Our rough itinerary for the next year or so…

Feb 2017 to May 2017

Stuart - Australia

Jane - UK, then Aus

June 2017 to Oct 2017

Stuart and Jane - UK

Oct 2017 to Dec 2017

Stuart - Australia + New Zealand

Jane - UK, then Aus, then NZ

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

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

Begin reading this book for free now!

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Reviews

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

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

This book is very easy to follow and has saved me money. My own instructor is great but she does not cover these fundamental basics. Thank you Jane for making it so easy to improve my riding, Jan. Kent, UK

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© Equiculture and Horse Rider’s Mechanic 2000 - 2016

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Our books have lots of information about sustainable horsekeeping practices:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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See our bookshop for some great deals where you can combine books and save lots!


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

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Reviews

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

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

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

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The equine ‘home range’

‘Home on the range’

Grazing herbivorous animals that live in a natural setting (i.e wild/feral) tend to either migrate across the landscape - i.e move over large distances and back again over a period of a year or live in a ‘home range’ - i.e. live in an area that contains the necessary resources and move around it on a daily basis.

Horses travel on a daily basis around an area- a ‘home range’ - that contains the resources that they need.

Migratory herbivores

A common example of a migratory herbivore is the Wildebeest. Most people have seen documentaries showing large numbers of Wildebeest migrating, in particular heart stopping footage of them crossing rivers, swimming as fast as possible and trying to dodge predators on the way across. Why do they take such huge risks? They do this because they have to - in their own particular environment they have to migrate so that they can survive by optimising resources (water/grazing in particular).

Equines and what they do

Some equines (such as some of the Zebra species) also migrate, but generally speaking equines (including the species Equus Caballus’ - which is the same species as the domestic horse) live in a ‘home range’. This means that they travel on a daily basis around an area.

Equines graze in ‘bouts’ of around 2-3 hours at a time, followed by periods of loafing/sleeping. They constantly seek out a variety of plants - which means they have to keep walking as they graze, and they also have to walk to water. Therefore they spend most of their day walking to and from various food resources where they graze or browse then return to a water source and/or favourite loafing/shelter areas. Remember: as well as food and water a home range also includes the favourite shelter and loafing areas.

Equines graze in ‘bouts’ of around 2-3 hours at a time, followed by periods of loafing/sleeping.

Therefore naturally-living horses often travel around 20 miles (32km) a day and can travel a lot further if necessary, it all depends on various factors. If food and water is scarce, their home range will tend to be larger and if food and water is abundant, their home range will tend to be smaller. Plants nearest the water hole are always the first to be eaten out and so horses have to travel much further in winter months or times of drought than they do in times of plenty.

Naturally-living horses do not travel large distances for the sake of it, they travel simply to find enough of the right kinds of food (and enough water). It is thought that fibre collection is the biggest motivation for this movement, rather than nutritional value. It is for this reason that the size of the home range directly relates to the availability of resources, i.e. as already mentioned, the more abundant the resources, the smaller the home range.

In resource rich areas bands of horses may even overlap and sometimes share a home range.

Grass is the main staple of horses although they will eat other plants including certain bushes and trees. Horses will even eat berries and other fruits if they get the chance. In winter their diet becomes more fibrous and less nutritious.

The naturally-living horse’s diet is much more varied than that of most domestic horses. Naturally-living horses are thought to eat around 100 different species of plant throughout the year. Their diet is not balanced daily, but it becomes a balanced diet throughout the year as different plants are available to be eaten. Each plant they eat over the year provides the horse with different minerals and nutrients on an annual basis.

So what we can learn from this information about equines?

We should try to allow our domestic horses to live as naturally as possible (that is something you hopefully already agree with - and probably already do if you are reading this).

The good news is that it is relatively easy to create a ‘home range’ environment for your domestic horse/s. The Equicentral System provides a mini ‘home range’, by providing the resources that a horse needs and allowing them to move around this ‘home range’ as they would in a natural setting. By letting them decide when to access them, rather than you deciding where they should be and when, you give your horses a certain amount of freedom that is unheard of in ‘traditional’ management systems. Obviously we have to compromise on the size of the home range in the domestic situation, but as long as the resources are of suitable quality and quantity your horse will adapt and thrive in their own personal home range.

There is more information about The Equicentral System on this website and our books cover it in much more detail (see below).

Even if you are not able to set up The Equicentral System in your own situation there may still be lots of things that you can do to improve your horse/s ‘lifestyle’ by improving your land management techniques.

Another important factor of taking care of your horse/s and the land is that of aiming to have a variety of species in your pasture (more biodiversity) and to ensure that your pasture is not a monoculture (a monoculture is where there is only one species of plant in a given area). Remember: a good pasture for horses contains plants such as legumes, herbs, sedges, certain bushes etc. as well as several species of grass. Again, managing the land well will improve biodiversity and adopting The Equicentral System will help you to do this.


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