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News and new stuff

This is the page to visit first if returning to our site. It contains listings and links to the all of the new additions to the site i.e. articles, website links etc. (see the box directly below). See Our rough itinerary for the next year or sofor information about where we are now and in the near future (see also the Seminars and workshops page for a more detailed account of what events we have coming up) and our news blog (below) will keep you up to date with what we have been up to since the last posting. If you subscribe to our free mailing list you will be notified of updates to this page on a regular basis (every one to two months via email).

Please note: opinions expressed in articles or links on this site other than those created by Equiculture are not endorsed by or are not necessarily of the same opinion as Equiculture.

On Face book we have pages for Jane Myers and Equiculture

and The Equicentral System

We now have eight photo galleries online:

Appleby Horse Fair (2010),  The New Forest (2011)

Konik Ponies at Wicken Fen (2011), Dartmoor (2011)

The Donkey Sanctuary (UK 2011)

Yeguada De La Cartuja (Spanish Horse Stud - Jerez, Spain) 2011)

Equicentral gallery (property plans)

Our Winston Churchill Fellowship Trust USA Trip (2012)



Our rough itinerary for the next year or so…see the Seminars and workshops page for a list of our upcoming event dates.


We will be in Australia from October 2014 to the end of April 2015 (then back to the UK - May 2015 to end of Sept 2015). We have various workshops and riding clinics coming up in Aus in that period plus we plan to visit NZ this year, over the Christmas period - watch this space, stay tune or get in touch if you are interested in running something in your area.


Make sure you are on our mailing list (subscribe) or join us on Facebook so that you are kept up to date with developments.

On Face book we have pages for Jane Myers and Equiculture

and The Equicentral System




Our news blog

26th August 2014

Hi everyone, it has been a while since our last blog update in December last year. We have been very busy since then, presenting workshops (which we now call The Healthy Land, Healthy Horses workshop) and writing. I have finally finished two of my three books on riding, and the website that goes with them, see www.horseridersmechanic.com. There are many free articles on there already and I plan to build this up over the years to become the ‘go to’ website for information about rider biomechanics. The first two books are called Horse Rider’s Mechanic workbook 1: Your position and Horse Rider’s Mechanic workbook 2: Your Balance. The third book in the series will be called Horse Rider’s Mechanic workbook 3: The Aids. You can read a substantial amount of books one and two for free on the website (to see if it is the sort of information that you require) so why not have a look.

Currently we are in the UK, in just over four weeks we will be on our way back to Aus. While in the UK this summer I have attended the 10th ISES (International Society for Equitation Science) Seminar in Denmark and as ever it was excellent. It was really great catching up with old friends after having to miss the last two. You can download the proceedings for free from the ISES website.

Some of you know about my trials and tribulations with the ‘Big C’ two years ago so I just wanted to let you know I am doing fine, still having regular check ups which so far have all been good news. I will continue to be monitored for the next three years at least which is very reassuring. So its onwards and upwards! I am still struggling to get travel insurance for overseas trips, especially the States so our return will have to wait, although we are thinking of sending Stuart over to do some talks.

An interesting development that came out of my being so sick for so long was that Stuart stepped in to the role as speaker at our workshops. This has worked out very well as we now share the workshops, which I am sure is more fun for the participants. Stuart puts his own, more interactive style into the workshop and embellishes it with his own stories and anecdotes including the now infamous ‘stubbie test’. He enjoys doing it and now I can spend more time on my other passion, writing more books, so expect several new publications over the coming years.

We will hit the ground running when we arrive back in Aus in October, we already have lots of workshops and some riding clinics in the pipeline. Make sure you keep checking the Seminars and workshops page of this website to be kept up to date. Joining us on Facebook is also a good way to keep in touch.

We are also planning on getting to NZ for the first time this year – watch this space.

Take care everyone, Jane.

9th December 2013

What a difference a year makes! This time last year I was extremely ill, pretty much bed ridden, I had numb feet (from the chemotherapy), I was totally bald, had deep radiation burns to my neck that went all the way in to the back of my throat, I was being fed via a feeding tube that went through my stomach wall to the outside of my belly, I was living on barely 600 calories a day because that is all I could keep down (even though I could not really eat via my mouth I had no trouble vomiting!), my medication routine took a total of almost 8 hours a day (throughout the day and night), I couldn’t read, watch TV or do anything really.

Throughout that time I had three wishes. Number one was the most obvious which was that I wanted to survive the cancer and the treatment (the treatment for the particular cancer I had is known to be one of the more invasive and debilitating because of the area that is being treated). Number two was that I wanted to get back to my family and friends. Number three was that I wanted to get back to work.

A year later and I have all of my wishes and I feel very fortunate indeed. I feel pretty much 100% again (even though they said it would be eighteen months at least before I regained full health). In the last few months I have been gradually beginning to work again, starting with some short talks in the UK to test out my voice (which is fine) (my feet by the way have regained their feeling) and I have been writing extensively, starting with putting a couple of books up as Kindle books on Amazon I have now turned to writing some books about rider biomechanics which I have wanted to write for years but never got around to. We are developing a website just for the rider biomechanics series of books and there will be lots of articles for people to read as well. I will be sharing these articles on Facebook and via our websites so stay tuned.

We are currently working out our schedule for our Australian workshops (Sustainable Horsekeeping) and ridden clinics (I will do a limited number of lessons and clinics this year). The dates will be posted on Facebook and the website soon. We are now back in Australia and will be until May next year.

Thanks to everyone who has supported me throughout this last eighteen months (since being diagnosed) most of all of course my wonderful husband Stuart. Bring on the next year. Take care, look after your health because without it you have nothing, bye for now, Jane.

9th May 2013

Hi everyone. Just writing to let you know how I am getting on. Hopefully I am now cancer free! Last time I wrote I had just received the clear PET scan in the UK and had booked my flight to Australia. Wonderful Stuart had flown all the way back from Australia just to be with me when I got the results and to take/bring me back to Australia.

We have been mainly in Victoria since we arrived and now we are on our way North, back to QLD to see my parents and my brother and his fiancé Helen and the many friends we have up there. We fly back to the UK in a couple of weeks (until the end of the UK ‘summer’). Stuart has been presenting our seminars and I have just been observing for now. My voice is almost back to normal but I would not have the strength to speak for five hours yet. He is doing an amazing job, getting fabulous feedback, it’s going to be hard to get my job back when I am able to do it again!

I am getting stronger by the day and boy is it good to be alive! I feel really well as long as I do not do anything too strenuous. I still get a bit emotional sometimes just at the sheer wonder of it all. To be doing things that I thought I might never do again is totally thrilling. Seeing friends and relatives again is really wonderful too. Everyone has been so caring and supportive, it’s amazing.

On the beauty front my hair is ridiculous. It is growing back very curly (my hair was almost straight before chemotherapy), when I run my hand through it, it feels like a sheep’s fleece! Hopefully when it gets longer I will be able to bully it into shape. I have a line across the base of my neck and my neck is a bit darker than it was due to the radiotherapy, it looks like a suntan. I am now off all medications. I am maintaining my new weight quite easily as sweet foods taste salty still and I do not eat as much as I used to. I used to have a real sweet tooth but not anymore. Stuart and I are now eating sugar free. It is easier for me than him but he is doing great.

I will be having six week check-ups for the rest of the year in the UK, then after the end of November (a year from finishing treatment) I will go to three monthly check ups for the following year. So Stuart will probably have to come back to Australia before me. After that is it six monthly for a while.

This summer (UK) we will do some of the things we planned to do last summer and couldn’t (apart from ride motorbikes to Spain, I am going to stay as a passenger at least for this year). We have a few talks to do and many interesting people to meet around the UK, dear friends and relatives to catch up with etc. In particular we will be spending time with Stuart’s parents who are not well. I have five new books on the go so hopefully I will get time to finish at least one or two.

This Saturday is our last seminar for the season at Dural Pony club (Sydney). Then we are going to our wonderful friend Bibi’s place at Mudgee NSW. When I was really sick I used to imagine myself arriving at Bibi’s to teach to give myself something to look forward to (I had been giving clinics there for the last couple of years before I was diagnosed). Bibi always gives you such a wonderful welcome and is a brilliant clinic organiser. I am giving Bibi a lesson or two while Stuart goes to a meeting in Sydney on Monday. Then if Bibi lets us leave (she is planning on keeping us there!) we set off north first thing Tuesday. I cannot wait to get back to teaching (seminars and lessons) as I love it so much.

Take care everyone, remember, never ignore a lump or any other symptoms of sickness, your health is more important than any other thing, look after yourselves, Jane.

28th March 2013

Hi everyone. We have just got back from the hospital. Last Wednesday I went to get the results from my MIR scan but the results showed 'irregularities'. The consultant explained that this often happens and that the irregularities were probably just scar tissue from the radiotherapy. So they decided to send me for a PET scan which shows more than an MIR. This meant another agonizing week of waiting but it was all worth it because I have just been told that the scan was clear! We have just booked a seat on the plane next Tuesday to fly to Australia (Melbourne) (Stuart and I). It still has not sunk in that after eight months I have got my life back. I now just have to get through the next five years. At this stage I have a 75% chance of making it and that gets higher as each year passes. I fully intend to get there. Thank you so much everyone for reading my updates and for giving me encouragement. Thank you for the stories of people who have also made it. Hope to see some of you in the next few weeks. Jane.

12th March 2013

Hi everyone. Sorry I have not written anything for a while. It is now just over three months since I finished my treatment. I am still in the UK waiting for my post treatment MIR later this week and Stuart is in Australia doing a wonderful job presenting our seminars. He is getting great reviews.

