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GUEST COMMENTARY: Lake Placid: A horse of a different color

October 15, 2013
CHRIS IRWIN , Lake Placid News

It is true that no matter where we go, a horse is a horse is a horse. It is also true that people are people. And what people have in common with horses is that while we are all essentially the same, we are also all distinct individuals. The same can be said of villages, towns and cities around the world. Yes, even cities that have hosted the Olympics.

And so it was when I arrived in Lake Placid for the Dark Horse Challenge at Snowslip Farm on September 19th, I was prepared for yet another "been there, done that" presentation. I was in a new place, but doing the same old thing I do every weekend in venues throughout North America and Europe: to provide dynamic infotainment for the public on how "horse sense" is evolving into an experiential art and science in personal development.

Yes, the "problem horses" I was invited to work with were indeed new to me, but I knew deep down in the marrow of my bones why these horses had issues with humans. I knew how the horses would respond. I knew how the evening would progress. And I knew there would probably be more then a few individuals in the audience who would appreciate the deeper meaning and the bigger picture of what was happening that night.

In coming to Lake Placid, I anticipated that I would meet a few kindred spirits who would see the alchemy of leadership, conflict resolution, healing, teaching and personal growth that was happening with the horses. I expected a few would see how it relates to inter-personal relationships between people and how we can better manage and lead our own selves. What I did not see coming that night was that while I was working with the horses, and the coyotes were howling at the full moon, I was also being initiated into an exceptionally warm and welcoming community.

In all the places I have been there has never-ever been a community anywhere like Lake Placid. Being a Canadian who has spent my entire life in the great outdoors, I am no stranger to nature and the wilderness. In fact, I live remote in the wilds of northwestern Alberta. So while I adored the beauty of the Adirondacks what I found to be the most amazing and pleasant surprise of all was the hearts and minds of the people of the North Country.

From the enthusiastic and appreciative audience that came out to Snowslip Farm for the Dark Horse Challenge, to the receptivity of your local media, to the kindness and courtesy of your downtown merchants, I was beyond impressed with professionalism, I was deeply moved by the authenticity and integrity of the good-will of the people. I have never experienced such a vibrant community so comfortable within its own skin. Yes, your environment is beautiful and refreshing but your people are truly amazing.

And so it is that the people of Lake Placid have done for myself and my wife and partner, Kathryn Kincannon, what I came to do for the horses. You have inspired us and renewed our faith in humanity. And for this we are truly grateful. After a lifetime of traveling down so many beautiful trails, Kathryn and I feel that we have finally found our natural herd.

Thanks in large part to the support of John and Lesley Trevor and their dedicated team at Snowslip Farm, and also Naj Wikoff; we are now focused on

establishing Lake Placid as the American National Center for our transformative work with people and horses. Kathryn has taken the reins and we are now moving full speed ahead with developing a full spectrum of "horse sense for human potential" programs at Snowslip Farm.

We are also excited to announce that we want to expand awareness for Lake Placid as a destination for well-being, personal development and the pursuit of excellence and integrity in coaching, counseling, teaching and leadership. We are now taking the first steps towardsproducing a weekly television program from Snowslip Farm. The theme of the show will be how immersing people in a community and natural environment such as Lake Placid, while experiencing the personal challenge of working with horses to enhance life skills, is the good medicine so many of us need in order to find a sense of peace, calm and well-being during these fast paced, hi-tech times of uncertainty and stress.

It takes a herd to raise a horse. It takes a village to raise a child. And it is our belief that Lake Placid has the right stuff to raise consciousness.

Thank you, and let the games begin!

Chris Irwin is the author of "Horses Don't Lie" and "Dancing with Your Dark Horse," a

motivational speaker and Canada's

internationally-renowned horse

whisperer. He

recently hosted a presentation at Snowslip Farm in Lake Placid



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