The second photo is 2 years after changing to The Equicentral System, with no daily workouts, 24/7 grazing most of the year, and ad lib hay that I don't even know is low NSC. Clipped and no rugs the first few winters, and he no longer gets overweight even in the summer. He not only looks like a different horse, but he is more energetic and expressive. He feels better!
The last photo is my herd in the pasture another 7 years later. This photo is 2 months after rain that broke a 3 year drought. ES helped us get through that too. Happy horses living naturally and sustainably on healthy land.
The principles of EC WORK, and you get amazing results if you follow it as a system, without cherry picking just the interesting sounding bits. Its the parts that I thought weren't all that important to me that have made the most difference to my horses in the end. EC works, and I am forever indebted to Jane Myers & Stuart Myers for how incredibly supportive and generous they have been over the years with their advice and time. Their knowledge and experience is worth its weight in gold.
I can't recommend enough that anyone that owns a horse pay the small subscription and learn how The Equicentral System really works and why. And you still might not really get it until you implement it as it is intended (I know I didn't!), but then - wow, suddenly you see how everything falls into place and is interconnected, how easy it is, how it makes your life and your horse's lives better, how the horses get healthier when you thought they were healthy to start with! You can't put a price on that!
Well, turns out you can, and its ridiculously cheap.
Seriously, you can't learn this from random groups and forums. Its a system, and you'll get the best results (that you don't even know you need!) if you bother to learn how it all fits together. You won't ever look back.
Management on previous yards was mainly limited to the sorry options of solitary confinement in bare paddocks, confined to box with soaked hay pillows, or strip grazing. Not ideal and I knew it. Stress has also always been a trigger for Max, so while trying to manage his intake and movement for his physical well-being in difficult circumstances, I was also struggling to keep his mental well-being sound.
Last year, we found Puckshott Farm. We went from carefully measured feeds with supplements and intense micro management to 24/7 turn out with all hours access to grass, roaming, hay/haylage on tap, topped up with bountiful feeds of carob, coconut and Agrobs Musli with no supplements.
With good advice on feeds, excellent field management and wonderful herd wanders over terrain purposely designed to encourage movement and strong, healthy hooves, Max found his balance quite quickly.
Within months, despite eating more than I would ever have dared to allow in the past, Max transformed into a fat-pad free, healthy and happy horse among happy horses. In less than a year, the weight tape indicated that he had lost circa 60kg!
Max is now sound physically and mentally, my vet is delighted (and slightly astounded) at the physical change in him, and I am beyond thrilled to finally give my best mate the life I wanted and intended for him.
All that complicated, time-consuming stuff I was doing for years that kept him stable (and stabled) resulted in heartache. What finally worked was not complicated. I let Max be a horse in the nearest thing to a natural life a domesticated horse can hope to have
Max answered with robust health. Now we’re more about the fun and less about the worry.
Happy birthday, Max!
Jane and Stuart hugely underplay it when they talk about trying to have horse owners become grass farmers.
It's WAY more than that. It's essentially founded on enabling high welfare for horses in a way that is sustainable for the land. Worldwide.
They've invested a huge amount in their own education, and in developing materials and approaches that are viable on every continent with every kind of pasture and weather condition imaginable.
They've traveled the world to bring superbly well presented and easy to understand material to eager audiences and calmly faced opposition at times from people entrenched in old beliefs about how horses should be kept.
If you own or loan a horse this information is priceless even if right now you don't feel you have much influence over how your field or yard or barn is managed. One day you might. One day you might realise that it's feasible to keep your horse on your own land and manage it ethically and sustainably.
From the moment I met them I found Jane and Stuart to be generous with their time and their ideas.
The on-line resources are being added to all the time because they've built collaborative supportive relationships with all kinds of people who want to give something back.
There is a difference - a huge difference - between the price we pay for something and the value it represents.
For me the price of being part of the Equiculture movement is peanuts in comparison with the other sizeable expenses we all have if we own horses and are taking care of our horses properly.
And the value to be gained from it is immense in terms of horse welfare, and the health of the land on which they live.Good on ya Jane and Stuart. Behind you all the way.
