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[Weekender] Saddling up for business

As we ring in 2014, the Year of the Horse, businesses are introducing the mammal in their products and marketing tactics.

It’s happening even in the food business: The horsemeat market in Korea, albeit fledgling, is on a growth path as the meat is increasingly perceived as a healthy food.

One restaurant located in Yeongcheon, North Gyeongsang Province, draws in those wanting to try unique gourmet foods.

“Raw minced horsemeat is the most popular at the small restaurant,” Chae Sang-ho, owner of the restaurant Milbat (meaning wheat field in English), told The Korea Herald

“The number of customers is on the rise these days,” said Chae. “Everyone can enjoy the meat, which has a proportion of unsaturated to total fat that is three times higher than in other meats.”

Jeongol, a Korean stew, is another attraction at the restaurant.

Cooked together with vegetables, such as green peppers, mushrooms and onions, horsemeat jeongol is thick and savory.

At around 50 horsemeat restaurants in Jejudo Island, horsemeat bulgogi and tteokgalbi are among popular dishes that lure customers.

As horsemeat contains more glycogen and protein than other meat, it is popular with the public as a low-cholesterol diet food as well. 

Byproducts of horses are also used in cosmetics. Refined horse fat is processed into soap, oil and makeup products, while bones and placenta are made into supplements.

“Cosmetics products using horse oil and placenta are effective in preventing wrinkles and the aging process in skin,” Lee Jeong-sun, the president of Jeju-based cosmetics firm Sansaemi Inc. 

Fashion and beauty businesses also market horses’ aesthetics and usefulness.

Many leading luxury brands are incorporating the aesthetic features of horses in their designs.

Hermes, Burberry, Ralph Lauren, Longchamp and Coach have long included a horse in their logos.

Hermes sells horse-riding equipment at the Shilla Hotel and the Galleria Department Store. A tailored saddle is sold for around 5 million won to 6 million won ($4,740 to $5,690).

“More customers are looking for items related to horse riding,” said an official from Hermes. “It seems that more people are riding horses as a hobby and to maintain good health.”

Lotte Department Store sells horseshoes as home decor. The idea of promoting the item originated from a European custom of hanging up a horseshoe in a house to dispel bad luck and draw in good luck, according to the department store.

By Kim Young-won  (
catch table
Korea Herald daum