Dorrance Protégés Join Summit Roster

Along with powerful academic and arena presentations, the Best Horse Practices Summit, October 8-10 in Durango, Colorado, will now offer an opportunity to hear from esteemed protégés of Bill and Tom Dorrance. The brothers are widely admired as pioneers of the superior, more mindful horsemanship we see practiced nowadays.

Randy Rieman and Bryan Neubert, along with Neubert’s daughter, Kate, will join us in Durango for a very special evening, Celebrating the Dorrance Legacy. For Rieman and the Neuberts, it will be a relaxed dinnertime chat at the luxurious Strater Hotel Theater. For us listeners, it will be a night to remember where we can lean in and savor their memories.

Register now.

The BHP Summit is shaping up to be an impressive two-and-a-half days of learning to improve riding and horsemanship. For

Bryan Neubert

a limited time, the Summit organizers are offering a Bring 3, Get in Free!” incentive. When four attendees register and identify each other as part of the incentive, one will be refunded in full.

Rieman and Neubert spent many seasons with the Dorrances and attribute their successes to Bill and Tom’s tutelage. Kate Neubert was just a girl when she visited with the Dorrances, but she, too, is a product of their teachings.

Neubert and Rieman travel nationally and internationally as clinicians and colt starters. Rieman is also a master storyteller and a regular presenter at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Kate Neubert focuses on young performance horses and this year competed at the Road to the Horse event in Kentucky.

Amy Skinner, another young and talented horsewoman who will be coming to Durango, was thrilled to hear about the addition of the Dorrance Legacy evening to the program.

“The Dorrances worked on a refined feel that focused on what the horse was about to do, then either confirming or redirecting it.  That makes for a more relaxed horse, which, in turn, fosters a better relationship between the horse and rider.  It’s an approach that benefits riders of all disciplines.

Randy Rieman

“It wasn’t just about horsemanship for these men. It was about a better way of life. For those of us who want to dig a little deeper into our relationships with horses, hearing from Dorrance students will be an unbelievable opportunity.”

Skinner runs Essence Horsemanship and starts colts under Jim Thomas at the Bar T Ranch in Pittsboro, North Carolina.

Dr. Steve Peters, who with Martin Black will present a BHPS session on Evidence-Based Horsemanship, said the Dorrance Legacy addition was a perfect fit for the conference.

“When Martin and I first started working on Evidence-Based Horsemanship, we looked at giving the horse enough time to ensure optimal learning and to its receiving of dopamine reinforcement.  Martin, who also worked with Tom Dorrance, would regale me with stories of Dorrance’s grasp of what we now know to be the neurochemical makeup of the horse.

Kate Neubert

“It seems Tom was a master at dialing up the horse’s arousal or dialing down its anxiety as needed.  Although I never met him, I am convinced that he was truly a great equine behavioral neurologist,” said Peters.

Register now.

2017 presenters include:

  • Wendy Williams, author of the best-selling The Horse: The Epic History of Our Noble Companion, will give the keynote address.
  • Dr. Robert Bowker, former director of the Equine Foot Laboratory at Michigan State University.
  • Dr. Gerd Heuschmann, German veterinarian, rider, and author of the best-selling book, Tug of War: Classical versus Modern Dressage.
  • Dr. Sheryl King is a popular international presenter on equine behavior.
  • Warwick Schiller, NRHA (National Reining Horse Association) Reserve World Champion and represented Australia in reining at the 2010 Alltech World Equestrian Games. He tours internationally and has a popular video subscription.
  • Jim Thomas runs Bar T Horsemanship in Pittsboro, North Carolina. He has started scores of BLM wild horses and competed in multiple Extreme Mustang Makeovers.
  • Dr. Steve Peters and Martin Black of Evidence-Based Horsemanship.

Additional Summit offerings:

  • Fresh, fine dining Strater Hotel meals
  • Meet-and-greet receptions
  • Autograph sessions
  • Trade Show
  • Rider Fitness workout and core fitness elective with David Stickler
  • Post-BHP Summit field trip to visit a wild horse herd in nearby Spring Creek Basin.

The Best Horse Practices Summit is a Colorado 501 (c) (3) non profit corporation with a five member board of directors and nine member steering committee. Its goal is to advance ideas to improve the horse-human connection.

See you in Durango this October!


