Call it the ‘Silver Lining’ Summit

A note from Best Horse Practices Summit Director, Maddy Butcher:

Some two years ago, I returned home from a big horse expo in the Northeast. It had been fun to visit with thousands of horse owners and great to share what I do as a journalist. But something didn’t sit right.

I asked myself: What was in it for the horses?

I started confiding in a small group of individuals who shared my frustration as well as a passion and dedication to serving our equine partners.

I asked them: ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to offer something better?’

From my research and every day experiences, I knew academia and horsemanship could be paired to optimize the educational experience.

Recognizing the cliques and divisions within the horse community, I felt any potential gathering would need to be collaborative and welcome all disciplines.

With tremendous support from a newly developed steering committee and a healthy dose of naïve gusto, the Best Horse Practices Summit was born. Call it the Silver Lining Summit, the positive result of a less than positive experience.

This conference is a non-profit organization, built from scratch and run entirely by volunteers. It brings together the best of research and horsemanship to improve the horse-human connection by providing eye-opening and inspiring academic and arena presentations.

It’s also a work in progress.

We’re relying on our October attendees for feedback on how to make it better. We hope they also spread the word. Thanks to the efforts of video production company, SoulFolle Creative, we’ll be excited to offer all the presentations online in early 2018.

Clearly, horses can’t be helped without first empowering their owners. To all those registered for Best Horse Practices Summit, consider yourself empowered!

BHPS director, Maddy Butcher

Best Horse Practices Summit, No Meals Registration

The Best Horse Practices Summit board today voted to offer single day, no meal options. This offers yet more options for local horse owners and riders to enjoy the incredible offerings of this inaugural equine conference.

Now, you can enjoy our amazing roster of presenters for without the added cost of the Strater Hotel’s meal service.

Space is limited.

For $125, you can now register for Monday or Tuesday, no meals.

For $200, you can register for both days with no meals.

Register for Monday or Tuesday, no meals, $125.

Register for Monday and Tuesday, no meals, $200.

You will receive:

  • All access to early morning electives
  • All access to academic presentations at the Strater Theater
  • All access to arena presentations at the LaPlata Fairgrounds.
  • Complimentary pair of Darn Tough socks


Register here for the entire, 2.5 day Summit

Go to Summit Home page

Go to Summit Index page

THE Conference with Substance and Principles

Dr. Gerd Heuschmann

As you read about the presenters at the Best Horse Practices Summit, especially the ones delivering academic presentations, you’ll notice a common thread: they’re all going against the industry grain.

  • They will not tell you that spending more money will help your horse.
  • They will not tell you that if you just add this regimen or that supplement or this piece of equipment, then your problems will be solved.

More likely, they will advocate less stuff and more knowledge. Why? Because horses need their owners and riders to be empowered with more knowledge and less stuff. Owners and riders need more mental and physical tools in their tool boxes.

We’ve selected these presenters because they have consistently put their principles and research over monetary gain. That’s often meant that they have tolerated discord from industry insiders. They have ruffled more than a few feathers.


We say, welcome to the Summit!

It’s for that same discord that you might feel uneasy when coming away from a conventional horse expo. Can you hear your horse asking you, ‘what was in it for me?’

We felt the same way when we brought together a steering committee and formed this non-profit, the Best Horse Practices Summit. We have worked hard to offer you a conference of substance, with meat on its bones, with offerings that have direct, positive impact on your horse-human partnerships.

To all those who’ve registered, thanks for joining us on this ride!

For those who have yet to sign on, we’re pretty sure your horse is asking you, ‘what’s the hold up?’

Register here for the Summit

Stanley and Adventure Medical join Summit Sponsors

We’re thrilled to have two new sponsors join our excellent roster of Charter Sponsors of the Best Horse Practices Summit. The conference, which is drawing attendees from 22 states (including Hawaii) and three Canadian provinces (including Nova Scotia), welcomes Stanley and Adventure Medical Kits.

Stanley makes a great, new travel mug called the Mountain Vacuum Switchback.  It’s the ONLY travel mug we’ve used that is virtually leakproof and yet easy to drink from. Hooray! You will have the chance to purchase it at the Best Horse Practices Summit trade booth.

