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This is Episode 14 of Season 4 and it’s a short one. Why?
To be blunt and to speak in general terms, I’d say life and death are having their ways with us.
I’m sorry to let you know that Jec lost her mother last month. As you might imagine, that’s been pretty trying for her. I lost my mom just over a year ago. While our mother-daughter relationships were very different, we both owe it partly to our mothers for what we do now. Horses would not be so much of our lives or so much of our identity, if it weren’t for our moms. That, I think makes the remembering and the grieving process a bit more in-your-face than it might be otherwise.
They say there are five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. You’ve probably heard of them. Here at the Best Horse Practices podcast, we are dealing with some of them, or maybe none of them but with feelings that are related. Or mixtures of them.
It’s a process. And as one of my favorite singer-songwriters, Del Barber, would say: “there is no straight path.”
I think the holidays, the shorter days and longer nights can be challenging, too. It can be harder to get out and ride when it’s 15 degrees and dark is just an hour away. A cup of hot cocoa or a glass of wine can seem like a much better idea.
What are your challenges?
How do you make the most of winter riding?
What are some winter hacks you have for dealing with ice, snow, cold, and short days?
Also, I want to remind you about the mental health initiative that the Best Horse Practices Summit is developing. Thanks in part to a grant from the LOR Foundation, there will be a mental health forum called Buck the Trend taking place here in southwestern Colorado in mid-February, 2024. You can learn more about that here. and help us vote on the logo, too!
This is a bit about Buck the Trend that I shared recently:
Buck the Trend is a forum for working cowboys, trainers, farriers, clinicians and others in the horse community. It is a pilot project to address the mental health challenges specific to our community. It is founded on the idea that a small, peer-focused group, hosted in a safe, relaxed setting, and led by experienced mental health professionals, is an effective way to nurture conversations, build skills, and affect positive change.
A little bit about the why and the how:
Many of us have acknowledged that our work can be isolating and demanding and that there are cultural, logistical, economic, and social impediments to getting help and being well.
Our mental health and wellness impact not just us, but those around us, including family, friends, coworkers, and, of course, the animals.
Horses may be “therapeutic.” They can make us feel better. But they can’t necessarily help us build skills to navigate interpersonal relationships and feel better about ourselves.
This forum is focused on skill-building and elevating the mental health conversation in our community. It’s an opportunity to focus on ourselves for a moment, so that we can enhance and improve what’s around us (specifically, the well-being of those close to us, humans and non-humans alike, as well as the greater horse community).
If you would like more information or would like to support Buck the Trend, please contact us.
Thanks to our title sponsor, Lucerne Farms, producers of quality forage feeds, extremely handy and healthy bales of alfalfa, timothy, and grass blends. A great addition or substitute for your hay or grass and way better than grain.
We thank Sampson Moss and his business, Prairie Wind Hat Works for the generous sponsorship. Sampson makes hats from his place in Pincher Creek, Alberta, and is taking custom orders now.
That’s it. Another episode in the can and out of the barn. Thanks for listening, y’all!