Physically I seem to be doing really well. I have no stamina but that will build back up again later. I am now eating ‘proper food’. What a relief after months of fortified ‘milkshakes’ and being fed overnight via the tube into my stomach. The radiotherapy has resulted in about 60 per cent loss of salivary function (this may or may not improve in time) so some foods are difficult to eat. Ironically they are bread, potatoes, chocolate and other such naughties so if this carries on it will not be too difficult to maintain the two stone weight loss that I have had. Eating takes me a lot longer now too so I tend to get bored and only eat small amounts. Some foods still taste odd (again radiotherapy affects the taste buds but this should improve with time) so again there are some foods that are not worth the effort.

Other side effects that I have been left with (but they are not too bad) are nerve damage in my feet (from the chemo – again this may or may not improve over time) which means my feet feel numb, especially at the end of the day, and lymphedema (swelling) under my face which makes my face look fatter even though I am slimmer than I have been in years. Again, like everything else it should/could improve with time. All of these things I regard as a small price to pay if the treatment has worked.

My hair is now growing back but is not yet long enough to do anything with so I still wear the wig.

I have been getting increasingly worried about my visit to the doctor after I have had the scan later this week (the visit will be about a week to ten days after the scan). During this visit I will find out if the treatment was successful so far. Hopefully the sickness, vomiting, extreme tiredness, hair loss etc. will have all paid off. I am being really well cared for by family over here. First my mother flew over from Australia to look after me when Stuart first left for Australia and she has now been replaced by my brother and his partner Helen. I am missing Stuart incredibly though. Guess what he is going to do! He is flying back from Australia a week on Wednesday for 10 or 11 days so that he can be with me when I see the doctor. My Hero! He has a break in seminars which allows him to do this.

All being well I may fly back (to Australia) with him for the last part of his trip. I don’t think I will be able to do much public speaking as my voice is still a bit rough but to be there will be fantastic. The seminars will be in Victoria and Tasmania starting with Mornington Peninsula on the 6th April.

Thank you so much to everyone who has supported us through this so far.

7th February 2013

Hi everyone Stuart here again. Since Jane’s last post she initially went backwards and we were a little concerned, but then over the last week or so has made a dramatic recovery. She has reduced most of her painkilling drugs and has started to eat real food. She is still very tired and finds it difficult to concentrate... so back to her old self lol This has made me feel much better about leaving her to return to Australia although I still have very mixed feelings.

Currently I am eating for one and a half. Jane has bought lots of naughty high fat, high calorie foods to kick-start her appetite. Most times I have no alternative other than to help her finish. If I don’t leave soon the airline will charge me excess baggage for my gut and have to change its name from Ethiad to 'Et he has' or 'Et it all'.

I arrive back in Australia on Tuesday then have six seminars to do in the next 14 days, so I hope to see some of you in Rocky, Calliope and north NSW.

15th January 2013

Hi everyone, JANE here. Yes, I am well enough to write now! It has been such a long time since I wrote. Thanks to Stuart for keeping you all informed (even if he can be a bit graphic sometimes (i.e. posting the photo of the inside of my mouth on Facebook!). Also his cheek is astounding!

The last time I wrote was after the second week of radiotherapy. After that there was five more weeks of radiotherapy and it has been nearly two months since the radiotherapy finished. I must admit I expected to be better than I am by now (mid-January) but apparently (according to the doctors) I am doing amazingly well so some people must have it even worse than I have. I still cannot eat properly, I am just starting to eat pureed food but I still rely on my stomach tube for most of my food. I am hoping this will change around over the next month so that I no longer need stomach tube feeding by late February. What is interesting is that I still have no appetite. Everyone says ‘you must listen to your body’ and when it comes to sleep I do, but for food and drink – I would now resemble a Rivita cracker biscuit, very thin and very dry – if I actually listened to my body!

Since writing last my world has really only consisted of treatment, sleeping, taking medications and feeling pretty rough. As Stuart said in an earlier post, I have not even been well enough to read so I do not have much to report really. It is just in the last few days that I have started to feel quite good.

On the beauty front my hair is starting to grow back. It is now about a cm long, not really a good look yet.

We did move accommodation two weeks after I finished Radiotherapy, to a cottage that belongs to friends. Because we no longer needed to be near the hospital for daily appointments it meant we could move nearer to family and friends. I was not much use during the move but lots of family helped Stuart to move our things and it all went well.

My mum has flown over from Australia  and is staying for a couple of months. Stuart will leave for Australia in four weeks time to do our workshops in Qld, NSW, Vic and Tasmania. How I wish I could go with him but it is out of the question. Stuart will be gone for four months, the longest we have been apart in 32 years! My brother and his fiancé Helen are coming over for a month as my mum goes back to Aus. After that I will probably stay with relatives for the last couple of months until Stuart comes back.

I know I have said it before but Stuart has been marvellous and has not dwindled once. How people get through this without such support I don’t know. Thanks also to you all for supporting me. I am just catching up with things on Facebook and email and your comments mean the world to me.

Also speaking and corresponding with people who have firsthand or secondhand experience of cancer has been so beneficial to me and I hope in the future I can do the same for others who find themselves in this situation because when you get the shock of your life (a cancer diagnosis) you are desperate to hear that it is beatable and you need to hear from others who have beaten it. Thank you so much everyone who contacted me with your stories, I don’t know what I would have done without them.

So now I have finished treatment and I am into the recovery phase. I will be having regular check-ups from now on and once I get to five years without any more occurrence I will have beaten this thing. Bye for now, Jane

4th December 2012

Jane and I were talking about plans for 2013, well I was talking Jane was grunting, mumbling, pulling faces and miming (I just can’t get used to being able to get a word in edgeways….good isn’t it). It will be good to get this year over with which started on a high with our Churchill Fellowship award and our trip to the States, but has gone downhill since.

I will be returning to Australia in Feb until May to run our seminars and have plans from Rockhampton to Geelong with many in between. It may not be as aesthetically pleasing as usual, but it’s the best we can offer for a while. So if you want to see a true professional at work…I’ll try to find one, failing that come along but please be gentle with me. Dates and locations will follow asap.

Meanwhile Jane will be building up her strength whilst at the same time is hoping to get some writing done. This summer, when I get back from Australia, she is hoping to go on a ‘Jane gets her mojo back’ tour around the UK, where she will start off with a few short talks including something for the Donkey Sanctuary. So if you would be interested in Jane doing something in your area or even doing a joint something with Jane then get in touch.

Jane is doing OK this week, but the drugs are definitely helping and she is sleeping most of the day, hopefully she will soon be able to kick me off her blog.

7th December 2012

Jane not great at the moment having to take regular Morphine to keep the pain at bay, but we knew this week was going to be tough. It’s like she has been in a microwave, she is still ‘cooking’ and we are waiting for her to go ‘bing!’. She sleeps most of the time and the other drugs are doing reasonably well with the sickness. We were at the hospital yesterday, they discharged her from treatment, although she is still heavily medicated and recovery will take some time. They said she has done remarkably well, many people don’t last the distance as the treatment is very demanding. Her skin is looking amazingly well considering what it has been through. Mine’s good too thanks, even that patch under my nostrils caused by overzealous use of man sized tissues has cleared up.

4th December 2012

Jane and I were talking about plans for 2013, well I was talking Jane was grunting, mumbling, pulling faces and miming (I just can’t get used to being able to get a word in edgeways….good isn’t it). It will be good to get this year over with which started on a high with our Churchill Fellowship award and our trip to the States, but has gone downhill since.

I will be returning to Australia in Feb until May to run our seminars and have plans from Rockhampton to Geelong with many in between. It may not be as aesthetically pleasing as usual, but it’s the best we can offer for a while. So if you want to see a true professional at work…I’ll try to find one, failing that come along but please be gentle with me. Dates and locations will follow asap.

Meanwhile Jane will be building up her strength whilst at the same time is hoping to get some writing done. This summer, when I get back from Australia, she is hoping to go on a ‘Jane gets her mojo back’ tour around the UK, where she will start off with a few short talks including something for the Donkey Sanctuary. So if you would be interested in Jane doing something in your area or even doing a joint something with Jane then get in touch.

Jane is doing OK this week, but the drugs are definitely helping and she is sleeping most of the day, hopefully she will soon be able to kick me off her blog.

30th November 2012

YES!! The day we have all been waiting for has finally arrived…. I am over my cold!!! Thanks for all the kind words and support, I’m not sure I would have got through it all without you…What …Jane? Oh yes and Jane has finally had the last of her treatments.

It’s a significant milestone but not yet one to celebrate. She celebrated today by going straight back to bed, going through the medication ritual then straight to sleep. Although the treatment is over (no more daily trips to Leeds) she is still expected to be ill, in fact worse for the next few weeks. It is going to be a huge physical and mental challenge for her and to be honest and understandably she has had enough. Physically the drugs and medication (which take about 90 mins to administer several times a day) have helped enormously. Mentally she is tired and drained. Her whole life for the past few months has been this condition. For several weeks now it has taken over her whole life, she had not read, watched TV, gone for a walk or looked at a computer for a couple of weeks. Her life has been sleep, medication, hospital visits and vomiting or coughing up vast quantities of evil looking fluids. She is actually doing better that everyone expected partially down to her diligence in following all the instructions from the doctors and nurses etc., sometimes I had to push her a little but not often. Her neck and throat is red and swollen inside and out, but she is still able to swallow a small amount of fluids, many people cannot at this stage. The recovery period should start soon and this will also be a long journey for Jane , but like me she will improve with time.

However if you or someone you know is going through something similar remember although the treatment is unpleasant, painful, daunting, scary and takes over your whole existence it is doable with the right attitude. Sorry went back to talking about my cold then but it is just as applicable to Janes condition.

Thanks again for your support you have all helped us to get this far.