Adventure Medical knows that horse owners are also dog owners. We love their Me and My Dog series of first aid kits which have cold packs, irrigation syringes, and tweezers. You will see them available at the Summit trade booth.

Thanks Stanley and Adventure Medical!

Read more about our Charter Sponsors. 

Register for the Summit

Green Goo joins Charter Sponsors

This week, we welcome Green Goo, a family of natural products from Sierra Sage Herbs, as a new Charter Sponsor. The women-owned, B Corporation will be contributing some excellent offerings to our Best Horse Practices swag bags.

Read more about the company here. 

Writes Betty Johnston of Sierra Sage:

Our Green Goo Animal First Aid really gained recognition with farm and horse owners where preventative and natural care was absolutely necessary to keep everyone healthy. The product is great for skin irritations, hot spots, wounds and areas where horses tend to itch and irritate more. And the best thing is; you don’t need to prevent them from licking it off because the product is so natural and clean you can eat it.

As a natural progression, offering natural body care products to our animals has become important now that we know the damaging effects of chemicals on our own health. Preventative medicine not only ensures a better quality of life, but also helps reduce the costs of expensive medical care over time. Often times the little wounds require a vet visit because there is no over-the-counter first aid available. Green Goo Animal First Aid is the first and most effective over-the-counter care on the market. Not only are you reducing vet visits, you can manage day-to-day symptom discomfort.

All BHP Summit attendees will receive Green Goo Animal First Aid as well as other goodies and a coupon for future online purchases.
Thanks, Green Goo!

Register for the Summit

Amy Skinner returns to Maine

Amy Skinner of Essence Horsemanship and Bar T Ranch will visit Maine for a weekend of private and semi-private lessons October 21-22.

The accomplished horsewoman teaches English and Western. Her schedule for the October weekend is booked solid, but you can still audit.

The event takes place at Goldenwinds Farm in Norridgewock, Maine.

  • Lessons start at approximately 8 am and go until 6 pm.
  • Auditors are welcome at $25 per day.

The weekend event will take place in Goldenwinds’ indoor arena, a 60’ x 120’ space as well as in nearby outdoor spaces. For more information and directions, contact Debbie Hight at (207) 431-0644 or dhight at tds dot net.

Skinner has studied at the Andalusian School of Equestrian Art in Spain, with Buck Brannaman, Leslie Desmond, Brent Graef, and many others. Additionally, she is an accomplished guest columnist for NickerNews and BestHorsePractices. Read her articles here.

For more information,

Juliana Zunde to offer tutelage in Durango

Juliana Zunde, an accomplished rider, frequent guest columnist, and Best Horse Practices Summit special guest, will offer clinic lessons in Durango, October 5-7, just before the BHP Summit. Riders registered for the Summit will get HALF OFF her rates.

Register for the Summit

Zunde writes:

I was born in Germany and started riding when I was 8 years old. At 14, I passed the German riding test in order to compete at the equivalent of our A shows. This test consisted of a 1.10m jumping course, a second level dressage test, a written and oral test. I showed in Germany up to the 1.30 jumper classes. I came to the USA in 1981 and worked for several people as a groom and rider before starting my own business. I have worked every aspect of the US Hunter and Jumper business ever since.

I have taught riders from learning to put the foot in the stirrup iron, to top levels of Hunters, Jumpers and Equitation classes. I have also competed in the 1.50 Division in the jumper ring on a thoroughbred that I had rescued from the killers. I am a USHJA approved Trainer, and also have a small “r” judging license for Hunters and Hunt Seat Equitation.

My training philosophy is summed up in the 10 Points of Track-Momentum-Balance. Read more about that here.  I combine years of experience in classical dressage along with my knowledge of natural horsemanship to help you have a cohesive relationship with your horse and better communication regardless of your discipline.

Rates: $100 per person for one hour private or semi-private lesson.

$120 per person for 4-6 people in a two-hour session.

Half price for those registered for the Summit.

For more information and to book time with Zunde, please call Catherine Milton at 314-323-8305.

Best Horse Practices Summit Single Day Special

Are you local and can only get away for one Summit day?

Aren’t sure if you can attend for the entire, 2.5 day horse conference?

