New additions to web site
(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
(Added July 2012) Environmental Best Practices for Horse Owners by the University
(Added July 2012) An interview from the Horse.com with Jane Myers.
(Added July 2012) Something for the younger audience (although everyone might learn
(Added July 2012) Article on me in the local paper from the city where I was brought
(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
(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
(Added Dec 2011) Want to know more about horse breeds www.lhnet.org/horse-breeds
(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
(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
(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
(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
(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
All articles and links past and present also feature on the relevant pages on the
Our news blog
Cancer updates (sorry they are in reverse order)
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 chemo 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 chemo 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 you see a nurse, a dietician
and a consultant (the level of support is just fantastic)). Told again that I should
be eating WHATEVER I WANT! 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). 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
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 certainly 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 you 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
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
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.
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) 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 stich 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 2 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’ (doctor
etc.) to speak to someone in Aus about us travelling back to Aus between finishing
the chemo and starting the radiotherapy and therefore finishing my treatment in Aus.
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 Aus, 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 Aus 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 just 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
(sorry Stuart). As we left his office I burst in to tears – Stuart was totally confused
– ‘he just told you some wonderful news’ – poor Stuart, does not (yet) 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 your 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 you. Some of the accounts I had heard about
involved the mask being made of Plaster of Paris poured over your 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 you 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 4 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 you are 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 thinks that life is
rubbish 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 just 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 feel weak and flaky
The day before yesterday I surface from the 'chemo fog' of my second treatment. Its
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
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.
Since my last email 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’s 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
blog 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 Gromitt). When Kathryn went home
things went down hill 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 very 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). This procedure is done in an operating theatre
but under local anaesthetic. A tube is put down your throat before the procedure.
Not nice! Then in theatre, air is blown down the tube to inflate the stomach, and
the surgeon, guided by an ex ray machine, punctures the stomach through the belly
(after giving a local). Then a tube with a small balloon on the end is inserted into
the 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 the throat was then removed. So I now have a stomach tube that will
stay in place for quite a few months.
As soon as they had finished the procedure 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 operating table the doctor calmly explained that in about 1 in 25 cases strong
pain occurs during or straight after 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 abdominal 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. The pain
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
Then the week after that it was time to start chemo all over again. This involves
a full day (8.30 am to 7.30 pm) 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 (all in all 4 litres of fluid). 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 blog 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.
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 - its 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 wont 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 (like the chemo) into you over the coming months without having
to have fresh injections each time. The idea is 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 to Aus. Because
it had finally sunk in how long a process this will be we realised that if we were
back in Aus 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 Aus 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' so that they
could catch it 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
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 and that they may
be able to reduce the cancer that is there with chemotherapy and radiation (rather
than operate). 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 really great, not 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
Yesterday I (Jane) received some rather bad news. I have a cancerous growth at the
back 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 Aus, but we
will be back! The next few weeks is going to be a round of tests, scans and an operation
for them to 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 wanted to let you all know firsthand how I am feeling and that I am remaining positive
about the future. We will keep you all informed via this blog. Cheers Jane
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. 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!
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.
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
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.
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
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,
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
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
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
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
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.....
Jan - Feb 2010 March 2010 April/May 2010 June - Sept 2010
Oct - Nov 2010 Dec 2010 - Feb 2011