In 1990 at the Palm Beach Dressage Derby I remember meeting Tigger Montague and her friend Carter Bass. Both were in Florida showing their horses and participating as a vendor with her horse health company, Equi Genesis. They were dancing and having fun at the competitor’s party and I remember thinking “I want to know these girls and be their friend!” We all hit it off and have been good friends ever since.
Montague is a High Performance Dressage rider and Freestyle creator who spent time in the Netherlands, training with Susie Dunkley at Anky van Grunsven’s barn in Erp. Her in depth knowledge and understanding of nutrition and the value of whole food for the equine athlete has been the driving force in her life’s work. With her new company BioStarEQ, Montague personally consults with high performance athletes Jonathon Miller, Double H Farm and their featured riders Rodrigo Pessoa and Quentin Judge, in the jumper world, Shannon Peters and Jim Koford in Dressage, and event rider Will Coleman. These riders are now part of the new BioStarEQ Team, whose career highlights will be featured on the BioStarEQ website. But it is not just their stories and the vast amount of important information all horse owners need to know when it comes to the myriad of supplements in the industry, but it Tigger’s own story of how her company came to be with a horse named Lionheart.
In 2005 Tigger Montague’s Grand Prix dressage horse named Lionheart was diagnosed with inflammation of the bursa. Despite various meds, joint injections, shock wave, and Tildren Lionheart showed no improvement. Finally Dr. Tim Ober, Lionheart's vet, told Montague that the only option left was to nerve him. Dr. Ober felt the horse couldn't be retired without nerving him first.
At that time Tigger was researching raw, sprouted foods as part of her job as a consultant to a human whole food supplement company. In facing the decision to have Lionheart under go a neurectomy, Montague applied her lifelong experience as a nutritionist for both equine and human to help her horse. She decided that perhaps feeding him some whole, raw, sprouted foods might prepare his body better for the ordeal he was about to endure.
She mixed some freshly- sprouted seeds with papaya, hand cut the mix into little bars, and dehydrated them then started feeding the bars to Lionheart. About 30 days later she started to notice he looked sounder. Not fully trusting what she was seeing, she called Dr. Ober to have a look. After putting the horse on the lunge line he was amazed at how much better the horse was going. He mentioned that if Tigger could find a way to stimulate Nitric Oxide that she really might be on to something.
Montague immediately went and researched Nitric Oxide and its substrate, the amino acid Arginine and discovered that in whole foods, Arginine always exists in the presence of another essential amino acid called Lysine. She made bars with sprouts, and foods high in Arginine (pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and brewers yeast) and fed them to Lionheart. Three weeks later Dr. Ober pronounced the horse sound, and told Tigger, "your food did what none of my medications or therapies could do." Lionheart went on to compete at Grand Prix and has never since had re-occurrence of inflammation of the bursa.
With the encouragement of Dr. Ober and many friends, Tigger embarked on formulating whole food supplements for horses, which was the birth of her company BioStarEQ.
DressageDaily welcomes Tigger and BioStarEQ into our Wellness Zone, a growing section devoted to quality companies with quality products who complement each other and give back to the sport.