Welcome 5 Star Equine Products and Durango realtor Rebecca Balboni

This week, we’re thrilled to announce two new charter sponsors to the Best Horse Practices Summit.

Meet realtor Rebecca Balboni of the Wells Group and 5 Star Equine Products. Both new sponsors are excellent fits for our exciting conference to be held this October in Durango, Colorado.

Terry Moore, owner of 5 Star Equine products, is sending a fantastic range of pads to the Summit for attendees to feel, smell, and purchase.
We’re huge fans of 5 Star wool pads and mohair cinches, handmade in Arkansas. Research shows wool is superior to other materials when it comes to the gear that’s closest to your horses. Wool breathes. Wool molds to the horse’s contours. The 5 Star wool felt holds up to thousands of miles of wear and multiple washings. Read articles here.
The horses of Unbranded traveled 3,000 miles over five and half months without back or belly sores. What greater testimony is there than that?
Come to the Summit and check out 5 Star pads!

Realtor Balboni, of the Wells Group, loves Durango and would love to show it off while you’re here at the Summit. From the friendly people, the breathtaking landscape, to the 300 average days of sun and limitless opportunities for trail riding, Durango is a grand slam.

Visit her Wells Group page here.

When not in the office, she can be found riding one of her two horses. She’s pictured at right on Rosie, “the wonder horse.”  The photo was taken as a recent Durango area competition. Balboni is quite active in the local equestrian community. She serves on the board of the Four Corners Dressage and Combined Training Association and also works with the Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

Check out some listings:

Bayfield land for $139,000

  • A stunning waterfront equestrian escape. The property includes an indoor arena and two homes on Hermosa Creek. $1,995,000. (see photo below)
  • A turn-key ranch with 150′ x 300′ lighted outdoor arena, 20 stall barn, indoor arena, cutting pen, shop, and 3 bed 3 bath home on 35 acres in Dolores. $695,000.
  • A picturesque 35 acres of mixed pasture and timber acres in the Bayfield area. A creek running through the land which is ready for your dream home. $139,900. (see photo at right)

Email her or call (404) 376-6392.

Summit Special: Bring Three, Get in Free!

We’re excited to have Best Horse Practices Summit registrants coming from all around the globe. So far, we have attendees

The Summit will be at the Strater Hotal (pictured) and the LaPlata fairgrounds

hailing from Arizona, New Mexico, Maine, Vermont, Wisconsin, Minnesota, California, Texas, Colorado, North Carolina, Canada, and more!

Beginning in late May, we are offering 4 registrations for the price of 3. It’s an ideal opportunity to bring friends, team members, club members, colleagues, or even strangers with the same passion for horses and horse education. Save $325!

Already registered? No worries. If you contact us with three additional registrants, we’ll refund one delegated registrant (who can always share the savings with his/her fellow travelers).

Not sure if your friends can make it? No worries. Just check the box when you register.

Looking forward to seeing you in Durango!

Register here.

Exciting BHP Summit News

The Best Horse Practices Summit had several bits of excellent news this week.

Two more sponsors stepped forward to join the excitement of the two-and-a-half day conference in Durango, Colorado this October. Lucerne Farms of Maine comes on board as a Session Sponsor. We are especially pleased with Lucerne’s support because the Maine company, based in Easton and Fort Fairfield, fits our values and mindset to a T: a small company with a high quality product that’s great for owners and their equines. As a Session Sponsor, it joins Darn Tough and Redmond Equine — good company, for sure!

EcoLips, producer of organic lip balm made of edible ingredients and based in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, has come on board, too. Expect a yummy spearmint lip balm in every registrant’s swag bag!

Dr. Petra Sullwold has come on board as a Patron Sponsor.

Welcome Dr. Sullwold and see you in October!

Sullwold is certified by the International Veterinary Chiropractic Association. We love that she enjoys bolstering her work with current research. Indeed, her website lists scores of research pages. Read more here.

Early Bird Registration is now open!

We’ve nearly sealed our fabulous roster of presenters with the addition of Dr. Robert Bowker and Dr. Gerd Heuschmann.

These two men, renowned for their research-based look at horse wellness (of hooves and head, respectively) will undoubtedly increase the buzz around the inaugural Summit which already has registrants coming from Maine, Vermont, Arizona,

Dr. Robert Bowker

California, Texas, and Colorado.

For years, Dr. Bowker led the Equine Foot Laboratory at Michigan State University as it charted the adaptive mechanisms of the equine foot.