26th November 2012

Janes last week of treatment…YAHOOOO. The problem this weekend has been just as Janes immune system is at its lowest, I come down with a heavy cold (not surprising when all I can see out of the window is 50 shades of grey). This means we have been living virtual separate lives for the past few days (because if Jane gets this cold at this stage in her treatment it could be quite serious). It looks like a scene from the movie Contagion, with me leaving sterilised packages outside her bedroom door. She is still very sick and sore and is expected to remain so for a few more weeks. On the plus side the staff at the Radiotherapy unit said they have never seen skin looking so good at this stage of the treatment.....although in hindsight they probably meant Janes.

21st November 2012

Just got back from the hospital and Janes last chemo session YEAH!!! still 8 more radiotherapy sessions but a significant milestone nevertheless.

I have to say that nothing sets you up for the day quite like having breakfast whilst all around you are the sights, sounds and aromas of a bald headed woman throwing up into a bucket. Not quite a dawn chorus, more a shawn chorus.

14th November 2012

Hi everyone, Stuart here. Jane is having rough time at the moment and is not expected to improve for the next 6-8 weeks. So it may be a while before she is able to update herself.

The cumulative effects of the chemotherapy and radiotherapy have made her tongue and throat very swollen. Daily she is on about 12-15 different drugs and medications including morphine to control pain. All this medication takes over an hour and a half to administer four or five times throughout the day and night. Her body is creating vast amounts or saliva and mucus (sorry) in an attempt to heal/protect itself, all of which has to go somewhere. All this has to be done whilst still attending hospital daily for scheduled treatments. The rest of the time she is sleeping.

The bonus for me is that as she can’t talk, she can’t tell me off, however being a woman she naturally has many facial expressions to keep me in line. Some of her hair has started to grow back and she looks like a startled chick as it is patchy, short wispy and sticks straight up, but don’t tell her I told you.

I will try to keep you up to date, take care.

6th November 2012

Jane normally keeps her birthday quiet, but this year I think we can make an exception, I am sure many of you would want to wish her at least an acceptable birthday if not a happy one, today 6th November. I am taking her out somewhere today, unfortunately just for treatment, we will celebrate when this is all over. Stuart

1st November 2012

Since last writing I have had the chemo session along with week two of my radiotherapy. Once again I got sick. I am good again now though. After having chemotherapy the sickness got to the point where I could no longer eat or drink or keep anything down. This has not happened before. This was by the Saturday following chemotherapy on the Monday. A Nurse had phoned to say that blood tests the previous day showed that I was very dehydrated so if I was not improving I should call the ward and get a bed. So Saturday saw me back in hospital. This time though I managed to get through the whole four days without crying once! I do not seem to have turned into a fruit loop this time as I did last time.

So after a drip for a couple of days and loads of anti-sickness medication I am now back in the land of the living, it feels sooooo good! Got out of hospital the day before yesterday and now it is nearly the end of my third radiotherapy week (out of seven). My consultant has told me that the next and last chemo session (during week five of radiotherapy) will be changed to a drug that is a kinder cousin of the one I have been having so I should be OK. She also assured me that no one chokes to death during treatment so my mind is more settled on that score too!

Had a session with the dietician yesterday (every week I see a nurse, a dietician and a consultant (the level of support is just fantastic)). Told again that I should be eating more! Trouble is I no longer have the appetite or taste buds to enjoy anything, bummer!!! It reminds me of one of my favourite Chinese proverbs – ‘all good cashews come when teeth have gone’! The trouble also is that before starting treatment I was at a higher weight than normal for various reasons (such as a two month working trip in the States and being told by the dieticians to eat up before treatment started). So now I am losing weight they are keen to get me back up, but I keep telling them that I do not want to be that weight!

Stuart’s dad, John is continues to improve after his heart attacks. He still has a long way to go with rehabilitation but they are changing his medication around and in some ways he may eventually be better off because we believe his medication was not correct to start with and hasn't been for a long time. Stuart continues to see his dad in the one hospital whenever he can (John has now been moved to a hospital nearer home which is in the opposite direction to mine), and take me for my daily radiotherapy session, or visit me when I am admitted.

On the beauty front, even though I now generally resemble a naked mole rat my eyebrows and eyelashes seem to have decided to do the distance with me! This could change though. I am learning to never say never because I keep being proved wrong. Such as my insistence a few weeks ago that I never vomit! Also my theory about having ‘industrial strength body parts’ seems to have been proved wrong a few times.

One of the things I have to do every day is stretch my mouth. This is so that the soft tissues in my jaw do not reduce too much. It would not do for me to no longer have a big mouth (it was found to be very big when the hospital dentist measured it before treatment started). Every day that I do the stretches it reminds me of how my brother used to see how many custard cream biscuits he could fit into his mouth at a time, first he would stack them vertically, then (Stuart and I) would help him to put some in each side of the stack. I cannot remember how many he could get in, I think around seven.

So nothing too exciting to report this time folks. I am counting down the days until the end of November when the radiotherapy will end, then apparently there are a couple of weeks which can also be rough as the effects of the radiotherapy subside. Then things should steadily get better. So by Christmas day, even though I may have to watch everyone eating their Christmas dinner while I enjoy my stomach tube dinner (yum yum) at least I will be well on the mend.

Take care all of you, thank you so much for reading and for all of your wonderful comments, I read them over and over again and every time they make me feel fantastic.

21st October 2012

So I finished the last instalment where I came out of hospital after having the infection. That was Tuesday. Had a couple of good days but then I started to feel rough again. More about that later.

On the Thursday afternoon Stuart’s father John was rushed into hospital. He had started to show signs of a heart attack, luckily Stuart’s mum, Barbara was quick to call for help and he was rushed into hospital. He arrested on the way in to the hospital and was resuscitated including de fibrillation then this happened for about six times more before they were able to clear a blood clot in his chest that had caused the heart attacks. Amazingly he survived all of this, John is not well to start with (he has Parkinson’s). He was cared for in intensive care for the first couple of days but since has been moved to a hospital nearer home as he has improved so much in just one week. He is now sitting up, talking (quietly) and even joking again. As you can imagine this put Stuart under even more pressure, having to sort me out, then support his mum and dad including trying to coordinate visiting his dad (in a different hospital) with my hospital appointments and my nausea and tiredness. Barbara came to stay with us for the first few days until he was moved to a hospital nearer to where they live.

When it was touch and go whether he would survive I was thinking how awful it would be if he died and I never got chance to say thank you. John is one of those fathers that every child should have. Likewise Stuart’s mother Barbara is equally fabulous. Between them they raised two sons Stuart and Paul who are what men the world over should be. Masculine without being macho, but in touch with their feminine side too. If everyone had parents like John and Barbara the world would be a better place. I first met John when I was an opinionated, gawky and rather thick 17 year old. He was dressed as The Incredible Hulk (for a New Year’s eve party), Barbara was dressed as Barbara because like me she does not let her hair down easily. I had just started going out with Stuart. They welcomed me into their family despite my failings at the time. How wonderful that John is going to survive this and I will get chance to thank him for being the good person that he is.

Over that weekend I was feeling pretty rough, very tired and nauseous. The Monday was the first day of my radiotherapy sessions and I was supposed to have chemotherapy that day as well (just one chemo drug rather than the cocktail of three). The doctor decided to put the chemo back a week because I was not well enough to have it. It is now the following Sunday so I have completed five radiotherapy sessions (Monday to Friday) and tomorrow I will have chemo (along with radiotherapy). The radiotherapy is going well so far in terms of it does not take long (I am fixed to the bench via the mask for a total of about 15 minutes) and feel nothing at the time (it is the accumulation of the treatment that eventually causes swelling and pain).

For the first couple if sessions (of radiotherapy) I kept my eyes closed. This meant that I could not hear much (because of my deafness and I have to remove my hearing aids) or see anything. Then I started to experiment with opening my eyes so now I can see the large disc that moves from one side of my neck to the other and I know when the session is about to end because the disc always ends up in the same place. The radiotherapists are really great and have obviously been well trained in people skills. One of them explained to me that they have a mask made when they are training and they have to experience being fastened to the bench so that they understand what it feels like. After clipping my head and shoulders to the bench they quickly let me know that they are about to leave the room, remind me that if I need the session to stop I just have to raise my hands and then they leave me to it. As soon as the session is finished they quickly come back and unclip the mask.

The trouble is the radiotherapy is causing nausea. I had not bargained on this, but apparently it is common with some types of radiotherapy. Currently I am trying everything I can to control it because it is so debilitating. This morning a combination of ginger root capsules along with an anti-sickness tablet seems to have worked pretty well and this is why I feel well enough to write this now. Hopefully I will be able to control it reasonably well for the next few weeks. I don’t even mind if I just get a few hours respite every day, it is when there is no respite that it stats to become unbearable.

That’s all for now folks. Thanks for reading. I will write whenever I feel well enough as I do enjoy it and thank you all so much for your support, it means the world to me.

11th October 2012

Lots to tell you, so get a cup of tea. This last few weeks has been a bit of an emotional roller coaster for me. Mainly because the chemo seems to have turned me into a fruitloop. Stay tuned.

I have now completed the third and last of my big chemo sessions. Cannot believe I am already about halfway through my treatment, now it is radiotherapy. But first I will talk about the approximately 10 days between recovering from the second round of chemo and starting the third. Cannot remember too much apart from on the weekend before starting the third round I felt well enough to go out for the day with Stuart on the motor bike. This was the first time since arriving in the UK some months ago that I have been out on the bike, because when we first arrived the lump in my neck prevented me from putting a tight helmet on. The plan this summer (before discovering cancer from now on known as BC) had been that we would buy a second motor bike (I passed my test a couple of years ago but have not had much time to do anything with it yet) and we would start by riding around Scotland for me to get some experience, and then if time allowed we were going to put the bikes in the van and take then to Europe, and ride through France and down to the bottom of Spain. Catching up with a couple of people along the way such as Victor Ros Pueo the animal ethologist in northern Spain, and Lucy Rees (my long time equine behaviour mentor) in mid Spain. So much for the best laid plans of mice and (wo)men. Now I was excited about going out for the day!

