Cabin Fever – As published in the March 2016 issue of The Northwest Horse Source
Cabin Fever. It’s a serious malady this time of year. You’re most likely suffering as I have been; cooped up inside for days at a time, venturing out only to feed and muck the stalls before retreating back into the house to dream about summer’s rides, pack trips, and silently willing the sun to reappear from behind slate grey clouds.
Josh Klapow Ph.D., clinical psychologist at the school of public health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham has this to say about Cabin Fever. “Basically, it’s your mind’s way of telling you that the environment you are in is less than optimal for normal functioning,” he says. “It’s when you’re in a space of restricted freedom for a period of time that you can no longer tolerate.” Sounds spot on to me.
Fortunately, there are remedies for getting out of the cabin fever slump and returning to our normal happy, horsey, selves. Getting out of the house, moving around, and maybe even finding some natural sunlight to bask in are well known cures. If the weather is keeping you from riding, then attending an equine related activity may be your ticket to happiness! Fortunately, we have options for finding horsey heaven this month. The two events that I’m keenest on are the Back Country Horsemen of Washington Rendezvous and the Northwest Horse Fair & Expo.
Ellensburg, WA is home to the BCHW Rendezvous and the theme this year is “Back to Basics”. This year’s rendezvous continues a proud tradition of gathering together with like minded outdoor enthusiasts. The shindig runs from March 18 to 20 and features horse and mule packing seminars, including clinics by Andy Breland, the head guy behind Trailhead Supply – your source for camping and packing equipment , and star of the National Geographic Channel show Dead End Express. Leave No Trace classes will teach you how to make a positive impact when riding. It wouldn’t be Rendezvous without scores of vendors and of course the Dutch oven competition. Rendezvous is free to attend and you needn’t be a BCHW member to attend, although you should certainly consider joining our merry band if only to add your name to the list of people helping to keep horse trails open in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. There is always lots to learn, loads of fun, and plenty of horses and mules at the Backcountry Horsemen of Washington Rendezvous!
If education and trails advocacy is the focus of the BCHW Rendezvous, then entertainment, shopping, and clinics are the headlines of the Northwest Horse Fair & Expo in Albany, OR that also runs from March 18 to 20th. With over a hundred vendors offering everything equine related from trailers to tack, and artwork to home décor the Northwest Horse Fair will be full of shopping opportunities in a state with no sales tax! Of course it’s not just entertainment and shopping there will also be a number of clinicians, myself included, on scene to discuss equine topics ranging from nutrition to safety. I’ll be presenting on subjects of interest to active and aspiring trail riders with presentations on emergency preparedness for trail riders (When the Sh@t Hits the Fan), the ABC’s of Trail Riding (where we’ll use the ABC’s as a launching point for an informative chat about my favorite topic – Trail Riding), as well as Horse Camping sessions 101 & 202 where we’ll ponder the finer points of camping with equines both at the trailhead and beyond.
I’m very much looking forward to chatting with you during the Horse Expo and helping you to plan many safe and enjoyable rides and trips this coming summer. It’s my hope that, through sharing my experiences, your trail rides and camping trips will be safer, more fun, and enjoyable enough to keep you on the trails for years to come.
For more of my thoughts and ponderings about horses, horse trails, and horse camping visit www.trailmeister.com. See you at the Expo!