For a limited time, the Summit is available to you for single day registration.

Space is limited.

Offer ends October 1.

For $200, you can now register for Monday OR Tuesday.

Register here for single day, Monday or Tuesday


Register here for the entire, 2.5 day Summit

You will receive:

  • All access to early morning electives
  • All access to academic presentations at the Strater Theater
  • All access to arena presentations at the LaPlata Fairgrounds.
  • Special Redmond Rock gift bag
  • Complimentary Darn Tough socks
  • Summit swag bag
  • Scrumptious Lunch and dinner provided by the Strater Hotel.

Go to Summit home page

Go to Summit Index page

Register here for single day, Monday or Tuesday

Thanks, Patagonia. Move over, Carhartt

You could make the argument that those of us working outside and with animals have greater connections with those animals and the land than those who simply play outside (i.e., outdoor recreationalists). We horse owners, therefore, might well be happy consumers of clothing made by a company prioritizing good treatment of land and animals (an idea that the industry sometimes calls ‘ethical clothing’). We might also welcome a fresh alternative to the same-ol’, same-ol’ from century-old clothing companies like Dickies, Wrangler, and Carhartt.

All of which is one way of saying:

Thank You, Patagonia!


Move over, Carhartt!

Earlier this month, Patagonia unveiled its WorkWear line. The clothing is made with a blend of Iron Forge hemp, organic cotton, and recycled polyester. In tests, the fabric was 25 percent tougher than the cotton duck canvas in Carhartt jackets. Yet it’s deceivingly soft and doesn’t require that “Forgive me while I walk around in a cardboard box” break-in period.

WorkWear, like all Patagonia products, comes with researchable background information on how its production impacted the planet and the people who made it. Some say the company’s Footprint Chronicles are leading the entire industry to be more sustainable, accountable, and transparent.

We visited with Patagonia folks earlier this year to learn about the new line, its origins, and what the California company – more often associated with rock climbers and surfers – has planned for outfitting our community:

  • “Iron Forge” is a reference to the smithing done by Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard and his rock climbing comrades back when his fledgling company was literally forging climbing equipment in a tin shed (now called the “Tin Shed”) in Ventura, California.
  • Designing and crafting work clothes isn’t a big leap from a standards or cultural perspective at Patagonia, said business unit director Ed Auman, “this is not ‘work inspired. It’s been in our DNA.”

Thankfully, the women’s WorkWear line is not simply the men’s version recut with wider hips and added pink buttons.

The Iron Forge Hemp Canvas Barn Coat is tough, warm, and more feminine than typical barn coats. It comes in Coriander Brown, a warm, yellow-brown with cream stitching and is lined with Thermogreen insulation and silky, deep orange polyester. There are five pockets, including an inside, zipped chest pocket for valuables.

My favorite features:

  • Oversized pull on the zipper makes it easy to zip up and down with cold fingers and/or gloves
  • Side cinch straps with buckles give it a feminine silhouette and are useful for custom fitting
  • Slick lining makes layering easy
  • Hemp blend sheds hay, shavings, etc.
  • Hem length is not too short that drafts come up your backside, not too long to for riding, mucking stalls, shoveling, etc. Falls at the hip.
  • Two distinct snap closures at the sleeve mean you can pull sleeves over or off your wrist depending on your needs (using a hand tool or covering your wrists for warmth).

Coming to the Best Horse Practices Summit? You’ll see our presenters and ambassadors outfitted with these WorkWear items:

Women’s Iron Forge Hemp Barn Coats

Men’s and Women’s Farrier Shirts

Men’s Barn Coats

Men’s Ranch Jackets

Read more about Patagonia’s outfitting the Best Horse Practices Summit outfitting here.

Best Horse Practices Summit Schedule is Here!

The Best Horse Practices Summit Schedule:

(Please be patient as this schedule is subject to minor changes. Details and links coming soon.)

Register here

Sunday, October 8, 4-9 pm:

Welcome Reception and Sign In

Join us at the historic Strater Hotel to sign in and pick up your welcome bag. Mix and mingle with other registrants and BHPS presenters for drinks (cash bar) and appetizers in the Strater’s Pullman Room.

