I have worked with horses professionally most of my life. I’ve always looked for ways to make them happy, I believe it’s our responsibility, and frankly it makes me feel better, to see horses enjoying their life. I used to say “wow it’s too bad they can't do this or that”, or “boy that’s a real problem for horses”. I've managed as many as 2000 horses at a time, but until one day handing out carrots to my own horse Ladd in our pasture, I noticed he was really struggling with scratching the biting flies and with the itchy spots on his belly. I reached up under him bare handed and vigorously scratched his tummy. Ladd nearly fell down with relief, clacking his teeth in the air with a sigh to heaven!
I was reminded every shedding and every fly season that no fix was available, and I kept thinking these poor horses need a safe way to scratch themselves underneath, but after searching, I found no solution, so I made one.
After 8 years testing 3 prototypes, the horses picked the BellyBrush best, so we patented it.
Leslie and I have always believed that all animal mental health is important, but after this point we believed that problems with the animals we keep can be solved. We believe we are responsible for making animals lives better and focus on what we know and live.
We lost some of the testing horses by old age a couple of years ago including Ladd, and it took a while to raise enough money for production.
Abrae is here because of all those horses who tested the BellyBrush and the ones still struggling with belly itch, and especially Ladd. Abrae is a California-based and family owned company established in 2005, to design and manufacture innovative products for horses and livestock throughout the world.
Founders Rahmar and Leslie Oberholtzer are lifelong horse care advocates. Rahmar was conditioning Endurance Race horses at 12 yrs old, then at 15 he left home in Germany to begin his professional studies career with horses. Rahmar’s work as a trainer and manager of international show horses, a business owner and a Master Trainer are combined with 8 years’ experience at the University of California Davis Center for Equine Health, where some of the world’s most progressive equine research and equine medical care is accomplished. Rahmar thrived with his love of horses and Leslie, who has lifelong experience raising food animal livestock and equine management and husbandry. This combined with her degrees in Natural Sciences, Biotechnology, Molecular and Cellular Biology, and Chemistry, along with Abrae she continues her dedication as the Environmental Health and Safety Specialist/Safety Coordinator for the Department of Animal Science at the University of California, Davis.
In 2005 family care responsibilities shifted our careers, but not our commitment to the care of horses. Abrae was started as an equine care and facilities consulting company. Developing plans for equine injury risk aversion and identifying care and health problems through years of experience, we knew of many common pains associated with horse care but could not find products to deal with most of these issues. That’s when we decided to create, patent and manufacture only products that solve difficult problems and improve the lives and mental health of horses and livestock in an increasingly stressful world.
Within a few months, Abrae’s first product was born: The BellyBrush is one of a kind and is now being marketed to caretakers of companion and competitive horses and livestock around the world. We especially look forward to promoting large animal mental health as a mainstream category and continue testing and manufacturing our new product lines in the near future.