Editor’s Note: The following remarks were made by director Maddy Butcher at the Farewell Reception of the Best Horse Practices Summit at Spy Coast Farm in Lexington, Kentucky.
One thing past attendees have remarked on here at the Summit is that there are a lot of connections and dovetailing being made between presentations. You may have noticed that presenters reference each other’s presentations and tie ideas and concepts to one another.
How does that happen?
Yes, it’s true that we want the conference to have a holistic feel to it and that we recruit presenters and craft the program accordingly.
But it’s also true that best horse practices root themselves in basic, universal tenants. That foundational stuff can be roughly summarized by the idea “treat a horse like a horse.” That’s what we’re after. It’s something that is written into our mission statement and which you can find on our website.
It’s these simple-but-not-easy tenants that guided me when we established the very first Summit, which I nicknamed the Silver Lining Summit. See, six years ago, I’d just come from an expo where I was seeing sooo much stuff that was antithetical to what I knew to be in the best interest of the horse. I came home weary and depressed. The Silver Lining is that a bunch of us said, “let’s not be part of the problem. Let’s be part of the solution.” That is how the Best Horse Practices Summit was born.
It’s quite amazing that Summiteers are not only from all over the country, but are all over the place when it comes to background and specific passions: Western, English, wild horses, rescues, therapeutic work, performance, sport, ranch versatility. AND, that you are dovetailing and networking and sharing with folks who probably don’t do what you do. That’s a really powerful thing and part of what we have come to know as the Summit experience.
If the past few years have shown us anything, it’s that consensus is a rare commodity. There’s little consensus on Covid. There is little consensus on climate change. There is little consensus on the best Kentucky bourbon. But I think, especially after a weekend like this, we can come closer to having a consensus on best horse practices.
Thanks go to the board, volunteers, attendees and our sponsors for supporting the effort of building something from scratch, of putting something out into the universe that we think horses would appreciate. We are so very glad you have joined us. We consider the Summit a conference, yes, but it’s also a movement. Thanks for being part of it.