Written by: Emily Daily/Jump Media Published: 11 January 2020
When Elizabeth Ehrlich was working at a top international law firm in Manhattan, she never dreamed she would use the problem-solving and research skills she had acquired in the legal field to create equine supplements. Now, instead of managing tough cases, Ehrlich spends her days talking with riders about their horses’ health, overseeing her thriving business, and brainstorming new products. She owes her drastic career change to one mare—Bella.
After a six-year stint at the law firm, Ehrlich was ready for a change. “I liked it, but it really wasn’t the lifestyle I wanted forever,” she says. She and her husband relocated to Florida where she practiced probate and estate litigation at a firm in West Palm Beach. As a lifelong equestrian who put riding on hold for her busy career, she was soon back in the saddle after purchasing Bella, a warmblood mare, in the fall of 2015.
A few months into their partnership, Ehrlich noticed that Bella began showing typical signs of ulcers—pinned ears, girthiness, and spooky behavior. After treating the mare with a course of omeprazole, she was determined to find a long-term management solution for gastric health. She immediately began researching equine ulcers, poring over published medical studies. She wasn’t satisfied with just soothing Bella’s symptoms—she wanted to get to the root of the problem.
“After months of researching the science behind the causes of ulcers, I understood how and why they occurred, and ultimately, how best to prevent their reoccurrence,” Ehrlich says. “When none of the existing gut supplements felt right, I created my own.”
After carefully selecting all-natural ingredients designed to promote good gut health, she combined them at different ratios, using Bella as a test subject. Finally, she developed the forage-based formula that gave her the results she was looking for and christened her new product Ulceraser®. Best of all, it turned out to also be cost effective.
Soon, friends and other horsemen began trying samples of Ulceraser® on their own horses and reported back that they were seeing positive results within weeks. Word spread like wildfire, and Ehrlich soon found herself constantly mixing batches to ship off. “At first I thought it would be a side business but then everybody who sampled it wanted more,” she says. “It got to the point where I was being asked to make it again and again, and I always said yes.”
At the time, Ehrlich was still working full-time as a lawyer. “I remember I’d have cardboard boxes under my arm, and I’d shuffle onto the elevators carrying boxes and buckets of Ulceraser®, dressed in my suit. Somewhere along the way, I thought, ‘Wow I could do this full-time.’” Soon enough, the demand for the product allowed Ehrlich to leave the legal world and focus solely on her new business, which she’d named Equine Elixirs.
After an official FEI-testing lab deemed Ulceraser® show-safe, Ehrlich decided she could finally promote the product outside of her circle of friends and reach out to top riders. “I thought, ‘If I’m going to approach some of the most respected people in the riding world, I need to have my certificate of analysis with me so I can assure them that there won’t be any testing issues.”
And so, with a bucket of Ulceraser® and the certificate of analysis in hand, Ehrlich spent most of her time at busy competition venues, introducing herself to riders. “I’d tell them I have this product, give them the certificate showing that it’s horse show safe, and a description of how the product works. I’d ask if it was something they might be willing to try for their horses. People were really interested. They all seem to realize that gut health is a huge issue. Almost everybody wanted to try it,” she recounts.
Charles Hairfield, head trainer at Seabrook Island Equestrian Center in Johns Island, South Carolina, was one such trainer. For close to two years, he’s had most of the horses in his bustling barn on Equine Elixirs products. “We’re on the road a few weekends a month at shows, and we’d seen some of our horses having issues with ulcers,” he says. “Obviously, things like Gastrogard® are very expensive to use as a maintenance product, so the fact that Ulceraser® is all-natural and you fed it every day and the horses liked it and ate it, really seemed like a no-brainer to try out.”
Word continued to spread, thanks to Ehrlich’s face-to-face marketing, and soon top riders and programs such as McLain Ward, Scott Stewart, Jimmy Torano, North Run, Beacon Hill, and dozens more across the country were using the products for their horses.
After the success of Ulceraser®, Ehrlich applied her same research methods to create a new product, Positude®, in the spring of 2019. The all-natural orally administered liquid supplement provided owners with an alternative to medroxyprogesterone, or Depo-Provera (“depo”), offering an affordable and long-term solution for helping maintain hormonal balance and consistent temperament in horses. One of those horses was Bella, who previously required weekly Depo shots. “I never liked giving injections,” says Ehrlich. “The cost of Depo added up, and Bella would occasionally have a site reaction, all of which are things of the past thanks to Positude®.”
Since then, she’s also launched Tidbits, all-natural horse treats that aid in digestion for horses prone to ulcers and has two new products slated to be announced in early 2020.
Though her venture into a customer-service industry was somewhat unexpected, Ehrlich enjoys interacting with a majority of the clients herself. Her phone is constantly buzzing with orders and questions from customers, and she’s eager to hear about how their horses are responding to the products.
“She always checks in,” says top grand prix show jumping rider Catherine Tyree. “She’s very good about follow-up and cares about my feedback. When she wanted to come meet my horses, it was great. Not many companies want to come do that. You can tell she’s so devoted to the product and really believes in it.”
The most important thing to Ehrlich is to make sure the customers’ horses are happy and healthy and that their questions or concerns are quickly addressed. “It’s not a written policy,” she explains. “It’s something I feel in my core and it motivates all of my interactions with people during the day.”