Frans de Brabander and Nadine De Hert can be described as the pioneers of horse milk in Belgium. For 19 years they dedicated themselves to expanding “Het Brabanderhof”, their horse dairy farm on Maaikeneveld at Lier.
Nadine started her horse dairy farm in the summer of 1996 with four mares. The herd was soon increased to around sixty mares and it quickly became a more-than-full-time job. In 1999 it had grown to such an extent and there were so many new plans that her husband Frans gave up his job to help Nadine expand the horse dairy farm business even further.
In the same year they launched their own line of cosmetics, “Brabanderhof Cosmetics”. 2000 was the year the first freeze-drying machine (20L/batch) was purchased and in 2001 this was followed by a second, larger freeze dryer (100L/batch) to dry the horse milk. Freeze-drying horse milk means it loses none of its healthy properties and its composition is unaffected. The powder has a very long shelf life and is also easy to transport.
All those years Frans was responsible for maintenance of the stalls and breeding, caring for and milking the mares. Nadine’s main job was to turn the horse milk into cosmetics and powder but doing the accounts and the commercial activities were also among her tasks. The cosmetic products and powered horse milk are now sold in a dozen countries.
As all these activities were extremely labour-intensive, in recent years the idea grew to sell part of the company in order to free up some of their time to enable them to develop new body care and cosmetic products, look for new markets and allow the business to grow. In May 2015, the horse dairy farm part of the business was sold. Nadine and Frans remain on-site with “Brabanderhof Cosmetics”. Their warehouse, cosmetics lab and freeze-drying department are all located there. New cosmetics products, dietary supplements and suchlike will be developed under the name HoMiPro (Horse milk products).