A VERY HORSEY HISTORY
Tish Fearn was born in South Africa into an animal orientated environment. At home amongst other family pets, some exotic, some ordinary, she had a dog that was trained to follow and protect her. At the time she didn't appreciate the intrusion but she soon learnt to understand the behaviour between human and animal.
Tish moved to England with her family and as she grew up the family pets became an important part of Tish's life. Her interest in horses began in her teenage years and developed further when she had children of her own. Tish’s daughter Tess showed enough interest for Tish to decide to buy a pony for Tess and a horse for herself.
Her visits to local livestock auctions in search of a suitable pony for Tess proved quite harrowing as the inhumane treatment of many of the horses could be openly witnessed. This caused Tish to return to the auctions on a regular basis in an attempt to try and improve the situation and conditions the animals were kept in. At the same time, Tish also started to receive phone calls and letters from concerned members of the public wanting to report cases of animal cruelty.
More and more animals came Tish's way and she was determined to actively fight the scourge of animal cruelty she witnessed on a daily basis. Therefore, Tish decided to form a registered charity fondly known as NEDS, the National Equine Defence Society. NEDS is an equine charity recognised by the National Equine Welfare Council and is currently home to 11 horses with around 200 animals out on loan.
Some of the horses Tish took in suffered from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, a form of asthma which meant they could not be bedded down on straw. Shavings had to be used to relieve the horses’ symptoms and, when Tish and her team had to muck out the stables, they employed a traditional shavings fork. Shavings forks are heavy and cumbersome and with mucking out being an arduous task at the best if times, the job was made doubly difficult with the inadequate equipment available on the market.
Tish suffered more than most having only one hand to work with and developed tendonitis because of the increased workload on her good arm. The problem and pain did not ease and Tish’s GP threatened her with a plaster cast and, worse still, giving up caring for her horses if she didn’t rest her arm. So, Tish put her mind to re-inventing the wheel by taking a radical approach to re-designing the traditional shavings fork for the benefit of horse owners everywhere.
Tish realised that the fork had to be exceptionally light yet extremely hardwearing and contacted Business Link West Yorkshire to find out about grants for innovative business ideas. She applied for a Micro Smart Award and won a grant for £8,750 that enabled her to design and produce the first prototype.
Working closely with John Allen at Sheffield Hallam University, Tish also produced a shovel to be used for mucking out stable yards and paddocks. She and her team used the products in extensive field trials and were amazed with the results. 10 prototypes later and the Lite-Lift shavings fork and shovel were born and Tish and her team would not be without them.
The Lite-Lift is so light it can be balanced quite effortlessly on just one finger. It is fully adjustable so can be used by both short and tall individuals and personally adapted to the user so it is totally comfortable to use. The Lite-Lift is so easy to use it drastically minimises the amount of time needed to complete mucking out and, most importantly, strain on the back and arms is almost eliminated.
As an innovation, the Lite-Lift is not restricted to the equine industry but can also be applied to tools used in the gardening, cleaning and farming sectors. The Lite-Lift is the perfect solution to tough jobs which would normally induce considerable muscle strain and is also suitable for the elderly and those who suffer from back, arm or neck problems.