July 23, 2012
The CEO of Professional’s Choice took a chance and revolutionized the equine industry.
Back in 1985, Dal Scott decided to take a gamble.
A backyard horseman with a penchant for new ideas and an interest in orthopedics, Dal had developed a small line of knee and back supports made of high-quality neoprene. He manufactured them through his small “hobby” company, Dricast Orthopedics. For nine years, he and his wife, Nina, funded the company out of their pockets.
Finally, at the age of 52, Dal quit his day job as a recreational vehicle salesman, and gambled on making his then-penniless business a success.
It just so happened that his neoprene supports had a following among horse people, so Dal added a small line of protective boots for horses to his products. In 1986, he changed his company’s name to Professional’s Choice Sports Medicine Products Inc.
“In those days,” Dal explained, “protective boots were kind of an afterthought, a store bin product. A lot of people didn’t bother putting anything on their horses’ legs.”
In 1988, while at a reining in Oklahoma City, Dal talked with some trainers who liked his protective boots. But they also had a problem. “They asked me if we could create something that would not only provide protection,” Dal said, “but would also support the suspensory apparatus of the equine leg.” It’s a problem that has plagued horses for years: damage or rupture of the suspensory ligament due to fatigue.
In the dirt of the arena, they talked about what that ideal boot should do. Dal went home to his small factory and sat down with his head machine sewer, his lead cutter and a plastic horse leg. He drew out a diagram on a piece of paper.
“The idea that I had was to see if there was some way to support the suspensory by creating some kind of a spring-like effect,” Dal said, “where it would help reduce fatigue in the limb and help stop hyperextension of the fetlock.” He drew out a boot with a strap lifting up underneath the fetlock joint at a 45-degree angle.
“I knew we had the highest quality neoprene made in the world,” he continued. “We used it because our products required a lot of stretching and this material retained its ‘memory'; it wouldn’t lose its shape.”
He sent prototypes of his unique boot to trainers across the country, and they loved it. Product testing proved that the boot had an amazing ability to absorb and dissipate the negative energy, produced by hoof concussion, which traveled up the equine leg.
Convinced he had something worthwhile, Dal offered the Professional’s Choice Sports Medicine Boot to the public in 1989, and it took off. “There wasn’t anything out there like this product, that offered support, not just protection,” he said. “Now it’s the best-selling equine leg care product in the world.”
Not bad for a tenacious RV salesman with a love for trail riding and a head full of ideas.
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