Are your horses as healthy & happy as they can be?
Download your free ‘7 habits of happy healthy horses’ checklist
Download your free ‘7 habits of happy healthy horses’ checklist
Besides being awarded a rather doting ‘Research Roberts’ rosette by my colleagues, my forte is helping women and horses live their best life. I believe it’s our birthright to live a simple life that is deeply nourished, lovingly connected and gives us the freedom to be who we were born to be. And at times we need to be reminded a horse is not a human! Yes, really!
I’m a bit of a bra-burning activist for raising global awareness of how critically important the horse’s basic behavioural needs of Forage, Friendship and Freedom are to his health and happiness. With this deeper understanding also came the realisation of how important these needs are in our own lives too.
I have a strong intuitive drive to get to the root cause of the problem. I was born Jayne with a Y for a reason! I’m not one for tolerating the piles of hype-word-horse-poo littering our industry…I gladly shovel them up to dump on my misinformation muck heap! I aim for a holistic, straight-talking, sustainable, science-seeking approach to providing real solutions for our ever escalating nutrition, behaviour and management issues.
As a holistic horse chef, and health and wellbeing mentor, I work with wholehearted women who are willing to take a step back, look at the whole picture and do what it takes to create their healthy, happy herd at home. We take stock of where they’re at, where they’d like to be and figure out the right tack, horse, trail and company they’re going to need to enjoy getting there! There’s also a lot of mindset mojo that needs resetting…we bring with us some pretty deep seated beliefs about what makes for good horse care and feeding and many of those beliefs have no place in our industry.
As a researcher, author and speaker I have a purpose-fuelled passion to help women and horses live their best life. I’m an outspoken equine welfare advocate looking to double barrel archaic and dis-ease inducing practices out of our industry. As well as a supporter of giving women the leg up they need to live the life they were born to live and eradicating domestic violence.
Quite simply, the 3 F’s Forage, Friendship, Freedom, are what our horses REALLY NEED. We’d go a long way to eradicating many of our issues by paying them the homage they deserve!
To put my science hat on for the minute, each species has a set of specific inborn behaviours that are the result of evolutionary pressures that have been placed upon them over millions of years. These are really hard-wired behaviours that are performed regardless of their functional outcome and remain largely unchanged through domestication.
So, for example, let’s take nest building behaviour in a pig that’s about to become a mum. Even if we provide a warm, comfy nest for her, she will still go in and perform her instinctual pre-farrowing, nest building behaviours. This can also be heartbreakingly seen in pigs that are housed on barren concrete floors. Ms Piggy has a highly motivated, hard wired NEED to do this…and for those of us who’ve ever been pregnant, you’ll know exactly where she’s coming from! We also know through behavioural studies, that when we restrict the animal from performing these needs, it causes stress…and that can start a whole cascade of dis-ease.
In the horse, these three needs are Forage, Social Contact (aka Friendship) and Movement (aka Freedom). There’s a lot that goes into understanding and providing for these but quite simply, your horse is a non-stop fibre eating machine that gets by with a lot of help from his friends, and needs to move it move it to stay healthy and happy. Quite the opposite of how so many of our horses are fed and managed!
The concept of the 3 F’s may seem simple (because we humans LURVE to complicate things) but it has the potential to have a profound and far reaching effect on the health and happiness of our horses. Is your horse a 3F horse?
Contrary to popular horse talk, we’re not a group of lab-bound, white-coat-clad, science geeks that have no idea how to put a halter on a horse (and please don’t hand me a rope one!). We’re a focused and specialised group of animal scientists that deep-dive into some really cool, fascinating and important topics. Think equine nutrition, behaviour, health and welfare, disease processes, exercise physiology, reproduction, training, disaster preparedness, as well as horse & rider interactions. In short, we know our horses…inside and out… what makes them tick, what can go wrong and why, and what we need to do to help create happy healthy herd.
Yes, we are real peoples! However, not all are created equal. As the industry stands at present, anyone can sport an ‘equine nutritionist’ name tag. Read a feed bag or two, do a short course, crunch some numbers, spout a few buzz words and boom, you too can call yourself such. And many do.
What you’re looking for is at least a Masters (MSc) degree or Doctorate (PhD) in Equine Science (or closely related subject) and published, peer-reviewed research in the area of equine nutrition. Keep an eye out for post nominals “RAnNutr” (or RNutr in the UK) This indicated further nutrition professional registration. To get on this international registry, there is a high level of specialised nutritional proficiency that must be demonstrated through academic qualifications, several years of practical industry knowledge, and a commitment to continuing education and a high standard of ethics.
Haha, like it? Although I’m very proud of my profession, I’ve always dug my heels in about being pigeon-holed as an equine nutritionist. I’m not a big believer in feed companies, micromanaging diets or slap happy supplementation. There’s so much more to keeping a horse well-nourished, healthy and happy, than just what he eats. And that starts with the health and happiness of she who feeds him! So we take a good look at that too.