His work has focused on the physiological function of the equine foot and has resulted in new recommendations that are leading to relief of navicular syndrome and other chronic foot ailments.

We will be excited to learn more about Bowker’s research and its implications for riders, owners, and (most importantly) horses. As stated by MSU, Bowker’s research supports “a wholly different theory of how the equine foot responds to ground impact. His research has focused on blood flow to and from the hoof, and the role it plays in energy dissipation.”

Dr. Gerd Heuschmann

If you’ve heard of the rollkur debate, you’ve heard of Dr. Heuschmann. The German veterinarian and author fueled the fire under the International Equestrian Federation in 2007 by releasing the now best-selling book, Tug of War: Classical versus “Modern” Dressage. He tours internationally.

Equine chiropractor Dr. Petra Sullwold and dressage instructor Petra Beltran, pictured below, are two of many riders who we predict with be thrilled to hear his presentation.

Register here!

BHP Summit now a part of Thrivent Choice

We’re thrilled to announce that the Best Horse Practices Summit is now part of charitable giving through Thrivent Financial, a Christian-based financial investment company with over $100 billion in assets under management.

Each year, Thrivent clients may dedicate allotted funds to a Thrivent-approved non-profit of their choice. Last month, with the assistance of BHPS volunteer Sue Ann Olson, the Summit applied and was qualified by Thrivent officials.

Are you a Thrivent client?

Please consider directing your Thrivent Choice dollars to the Best Horse Practices Summit. Visit the Summit page on Thrivent’s website here.

Thrivent ranks 318 among Fortune 500 companies and has 2.3 million members.

Not a Thrivent client but know someone who is? Please send them here.

Stretch Yourself at the BHP Summit

Winter near Durango

Even whilst braving more snow than the region has seen in a few years, we’re getting super-excited for the Best Horse Practices Summit, the innovative horse conference coming to Durango, Colorado, in October. Our welcome mat is down and we’re enjoying the success of Early Bird Registration.

The Summit is all about stretching:

Stretch Yourself. Maybe you’re used to attending XYZ horse expo and going to see your favorite XYZ clinicians. But let this be the year and the conference for which you think outside your usual events. With an exciting array of presenters, we know you won’t be disappointed.

Stretch Your Brain. The Best Horse Practices Summit is all about expanding your current level of horsemanship and equine science knowledge. At this conference, you’ll learn that reaching beyond the status quo will have significant and immediate benefits for you and your horses.

Stretch Your Body. You are going to LOVE Durango and the rest of southwestern Colorado. It’s a great place to attend a conference and a great place to stay, get out, and do things. There are nearby dude ranches, National Parks, the San Juan National Forest. Truly, there are too many outdoor opportunities to count. Come for the conference. Stay for the brilliant autumn weather (warm, dry, sunny days with temperatures in the 60-70’s. Cool nights) and the stunning mountains (elevations of 7,000 feet and above). You won’t regret it!

Consider coming early: The Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering runs just prior to the Summit, so you can enjoy this outstanding entertainment opportunity before digging your heels into our conference. The DCPG annual parade (see photo below) is the largest non-mechanized parade in the state, a fabulous presentation of horse-drawn carriages, floats, and much more.

Having fun at the Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering

Meet BHPS Charter Sponsors

The BestHorsePractices Summit is a Colorado nonprofit with 501 (c)(3) status.

This week, we also heard from two early sponsors on how they are thrilled to be a part of the conference. Redmond Equine and Darn Tough are excellent fits for our conference as you’ll see here:


From Redmond Equine:

At Redmond Equine, we offer products that cultivate a natural balance in horses. We share a passion and understanding for horses’ well being. When we first heard about the inaugural BestHorsePractices Summit, we knew we’d want to be in on the conference’s ground floor. It’s a great fit for us.
More and more, we see science confirming what we suspected all along: that nature and natural settings are often healthiest for horses (and their humans!). That’s what we embrace at Redmond Equine, too.
We’re thrilled to be a part of the BestHorsePractices Summit and its innovative blend of the academic and practical. See you in October!