Before leaving on a lovely sunny Saturday I first had Stuart cut the stitch on my second belly button. I have had two belly buttons for the last few weeks. The official one and a second one, holding my stomach out to the inside of my belly (if you see what I mean) so that the feeding tube I had fitted four weeks before heals properly. Anyway, Stuart cut the stitch, we waited a few minutes to make sure I was not going to unravel or anything, donned all our gear, which these days takes a while with all the safety equipment, not to mention even though it was sunny it was cold. We rode all the way to the Lake District and back, about five hours on the bike. We were able to try out a new gadget that Stuart had bought some months before which allows us to talk to one another while travelling. I loved it, Stuart was not so sure. It means that I can say when it is time to stop for refreshments rather than just give hand signals, which Stuart often ignores.

Trouble is the day out absolutely exhausted me. Not just that night but for all of the next two days. It was worth it though, to have such a good day out. Also it actually was good in another way. We had been hatching a scheme to try and get my ‘team’ (doctors etc.) to speak to someone in Australia about us travelling back to Australia between finishing the chemotherapy and starting the radiotherapy and therefore finishing my treatment in Australia. We now realised that I would not be able to cope with a 24 hour international fight. The reason we are so keen to get back is because our business is in Australia, we have no source of income over here. If we could have got back Stuart would have been able to do some seminars at the weekends and I would have been able to get back to work much sooner. As it is Stuart will have to travel to Australia in Feb for about three to four months. Not to worry though, it was just an idea (in hindsight a rather hair brained one – or is that hare brained?).

Monday was pre assessment day at the hospital. A total workout for the emotions! First of all a visit to a doctor who on a previous visit made me want to poke him in the eye. He is very direct and seemed hard to talk to. This time, he told me that what I have is curable (the doctors usually say ‘we aim for cure’ which is not the same as saying ‘this is curable’). Well, suddenly I love this doctor to bits. As we left his office I burst into tears – Stuart was totally confused – ‘he just told you some wonderful news’ – poor Stuart, does not realise that girls cry when they are happy as well as when sad.

My next session was ‘Mask Making’. Sounds like fun. I had been a bit worried about this session as many people say it is very scary. It is where they make the mask for radiotherapy. It is to fasten my head, neck and shoulders very still as the daily (every day – Monday to Friday - for seven weeks) radiotherapy is applied via a large machine which rotates around me. Some of the accounts I had heard about involved the mask being made of Plaster of Paris poured over the face! (which is how they used to do it). Someone likened it to the torture called ‘waterboarding’ used at Guantanamo bay (not sure how they knew this!). Anyway, it was a doddle. The mask is now made from flexible mesh which is heated in hot water and then placed over your head, neck and shoulders and pressed into place (as well as being fastened to the bench around you). Once it cools it hardens holding your head completely still for more accurate treatment. It only took about five minutes and was not that different to something you might have done in a beauty therapy session (that’s what I told myself anyway). I had a lecture to myself all prepared in my head and did not need it. Yet another opportunity for Stuart to tell me how futile it is to worry about things before they happen.

Next day my third chemo session, 10 hours of sitting in a chair as four litres of chemo, rehydration, anti-sickness drugs and steroids etc. are pumped in via the intravenous line in my arm. By the end of the day you feel like a puffer fish, totally bloated. Then the next day back for the take home pack (the third chemo drug) which infuses over the next four days. This ‘chemo fog’ period was shorter but sharper than the previous ones. It lifted on the following Monday as I was lying in bed in the evening. At first I thought I was about to get worse and nearly took another anti sickness tablet, until I recognised the feeling. As it was happing I tried to think of how to describe it. It is like standing in a dark room, flicking the switch and all of the strip lights coming on one after the other. I felt so good I was able to get up and spend the next few hours watching TV. The next day was taken up with sorting my insides out, I won’t go in to detail because I am too lady like but it is well known that chemo makes you constipated so let’s just say I had a bit of sorting out to do and was tied to the house for a while. Next day, good again but that evening I was having shortness of breath so by the following morning I had to go to hospital and did not get out again for five days due to developing a chest/throat/ear infection! What a bummer, I ended feeling just as bad as while in a ‘chemo fog’, even needing anti sickness injections. Boy did I feel sorry for myself.

However, despite the roller-coaster of emotions that I experienced while in there I now feel even more confident and positive about the future. The ward I was on was of course an oncology ward, so it stands to reason that I was going to see a lot of cancer patients at various stages. Starting with the first day as I was on a trolley in a waiting ward (waiting to be allocated a bed). There was a woman in a bed adjacent to me and she kept holding her neck and she was struggling to breath. In my head I put two and two together and decided that the reason she was struggling to breath was because she must have been having radiotherapy, and her neck had swollen and she could not get enough air in (this fear has been playing on my mind a bit lately). Anyway suddenly she passed out, a nurse shouted ‘crash’, doctors and nurses ran from all over the ward to assist her. Meanwhile I burst into tears (as I said I think it is the chemo making me flaky) because 1. I was sure she was going to die, 2. That means I might also die in a few weeks time. Luckily Stuart was still with me at this time to give me a verbal slap around the face. Turns out that the reason she could not breath was because she was having any allergic reaction to a Chinese meal she had eaten the night before! It’s probably best to avoid anything that could cause an allergic reaction while having treatment for cancer.

Later that day, after Stuart had left, I was taken down to the ward where I would spend the next few days. It was late when they got me down there. The ward three other beds and all of then contained elderly ladies in various stages of health. Well for some reason this scared the life out of me and at the same time my feeling sorry for myself button was pushed all the way in. Stuart was no longer there to give me a verbal shake so the nurses had to talk to me for a while to calm me down. Next morning, as the nurses said would happen, things were better. Plus I obviously felt so bad about feeling sorry for myself when everyone else on the ward was in a worse state than me. Over the next few days various people came and went, all with different stories to tell, some worse than others. Anyone who is fed up with life should spend a few hours talking to people who have terminal cancer, it sure puts things in perspective.

The lady who was in the bed opposite me, who I chatted to on the first day, deteriorated quickly and by the day I was leaving was dying rapidly. The worst thing was watching her family who were distraught because they could do nothing to help her. Watching this unfold before my eyes, while listening to my music was not a good idea, another sobbing session, once more noticed by the lovely nurses who are used to people in such states. Thank goodness. Not all the stories were so heart breaking. You meet some truly incredible people who have had to live with cancer for many years, but have managed to do so and lead happy productive lives. Others, like me, are the lucky ones, mine will be hopefully just be a brush with cancer which will come good in the end. Finally after bucket loads of antibiotics, they let me out. Life is good. Even if I do feel very weak and flaky.

17th September 2012

The day before yesterday I surface from the 'chemo fog' of my second treatment. It is amazing, for me, I go from feeling totally ill to totally well in the space of about an hour, I am not sure if this is the norm. This time the 'chemo fog' lasted 9 days, which is two days longer than last time. But I am not complaining, because now I feel FANTASTIC. Again, Stuart was just brilliant. I don't know how people get through this without such support, but then not everyone is as soft as me. I have Stuart and I have a wonderful family and wonderful friends. What more could you ask for really.
The bigger better drugs I was spouting about last time did not make a whole lot of difference, and the trouble is 'what you gain on the swings you lose on the roundabouts', every drug has side effects, such as making you feel really tired, or bunging up your digestive system (usually both).

Since my last posting there has been up and downs. I now have no hair, we make a matching couple. But I have bought lots of hats/scarves and a blond wig so it is a new me and Stuart gets to live with a blond for a while. I think he is eyeing up the wig for himself when I've finished with it. I am quite relieved to find that my head is not a funny shape, has no weird bumps on it or looks like I have been hit from behind with a shovel. As one lady pointed out to me at the hair loss clinic a few weeks ago, you do not know these things until you lose your hair! As I said in a previous posting the hair loss is not a problem for me, I am looking forward to getting totally new hair in a few months time, meanwhile it is so easy to not have hair I could almost get used to it.

We had a wonderful weekend a couple of weekends ago when our lovely friend Kathryn came up from the Isle of Wight. I know Kathryn from many years back when we were are university together doing our MSc in Equine Studies. Despite the weather we got out and about, showing Kathryn just some of our favourite spots. Including the cheese factory in the Yorkshire Dales (home of Wallace and Grommet). When Kathryn went home things went downhill a little, back on the medical rollercoaster, starting with a visit to the hospital dentist who scared me to death about all the things that are going to permanently happen to my jaw, teeth etc. as a result of the radiotherapy. Luckily Kathryn is a dental hygienist so a quick email to Kathryn managed to put me back on track. Then I somehow ended up on the internet again (even though I am banned from looking at anything other than sensible sites) and I frightened myself to death all over again. Stuart finally put me right by finding me a wonderful story about someone who recovered from pretty much exactly the same cancer that I have, and was also a public speaker and managed to get back to work quite soon after treatment. I cannot tell you how stories such as these make a huge difference to me.