From the dark ages of battery horse management with horses kept stationary, with poor diets and in isolation Equicentral offers us all a chance to save time and money and allow our horses to exercise their essential behaviours and needs.
I am so excited to be part of this change for the welfare of horses. Jane and Stuart, many congratulations and cheers to you!
Most others in my area have horses on dirt paddocks and are spending hundreds on hay.
Whilst my paddocks are green and lush!
Well worth it in my opinion.
As a pony mad child I always dreamed of having an Arab Appaloosa. Fast forward and I gave myself one for my 37th birthday.
I have saved an incredible amount of time and money by being able to minimise my work (even simple things like placement of water / hay nets / hay storage and compost bins...) a friend who has been on her property 20 yrs recently mentioned they have just put in their 70th gate (10 acre lifestyle block fenced for sheep - this gate tally includes two yard areas) even at cost of materials - say $NZ250 (going rate here for labour only for a single 6 foot gate is also $NZ250) that is a fair investment. We recently put in a single gate ourselves using a spade and it took a whole day ... So if I think about just gates - and of how many gates I’ve avoided putting in by following the Equicentral approach - the book series I purchased and the seminar I attended have proven their value to my over and over again. Even the type of gate! And the vet bills I’ve avoided :)
I’ve also saved myself hours of maintenance time with placement of hay / water , compost etc. 3 years into equicentral and learning more every day :)
I was thrilled to have the opportunity to be part of a seminar in Victoria about eight years ago where you attended my property to discuss The Equicentral System with the local equine landcare group, and now I am enjoying learning how to ride again with The Horse Rider's Mechanic course!
Thank you for all your efforts in research and for sharing the information in an easy-to-understand format. I LOVE your work!!!
I highly recommend to any horse owner or rider to invest in learning more about The Equicentral Syststem or Horse Rider's Mechanic.
You get loads of really great stuff. Far more than I thought. I'm loving working through the course and learning loads even though I've been running an equicentral style system myself for 5 years. Look at it as the equivalent of a set of books on the subject . Well worth the money and highly recommended.
I joined equicentral as I wanted my land and herd to work with nature. I wanted to encourage correct grasses to grow, wildflower meadows, wooded areas and most of all encourage the wildlife to come back to our bare grazing land. I am 6 months in and have 2 paddocks looking lovely and full of wildlife already this spring :)
Jane and Stuart have inspired and guided us all to a deeper understanding of how we can own and keep horses sustainably and with their best interests at the forefront of our thinking.
In everything we do and say we are their advocates and can give them a voice, which can be more powerful than social media chatter and virtue signalling.
I believe that Equiculture Central can be a beacon of hope for the continuation of horse keeping in urban, rural and regional areas, where there are enormous negative pressures from land developers, and economic rationalists.
Approaching my 85th birthday, and happy to have this renewed sense of purpose and meaning in an area of my passion, post-retirement.
Thank you Jane and Stuart for the privilege of membership, and members for inspiring me with confidence and hope.
Do you struggle with drought? Read this...
We've just survived our longest drought so far in Victoria - close to 6 months with no rain at all. By following Equicentral principles our pastures have managed to sustain 4 horses 5 cows and about 100+ kangaroos throughout the drought. The cows have only been fed a square bale of hay a week since the colder weather kicked in from about mid April and they are still fat. The horses have been off the pasture since the rain came to allow it to regenerate - that short green stuff is no good for them anyway. By not allowing my pasture to be overgrazed during the drought, I have grass growing and not weeds so hopefully it will sustain them through winter, particularly as hay is so expensive and hard to source at the moment.
Another obesity case...
A before and after photo that sums up where I currently am with my aim to becoming completely Equicental with my set up.
Three years ago I was desperate to find a way to help my mare Missy as she was obese from being on ex-dairy pasture livery. She was exercised daily but in the end I had resorted to keeping her in on soaked hay because I didn’t know how to help her. I then moved to our small holding pretty much for her sake! I dabbled a bit with the Equicentral System principles for six months until going on Equiculture's excellent course. Since then I’ve been striving to improve our set up and land. We still have many things to do but we’ve now had almost three full seasons through. I’ve learnt so much... I know exactly what works for my two horses in terms of forage and I’m seeing measurable changes...
