Tag Archive for: conference

In honor of Leap Day, we’re taking a leap of faith to let the secret out about what we’ve been planning for you all! The HERD team has been working hard since our inaugural in-person Sharing Space with The HERD Conference to create our next offering to meet the requests from our HERD community. Over the years, you’ve all been telling us that you LOVE that our in-person trainings are conducted in small groups. You’ve told us that you want more time to connect, more time to practice, and more time to reflect on your skills and growth. Above all, you’ve told us repeatedly that you want more discussions to stimulate and challenge the status quo of what it means to do the work we do with horses. I’m hoping that this announcement will meet these goals.


Our next in-person conference isn’t going to be a conference. Instead, we are creating an intimate space for discussions, practice, and reflections. We’ll be hosted by Green Chimneys, a residential, educational, and therapeutic animal assisted center in Brewster, NY.  I’m looking forward to introducing you to their phenomenal team including my dear friends, Michael Kaufmann (Vice President) and Miyako Kinoshita (Farm Education Program Manager), who have been huge supporters of The HERD Institute over the years. I’m even more excited that you’ll get to interact with an incredibly diverse menagerie including camels, alpacas, goats, birds of prey – and, of course, their beautiful herd of horses.

We’re calling this event HERD CAMP to focus on the Compassionate, Attuned, Mentored Practice (see what we did there?) sessions that we’ll be offering, as well as to create the sense of belonging and togetherness of overnight camps. We have so many fun sessions planned for you all – complete with fire pits and s’mores – I can’t wait!!

We’ll share more information as we finalize our plans, but HERDsters, please make sure to save the date for now: September 20-22, 2024. Our camp theme will be Journey to Alignment. This has been a theme for us behind the scenes at The HERD through some significant shifts in our team dynamics and we want to share this process with you. We want to support your journey to find that which aligns with your values, your horses, your human team, and your natural environment. We’re hoping that your experience with us will help you to realign your practice for the mutual benefit of both humans and animals, reignite your passion for the work, and recharge your batteries by being in the company of aligned practitioners.

In order to curate the intimate small group experiences that you’ve all asked for, aside from our invited guest speakers, this event will be for HERD students, graduates, and Members only. We have very limited spaces available so keep your eyes open for registration information coming your way soon.

I’m looking forward to sharing space with you again soon.

Executive Director

Wow! What an incredible ride these past few days have been. One week post-conference and I’m still basking in the joy of being in community. I am overflowing with gratitude and excitement about what will come from all the connections made. Thanks to each and every one of you who made this event such a memorable experience. Together, we forged connections, shared wisdom, and created a warm and inclusive space that aligned with our values at The HERD Institute® of ensuring that everyone feels seen and heard.

One of the coolest things about this conference was the awesome blend of perspectives. We celebrated not just our different backgrounds, but also the diverse ideas and experiences we brought to the table. I am so grateful to all our speakers for sharing their love and passion for their work, and for stimulating such interesting conversations. And it wasn’t only that our speakers were rock stars, but it was YOU, the attendees, who really brought the house down. Your questions, insights, and stories were the secret sauce that made this conference sizzle. Every chat, every panel discussion, it was all powered by YOUR willingness to lean in with curiosity and openness. In planning this conference, our aim was to foster an environment where we could challenge the status quo and bring more diverse perspectives to the forefront of our field. From our Oasis space to conference facilities, we were all about making this event a place where everyone felt not just welcomed but embraced. And the feedback and buzz on social media has certainly been a testament to that.

I know that many of our community were unable to attend the conference. I know that it’s not possible to recreate the feel of the conference for you, but I’m hoping that you’ll be able to share in the love, nonetheless. We are currently working on the conference recordings of the key presentations so that we can share those with you. I’ll keep you updated on the progress of that. In the meantime, we’ll be inviting all attendees and HERD members to our next virtual HERD Gathering to debrief and share their experiences of the conference, ask questions about anything that was left over, and most importantly, continue our connections.

As part of the closing ceremony at the conference, we created a collaborative poem. In sharing our insights, experiences, and hopes from the conference, we were able to weave together our journey:

Sharing The Love of The HERD

The journey builds community. Start together.
Sharing wisdom through relationship –

Horse-centered relationships with common purpose

Belonging in this group and being felt

lets us destroy the colonialism we were dealt.
Stronger together with infinite potential
our minds expand as we contemplate the possibilities…

while shoveling shit

Leadership is knowing when to pivot

and when to stay steady

for the sake of your herd
Inspire heart-felt transformation and being embodied badass,
9 people came together and agreed why is collaboration hard,

it’s the vulnerability of generosity and authenticity.

Drop the mic.

Holding space for one another is validating.
Our connections revitalize our spirit and purpose

A sense of belonging is the heartbeat of The HERD!

My hope is that the connections we made will continue: collaborate on projects, stay in touch, and support each other’s ventures. Let’s carry the spirit of inclusivity, diversity, and belonging forward. With hearts full of thanks, we’re excited to see what amazing things will come from this shared adventure.

With love and gratitude,

Executive Director