Our rough itinerary for the next year or so…

Feb 2017 to May 2017

Stuart - Australia

Jane - UK, then Aus

June 2017 to Oct 2017

Stuart and Jane - UK

Oct 2017 to Dec 2017

Stuart - Australia + New Zealand

Jane - UK, then Aus, then NZ

The Workshops and Clinics page of this website is a good place to find out what we are doing and when.

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Learn how to improve your balance so that you feel more secure when riding. This book is the second in this series and it shows you how to increase your balance. It contains 18 lessons for you to follow in your own time.

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What a simple way to improve balance, I now teach this method to all of my students, from beginners to advanced. Fiona, Toronto, Canada

I am now much closer to achieving a truly ‘independent seat’. Feeling secure and confident. Bring on the next book! Megan, Cambridge, UK

This book is very easy to follow and has 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, Jan. Kent, UK

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© Equiculture and Horse Rider’s Mechanic 2000 - 2016

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Our books have lots of information about sustainable horsekeeping practices:


Horse keeping has changed dramatically in the last 30 to 40 years and there are many new challenges facing contemporary horse owners. The modern domestic horse is now much more likely to be kept for leisure purposes than for work and this can have huge implications on the health and well-being of our horses and create heavy demands on our time and resources.

You can begin reading this book (for free!) right here on this website…


In an ideal world, most horse owners would like to have healthy nutritious pastures on which to graze their horses all year round. Unfortunately, the reality for many horse owners is far from ideal. However, armed with a little knowledge it is usually possible to make a few simple changes in your management system to create an environment which produces healthy, horse friendly pasture, which in turn leads to healthy ‘happy’ horses.

You can begin reading this book (for free!) right here on this website…


It does not matter if you are buying an established horse property, starting with a blank canvas or modifying a property you already own; a little forward planning can ensure that your dream becomes your property. Good design leads to better living and working spaces and it is therefore very important that we look at our property as a whole with a view to creating a design that will work for our chosen lifestyle, our chosen horse pursuit, keep our horses healthy and happy, enhance the environment and to be pleasing to the eye, all at the same time.

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Buying a horse property might be one of the most expensive purchases you ever make - so it is vital that you get it right. This book will guide you through the process, wherever you live in the world.

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I wish this book had been out when I bought my first horse property, it would have saved me a lot of anguish. I love the check list and I am using it as we look for our next property. Vicky, Texas, USA

This book has brought up so many points that I just would not have thought about if I had not read it. Thanks a million! Bob, Nottingham, UK

So many great pictures and such a straightforward way of explaining how to work out what is important, and what is not. Kirsty, Geelong, Australia


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Feeding confined horses

The term ‘ad-lib’ means that something is provided on an ‘all you can eat’ basis. In the case of hay provision, it means that a horse always has hay available as opposed to being fed measured amounts. It might sound crazy to feed a horse ‘ad-lib’, but this is what a horse has evolved to deal with. In the naturally-living situation, they are surrounded by their food and graze in bouts and with periods of rest, rather than eating a ‘meal’ as a predator does and then having to go without food until they make another kill.

In the domestic situation, we can more closely copy this natural situation of having ad-lib feed by aiming to have low energy ad-lib hay or pasture available for our horses.

Horses that are confined, and therefore unable to graze, must be provided with plenty of fibre to make up for not being able to graze. – remember – without fibre, acid builds up in the stomach.

One of the most common (and deadliest) mistakes made by horse owners is to feed their horse as they would feed themselves or their dog - on small but high energy meals. Humans and dogs naturally eat much smaller amounts of higher energy food (relatively). This is because their food types are relatively higher in energy (meat and relatively easy to digest vegetables etc.). Horses are completely different; their food (pasture plants) is difficult and time consuming to digest and therefore, confined horses should be provided with enough hay to allow them to ‘graze’ as and when they want. As already mentioned, ideally, hay should be provided on an ‘ad-lib’ (an ‘all-you-can-eat’) basis when they are not grazing.

Another common horse management mistake is to ‘lock horses up’ without food in an attempt to reduce their feed intake; this practice is commonly done with horses that are getting fat on pasture. Remember - this is not good horse management because it leads to gorging when the horse is allowed to eat again.

Another common horse management mistake is to ‘lock horses up’ without food in an attempt to reduce their feed intake; this practice is commonly done with horses that are getting fat on pasture.

If horses have long periods without food, the risks of colic and gastrointestinal ulcers increase and even laminitis can be brought on by the stress caused by incorrect feeding (including ‘starving’).

Clean but low-energy grass hay is better for feeding horses ‘ad-lib’; rather than Lucerne/alfalfa hay, because it is less nutritionally dense. Therefore, more of it can be eaten, thus satisfying the horse’s high frequency chewing rates and the guts need to be constantly processing fibre.

If a horse tends to get fat easily, aim to reduce the energy value in the hay in order to maintain the quantity hay; for these animals, aim to source hay with a low sugar value. This can be hard to determine, but if you are buying it from a produce/feed store, you need to ask if they have hay that has had a basic nutritional analysis carried out on it (some produce/feed stores will now provide this service). Soaking suspect hay in water (it can then be fed wet) for at least an hour before feeding will help to leach out some of the sugar content.

Be aware that the results of soaking are variable depending on how much sugar there was to start with and the temperature of the water (warm/hot water will leach more sugar). In addition, increase your horse’s exercise – this is a very important but often ignored point. Remember - horses are meant to move a lot. It is common for people to go to great lengths to reduce the chance that their horse will develop or have a reoccurrence of laminitis – by ‘micro managing’ the horse diet. It is particularly surprising that many horse owners will opt to buy expensive supplements and feeds in preference to planning a more naturally active lifestyle for their animals. Increased exercise is a cheaper, more effective way to prevent obesity and it’s diseases, it also leads to a mentally more balanced horse.

Many people underestimate how much fibre a horse actually needs. An average hay bale (small square) has 10 biscuits (sections) of hay. If a horse is confined for all or most of each day, a medium size (14-15hh) horse needs at least 1/3 (3-4 biscuits) of a (heavy compacted) bale to go through its gut daily. A larger horse needs as much as 1/2 of a bale (5 biscuits) or even 3/4 of a bale (7-8 biscuits) of hay per day. This is just a very rough guide, as bales of hay vary very much in weight.

Another rough calculation is that a mature horse needs to eat approximately 2% of its bodyweight in Dry Matter (DM) per day. So a 500kg (1100lb) horse will need 10kg (22lb) of hay (hay does not have much water content so if you are feeding haylage or silage, which does contain water, this figure would be higher). In addition, a horse may need minerals adding to their diet.

These amounts are just to give an inexperienced horse owner a rough idea of the volume a horse actually needs. In reality, a horse should always have access to ad-lib hay when not grazing.

A horse that is working hard may also need supplementary hard feed (e.g. grains or mixes), but be careful as another common mistake that horse owners make is that they tend to overestimate their horse’s hard feed requirements.

Remember - horses that are ‘group housed’ should be able to get out of each other’s way and should be separated for supplementary feeding if communal feeding initiates aggression. Horses should ideally be separated into individual yards or stables for the short time that it takes to eat any concentrate feed; both for their own safety and the safety of their handlers.

This information is taken from the Equicentral System Series books:

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Hi there, we now have a brand new website - can you please go to www.equiculture.net - where you will receive - COMPLETELY FREE the 3 part  (¾ hour) video series called Horse Grazing Characteristics.