The week after it was time to have my stomach tube fitted. This will be used for supplementary feeding from about half way through the radiation to my throat (I don't start that for about six weeks yet but the idea is that it will have time to heal before it is needed). This procedure was done in an operating theatre but under local anaesthetic. A tube was put down my throat before the procedure. Not nice! Then in theatre, air was blown down the tube to inflate my stomach, and the surgeon, guided by an x ray machine, punctured my stomach through my belly (after giving a local anaesthetic). Then a tube with a small balloon on the end was inserted into my stomach (the balloon keeps it in place). In my case he had to push pretty hard because he said my stomach is very tough. This does not surprise me because I have always said that I have a cast iron stomach! The tube down my throat was then removed (this will stay in place for quite a few months). As soon as they had finished the operation the pain started. Suddenly I felt like I had a horse sitting on my chest. As I thrashed around (as I said I am quite soft) on the table the doctor calmly explained that in about 1 in 25 cases strong pain occurs during this procedure (they did also mention it at the information session but of course I did not think it would happen to me). It is usually due to an air bubble getting in to the peritoneal cavity as they are putting the tube in, which fires nerves all the way up to your ears! A shot of morphine took care of it, wow, my first experience of morphine, I give it 10 out of 10. It happened again later that day just after eating for the first time in 24 hours, no morphine that time, just nurses to talk me through it, luckily it did not last too long.

Then the week after that it was time to start chemo all over again. This involves one day of sitting in a reclining chair (in the hospital) while two types of chemo, hydration, steroids and anti-sickness drugs are pumped in to my arm. Then the following day a quick visit to have a slow release pump fitted that contains the third chemo drug. This pump is meant to stay on for four days but had to be removed after the third day as the veins in my arm started to swell. This involved staying in hospital another night as they were not sure what was happening. Even though the pump was removed early the chemo fog, as I mentioned at the beginning of this posting lasted longer than last time, but at least when it lifts it is a total relief. I now have all of next week to enjoy myself before my third round of chemo.

That's all for now folks! Going to make the best of the next few days whilst I am relatively OK, starting with a trip to the Saltaire festival. Take care and speak to you soon via the next instalment.

23rd August 2012

I have just surfaced to air from my first week of chemo. When I walked out of hospital last week I was gloating over the big cocktail of drugs they had given me (anti sickness) thinking I would be fine. Next time I am going to ask for a bigger better mix! Yesterday the nausea (five days straight) suddenly lifted and now I have a grin from ear to ear. I have a week and a half to have fun before it all starts again but next time should be better. Stuart was fabulous as a nurse.

Yesterday I attended a 'coping with hair loss clinic' run by the excellent Macmillan nurse charity in the UK. I was fitted with a wig which is fabulous. Stuart suggested (to me only thank goodness) that they should call the workshop 'Hair today, gone tomorrow' (anyone who knows Stuart will laugh at this – it is the way his mind works). Many of the women there were devastated about losing their hair. I am not. I am in no way emotionally attached to mine (and after next week I won’t even be physically attached!) and apparently you often get better hair back when it eventually grows back so I am looking forward to that.

Last week I had a tube inserted into my arm, (a PICC line). It allows the nurses to inject everything (such as the chemotherapy drugs) over the coming months without me having to have fresh injections each time. The idea is that it stays in permanently for many months. Mine only lasted two days because I decided to do some rearranging with a pair of scissors (the dressing was making me itch) and I accidentally cut through the tube which goes in at my upper arm via a vein all the way to the top of my heart. We had to get back to the hospital pretty quick, they were great about it, thought it was quite funny. I am now banned from using scissors.

Just before starting treatment last week we tried to jump on a plane back to Australia. Because it had finally sunk in how long a process this will be we realised that if we were back in Australia it would be easier to get back to work next year. But when we put it to the team of doctors they said that would be very dangerous because it would have delayed the start of treatment (the specialists in Australia would have had to do their own tests before being able to start so treatment would have been delayed by several weeks). By that stage I was on what they called a 'super-fast track' schedule so that they could catch the cancer before it went further. So we are well and truly are here for the duration, which is fine because it is great here too (despite the rain). Take care everyone, we are doing absolutely fine, will keep you all posted.

15th August 2012

Stuart here, Jane had her first chemotherapy treatment today, a 12 hour session consisting of a huge cocktail of drugs, some just to combat the side effects of others. She was in good spirits when she left hospital. but now 5 hours later (12.30am) its major nausea time. Back to St Lukes hospital (Bradford UK) tomorrow for hospital dental appraisal then onto St James hospital (Leeds) for more chemotherapy, this time a take away pack which will stay attached to her PICC line (a tube inserted into her upper arm) for five days.

Hi Everyone

Just a quick post to bring you all up to speed. Last Friday I went in to hospital to have more extensive biopsies done. They gave me a general anaesthetic for that. So at the moment I am a bit sore but otherwise fine. I will not hear any more now until a week on Friday. At that point they will give me the treatment schedule/plan of attack. The surgeon I saw last Friday indicated that the tests so far show that it has not spread around my body (just to one or more lymph nodes in my neck) and that they may be able to reduce the cancer that is there with chemotherapy and radiation. But that could change when they all get together and hash it out (which is what they do when they when they have all the results at hand).

So I am feeling pretty good, not too worried and very positive. We are planning for several months of treatment and Stuart is working on his fitness so that he can run around after me in the manner to which I will become accustomed. I will send out another post after a week on Friday when I know more.

5th August 2012

Yesterday I had the meeting where they tell me what is going to happen treatment wise. I will be starting nine weeks of chemotherapy next week followed by seven weeks of radiation plus chemotherapy. This will take me up to the beginning of December 2012. No surgery because this would mean the removal of my tongue (the growth is right across the base). Thanks everyone for the great support so far. I know I am going to be OK in the end, it just might take a little while.

21st July 2012

Stuart here, with Jane at the hospital. After speaking with surgeon things sound reasonably positive. Jane going into surgery soon for tests and a biopsy. Will know more in next few weeks, watch this space.

5th July 2012

Yesterday I (Jane) received some rather bad news. I have a cancerous growth at the base of my tongue. Quite an achievement for someone who does not smoke and never has. The good news is I am going to lose weight! I am actually feeling very positive and all my family are just fantastic. Also of course I have my wonderful Stuart. For those that don't know we are currently in the UK and will be here for the duration. So at this stage we are not sure at what point we will be returning to Australia, but we will be back! The next few weeks is going to be a round of tests, scans and an operation so that the specialists can decide what the extent is and what to do, then there will be treatment. I am under one of the best surgeons there is apparently so I feel happy about that. I am sending this message because I know how quickly misinformation can spread so I wanted to let you all know first-hand how I am feeling and that I am remaining positive about the future. We will keep you all informed via Facebook and this blog.


July 2012

Jane - Some of you may have already heard through Facebook or on the grapevine but at the beginning of July (2012) I was diagnosed with cancer. Totally out of the blue (but then who expects it?). Ironically I feel fit and well. Reading between the lines of what the consultant is telling us (because at this stage they don’t like to say too much) I think it has been caught at an early stage (update added later: it turned out to be stage 3 so it was not early. One is early four is late). So I am planning on making a full recovery it might just take a while! On the 1st of August we will get a lot more information as all the results will be in and they will tell me what my treatment schedule is going to be. If you would like to be kept up to date join us on Facebook and we will post more regular updates on there. These are the links to our Facebook pages - Jane Myers and Equiculture.

In brief this is how it all panned out. We were in the USA (for April and May) as part of the Winston Churchill Fellowship that I was awarded (this link will take you to an informal report about the whole trip plus there is a photo gallery of some of the highlights of the trip here).

About two weeks before the end of the trip (early May) I developed a throat/ear infection. This resulted in a trip to a doctor to get antibiotics. The antibiotics got rid of the infection but a gland in my neck stayed enlarged. Upon returning to Australia it still had not gone down (I wasn’t worried at this stage though as we both developed a cold upon retuning to Australia which is not uncommon directly after an international flight, I put the still enlarged gland down to having this virus). Once I had got over the cold and the gland still did not go down I decided to have it tested (I was still not worried at all but thought I should get it checked out anyway). A series of tests revealed cancer. By the time I got the final results we were in the UK. I was then fast tracked (MIR, CT and then biopsies), the primary site is a growth on the back of my tongue (which I still cannot feel). So maybe having a throat infection was a good thing, it certainly altered me to the enlarged gland whereas I would be totally unaware otherwise.

As I said earlier, I think it has been discovered ASAP and I feel very fortunate. I know I have a few months of treatments to go through (probably chemotherapy and radiation) but I think I am going to be one of the lucky ones.

How can you prevent something such as this? I have never smoked, don’t really drink (don’t like the taste) am fastidious about avoiding harmful chemicals, have a pretty good diet, live a stress free, very happy life etc. etc. It just shows how insidious this disease is. Even though mine was not found in this way one of the best ways to have an early detection is to have your dentist check your mouth regularly (my last visit to a dentist was nine months ago). Apparently here in the UK (and I am sure it will be the same in Australia) dentists are trained to check for this so make sure you get along to the dentist regularly.

From what I have heard this type of cancer is actually quite common (I cannot give you any statistics at this stage as I am avoiding reading anything about it (on the Internet or elsewhere) until I have my full results. This might sound like I am putting my head in the sand but because I am feeling very positive about it at the present I do not want to read about anything negative). So please don’t ignore anything that worries you health wise because early detection can make all the difference.

Anyway, that’s all for now, we will update this page in a couple of months (meanwhile we will put more regular updates on Facebook). Take care and look after yourselves!

March 2012

Jane - Just a few weeks away from our trip to the States, we are in training by eating less sugar in preparation for all the temptation we will be faced with on the trip! As usual we are flat out but having a great time. We have done a record (for us) number of workshops this year, every year gets busier. We even managed to double book ourselves at one point and Stuart had to travel to Canberra to present a workshop while I presented one in Sydney. The Canberra workshop was a planning workshop and Stuart excels at this subject anyway. In fact the Equicentral System (which is what we have renamed The Central Point System because we think it will be easier for people to remember) was his idea many years ago. This year we have seen quite a few working examples on various properties which has been just fantastic. Everyone who has implemented this system after coming to one of our workshops has found it to work really well. One week in five days we presented four workshops and drove 1600kms!! We have put a new page on this website and on Facebook called the Equicentral System.

