Thesis Project






May 7, 2017

The Problem

Not enough horse owners are aware of tainted horse feed and in turn are making uneducated grain buying decisions. This results in cases where horses die due to consuming tainted grain.

What is the decision making process in horse feed purchases for horse owners? How can we make horse owners more educated about their feed purchase to increase sales of clean feed?

Success Statement

Horse owners and caretakers will have access to an easy to use application that helps them make educated feed purchases as well as tells them what feeds and companies to stay away from. In turn, this would result in fewer horses being affected by ionophore poisoning.

Target Audience

Horse owners and care takers. Really want to target large sized barns who feed a lot of horses, i.e. university stables, racetracks, show barns, etc.


My research began with using problem maps to narrow down my idea and what to research. After I had my initial thoughts mapped out, I was able to start my research phase. In order to figure out my target audience, and the information to back up my thoughts, I read numerous articles and FDA reports about ionophore poisoning and feed companies who had cases of this against them. This research information led me to my next phase; observations, surveys, and questionnaires. I visited barns, feed stores, and feed mills where I asked them a set of questions about their horse feed buying process and their knowledge on ionophore poisoning. I also sent out surveys online to horse owners to get more feedback regarding these same questions. In the end I found out that 77% of those interviewed bought grain off of nutritional content, 59% research before buying, and an astonishing 86% had no idea what ionophore poisoning was.

Design Process

I wanted a logo that showed a relation to equine, but also the idea of safety. This made me think of how knights and cavalry fought to protect. So, a knight on a horse with a shield of grain became my app’s identity, with the idea that this app fights for your horses feed protection. I wanted a clean design aesthetic to give the feeling of “clean” feed. The color scheme is bold yet inviting to get consumers to notice and enticed. I also created an infographic based off of my application to promote horse owners to use the app.

Design Solution

To help horse owners make an educated and safe purchase for their horses, I created an app, called GrainGuard. This app is meant for owners to take with them to their purchasing site and directly look up the grain content, manufacturer liability, and overall grain safety. The ability to compare grain’s side-by-side and find out what best fits your horse is one of the main features, but GrainGuard’s main service is that it ONLY provides safe, clean feed and warns you about feeds and manufacturers with reports against them. A prototype of the app shows the key functionalities of GrainGuard. GrainGuard could make a difference in the way owners buy feed and create a safe market for horse feed.

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