Finish Line® Horse Products

Trusted brand trots out a new fast-acting muscle builder at Western States Horse Expo this month.

Those who answer the phones fulfilling Finish Line’s long-standing offer to refund the purchase price of products customers are not happy with – for any reason – are not kept very busy by that task. Unlike the Maytag repairman of yesteryear ad campaigns, however, they’re neither lonely nor bored. These real people – not automated voices – keep plenty busy answering customers’ questions about product use and distributor requests for more of Finish Line’s 43 horse care, health and performance products.

Inventory ranges from the leg poultices on which the 44-year-old, horseman-owned company was founded, to nutritional supplements, gastric health enhancers and products that address specific health conditions and general well-being. The newest entry to light up Finish Line’s phones is Performance Builder. Like all of the Illinois company’s offerings, it’s made of all-natural ingredients, formulated by an in-house chemist, tested extensively and manufactured at Finish Line’s facility.
All of that is quite unusual these days.

“Less than five percent of the products made in the companion animal (dogs, cats, horses, etc.) market are actually manufactured by the company whose name is on the label,” explains Steve Blanchard. Steve co-owns Finish Line with John R Howe, the fourth-generation horseman whose family passion for horses underlies the company’s past, present and future. “We are one of the few companies left that actually manufacturers our own products and that’s why we are proud to offer the 100% money-back guarantee.”

Performance Builder met Finish Line’s criteria for launching a new product because it offers something that existing products don’t: speed. Where others typically take months to produce results, this liquid muscle supplement does so in weeks.

Key ingredients include gamma oryzanol, calcium HMB and L-leucine, along with various botanicals that enhance its appeal and benefits to the horse. Steve explains that HMB is a metabolite of leucine that enables the body to skip the muscle breakdown phase that normally occurs during muscle building. That’s why horses on Performance Builder can add muscle so quickly. In humans, HMB has been effective in a range of applications, from AIDS patients to perfectly healthy weightlifters, with proven positive outcomes in accelerating muscle strengthening.

Like all of Finish Line’s products, Performance Builder underwent extensive research and testing: three years in this case. During that time, Steve performed his own personal experiment after a health scare. “At the time, I was a 66-year-old man who could barely lift 100 pounds,” he shares. He hired a personal trainer and began working out. A few weeks into the new routine, he added early formulations of what would become Performance Builder. “Once I did that, I noticed my strength gains coming much faster.” Within a few months, he was giving his “24-year-old sadist personal trainer” a run for his money by lifting 250 pounds.

Steve has maintained the muscle gain and greatly improved health ever since, but Performance Builder “is not a magic pill,” he notes. “If you’re sitting on your couch all the time, or your horse is not in conditioning work, you won’t see any difference.”

The Trust Factor

Finish Line’s long track record of success has made it a trusted brand in multiple disciplines. The Howe family is rooted in the racehorse world, where the sport asks the utmost of horses’ physical fitness and overall health. Steve started with the company during that era and believes that success in the racing world set a unique stage for success in the hunter/jumper, western performance and many other sporthorse and recreational disciplines.

“In horse racing, if you don’t win, you don’t eat,” he explains. That’s versus sporthorse disciplines in which people often come in with success in unrelated professions and pursue horses as a hobby. “If they are not financially successful with the horses, they are not affected. Their family is not going to starve.”

In racing, maintaining a losing horse costs as much as maintaining one that earns income, so getting every ounce of performance is a high priority. As prize money and level of competition rise in the hunter/jumper, dressage, eventing and other disciplines, those horse owners and trainers see the benefits of appropriating care tactics from the track. “Sometimes an ‘off the track’ discipline is unfamiliar with the Finish Line name at first, but it doesn’t take long for them to realize that their horses can benefit from our products the same way the race horses do.”

Steve remembers being met with blank stares when he first began introducing the common track practice of poulticing legs to the hunter/jumper world. Savvy horsemen in that arena quickly came to understand the benefits of poulticing to draw out heat, reduce inflammation and soothe muscles after rigorous work-outs, and it’s been common practice well beyond the track for many years. Along the way, Finish Line has become a highly trusted brand with many trainers and owners stocking their stables with a broad spectrum of the company’s products and welcoming new products.

That was the case for Hall of Fame and Eclipse Award winning trainer Shug McGaughey’s embrace of Performance Builder. “Based on Finish Line’s recommendation, I decided to try a couple of horses on it and now plan to put all my horses on it,” says the racing veteran.” I am pleased with the muscle development and like the product so far.”

