Temple Grandin Supports the BHP Summit

Dr. Temple Grandin, a pioneer in animal welfare and in the reform of livestock handling, likes what she sees at the inaugural Best Horse Practices Summit, October 8-10, in Durango, Colorado.

Grandin, author of numerous books, subject of an award-winning movie, and recent inductee to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences said the conference undoubtedly will help humans improve their connection with horses.

Read more about Grandin here.

In a recent interview, she said, “We humans communicate to each other mostly with words. But if you want to understand horses, you need to get away from verbal language. Animals are sensory-based thinkers, not word-based thinkers. Their memories are in pictures, audio-clips, smell or touch sensations. Theirs is a nonverbal, sensory-based world.

“The Best Horse Practices Summit, with its ingenuous blend of academic and arena presentations, will help people understand horses’ world. It offers the horses’ perspective.

“With the Summit presentations on brain science, biomechanics, and hoof research, owners and riders will come away with new information to make their horses’ lives better because they will understand their perspective better.

“For decades, I’ve traveled the world helping humans understand animals and giving people tools and mandates for improving animals’ lives. We raised them. They deserve our respect. The Best Horse Practices Summit has the same goal and mission. I applaud their efforts. “

Thanks, Dr. Grandin!

Calling all BHPS Volunteers!

Interested in volunteering to help at the Best Horse Practices Summit?

If you’ve been keeping up to date with developments, you know the Summit has many moving parts. There are academic and arena presentations featuring horsemen and women from around the world. Attendees will come from far-reaching corners, too.

We’re dedicated to putting on a great conference AND allowing our volunteers to gain as much as they are able from it.


Volunteers dedicating 5-9 hours of time before or during the event will receive:

  • $100 Discount to the Summit
  • Complimentary BHP Summit shirt
  • Swag bag with goodies and additional discounts
  • Automatically entered into Volunteers Only giveaway of 5 Star saddle pad
  • Redmond Equine product for your horses

Volunteers dedicating 10-20 hours of time before or during the event will receive:

  • Free admission to the Summit
  • Complimentary BHP Summit shirt
  • Swag bag with goodies and additional discounts
  • Automatically entered into Volunteers Only giveaway of 5 Star saddle pad
  • Redmond Equine product for your horses

We’ll need help with welcoming registrants, taking care of presenters, hosting sessions, staffing trade show booths (selling goods, using credit card swiper, etc), and more.

Let us know about your availability and talents. Let us know of any specific talents – are you are a great people person? Team leader? Audio-visual savvy? Salesmanship? Do you have excellent administrative skills?Don’t be modest. We’d like to take advantage of your abilities and charge you with tasks that suit you best.


Eclectic Horseman Sponsors the Summit

This week, the Best Horse Practices Summit board of directors and steering committee excitedly welcomed Eclectic Horseman Communications, Inc., the renowned brand offering a wealth of education opportunites in the form of a popular magazine and DVD subscriptions, to our growing family of sponsors. It’s a natural fit as Eclectic Horseman and the BHP Summit are deeply invested in improving the horse-rider connection through education.

Eclectic Horseman President Emily Kitching writes:

People want to do right by their horses. I believe this to be true. At Eclectic Horseman, we do our part to make the world a better place for horses by offering well-illustrated alternatives and ideas. I firmly believe that in the horsemanship world, continuing education is the answer.

That’s why we have decided to sponsor and support the Best Horse Practices Summit. With its mix of research and common sense presentations, it’s an event your horse would want you to attend.

How do we learn what is best for our horses in their training and in the whole of their lives? Our horses did not choose to be in our care. We chose them. We are responsible for their well-being, both physical and mental.

EH President Emily Kitching

Educating humans, however, can be a tall order. Some people learn by observation, others through reading, and many of us through the age-old tradition of trial and error. Unfortunately, while so many of us are open to ideas about how to ride and build a relationship in the saddle, we overlook all the pieces that led to our being up there.

