you’re embroiled in running a company and doing the day-to-day stuff. It’s a good idea for entrepreneurs to step back and allow time for imagination to take hold.
“For me, the best time my imagination works is when I’m still in bed. That’s when I’m not already burdened with the thoughts of the day. We have to take time to step back and let our imagination work. That’s where innovation comes from, imagination.”
Q: How can you continue to innovate?
“Identifying a problem and fixing it is a great place to start. The end in mind, though, is restricted by the confines of what we can do—the materials we have to access or the people we have working with us. I think it’s important to ask—what would be the ultimate end result? Think of that without thinking ‘how do we do it?’ Rather than thinking ‘how can we do it’ or ‘where can we source it,’ have in mind what you want to solve in the best possible way without restrictions.”
Q: What are the greatest obstacles you’ve overcome?
“Public speaking was difficult for me. It was one of the first times that I felt really challenged. I had to go up against the opposition of the farriers. They didn’t want to hear what I had to say. If they could have shut me up, they would have. That’s all changed now, and some of my best friends are farriers.
“I’ve been recently challenged by the competition that’s come onto the market. Everything that we have poured into this has created a market and there’s now more competition. I have felt challenged by the fact that it’s the ultimate compliment—the more hoof boots on the market, the better. It was challenging for me to wrap my mind around this. It all boils down to confidence. It’s my biggest challenge and it’s continuing to be. We are our own worst enemies and we’re too hard on ourselves. I always think I can be better or have more programs. But to say, ‘I worked hard, I know my stuff and I’m good enough’—that’s the biggest challenge. For many of us, that would be the biggest challenge. How can you reframe this in your mind so that you feel good and strong and upbeat and can go through your life with a level of confidence and joy?”
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Carole Herder is the author of the #1-bestselling books: There Are No Horseshoes in Heaven, and the newly-released Hoofprints on The Journey. Her company, Cavallo Horse & Rider Inc., manufactures and distributes horse products, including Cavallo Hoof Boots and Saddle Pads, to 26 countries worldwide. Herder designed and developed Cavallo Hoof Boots and Total Comfort System Saddle Pads. She’s an honored recipient of the BCBusiness Women Innovator Award, Royal Bank of Canada Woman Entrepreneur Award, a member of the Women Presidents’ Organization, and a certified Chopra University Yoga Instructor and Ayurvedic Teacher.
Visit https://www.cavallo-inc.com to learn about the full line of Cavallo Horse & Rider products. Call (877) 818-0037 from the USA or Canada or call direct, (604) 740-0037.
The Northwest Horse Source is an independently owned and operated print and online magazine for horse owners and enthusiasts of all breeds and disciplines in the Pacific Northwest. Our contemporary editorial columns are predominantly written by experts in the region, covering the care, training, keeping and enjoyment of horses, with an eye to the specific concerns in our region.