Food and beverages served from 5-7 pm.

At this time, you will sign up for Summit electives: Rider Fitness session (Monday am), Healthy Rider Brain presentation (Monday am), the Horse Brain dissection (Tuesday am), and the field trip to view the model wild horse herd in Disappointment Valley (Wednesday, all day).

Monday, October 9:

The Summit will be held at the Strater Hotel and nearby fairgrounds

Morning Academic presentations at the historic Strater Hotel

7-8 am Elective – Rider Fitness with David Stickler in the Pullman Room. Come ready to move and the only session for which jeans and boots is not appropriate attire (sweats are best). Limit to 60.

7-8 am. Elective – Healthy Rider Brain talk with Dr. Steve Peters in the Strater Theater.

8:30 -9:15 am – Keynote Address with Wendy Williams, “Can Horses Read? It depends on what you mean” a multi-media presentation by NY Times best-selling author.

9:30-11 am – Dr. Steve Peters and Martin Black present Evidence Based Horsemanship, a multi-media presentation that delves into neuroanatomy and neurochemistry with narrated video of practical experiences.

Dr. Sheryl King

11:15 – 12:30 – Dr. Sheryl King – “Choices and Consequences: How even simple management decisions impact horse behavior and health,” a smart, practical guide to identifying right’s and wrong’s in equine management.

Lunch break

Trade Show open

Presenters available for visiting

12:30 – 1:30 pm – Grab your specially prepared, gourmet boxed lunch provided by the Strater Hotel and mosey to the LaPlata Fairgrounds pavilion.

Afternoon Arena Presentations

LaPlata County Fairground Pavilion

2 – 3:30 pm – Jim Thomas – “Molding Your Horse: How Horsemen are Master Potters” Demonstration with riders, Part I.

4 – 5:30 – Warwick Schiller – “How we can create adjustable, willing, relaxed and responsive horses without force” Demonstration with riders, Part I

We Head Back to the Strater!

Strater Hotel Theater

Bryan Neubert

6-9 pm – Dorrance Legacy Dinner. Fabulous Strater Hotel meal followed by an evening with Randy Rieman and Bryan Neubert as they honor and recall the tutelage of Bill and Tom Dorrance, brothers who are widely considered forefathers of good horsemanship today. Rieman and Neubert worked extensively with the Dorrances and their experiences left indelible marks on their lives and horse work.

Tuesday, October 10

Morning Academic presentations at the historic Strater Hotel

Strater Theater

7-8 am Elective: Horse Brain dissection with Dr. Steve Peters. An incredibly unique opportunity to see the inner workings of a horse’s brain.

8:30 -10 am – Dr. Robert Bowker, “The Horse’s Foot: Gateway to the Entire Horse” Bowker will explain how an intimate understanding of the horse’s hoof will, in turn, lead to more appropriate handling and rehabilitation of the whole horse.

10:30- noon – Dr. Gerd Heuschmann – Biomechanics in riding disciplines, cultures and training principles. An eye-opening, multi-media presentation.

Lunch break

12:30 – 1:30 – Grab your specially prepared, gourmet boxed lunch provided by the Strater Hotel and mosey to the LaPlata Fairgrounds pavilion.

Trade Show open

LaPlata Country Fairgrounds

Presenters available for visiting

Afternoon Arena Presentations

LaPlata Fairground Pavilion

1 – 230 – Warwick Schiller, “How we can create adjustable, willing, relaxed and responsive horses without force” Demonstration with riders, Part II

3-430 – Jim Thomas– “Molding Your Horse: How Horsemen are Master Potters” Demonstration with riders, Part II

We Head Back to the Strater!

6-9 pm, Strater Hotel Theater. Farewell Reception

We remember our time together, celebrate highlights, and visit for the last time. With a special meal by the Strater Hotel staff and closing messages from the director and presenters.

Trade Show open

Presenters available for visiting and autographs.


Spring Creek Basin wild horse. Photo by TJ Holmes

Elective Field Trip to Disappointment Valley, hosted by mustang advocate TJ Holmes.

8 am, Meeting in Durango Transit Center parking lot, 250 W 8th St.

Details to follow.

Register here

Copyright © Dandelion by Pexeto