Summit Farewell Notes: the Lanyard Story

Remarks delivered by director Maddy Butcher at the Summit Farewell Reception:

The story of the Summit lanyards can go a long way in illustrating the range of details and the room for errors when putting together a conference. Especially a first-year conference on a limited budget.

A few months ago, I was researching lanyards (those things that go around necks and to which badges attach). Geez, they seem pretty expensive, I said to myself.

I thought of our friends at Knotty Girlz in Valleyford, Washington.

Why not order rope from Knotty Girlz and make our own lanyards? It would be fun and lend special detail to our event.

A few days later, we received 400 feet of multi-colored, quarter-inch rope.

The Soulfolle Creative team, Tommy Costello and Beau Gaughran

A few hours later, I learned how time-consuming and detail-oriented lanyards could be:

  • Lengths must be measured
  • Ends must be burned and looped together
  • Badges must be attached

I had inadvertently made a work mountain out of molehill. But thanks to some volunteer ingenuity and volunteer work hours, each attendee did, in the end, receive a nifty lanyard that (unlike conventional lanyards) can be used to practice knot tying or can be attached to a stick or otherwise used in horse work.

Of course, the souvenir is also an illustration of the myriad details tended to by those involved in an event like the Summit. As with horse work, sometimes we learn more from our mistakes than our successes.

As I reflect on our first year Summit effort, I’m taking into account these learning experiences and using them to craft a better, progressive path forward.

I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the volunteers, presenters, sponsors, board members, steering committee members, the audio-video team, and the staff at the Strater Hotel.

A/V team:

Soulefolle Creative

Lightning Communications

Fred Holcomb, West Taylor, Dr. Sheryl King


TJ Zark

Julie Kenney

Cindy Morin

Helen Bird

Amy Skinner

Amy Diener

Fred Holcomb

Trish Lemke

Carrie Jenkinson

Kerry O’Brien

Debbie Hight

Raechel & Dennis Nelson

A special watermelon for the Summit Welcome Reception

Fred Holcomb

Michael Benner

Elizabeth Benner

Cathi Champion

Presenters and Special Guests:

Dr. Steve Peters

Dr. Robert Bowker

Dr. Gerd Heuschmann

Dr. Sheryl King

Wendy Williams

Martin Black

Presenters Warwick Schiller, Dr. Gerd Heuschmann, and Martin Black

Bryan Neubert

Randy Rieman

Jim Thomas

Warwick Schiller

West Taylor

David Stickler

TJ Holmes

Mike Jensen

Sponsors in attendance:

Dr. Petra Sullwold, Equus Chiropractic

Tamara Yates, Many Hands Equine Body Work

Amy Skinner introduces evening presentation

Letitia Glenn, Natural Horseman Saddles

Dr. Samantha Johnson, WildFed

Emily Kitching, Eclectic Horseman

If you’ve been following the story of the Summit journey, you know that we had been searching for something in the horse world that dovetailed science and horsemanship and was a collaborative deal. We didn’t find anything.

We hope that our effort has resonated with you and that you leave with questions answered but that you also have more questions as you continue in your horsemanship journeys. You might find that the horses themselves give you the best (most honest) answers if you are willing and available to listen.

As so many presenters reiterated over the course of three glorious days in Durango: look for the best evidence and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

As Ms. Frizzle of the old public television show loved to say:

Get Messy! Ask Questions! Make Mistakes!

See you next year.

Posted in BestHorsePractices Summit.

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