The Summit is the kind of conference that will pull back and look at horsemanship with a wide lens before diving in to consider details. That’s our approach, too, at Eclectic Horseman.

See you in Durango!

Thanks Emily and Eclectic Horseman. We appreciate your thoughtful and enthusiastic support!

The BHP Summit welcomes Eclectic Horseman

Register now for a chance to win 5 Star Saddle Pad!

Dear Horse Friends,

I would like to suggest a fun, enjoyable To-Do list:

  • Visit the Colorado’s beautiful mountains in October.
  • Hear presentations from world-renowned horse presenters, enjoy great hotel fare, and mingle with good company. Be inspired and come home an improved horse owner and rider.
  • Enter to win a free 5 Star Saddle Pad.

What a fun and exciting trifecta. Let’s do it!

The great folks at 5 Star Equine Products in Hatfield, Arkansas have made it possible for the Best Horse Practices Summit to offer one lucky registrant a free saddle pad! Register by August 1 to qualify. Register now!

Anyone already registered or who registers before August 1 will be entered to win one of their world’s finest, wool felt pads, valued between $250-300 (depending on style). The lucky winner will choose and take home their 5 Star pad at the Summit headquarters in the Strater Theater.

Register now!

Already registered? You’re automatically entered.

Taking advantage of the Bring Three, Get in Free special? You’re still automatically entered.

See you in Durango!


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 rebecca@wellsgroupdurango.com 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

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

Beginning in late May and running to September 1, 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.

Top Trainers attending BHP Summit

West Taylor

This just in!

Talented trainers Amy Skinner, West Taylor, Katrin Silva, and Juliana Zunde will be hanging out, meeting folks, and stretching their brains as they attend the Best Horse Practices Summit. When you sign up, you’ll have the opportunity to meet with them and share the inaugural experience.

Register now

West Taylor is a talented mustang trainer from Fremont, Utah. He’s teamed up with Dr. Steve Peters in offering weekend sessions related to horse brain science. He will compete in the Extreme Mustang Makeover in Reno in June.
We might also add that Taylor definitely toes the line as one rider who values fitness. This week, he competed in his first Spartan race in Las Vegas. Check out his video here. Pretty impressive fitness level, West! Nice to see that Taylor recognizes the athletic aspect of our equine partnership. We’ll hope to see you at the Summit’s Rider Fitness elective, West!

Amy Skinner

Skinner is a regular guest columnist for NickerNews and BestHorsePractices and has been a horse gal since age six.

Currently, she trains and teaches lessons at the Bar T Ranch. Skinner has studied at the Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art in Spain, with Buck Brannaman, Leslie Desmond, Brent Graef, and many others.

Zunde was born in Germany and moved to the United States in 1981. She has managed large horse facilities, competed at high levels, and taught extensively, especially to hunter/jumper enthusiasts. She runs Trakai Farm in Hillsborough, North Carolina.
Zunde teaches clinics using her Track-Momentum-Balance Method and blends Natural Horsemanship concepts to help horses and riders work together correctly. She has studied with George Morris, Joe Fargis, Jeff Cook, Ann Kursinsky, Dr. Heuschman, Maclain Ward, Buck Brannaman, and Martin Black.

Katrin Silva

Katrin Silva was also born in Germany and now teaches and trains in New Mexico.

She wrote about her enthusiasm for the Summit here:

One of the best things about working with horses is that there’s always more to learn. This Summit will be an excellent way to add to my reservoir of horse-related wisdom. With a background in both classical dressage and western riding, I consider myself an equal opportunity trainer. I’m someone who does not discriminate based on a horse’s breed, color, size, or type of saddle. I look for common ground between traditions of horse-humanship, rather than focusing on the differences between them. The Summit is doing something similar, bringing together presenters and participants from all walks of equestrian life. I look forward to connecting with them, and to expanding my horizons. 

Juliana Zunde

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.

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