Updated: Nov 6, 2021
I came across Cayuse Communications some time ago, and was engaged by the quality and content of the writing and the podcasts. Here were people as devoted as I to trying to repay our debt to horses by sharing their understanding, experience and the wisdom derived from them. When I saw that Maddy Butcher, the publisher, had organized a Best Horse Practices Summit in Lexington, KY this past weekend, it sounded like a worthwhile conference to attend. Also, she agreed to mention my book on her site: so I decided to participate. This was in February.
Then, in August, while I was away in Wyoming riding horses, back in New York my horse had an accident and fractured her pelvis. She was in terrible pain. We rushed her to the horse hospital nearest me - for several days I didn't know if I was doing the right thing, if I shouldn't just end her suffering. This horse who called to me every time she saw me was hanging her head, comatose from the pain killers, and they were still unable to get a definitive scan because she hurt so much she couldn't hold still long enough. I would bring a chair and a book and sit outside her hospital stall for as long as they'd let me. Then, on the fourth day, as I came into the ward and gently called her name, she lifted her head and quietly nickered! and I knew we'd made the right choice.
After a week, we left to go to a rehab facility. I had to max out my credit card and empty my checking account to pay the hospital bill, and my board would now be more than triple what it was.
Back to the Summit: I had yet to make my flight, hotel and car arrangements, and was beginning to begrudge my decision to attend. But, since I'd paid for it, I went ahead, clenching my sphincter about the expense.
I need not have. It was the most engaging, enlightening, rewarding conference I have ever attended. The information delivered by the speakers was eye-opening; exposing dogma, introducing new modalities of helping horses, and providing demos that I am eager to take back to the barn. A keynote speaker was Warwick Schiller, whose videos and online education I have enjoyed and valued and use in every interaction. And not just with horses. He is not the first to realize that an open and genuine relationship with horses is an opportunity for a richer life both in and out of the barn, but I have found no one better at conveying that then he. What a privilege to meet him. His words continue to resonate with me.
In short; I am hugely glad I went, supremely admiring of Maddy and what she has accomplished in bringing these extraordinary horsepeople together to share their insight and wisdom with the rest of us. I am also grateful; and, as I've discovered, gratitude is perhaps the quickest path to communion with horses and everything else we love. Thank you Maddy! Sign me up for next year.