We have had hundreds over the years, but here is a selection...
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. EC 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 travelled 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. Of course they want people to buy their books and subscribe to the on-line resources and support - because they contain everything we need to know. But they also deserve to be able to make a living out of this job, like everyone else trying to earn a living.
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.
In my view they should be able to make a sizeable living from sharing something they have personally invested in doing over a long period of time.
If you're in any kind of professional job, you run a business of your own, or you are supported by someone who does, then reflect on the extent to which you or they would be willing to do that job or run that business for nothing or for a measly sum.
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.
Please don't begrudge them the small amount of investment or be giving them grief or hassle for doing what they believe is right with their intellectual property.
They are perfectly entitled to do that, and not one of us is entitled to expect them - or anyone else - to provide horse keeping, horse care, horse training or horse riding education, training, resources, advice and support for nothing.
It's really sad to see how common it's become in the horse world for people to think they are entitled to expect something for nothing from professional people and get miffed when they're asked to pay for it.
That situation is neither ethical nor is it sustainable.
You get what you pay for. Sometimes you get way more than you imagined you'd get.
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 :)
People who are passionate about horses are maybe too generous about giving their time and expertise, helping horse owners and horses is a significant reward in itself.
However, it doesn't pay the bills, and making sure that the people who work hard to learn and pass on information that improves the well-being of our horses are well supported benefits us all.
In the horse behaviour world we have many part time behaviourists because they simply cannot make a living at it full time - and the whole area including clients suffer for this, as skills and experiences aren't developed as they could be.
So I have joined, hope many others will do also.
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 :)
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.