Not only have we been travelling many Kms around Australia presenting workshops, but we have been also hard at work writing more books and re-writing one of our old publications to bring it up to date. Problem is that we keep discovering new stuff to include and we haven't yet been to the States!!.

Stuart has also been organising our trip to the USA, again we have a very busy schedule ahead along with a couple of presentations. We cannot do any paid work whilst we are there as the trip is funded by the Winston Churchill Fellowship, but we will be doing a couple of talks to reciprocate for the time people are giving us on the trip. When we arrive back, we will be straight back into it, possible heading to Tassie for some work the same day we arrive back from Los Angeles. We will try to keep this blog and Facebook updated regularly when we are overseas.

December 2011

Jane - We have been back in OZ for a couple of months now and our feet have hardly touched the ground. So far we have flown up to the Whitsunday’s region to present some seminars up there, flown back to SE QLD, picked up our van and caravan, set off for Canberra (to do seminars - including a new one aimed at agisters and agistees) then on to Victoria for more seminars, over to Tasmania to give a seat clinic, back to Melbourne and then up to Canberra for Christmas. The period after Christmas is just as busy before we go to the USA in April for two months (as part of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Fellowship I received - if you have never come across it - or even if you have) make sure you have a look at the website www.churchilltrust.com.au as you may be eligible to apply for one yourself.

The Managing Grazing Animals for Conservation course that I attended in September (while still in the UK) run by the Dorset Wildlife Trust was really good. It was mainly concerned with cattle but horses (ponies) were included. We visited several properties, private and National Trust owned to look at various set ups. A huge concern in the UK is the loss of species rich grasslands, heathlands (moorland) and fenlands (wetland). Apparently since the second world war as much as 90% (in some areas) of these species rich and biodiverse ecosystems have disappeared. Huge areas of ancient grasslands for example have been ploughed and sown with Ryegrass. This has led to a crisis situation with many insects, birds, bats etc. becoming extinct or becoming endangered. Honey bees for example were in danger of disappearing recently!

So various schemes are in place to attempt to increase biodiversity in the countryside in the UK. Farmers can claim a subsidy for example to sow native grasses around the outside edge of fields. Conservation grazing is on the rise as grazing animals can increase biodiversity if managed well. Believe it or not horses (ponies are usually used) are really good as conservation grazers and actually have many advantages over cattle. See the conservation/sustainable grazing section on the more sustainability and environment information page if you would like to know more. There is even more info on our UK site (www.equiculture.co.uk).

Next we travelled back ‘up north’ (UK) to start to pack and store our stuff ready to fly home at the beginning of November.

Luckily for us however we have some relatives that have a lovely house in Southern Spain (Andalusia) and as they were going for a couple of weeks we decided to join them (lucky them!!!!) (The choice for us was stay in the rapidly cooling north of England or fly south for a couple of weeks of sunshine in Spain - no competition!). While in Andalusia we visited the world famous Cartuja Spanish Horse stud - The Yeguada de la Cartuja - Hierro del Bocado, is the most important reserve of Carthusian horses in the world. This was a great day out and the Stud puts on a great show for visitors. We got some lovely photos so we will put together a photo gallery and more information when we get chance.

We also visited Acampo Bierto a Spanish horse and fighting bulls stud. Even though I don’t agree with bullfighting (or any bloodsports) I felt that it would be ignorant to not learn something about this very traditional activity while in Spain. After all every country has its animal welfare issues but they are not always so public (which makes them more sinister in my view). The Acampo Bierto stud also put on a great show for visitors (no bull fighting). The Spaniards are arguably the original cowboys and the riders at the stud demonstrated various traditional horsemanship styles. They are immensely proud of their animal management techniques at this stud. Without justifying or condoning the end result the bulls lead a relatively stress free life living out in open countryside until they are sent off to the arena at four years old. A few days earlier while in Seville we had visited the Bullfighting Museum (again no actual bull fighting) at the Seville Bullring so I now feel that I know more about this subject. Again, we will put together a photo gallery ASAP.

After returning to the UK I went off to Holland for the ISES (Int. Soc for Equitation Science) conference while Stuart finished packing. It will be about nine months before we get back to the UK due to us going to the USA next April/May (as we have been very fortunate to be awarded a Winston Churchill Memorial Fellowship Trust grant to look at horses and sustainability) before returning to OZ for June and then the UK for July, August and September. The ISES conference next year is in Scotland in July, a couple of weeks before the Olympics in London.

The ISES in Holland was good but it is amazing how tiring it is to attended a three day conference - even when it is on such an interesting subject. There were several Aussies who had flown in just for that (and the Global Dressage Forum straight after) and I totally admired their stamina. I did not stay for the GDF as we needed to get back to OZ. Cristina from Horses and People magazine (AUS) was at both the ISES and GDF so make sure you read the magazine as there will be reports on both www.horsesandpeople.com.au. As soon as I get chance I will do a photo gallery and write up and put it on the photo gallery page.

Have a great and safe festive season and hope to see many of you in 2012

September 2011

Jane - We are now nearing the end of this years trip to the UK. It is now mid September and we will be flying back to OZ at the beginning of Nov. I still have the ISES conference in Holland to attend and a Conservation Grazing course to do next week. Since the last update in July we have camped in the New Forest (see the photo gallery) where we did lots of cycling and walking. It is nice and flat with lots of great tracks, open spaces etc. and of course free living New Forest Ponies, donkeys, cattle, deer etc. everywhere. If you are not aware of the situation in the New Forest make sure you read the information that goes with the photo gallery, it is an incredible place. From there to the outskirts of London, more camping in our lovely ‘home from home’ caravan, again good paths, this time mainly through areas being prepared for the Olympics next year. We missed the riots by a couple of weeks! Then on to our first UK house sit in the Cotwolds. We sold the caravan at this point as we will not need one again until later next year. The Cotwolds is very scenic but hilly, so this was a chance to start on some hill work for us. Didn’t get much chance to visit anything horsey in the Cotswolds as we got our heads down and spent time putting together our new website www.equiculture.co.uk. This website is similar to the Australian one, but has some links and articles more relevant to the horses scene over there. It will evolve its own identity over time, have a look and see what you think.

After the Cotwold’s we had a three day gap before our next house sit in Cornwall so we camped in the Cheddar Gorge (without our lovely caravan - in our not so lovely tent), the weather was so-so and luckily we did not get too wet. We are now house sitting in Cornwall and apart from general sight seeing we visited the Donkey Sanctuary (and had a guided tour - photo gallery and more information coming soon), the Dartmoor Pony Heritage Trust (click here for the photo gallery and more information) and I have had a lesson on a mechanical horse with Heather Moffett in Devon. You may have heard of horse simulators/mechanical horses. I have been dying to try one for a while now so it was great to finally get chance. Have a look at Heathers website (www.enlightenedequitation.com) if you are interested. There is link on the site to a riding centre in Australia that has one of Heathers machines.

I wanted to get started on another book whilst I was over here, and I have but not the one I planned. I will keep you informed of its progress over time, but there are so many things I want to cover, but so little time, I must learn patience.

July 2011

Jane - Here we are in the UK again. So far we have already visited some really interesting places. So get yourself a drink and make sure you are sitting comfortably.....

Not long after we arrived, I was booked in to speak at Ethical Equine Extravaganza event which was held at the World Horse Welfare centre in Norfolk. The turnout at the event was not huge however we made many great contacts. My talk went down well. Its funny, we have spent the last 18 years in Australia saying things like ‘you would never see this in the UK’ (when faced with poor land management situations) only to find that the situation is probably even worse over here in the UK now.

A few days after the Ethical Equine Extravaganza I went to visit a really interesting property called Running Free Farm in North Norfolk. (Stuart got the day off and took the opportunity to take his chomping at the bit motorbike for a spin around Norfolk). This property (which is beautifully managed by the way) is the home of Johanna Macarthur and The Norfolk Horse Training and Equitation Club (NHTEC) www.nhtec.org Johanna very kindly spent most of the day with me showing me her beautiful property and allowing me to watch as she trained a horse that is staying for some reeducation work. Johanna has an extensive track system in place on the property. It has grassed areas and areas that are surfaced. There are several insulin resistant (IR) horses on the property and they live mainly on the surfaced sections. Another group of horses have access to the grassed sections. It was great to see a good track system in operation. This system can work well but usually needs a fair bit of money spending initially to set it up (fencing/surfacing etc). Interestingly Johanna said that the stables that she set up when she first bought the place are now not necessary (the horses are outside all year). I am hoping to visit another property that has a well established track system set up when we stay in Devon in September. Then I plan to write an article comparing track systems with the Central Point System that we advocate so you will able to read more in depth about the subject at that point. There is an article in the current Horses and People magazine (June edition) about the Central Point System by myself and another one on slow feeding by Mariette van den Berg.

