Full livery where a horse can be a horse, living naturally with other equines
On a combined track / herbal grazing / equi-central system
[NB – no vacancies until Spring 2024, contact us to join the waiting list]
Horses living at BEC Livery are iron-free & live as a natural, mixed herd, eating a fibre-based diet, having unrestricted movement and with access to natural and man-made shelter. Here they learn to make their own decisions and to speak ‘Equus‘, the language of the horse, fluently. Anna Twinney (http://www.reachouttohorses.com/) says
“The language of the horses, called Equus, is almost completely non-verbal. While horses have the ability to vocalize and they do use it … the nuances of their language is in the subtitles only seen by those fluent in the language”
Domestication will always be a compromise for the horse but we can offer more of a choice than is currently available through conventional yard management. All it takes is the courage to step out of the box and take a look at evolution. Horses require a simple set of essentials. After all if they can look after themselves ‘in the wild’ for all that time, surely we should be able to meet their needs?
We take your horse’s health and happiness very seriously. All horses are treated as individuals and will be catered for individually. What suits one horse may not suit another. It is fully understood that some will cope with a ‘natural’ lifestyle better than others – each requiring a different level of care. We aim to allow horses to be horses as much as possible – our ongoing work with equines has shown us that this is absolutely the best for them, emotionally & physically.
In the incredibly soggy winter of 2015/16 we added another dimension to our hybrid track/rotational grazing system by opening a large concrete yard, sheltered by buildings on one side & trees on the other, specifically for winter feeding out of the driving rain which was a feature of that winter. That is an element of the equi-central system and we have found that it works very well in combination with the existing track & herbal grazing paddocks. During the summer we have forage available on that concrete yard too; the horses like to take advantage of the cool shade there. The concrete yard is easily accessible from the track at all times.
You can see from the photographs that our land is quite high up – there is always a breeze at this altitude, which makes it ideal for horses prone to sweet-itch. One of our retired ‘ladies’ has never needed her fly sheet since she arrived 10 years ago!
How the 23 acres is apportioned
The main track runs around a 10-acre area, with two further tracks joining the perimeter track. The area of herbal grazing in the centre is divided into paddocks, all with access from the track, with a further paddock and large lounging area below the 10 acres – access to the herbal grazing paddocks is on a rotation basis and depends on time of year, weather conditions etc.
This main area can be divided and used as two separate adjoining tracks, one about a third the size of the area, the other taking up roughly two thirds – this has proved very useful when introducing new arrivals.
We have a further area of about 10 acres, which is our lowest ground and consists of three fields of herbal meadows with lots of natural shelter as you can see in the photo above, as well as access to open stables – this is for our dentally-challenged oldies, who need access to grazing 24/7 all year round.
So you can see we are able to cater for all stages of retirement!
We only offer Full Livery which includes
* 24 hr turnout on hybrid track/rotational grazing/ equi-central system with free access to large man-made shelter and natural shelter
* All hay, haylage, Himalayan salt, Redmond Rock (containing minerals), additive free salt granules, seaweed
* Minimum once daily check
* Monthly homeopathic worming, tailored to the needs of the whole herd
* Ongoing homeopathic EMF protection
* Use of indoor manege & riding paddocks
* Use of covered area / large, airy stables for grooming etc
*Applied Zoopharmacognosy consultations by appointment
Access to our ‘herb bar’ on a regular basis where herbs which are not currently growing in the paddocks are available in fresh or dried form – many different herbs are offered ad lib & above average intake is invoiced weekly or monthly.
Wholistic Horsemanship – Pioneering a Kinder Way with Horses
Get to know your horse better through body language, observation within the herd and working at liberty. Lessons can be booked with our Training Manager for those wishing to learn more about the horse’s own language of body movement, eye contact, intention and intuition.
NB: We are no longer operating a riding school, however livery clients are welcome to book a freelance instructor to work with them and/or their horse(s). The indoor school is available now exclusively to livery clients 😊
Free schooling (working at liberty) increases body awareness, reaction time and safety as the horse learns to balance himself and approach obstacles without the added load of a rider. This can be done individually or in groups for an additional weekly charge.
None of the horses in our herd has been recently inoculated and many have never had any vaccinations. Instead, in line with our pledge to keep exposure to chemicals etc to an absolute minimum, the whole herd is on a regular preventative homeopathic remedy to protect them from equine influenza and other common equine ailments. All new liveries are included in this, (alongside homeopathic wormer and homeopathic EMF protection) so your horse / pony will be protected without the use of conventional vaccines or chemical wormers. Vaccines and chemical wormers can exacerbate the potential for laminitis and colic in equines prone to those issues.
From The Laminitis Site
Anaphylaxis (an acute systemic allergic reaction to an antigen to which the body has become hypersensitive) can cause laminitis, and vaccines can cause anaphylaxis
We fully support and cater for non-ridden equines – many of our horses and ponies are non-ridden and we know that equines do not need to be backed, trained to ride or ridden (ever!) We appreciate that ‘non-ridden’ may be a conscious decision on your part, or as a result of circumstances which mean that you are no longer able to ride or your equine is no longer able to be ridden (or both). A non-ridden horse, pony or mule is no less an equine than those that are ridden and whether the animal will never be ridden, or has come to the end of a ‘ridden’ life they are all equines and as such embody all the characteristics that we love and admire in our horses.
When to use Retirement Livery?
- Age is of no consequence – youngsters can be ‘retired’ just like older equines
- When you would like your horse to spend the remainder of his/her life living as natural a life as is possible in a domestic environment – no matter what the previous life has been – we will take every care to ensure the transition to a more natural lifestyle is as smooth as possible
- When you are down to one equine and, for whatever reason, don’t really want to take on another one as a companion but equally do not want your horse, a herd animal, to live without the physical and emotional support of other equines. At Bitless Equestrian Centre, your solitary equine can spend the rest of their days living as a member of a herd with the choice of lots of companions of all ages, colours, types and gender.
The yard owner & family live on site and Bitless Equestrian Centre is fully insured as a livery yard
In addition to a lifetime experience of caring for animals, including 15 years running a large-breed specialist boarding kennels, the yard owner obtained 100% pass in the Equine Nutrition course run by the Royal Dick School of Veterinary Studies and has a CPD Certificate of Attendance from Joe Nasr, medical herbalist for a 2-day seminar on the preparation, properties and uses of aromatic waters, spirituous waters, aromatic tinctures and creams. Sheila Lee Thompson CPD Certificate