Grand Prix show jumper Lisa Goldman is among many professionals to add her endorsement to Finish Line’s latest offering. “Over the past six-weeks, I felt like my horses had more endurance in the show ring and more fire on take-off for the jumps. And within two to three weeks, we saw improvement in their physical condition, even the horses that we didn’t think could look better looked amazing. My horses didn’t mind eating the supplement, even the picky eaters!”

Longtime Finish Line® Horse Products’ endorser, Margie Engle – 10x American Grand Prix Association Rider of the Year.

Testing & Quality Control

Finish Line’s catalog doubles as a library of common horse health challenges. Each product description explains how the ingredients address those challenges and the science verifying their efficacy. The company is a founding member of the National Animal Supplement Council, which monitors the formulation and manufacture of member’s products and provides consumers the assurance of a quality seal of approval.

Extensive testing and constant solicitation of feedback from horsemen stem from a passion for horses that predates Finish Line’s formal existence. The company was founded in 1975 by fourth-generation horseman John R Howe, but its seeds were planted and cultivated long before by his father, grandfather and great-grandfather. The latter, John Edward Howe, rode with Teddy Roosevelt, Jr. as a Rough Rider throughout the Oklahoma territory. His main responsibility was tending Roosevelt’s horses and riders, keeping them sound and healthy. Herbs, natural remedies and botanicals, combined with horsemen’s savvy, were his stock in trade, passed down to descendants who carried them into the racing world.

His descendant John R. Howe was destined to be the founder of Finish Line Horse Products. He felt a responsibility to further advance and develop his family’s horse legacy.  In 1973, he proudly became the fourth horseman in the family to earn his trainers license and worked the race tracks in the Midwest, Florida and Arkansas alongside his father and grandfather. They used longtime family formulas to keep their race and pleasure horses sound as JC Howe helped his son with product development and formulation.

John R Howe was so dedicated to his family’s products that he visited race barns every morning to sell his made-from-scratch poultices and remedies. Soon after, newly-titled Finish Line offerings could be found at tack shops in Chicago and at racetracks around the country. The positive results opened John’s eyes to the need of helping more horses by expanding the product line to reach more disciplines and regions. Combining family traditions with modern science and manufacturing methods, Finish Line began its national expansion. Today, Finish Line is easily found at tack and feed stores throughout the country and through online retailers.

For more information visit or call 800-762-4242.

Product Sampling

Along with poultices, Apple-A-Day™ electrolytes are another of Finish Line’s early products. Electrolytes and trace minerals help promote healthy replacement of electrolytes lost during daily activity. The original apple-flavored, no-sugar electrolyte bears the company’s trademark cost-effectiveness and contains no fillers, sugars and or artificial colors.

Air Power epitomizes Finish Line’s reliance on all-natural ingredients. Honey, menthol, eucalyptus oil, lemon juice, aloe vera and apple cider vinegar provide relief from coughs due to irritation of the airways, whether from allergies or dusty environments. Delivered by oral syringe, one dose of Air Power usually eliminates such coughing all day, leading to a more comfortable, better performing horse.

U7™ Gastric Aid: For a Healthy Digestive System – works in the foregut and hindgut.
Total Control: 5 proven products to help with joints, gastric system, hooves, coats, hydration AND blood counts in just two easy daily scoops.
Performance Builder: NEW Liquid Muscle Supplement that works in WEEKS, not months.
Apple-A-Day: Sugar free daily electrolyte.

As with all of Finish Line’s products, Air Power was field tested for efficacy with veterinarians and trainers. “During the winter, some of the horses get a respiratory ailment that is usually self-limiting but can cause extensive coughing both at work and at rest,” explains John E. Knowles, DVM. “Antibiotics are usually used to prevent a secondary, more severe bacterial infection, but they offer no symptomatic relief. This product offered the symptomatic relief we were searching for to keep horses in the equitation program comfortable and functional throughout the day. When horses were heard coughing either in the corral or in the arena they were given one dose of Air Power and invariably would stop coughing and were able to finish the working day.”

U-7™ Gastric Aid is another thoroughly vetted product. Well-known gastric ulcer expert, Scott McClure, DVM, conducted a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study, recording the incidence of ulcers in both groups. Dr. McClure’s conclusion: “The treated horses did not get worse. The control group did get significantly worse. For prevention, in this model, the product was effective.