From Darn Tough:

At Darn Tough, we know a lot about the rigors of the outdoors. If you’re out there, we’re with you. Horse owners are some of the toughest outdoorsmen we know. They are not weekend warriors. They work hard, play hard, and their horses’ well-being comes first. No weather or outdoor predicament is going to get in their way.
Sponsorship of the BestHorsePractices Summit gives us an opportunity to directly connect with some of the most dedicated members of the horse community. As they work to improve their connection with their equine partners, we’re working to improve our connection with them. Darn Tough is a great fit, figuratively and literally, as each registrant will receive a complimentary pair of Darn Tough socks. See you in Durango!

In March, we welcome two additional enthusiastic sponsors: Lucerne Farm of Maine, a forage company, and EcoLips, maker of organic lip balm, of Iowa.

Session sponsor Lucerne Farm is based in Easton and Fort Fairfield. The company fits our values and mindset to a T: a small firm with a high quality product that’s great for owners and their equines.

Please support our fabulous sponsors as they support the BHPS efforts!

Check out this week’s posts on BHPS presenters Jim Thomas and Warwick Schiller.

Read more about the Summit.

Register now

Read more about the event and presenters

Check out Lodging options.

Make a donation to the Summit.

Read the Mission Statement and conference details.

Meet the Steering Committee.

Meet Our Charter Sponsors

Download the Sponsor Packet.

Download BHPS Flyer

Amy Skinner moves to Bar T

For years, our readers have enjoyed the news and perspective from horsewoman Amy Skinner of Essence Horsemanship. Through dozens of guest columns, Skinner has conveyed wisdom and thoughtfulness that belie her age (she’s 27). Read her articles here.

This year, Skinner took her talents and horses from Michigan to North Carolina, where she now works with BestHorsePractices Summit presenter, Jim Thomas.

At Bar T Horsemanship in Pittsboro, Thomas takes in a wide range of horse projects and starts scores of colts for owners of all disciplines. He described the work:

“We build a strong foundation for the horse, no matter the discipline. These young horses are exposed to arena work, trail rides, lots of horse-human time. We stress them in order to expand their bubble, so that they are open to learning a lot. When they leave here, after one to three months, they leave with a smile on their face. I think they’re saying, ‘Hey, my time with humans has been pretty good so far!’” said Thomas.

Skinner rides English and Western and has been a student at the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art in Spain and with Buck Brannaman, Brent Graef, and many others.

“Amy is working out beautifully. She’s a hard worker and I trust her,” said Thomas. “Too many trainers think you need to be harder, stronger, tougher, and meaner when you run into a problem with a horse. Amy is not too quick to scold. She understands the patience required with horse work. She understands enough to say to the horse, ‘let’s back up, find solid ground, and then we can move forward.’”

Good job, Amy! Sounds like a great arrangement for horses and humans alike.

You’ll be able to visit with Skinner and Thomas at the BestHorsePractices Summit.

Amy’s “office” at Bar T Horsemanship

When Multitasking Pays Off

There’s a lot of research out there disparaging multitasking. Scientists say it’s inefficient. They say ideal productivity and

Warwick Schiller on Avoiding Horse Accidents

efficiency requires focus.
But often horse handling requires a certain lack of focus and an ability to take in, understand, and react to multiple developments all at the same time. The key, I say, is to be in that moment.

When I visited with BestHorsePractices Summit presenter Warwick Schiller in Phoenix last weekend, we shared some thoughts on the issue. His video “rant” (his words, not mine) explains so-called Freak Accidents and the many warning signs horses give us leading up to these usually completely avoidable accidents. Watch it here.

Consider working with a horse in a paddock with other horses:

As you approach a horse for haltering, you must assess:

  • His temperament
  • His location and relationship compared to the other horses (like whether he likes to screen himself or whether he gets bullied)
  • How hungry they may be.
  • How bothered by bugs they may be.

As you halter and move your horse, a whole new set of tasks appear:focus

  • How does he move through gates?
  • Will the others want to come, too?
  • How well does that gate close?

You answer these questions by:

  • Watching ears and lips and tails.
  • Watching for bracing or willingness.
  • Listening for movement that you might not see.
  • Being aware of the environmental conditions (like an approaching storm or slippery surfaces)

Our work is not unlike that of an Office Manager or Stay-at-Home parent. On any given moment, working with horses requires us to be all there, but it doesn’t require us to focus on just one thing. If we were to focus on just haltering a horse, we might end up hurt or horses might get loose.

The wider lens often serves us better.
Read article on Feel.

Copyright © Dandelion by Pexeto