This account is by Tim O' Donell - A government ‘extension officer’ in Australia.
In recent years my opinion on horse impact has softened significantly as I have come to realise that there are logical, simple and practical ways to avoid land degradation when running these hard-hooved heavyweights. I now also realise that the blame for serious degradation of a horse property, lies with the landowner and not the horse. Key to that change in my mindset was meeting Jane and Stuart Myers and coming to understand the concepts that lie behind their Equicentral System.
At least once year for almost a decade, I have engaged Jane and Stuart to present their horse property management course to the owners of small rural properties. Each course typically attracts the owners of around 30 properties where horse keeping is the primary interest.
The feedback after each course is always extremely positive with many accounts of significant ‘light bulb moments’ and a high percentage of people feeling inspired to modify their land and horse management strategies.
This inspiration then translates into changed management practices providing real improvements for our natural environment; better soils, more productive pastures, cleaner waterways, improved biodiversity and healthier horses.
In Nillumbik Shire Council, the municipality in which I have worked for over 15 years, I estimate that these courses alone would have helped to improve more than 3,000 hectares of land; that over 500 horses have better living conditions and around 300 people are having an easier time of managing their property and their horses.
I believe that simplicity is the key to the success of the strategies that Jane and Stuart have developed and also the fact that horse health is a key component of their philosophy. Course attendees quickly understand that Equiculture’s message is as much about horse health as it is land health and that both go hand in hand. Furthermore their information is extremely well researched and presented in a very user friendly manner.
Jane and Stuart are keen purveyors of new information; travelling the world to investigate ideas and methods. Over the years the information in their courses and resource documents has evolved to include new ideas and strategies that are logical and relevant to the overall aim of improving the health of horses and the resources that they need.
In recent years the owners of horse-keeping properties in the peri-urban area to the north of Melbourne have greatly improved their collective knowledge and sharing of ideas and strategies that relate to management of horse properties. In Nillumbik alone we have the Nillumbik Horse Action Group (NHAG) and also the Yarra Valley Equestrian Landcare Group. These groups have come together over roughly the same period as when Jane and Stuart and their Equiculture business became active in the area. I believe that this is no coincidence and that Equiculture has been a major player in driving change and inspiring horse owners to seek more information and support and thus join with like-minded people to create new horse-focused associations.
Although I still see many rural horse properties in Nillumbik that are being severely degraded by poor land management, I no longer blame the horse. It is clearly the owner of the horse and land that holds the key to whether they wish to degrade or improve their property.
Jane and Stuart often talk about a desired change in mindset where horse owners see themselves primarily as grass farmers rather than horse managers. Once this thinking is in place, then on-ground improvements via implementation of simple but effective strategies won’t be far behind and the winners will be the land, the owners, the horses, the environment and the whole community.
"The Equiculture approach to everything horsey - from how you manage your horses to how you ride - has been a revelation for me. My horses have benefited so much. My partner also loves this approach and is now more involved in our improved horse 'lifestyle'." - Julie Spencer (USA)
"Forget micromanagement, go Equicentral and embrace macromanagement then sit back and watch the horses thrive. It's a revelation." - April Chalklin-Costa - Puckshott Farm Livery (UK)
"Keeping horses in this practical way has done wonders for my horses and my land, it has left me feeling good about what I am doing. I just love all the fabulous, practical information in these books. I keep telling all of my friends about The Equicentral System hoping that they will take up this management system up as well." - Karen Shaw (USA)
"I went to one of the talks in Taree (Australia) a couple of years ago, (rather arrogantly thinking I'd know most of it already). It was life changing for me, my horses, and my paddocks. I now enjoy smugly comparing the biodiversity on my place compared to the neighbours! - Kathryn (Australia)
"My biggest surprise is that we can have an arrangement that makes feeding, etc. super easy for the humans who have full time day jobs (the horses come to us!), while at the same time it is the best thing for our land! Doesn't get better than that!" - Dorothy Nuess (Australia)
"Hi Jane, I came to your talk in Derby (UK) on Tuesday night and bought one of your books - Planning and Development. I had already bought your other book Healthy Pasture - and thought they were both pretty expensive. I have now changed my mind. Thanks to your talk and reading both books I think you've saved me about £24,000!!!!!!! That's in the type of stables I was going to have and an arena. I'm now having a big shelter in my loafing area and no arena. With the money I've saved im now going to have a horse box and box to an arena nearby and have more grass at home! Just wanted to say thank you. This system is absolute genius whichever way you look at it!'' - Gemma - UK
''I just can’t tell you how much difference The Horse Rider Mechanics Course has made to my riding. After many years of lessons, I knew that there was something just not right about my riding and your information and guidance has changed everything. I could never keep my legs in position and my rising trot seemed to produce short choppy strides in my horses. Since I’ve worked with your programme this has all changed. I can’t thank you enough.''