The next day Stuart and I went to visit two very contrasting ends of the spectrum in terms of horse management. In the morning we went to the Wicken Fen National Nature Reserve owned and managed by The National Trust. Carol Laidlaw - the Conservation Grazing Warden - spent a while talking to us about the Konik pony and Highland cattle grazing project that is in place at Wicken Fen. Click here for an article by Carol about the project. Then she took us out to see the ponies. This was fabulous! There we were, standing in the middle of approximately 40 semi wild ponies. The group consisted of three harems (each with a stallion, a few mares and their offspring), a bachelor group (young colts who do not have their own harem), and a few geldings (colts are gelded if they have conformation faults or Sweet Itch (like Queensland itch)). The most fascinating thing was that this group have approximately 250 acres to them (the land available to the project will get larger over time as the trust buys up more land to change back to fen (marsh) land from farm land) and yet they were living together as one large group. Stallions cheek by jowl next to other stallions, colts and even geldings. See the photos for how close they stick together and other fantastic pictures. The other surprising thing was that these ponies have very little human intervention, they do not have their feet trimmed, they are not vaccinated or wormed (although worm count tests are done on their manure and if deemed necessary they would be wormed). If they need veterinary attention (which is very rare) they are darted. These ponies have access to good feed (pasture) in the summer yet Laminitis is rare. In the winter they survive on just pasture also. They are used to people and the young ones will come up to you for a scratch (even though they have never been ‘caught’, led, handled etc.). The older ponies just ignore you. Just to watch the amount of interaction going on in this group of ponies was brilliant, at the same time it is sad to think of how most domestic horses do not get to do this. Have a look at the photos and you will see what I mean. A few days later we cycled back to the fen (a leisurely 20 mile round trip from our campsite!) to video the ponies. Once we have learnt to edit the video we will put it on line.

Later that afternoon we visited Rossdale & Partners veterinary practice in the town of Newmarket (where horse racing as we know it in the Western world started in the 1700’s - the Jockey Club was started in Newmarket in 1750). Rossdale’s is internationally renowned and respected, ask any equine vet anywhere. I have a friend from way back who works there as a pharmacist and she kindly arranged a tour for us (thanks Linda!). Rossdale’s has all of the equipment you would expect to see in a well equipped (human) hospital. Including a CT scanner, several operating rooms, teams of radiologists etc. etc. As I said - from one extreme to the other in one day! Newmarket is a fascinating town. As well as normal pavements and roads, there are tracks for racehorses throughout the town so that they can be ridden from their stables to the Newmarket Downs for exercise. The whole town is pretty much all about racing.

Yet another extreme was when I visited a Redwings Horse Sanctuary a couple of days later. Redwings is just one of many very large equine welfare centres in the UK. Redwings itself has nine farms - three of which are open to the public. It has several thousand animals in its care - many of them out on loan. I visited one of the farms that is not open to the public. I went along with Shirley Macmillan from The British Grassland Society to speak to Adam Joslin whose position is the Estates & Security Manager. We had a happy couple of hours discussing land management between the three of us. Redwings has many horses that are considered too problematic to loan out for one reason or another and these are kept on the farms for the rest of their days. The farm even had its own operating rooms and full time vets! I do find the whole situation a bit surreal. On the one hand these places do wonderful work, but the animal lover in me says why do we do this for some animals and not others? Anyway, more on that later. I intend to visit a couple more of these sanctuaries including the world famous Donkey Sanctuary later in the trip. Then I will put together an article.

Then we moved on to Kent and we had a meeting with another lovely person who was willing to meet us at short notice despite the fact that she was setting of on holiday the next day and was busy. Francis Standen works for the Kent Downs AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty) and has produced excellent material to help horse owners to manage their land better.

Last but certainly not least we have just found out that we have been successful in getting accepted for a Winston Churchill Fellowship - which means that next year we will be travelling to the States to look at various sustainable horse keeping projects over there.

Stuart - First of all after recovering from the flight (and a virus we managed to pick up) we picked up our van (we have the same style of van here as in OZ - big white, looks like a transit van - great as a mobile garage) and caravan which had been stored on a farm all though the winter. Both were fine despite deep snow, sleet, rain etc. etc. for much of the winter (outside - no rugs!). The motorbike had a relatively cosy winter inside the van. After saying hi and bye to relatives and friends in the north we set of to Norfolk.  We are still enjoying the travelling and when we are not doing horsey things, we are managing to cycle or walk most days. It is one of the things we miss about England, the ability to stop pretty much anywhere and go for a scenic walk. We are also managing to visit a few historical sites, castles, historic towns and often see something unexpected like Anna Sewell’s (author of Black Beauty) gravestone that we stumbled across by accident while cycling in Norfolk. We are heading off to the New Forest next week then house sitting in the Cotswolds for a month where we hope to give the website a complete re-vamp. So until next time, take care.

May 2011

Jane - We have had a very busy few weeks since the last blog in Feb when we were on our way to Victoria from Queensland - via Mugee, Sydney and Canberra. We then travelled all the way back to Queensland via almost the same route (arriving back just a few days ago). During our travels we have been providing Managing Horses on Small Properties Seminars (Sustainable Horsekeeping), horse property consultations, riding lessons and riding clinics. As usual we have met some fabulous new people and caught up with old friends. During that time I flew back to Brisbane (for the Day) for a Churchill Fellowship Grant interview. I was successful at that stage and am now on the short list. I will find out if I am going to receive the grant in June (see Feb’s blog for what I plan to do if successful).

The next couple of weeks will also be busy as we have a few seminars and clinics in Queensland before we fly to the UK on May 19th. We will be there (and Europe until early Nov).

I often think that when we are describing where we have been and where we are going we probably sound very lucky, which we are. We only have this ‘jet set’ (economy class) lifestyle because we have chosen this lifestyle for a few years. We have no ties and have given up our house (with tenants) and my horses (for a short while, definitely the hardest bit!) to live on the road (caravan). So it is certainly not glamorous but we do have a lot of freedom to plan and travel, this is the only way that we can get this information out to as many people as possible, and research latest trends and innovations in responsible horse-keeping. Living the way we now do is far more cost and time effective than living in a house and dramatically reduces ongoing living costs. It enables us to both to educate and learn from as many people as possible.

This visit to the UK we have several things lined up, including visiting several projects where they use Native ponies for conservation grazing. There are some good articles about them in the new additions section above.

Something else I want to find out more about is the use of mechanical horses for teaching riding. These are becoming increasingly sophisticated and are being used by many instructors in the UK (and elsewhere).

I will be reporting back on these and many other subjects over the (Northern hemisphere) summer so stay tuned.

The articles we wrote for the RSPCA are now on their website (here) and similar (slightly longer with pictures) versions have been added to this site (see the new additions section above).

The Sustainable Horsekeeping series is selling steadily and well. The feedback has been tremendous. You will still be able to buy it from the website while we are away.

Stuart Hi, this gypsy lifestyle is certainly suiting both of us, it is good to lose some of the clutter from you life and get back to basics. Even though it was a wrench selling much of our ‘stuff’ last year, what we have realised is that not only do you not need most of the things you take for granted, but amazingly, we still have too many things. Once you pare your life’s possessions  back to what you can fit into a van & caravan you realise how little you need (luckily a motorbike fits neatly into the van LOL) . No more trips to Bunnings (or any store), for that plant or ornament etc that you just have to have to make your life (for that moment at least) complete. Things are much more relaxing and affordable, maybe we should be developing lifestyle seminars?

We have visited many beautiful areas that we previously flew over, it is a really great start to the day answering your emails overlooking a fabulous vista. It also gives you time to think and plan, we have several new projects in the pipeline, watch this space... Until next time from somewhere in Europe.....


Archives

Jan - Feb 2010         March 2010     April/May 2010     June - Sept 2010

Oct - Nov 2010         Dec 2010 - Feb 2011



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New additions to web site


(Added Oct 2014) Healthy Land Healthy Horses part 1

(Added Aug 2014) OUR NEW ‘SISTER’ WEBSITE to ‘fix’ your riding problems www.horseridersmechanic.com  and Facebook page. Various books and publications for sale here www.horseridersmechanic.com/bookshop plus lots of free informative free articles.

(Added Aug 2014)  Go to the International Society for Equitation Science (ISES) website to download (for free) the proceedings of the last (and previous) proceedings www.equitationscience.com/proceedings

(Added Aug 2014) The Laminitis Site

(Added Aug 2014) Horse Pasture Management by the Horse Council  of British Colombia

(Added Aug 2014) A summary of a report into the French horse industry from www.pole-filiere-equine.com

(Added Aug 2014) Horses in Europe a report by Carolina Liljenstolpe

(Added Aug 2014) Grazing Animals May Reverse Man-Made Damage To Grasslands Around The World  International Science Times

(Added Aug 2014) Benefits of targeted worming an article from equine science update.

(Added Aug 2014) ABC radio interview  on a systems approach to take stress off horses, their owners, and budgets.

(Added Aug 2014) Article first published in Horses and People magazine called Equine behaviour through time by Sid Gustafsen

(Added Aug 2014) Article on the merits of Conservation Grazing from the Scientist magazine

(Added Aug 2014) Chart of Australian Native grasses from Evergraze

(Added Aug 2014) How Horses Learn by Justine Harrison

(Added Aug 2014) Not horse related but a great cause, a kindle ebook written by Dr Andrew McLean  all proceeds go to HELP Elephant Friendly Training

(Added Aug 2014) www.ragwort.org.uk

(Added Oct 2013) Buying a horse property available now as a Kindle book on Amazon Australia and for UK buyers at Amazon.co.uk

(Added Oct 2013) A Horse is a horse of course - a guide to equine behaviour is now available on as a Kindle book on Amazon Australia and for UK buyers at at Amazon.co.uk

(Added Oct 2013) Horses live and thrive in wide range of environments by Jane and Stuart Myers

(Added Oct 2013) Snapping at “Alphas” and submission in horses Victor Ros

(Added Oct 2013) Don’t Throw Your Horse’s Friends Out with the Bath Water! by Suzanne Rogers The Equine Independent

(Added Oct 2013) Horse training: Are you a good boss?  By Horsetalk.co.nz

(Added Oct 2013) Plant Growth Under Rotational Grazing Ed Rayburn On Pasture

(Added Oct 2013) Study: Pasturing Stallions Together is Possible Christa Lesté-Lasserre The Horse Magazine

(Added Oct 2013) Caging Horses by Victor Ros equilibregaia

(Added Oct 2013) Australian search for anthelmintic plants

(Added Oct 2013) Latest studies on laminitis

(Added Oct 2013) Study about horses keeping fit whilst at pasture By  Kristen M. Janicki The Horse Magazine

(Added Oct 2013) Natural inclinations by Epona Tv ”Oh lets just turn all the horses loose and let them starve to death.”... Great article

(Added May 2013) How safe is your grass, latest research by Carol Micheal of www.phytorigins.com and Bangor University

(Added May 2013) On the right track. An article in Horses and people magazine about how The Equicentral System changed the lives of Karri and her horses.