As a certified Holistic Management Practitioner, I very much subscribe to the true concept of ‘holism’ (not the marketed hype-word!). Getting people to tap into their core values and why they do what they do is what will ultimately drive the health and happiness of the herd when I’ve handed the reins back and left the barn.
No. I stopped offering this as a standalone service when I realised it was not addressing the root cause of our nutritional problems….people! In practice, this approach tends to feed our obsession with micromanaging our horse’s existence and sends our stress and worry out of the roof…which leads to a lot more issues than just a few micronutrients being out of whack!
By far the most common missing ‘nutrient’ I see in the horse’s diet is behaviour. I can quite happily crunch numbers to produce a pretty graph that meets all the textbook requirements of a ‘balanced’ diet (which are an educated guess, at best) but it ain’t going to matter a jot if your horse is being deprived of being a horse!
I don’t believe it’s our job to ‘balance’ …homeostasis is a wonderful thing! I believe it’s our job to nurture and monitor a supportive and enriched environment that appreciates and allows for a full expression of our horse’s innate needs…and let the horse do the balancing himself!
So, while I believe checking a diet is an important part of nutrition and it gives us a good insight into any major areas of concern, it’s only a small part of the whole nourishment picture.
My programs take a huge jump away from just loading up clients with a whole bunch of info on what they need to keep their horses happy and healthy. There’s an ever-ready supply of resources out there that do that. Some fantastic, other’s not so, and not many of which agree…and that’s because there’s no cookie-cutter, right or wrong way to keep and feed your horses! We can, however, choose to feed and keep them more in line with their evolutionary design, and that’s where the simple, memorable, non-negotiable but highly adaptable principles of Forage, Friendship & Freedom come in.
While the 3 F’s are infused through all that I do, my programs are different in that they are very much client led. By defining what is important to my clients and helping them to fulfil these needs first, it takes understanding our horses and providing for them in our world to a whole new level of appreciation and harmony.
If there’s one huge realisation I’ve had come to grips with through my own personal journey of health and wellbeing issues and a somewhat spectacular midlife awakening, it’s that a Happy Healthy Horse depends on a Happy Healthy Human …and it’s time we started looking at just how critical forage, friendship and freedom are in all of our lives.
Straight from the horse’s mouth…NEIGH! No ‘mate rates’, ‘family freebies’ or ‘you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours’ trade-offs either. My clients’ investment reflects the lifetime value I offer to them and their horses, the importance I personally place upon them, and the time, commitment, energy and knowledge I invest into them.
I’ve ridden many trails in the equine industry, in many different countries, and have invested an ungodly amount of money, energy, passion, poop, pus and reflux in building my education, experience and professional network….and I’m REALLY choosy about what and whom makes the grade!
My clients get full access to all of this and more when we work together.
I’ve seen what does work, and dealt with cleaning up the emotional and financial mess of what doesn’t. There are MANY smooth-talking, pseudoscience-spouting, self-certified equine experts out there…I’m not one of them.
I’m actually quite an introvert so I LOVE the quiet, thoughtful ones that like to blend into the back of the room. The ones that know what they know, and want to know more. The ladies that feel like they may be asking a ‘stupid question’, or who may feel intimidated or judged by the supercilious mouthy mare up front. The ones that have this gut feeling that something just doesn’t sit right with them and they’re ready to question all that they know.
I work well with women who are ready to let go of the stress about getting the ‘righ’t lead all the time. Women who have a smouldering desire to just counter canter, bareback and freestyle…and share plenty of laughs, hugs, tears and have FUN doing it! Women who are ready to really get to know themselves and their horses again and be open to supporting others through the same. I learn just as much from my clients as they learn from me, their horses, and other fab fillies in my herd. As with true herd nature, it’s a mutually beneficial relationship where everyone is prepared to take the role of herd leader.
In general, no. As I have happy harems scattered around the globe, I have designed my programs to be fully accessible to anyone, anywhere that has an internet connection and a desire to learn and contribute to a better world for our horses and themselves. I will be running workshops, retreats and offering speaking gigs, so be sure to sign up on our mailing list at the bottom of this page to be kept in the loop.
A veterinarian. But I work very closely with them and encourage my clients to do the same. They are a critical part of a happy healthy herd. Find you a good one, preferably BEFORE you need one…and make them a life-long member of your healthy happy horse team!
An evangelistic devotee to any one ‘flavor-de-jour’ way of doing things. While I am more than happy to share my informed opinion, I also realise what works for one does not work for another. However, the time-tested, scientifically-studied, behavioural basics of Forage, Friendship and Freedom, will get you a long way on your quest for health and happiness. In my herd, they are non-negotiable.
A magic-wand wafting, unicorn-pooping, horse-whispering, miracle worker. I do not subscribe to magic bullets, one-size fits all, pills, potions, bags, buckets and celebrity sensations. I’m in this to create the change I want to see in the world for myself, my family and my horses. What I teach may be fundamentally simple but I never promise it comes easy!
Ready to get back to the grassroots of what our horses really need?
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