"What a simple way to improve balance, I now teach this method to all of my students, from beginners to advanced."
"So much of what is written about riding overcomplicates the subject - your information is refreshing to say the least!"
"Jane - you have a knack of making things make sense, and getting that across to your students - I wish more people could teach as you do."
"These books are very easy to follow and have saved me money. My own instructor is great but she does not cover these fundamental basics. Thank you Jane for making it so easy to improve my riding!"
"The Horse Rider's Mechanic System has made a huge difference to my relationship with my horse Milly. I have ridden all my life but Jane showed me how to fix some problems that were blocking our progression."
"What I love most about The Horse Rider's Mechanic System of riding (and teaching) is that it breaks what can be complex issues down into bite sized pieces and teaches you step by step what you really need to know."
"Jane has revolutionised my riding, plus many others that have attended clinics at my property 'The Bibi Ranch'. She just has such a great way of explaining to riders, both inexperienced and advanced alike. I call her my horsey hero and I cannot praise her enough."
"The Equiculture approach to everything horsey - from how you manage your horses to how you ride - has been a revelation for me. My horses have benefited so much. My partner also loves this approach and is now more involved in our improved horse 'lifestyle'."
"I have to tell you - I nearly did not buy these books (and the video series that came out later) what a mistake that would have been! I thought they were going to be 'same old - same old' but how wrong I was. Thank you Jane for giving me my (riding) life back!"
"What an amazing wonderful woman, to have so much knowledge and be able to impart it to the rider in such a small amount of time. To see a rider ask about trot extensions (the way we were generally taught was to sit down hard and push with your seat) with her help the rider accomplished the extended trot within a few minutes, happy well rounded horse and a beaming rider."
"I have to tell you that the article you wrote on 'The Independent Seat' is truly amazing! Maybe it is because I am wanting that material and have been searching online and haven't come across anything that comes within cooee of your article...and maybe it is just brilliant in its own right?! Thanks - I am working on it and appreciate your writing from such an understanding angle."
"I love The Horse Rider's Mechanic approach to improving your riding - I now use this method in my own teaching - thank you Jane!"
"Horse Rider' Mechanic - 'Brilliantly Simple - Simply Brilliant' that is so true, so glad I found you."
This is one of many equine sanctuaries we have consulted for in the UK (including Blue Cross, Redwings, The Donkey Sanctuary...
Really pleased with how the grass farming is going at Hope Pastures Horse Pony and Donkey Sanctuary In Leeds, Yorkshire...🌿🌱🌾🍀🌿
The film is of the second loafing area we have created which has only been in place for 7 months. We have split the field in to 2/3 resting - you can see the sacrifice field that’s still horrible and damaged, that isn’t part of the system yet but soon will be rested and re-seeded.
It’s been tough through the winter keeping the herds in small sacrifice paddocks and our second loafing area but seeing the biodiversity of grasses and herbs is so worth it now 🌸🌼🌺🍄🌾
We also had planted over the past 5 years some edible hedgerows with Rose, Willow, Hawthorn and Hazel which will in turn provide even more enrichment and variety for our precious rescued horses, ponies and donkeys. 😊🍀🌱🌿🌼🌾