By Selena Frederick and Jackie McFarland
A Supplement is Reborn
With the competitive supplement industry, what is next for Royal Champion?
“It’s a classic product with an unparalleled history. And it’s experiencing a well-deserved reintroduction into the market,” explained company owner Tomas Harlan.
A pioneer from its inception, Royal Champion horse supplements introduced the concept of full supplementation 37 years ago into a market that had not seen anything quite like it. According to Harlan, not only is Royal Champion’s history unique, but most importantly the formulas are one of a kind, with a combination of ingredients not found in any other product. These two factors play an essential role in how RC differentiates itself from that of its many competitors.
The History of RC
At the appointment of HRH Queen Elizabeth II, Dr. Trevor M. Cook developed the formulas for the Royal Family of England and for many years the products were used only by this elite group and exclusive clients in the British equestrian community. In 1990, Dr. Cook was released to sell the products commercially and brought RC to the US. Dianna DeCastro, a well-known figure on the California race circuit, had used the formulas on her own horses to great success and approached Dr. Cook for a potential partnership. From that meeting, she acquired the worldwide rights to the formulas and Dr. Cook stayed on in a research and product development capacity.
In 1995, Ms. DeCastro brought Royal Champion to the hunter/jumper and polo markets. Her marketing efforts targeted the top-level competition horses, riders, trainers and owners. After only a few months, Royal Champion saw an increase in its clientele from gains in this new market. Momentum of the product was gaining rapidly until 1999 when Ms. DeCastro was involved in a near-fatal automobile accident. The next seven years were a difficult period for the sustainability of Royal Champion as Ms. DeCastro struggled through multiple surgeries and a long recovery. Interestingly, some of the more passionate clients actually took initiative to get the product manufactured, packaged and shipped to themselves during that time period. These clients remain loyal to Royal Champion to this day.
Enter Tomas Harlan. As an acquaintance of Ms. DeCastro’s, Harlan was approached about the company in terms of ownership and after nine months of research, he ‘fell in love’ with the product. “While I had a background with horses from childhood, I didn’t realize what a strong impact a supplement could make. When I saw the results this product achieved, and heard from owners about how their horses simply ‘felt’ different with improvements in temperament, recovery and stamina, I knew that Royal Champion was something special.” In the end of 2008 Harlan purchased the company and since then has been actively reestablishing the brand on multiple levels, from local to global efforts.
RC Now and In the Future
In the short period since the change of ownership, RC’s reintroduction to the horse industry is well underway. Listening to and analyzing customer feedback, the staff at RC took into account what people value when making a decision about supplements for their horse, which led to the development of two new updates to the current complete vitamin and mineral formula, as well as a new complete joint formula for release later this summer.
The strategy is to “update the new line, continue moving the product throughout the US, continue to learn from customer feedback, and introduce the product to the equine market worldwide,” commented Harlan, who is in the midst of securing distribution in key foreign markets.
With the global market on the horizon and the continued success in the United States, RC supports top riders in several disciplines. The Royal Champion team of riders includes Hap Hansen, Joie Gatlin, Tom Foran, and Marco Bernal amongst several others. Their list of sponsored riders is constantly growing, as they keep their eyes on the next generation of up and coming talent in all disciplines.
Royal Champion has been consistently involved in supporting the world of show jumping, especially in Southern California. As the title sponsor of the $50,000 Royal Champion Grand Prix during the Blenheim Spring Classic II, and many more events throughout the season, the staff at Royal Champion continues to “connect with our customers and provide a top of the line formula to meet their horse’s nutritional needs. That is what Royal Champion is all about.”
For more information about Royal Champion products, please visit www.royalchampion.com.