(Added July 2012) an informal report about the Winston Churchill Fellowship Trust trip that we recently undertook in the USA plus there is a photo gallery of some of the highlights of the trip here)

(Added July 2012)  How the Horse’s Body Handles Nutrients (aka The Goldilocks Effect) by Dr. David Ramey

(Added July 2012) A Few Thoughts on “Equine Dentists” by Dr. David Ramey

(Added July 2012) The Equine Digestive System: A Food Factory by: Les Sellnow

(Added July 2012) Field Testing The Behavioral Impacts Of Contraception In Feral Horses by David Thain

(Added July 2012) Superstar ponies behind spread of important fungus by Horsetalk.co.nz

(Added July 2012) Hearing in Horses by Heather Smith Thomas

(Added July 2012) Don’t Throw Your Horse’s Friends Out with the Bath Water! by Suzanne Rogers

(Added July 2012) Environmental Best Practices for Horse Owners by the University of Kentucky

(Added July 2012) An interview from the Horse.com with Jane Myers

(Added July 2012) Something for the younger audience (although everyone might learn something) www.esc.rutgers.edu/kids/games/farm/

(Added July 2012) Article on me in the local paper from the city where I was brought up

(Added July 2012) Perfect alternative to owning your own horse a sensible approach to horse ownership that will become more common in the future through necessity

(Added July 2012) The social life of feral horses by Victor Ros Pueo at Equilibre

(Added July 2012) CONGRATULATIONS - The MITCHELL AND SURROUNDS EQUINE LANDCARE GROUP received endorsement and support from Mitchell Shire Council, the Goulburn Broken CMA and the Southwest Goulburn Landcare Network. We are honoured to be asked to be patrons. Another Equine Landcare group is being formed in the Central Coast region NSW and we know of  a few others being discussed up and down the east coast

(Added July 2012) Want to hear first hand on how we were received in the USA, have a read of the Snohmish Conservation District Summer newsletter www.snohomishcd.org

(Added July 2012) Youtube clip of a presentation I ran in California 2012

(Added July 2012) Final part of youtube clip

(Added Feb 2012) New (Equiculture) Facebook page, lots of info on items relating to the system and new property layouts. The Equicentral System uses good environmental pasture management and natural horse behaviour to reduce time, money and effort for a horse owner/manager.  Equicentral System

(Added Feb 2012)  Horses + Climate Impacts Workshop Adelaide June 14th

(Added Feb 2012) Australian Horse Keeping Conference to be held at Living Legends, adjacent to Melbourne Airport, on the 12 & 13th November 2012

(Added Feb 2012) International Wild Equid conference Vienna September

(Added Feb 2012) RIRDC Improving the foot health of the domestic horse

(Added Feb 2012) Biodiversity in the horse pasture

(Added Feb 2012) Grazing animals project

(Added Feb 2012) Many horses still too fat after winter

(Added Feb 2012) Effects of soaking hay to remove sugars

(Added Feb 2012)  Research into horse obesity

(Added Jan 2012) National Horsekeeping Conference. Living Legends Melbourne Nov 12th & 13th. First national conference on horsekeeping with international speakers including Alayne Bickle

(Added Jan 2012) For an article on the Equicentral System as it appeared in Horses and People magazine click here

(Added Jan 2012) University of Nebraska-Lincoln Centre for Grassland Studies www.grassland.unl.edu  Some great grassland information (remember when reading it though that it is referring to agricultural animals with higher sugar requirements than horses)

(Added Jan 2012) Some nice examples of horses working for a living www.crunchiescobs.co.uk

(Added Dec 2011) Comparing positive and negative reinforcement training methods www.equinescienceupdate.com/articles

(Added Dec 2011) To blanket your horse or not www.soulfulequine.com

(Added Dec 2011) A great example of responsible racehorse management www.simonearleracing.com

(Added Dec 2011) Bushfire Preparedness for Small Landholders www.dpi.vic.gov.au

(Added Dec 2011) Horse Stereotypies vary by discipline, researchers say www.thehorse.com

(Added Dec 2011) Article in Horsetalk NZ about the Equitation Science forum in Holland www.horsetalk.co.nz/news

(Added Dec 2011) Good article about the eyesight of a horse by Marijke de Jong www.academicartofriding.com/understanding-horses/senses/sight-of-a-horse

(Added Dec 2011) A photo gallery from our visit to the Yeguada De La Cartuja (Spanish Horse Stud - Jerez, Spain) 2011 - One of the most important and traditional Spanish Horse studs in the world. A great place to visit and a photographers paradise

(Added Oct 2011) A photo gallery from our visit to The Donkey Sanctuary (UK)

(Added Oct 2011) BEHAVE is a research and outreach program that explores the principles of animal behavior. This project is mainly concerned with diet and habitat selection of livestock  www.extension.usu.edu/behave

(Added Oct 2011) A new initiative called Equine Welfare (in Australia) is pleased to offer the first Certificate in Equine Welfare. Seminars are designed to be accessible to everybody; If you are considering buying your first horse or if you have been working in the industry for decades – these seminars will challenge and stimulate. Have a look at the website www.equinewelfare.com.au

(Added Sept 2011) A photo gallery from our visit to Dartmoor (UK).

(Added Sept 2011) The effect of two different housing conditions on the welfare of young horses stabled for the first time www.sciencedirect.com

(Added Sept 2011) Revelations about pastures and ponies www.equinews.com

(Added Sept 2011) Obesity in English Horses www.equinescienceupdate.com

(Added Sept 2011) Research confirms effectiveness of grazing muzzles www.equinescienceupdate.com

(Added Sept 2011) Horses choose multiple forages in different locations www.equinescienceupdate.com

(Added Sept 2011) Benefits of feeding multiple forages www.equinescienceupdate.com

(Added Sept 2011) Does soaking hay make it safer for laminitics? www.equinescienceupdate.com

(Added Sept 2011) Is your horse sleep deprived? www.equisearch.com

(Added Sept 2011) When is the best time to work your horse? Night owls and morning glories

(Added Aug 2011) Worms - there is heaps of great scientific (but easy to understand) and up to date information on the parasite section of the HorseTalk NZ website. It is difficult to find information that is as up to date as this - give yourself plenty of time to do this site page justice www.horsetalk.co.nz/worming

(Added Aug 2011) Blue Cross-Fat Horse Slim Campaign - over the years many of us have got used to horses being fatter, the Fat Horse Slim campaign by The Blue Cross in the UK has been designed to help horse keepers understand what is a healthy weight, and how to keep their horse within a healthy range www.bluecross.org.uk/fat-horse-slim

(Added July 2011) The first of three interesting and thought provoking articles on The science of natural horsemanship by Cath Henshall

(Added July 2011) A photo gallery from our visit to The New Forest

(Added July 2011) A very interesting website with photographic and written accounts of Brumby behaviour www.magdalenas-art-work.com.au

(Added July 2011) OUR BIG NEWS!!!! We have been successful in applying for the Churchill Fellowship. Which means in 2012 we will be travelling to the USA researching environmentally sustainable equine management projects and partnerships. Very exciting as there are lots of positive things happening over there which we hope to share with you and with some of the decision makers at local and federal levels of government

(Added June 2011) Keep up to date with the latest on the Hendra outbreak at the Queensland Horse Council website

(Added June 2011) An article about the Wicken Fen Conservation grazing project using Konik ponies and Highland Cattle by Carol Laidlaw the conservation grazing warden. Check out our photo gallery

(Added June 2011) HELP stands for Human-Elephant Learning Programs and the foundation has been set up primarily to introduce the handlers of working elephants to science based training methods. Have a look at www.h-elp.org to see how horse trainers and animal behaviourists are helping to improve the lives of elephants and traditional elephant trainers.

(Added June 2011) The Effects of Environment on the Feral Horse Foot. Australian Brumby Research Unit

(Added June 2011) Grazing muzzles can reduce intake by up to 80% from the Equine Science Update

(Added April 2011) Several articles written by us for the RSPCA on horse care/welfare/behaviour can be found at their site at RSPCA or on our site

(Added April 2011) Good advice on the use of stables from the World Horse Welfare www.worldhorsewelfare.org

(Added April 2011) Well designed trails go a long way in ensuring that trail riding is an enjoyable experience with minimal impacts to the surrounding environment. One great resource for sustainable trail design is a book by Jan Hancock, Jeff Engelman, and Jim Coffman entitled Equestrian Design Guidebook for Trails, Trailheads, and Campgrounds, (USA) which includes a section on environmental concerns. A free online version of the book is available here

(Added April 2011) See the following link for a whole (GAP) newsletter edition about about using horses (ponies) for conservation grazing in the UK. www.grazingadvicepartnership.org.uk

(Added Mar 2011) Stringhalt In Horses On Rodeo Ground from Horseyard

(Added Mar 2011) If you want to know want it feels like to attend one of my Seat Clinics read this insightful article by a participant Kal Newcomb Click here