This blog and the rest of NickerNews have been up and running since 2008. It is a site created and maintained by Maddy Butcher.
NickerNews Mission Statement
To provide a venue for exchanging information, opinion, and enthusiasm for all things horse.
To educate, encourage, and enlighten visitors as to the compassionate care of horses, and, by extension, all animals.
To help less fortunate equines by donating a percentage of NickerNews profits to an equine-care related non-profit organization.
About the Creation of NickerNews
It’s a two-bit story.
The First Bit:
For many years, I ran a horse care business. I mucked stalls, fed, groomed, exercised, ridden, medicated, trailered, and bathed horses. Dirty, hard on the back, not real profitable – it was pretty close to my dream job.
One frigid Maine morning, I was driving from one barn to another, caring for horses while their owners were away. It was five degrees and windy.
At the first barn, I turned out three quarter horses to their pasture. I filled the heated tub with water and gave them hay. No turnout coats.
At the second barn, I removed the horses’ heavy blankets, replaced them with even heavier ones and confined them to their stalls for the day.
Who was the better owner?
Who was right?
The answer, I realized, was both.
At each barn, the horses were content and well-cared for. The quarter horses tolerated the weather all right. They had thick, winter coats, never shivered, and had plenty of food and water.
The more pampered horses might have been bored and removed from their natural inclinations, but it wasn’t exactly neglectful treatment!
Returning home, I figured my own horse care fell somewhere in between these two clients. My aging mare got a blanket and all the horses had access to their stalls if they wanted to get out of the wind.
So what do these anecdotes have to do with the founding of NickerNews?
Well, there’s a wide spectrum of care when it comes to horses. Some horses get turned out to winter pasture and rounded up come spring. Others get spa treatment. In my mind, as long as no harm is done, it’s all good.
It’s a matter of perspective.
Sometimes, it’s a matter of money.
It’s a matter of opinion.
I like opinions. I like to voice my own and I like to hear others. So with NIckerNews, we showcase the many ways of caring responsibly and compassionately for our beloved horses.
NickerNews strives to provide an environment in which exchange of information and opinion can make us better horse owners and care providers. If that happens, then as a whole we will be a better, more informed, more compassionate horse community.
The Second Bit:
From day to day and barn to barn, I find myself with a growing catalog of encounters, observations, and appreciations. Many, like me, are lucky to see:
The escape artist who patiently moves her lips around a paddock lock.
The uncanny knack of a playful horse to dump her rider just when his attention lapses
The uncanny knack of a seasoned horse to get under the unbalanced rider
The slight turn of a mare’s head and tiny curl of her lip that tells her bigger, stronger pasture mates, “Don’t even think about it…”
The progress of a puddle-paranoid horse to that of one striding confidently through three foot waves at the beach.
On the first warm, sunny spring day, horses all stretched out flat on the ground like corpses, recharging after the energy-draining winter months, and abandoning the usual “one stands guard” protocol.
NickerNews is a place to document and share all those horse moments we find funny, endearing, life-altering, and enlightening.
Let’s face it: Horse work can be exhausting, wallet-draining, dangerous, thankless, frustrating, emotionally trying, tragic, and occasionally gross.
But it can also be exhilarating, inspiring, educational, therapeutic, rewarding, goal-oriented, and can provide you with stable, lifelong relationships.
Let’s share the moments, lest they fade like a bale of hay left in the sun!
Born and raised in Brunswick and Harpswell, Maine. Grew up riding the woods and fields of Harpswell Neck and beyond.
Graduated from Brown University with a BA in Biology (1988).
Worked for nearly two decades as a free-lance reporter for The Boston Globe and The Wall Street Journal and many other publications covering sports, travel, business, front page, and investigative work. Recipient of Center for Investigative Journalism grant (2001).
Founded 24 Carrot Horse Care, horse-sitting business, serving Cumberland County, Maine. (2005-2011)
Worked additional stints as carpenter, wrangler, research station cook, waitress while in Connecticut, Montana, Massachusetts, and Maine.
Licensed as a Wilderness First Responder.
Certified in Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue.
Single mom to three great sons.About NickerNews goes here