Welcome Joy Rides!

Trish Lemke

Editor’s Note: Trish Lemke is the owner-operator of Joy Rides, a Durango, Colorado company offering adventure horse travel and retreats. (If you attended the Best Horse Practices Summit, you may have met Trish. She was one of our warm, vibrant, and helpful volunteers.)

In the coming months, Joy Rides is offering horse-filled and culture-imbued excursions in Costa Rica, Spain, and Tuscany. Check out her adventure travel offerings here. 

Lemke is a certified Equine Interactional Professional in Education and a certified Martha Beck Life Coach.

Welcome to the Cayuse Communications family, Trish and Joy Rides!

Trish Lemke writes:

For so many years I subscribed to catalogs and horse publications that promoted weeklong travel trips on horseback to beautiful and exotic locations. I always wanted to be part of those trips:

  • Walking through ancient villages on horseback
  • Hearing their hooves echo along the stone walls and cobblestone streets
  • Feeling the spray of water as I galloped along the Mediterranean coast
  • Giving my horse a break near a local pub while I relished in local foods and drinks
  • Sharing stories and adventures with new friends and learning about the horse culture in other countries.

It all sounded so magical.

But I never did sign up. I’d led horse trips and trail rides for years and I had learned from a couple of the best horsewoman around. I knew how tours should be done. When I went on a couple of less-than-ideal day rides in other countries, it put some big questions in my mind about international horse travel. I felt uncomfortable going out for a whole week with a tour company that I didn’t know. And I didn’t know how they treated their horses.

  • Were the horses well cared for?
  • Were they safe?
  • Was the tack safe?
  • Were the guides experienced?

I didn’t know about putting myself in a situation with a large group of people who I didn’t know and with whom I’d be spending so much time. I wasn’t interested in nose-to-tail riding for a week.

So, I started my own horse travel business and created exactly the trips that I’ve always wanted to go on.

Joy Rides include small groups of people who understand the importance of the horse-human relationship. They are people who have a deep love of nature and animals and who are interested in self-discovery, travel, and having rich cultural experiences. They are people that want to immerse themselves in the land through slow travel, slow food and deep conversations.

And, the most amazing part of all of these trips, of course, is the horses. I’ve had such deep connections with all of my travel companions and have learned that horses speak the same language no matter the country.

I have found places in Italy, Spain, Ireland, Costa Rica, and Durango, Colorado, that all treat their horses as partners and give them incredible care, training, and respect.

A Joy Rides trip is about so much more than riding horses in an amazing location. It’s about finding balance, rediscovering lasting joy, renewing spirits, and having transformative revelations.

During every trip, it is my mission to help all of my guests find those things through eye-opening and awe-inspiring experiences. And I’m there, every step of the way, sharing in the adventure.

It is truly my desire to help people live their best lives with the help of horse wisdom.  Joy Rides trips are not about escaping your life for a week, they are about enhancing it for a lifetime.  And, best of all, they are a complete BLAST!

“There is something about being around horse people, no matter what country, that allows for immediate ease and connection. It breaks down barriers of language and culture unlike any other travel experience that I’ve ever had”

~ Susan – Joy Rider in Tuscany

Check out her adventure travel offerings here. 

Contact Trish directly:

(970) 946-7835

joyrides.dgo at gmail dot com

Welcome Rocky Draw Ag Services!

Tyler and April Willbanks have established Rocky Draw Ag Services in Mancos, Colorado.

The business is a great way for the Willbanks to share their impressive and comprehensive talents and expertise in many agricultural endeavors, from farm consulting to horse logging. Tyler has worked with equines his entire life and currently has a team of Clydesdales (as well as other equines) serving him for nearly all his farming activity.

Rocky Draw provides these services:

Weed Spraying (conventional or organic)

Soil Testing

Horse Logging

Portable Saw Milling

Farm Consultation

Contact April or Tyler at (970) 739-6012 or email RockyDrawFarm@gmail.com

Fun and Easy Trekking with GAIA

Of all the phone application options for trail and backcountry riders, the map app, GAIA GPS, has been the most referenced by horse riders I meet. They love it and use it religiously for their afternoon or weeklong adventures.

GAIA (according to Greek mythology, Gaia is Earth personified as a goddess) is a map app with which you can track, log your route, and follow a waypoint, all without using cellular data. GAIA simply uses with the GPS chip in your phone.

Cellular data use is problematic on a few fronts:

— it’s expensive

— it’s often not available when you most need it, like when riding in the backcountry.

GAIA solves both issues, as long as you have “Location Services” in your settings enabled for the app.

There are just a few things that are essential to remember when using GAIA:

  • Be prepared and download those maps of country where you’ll traveling in advance and when you have a wifi connection.
  • At the very least, get comfortable reading topographic maps and traveling by compass direction. When traveling in the backcountry, no app will save you. But having some basic Boy Scout skills will.
  • At the very least, spend time with GAIA to familiarize yourself with its many excellent features. This is not like using texting or the camera. It may take some exploring and experimenting to fully use and take advantage of it.

Check out these helpful features on using GAIA from Bikepacking and an Adventure blog.

Here’s a feature on map reading with a tutorial on how to read a topographical map.

The GAIA Pro version offers new elements of customization and functionality. If you’d like to try it, GAIA is offering our readers a FREE one-year subscription of GAIA PRO. To learn more, email support@gaiagps.com and mention NickerNews or ColoradoOutsider.

Happy Trails!

Welcome Valley Feed & Ranch Supply

We welcome Valley Feed and Ranch Supply of Bayfield, Colorado, to our family of advertisers.

The feed store, run and owned by Tracy McCracken, is a full service feed and ranch supply store and generously participating in the baling twine recycling efforts offered by the Four Corners Backcountry Horsemen. Read more about that here.

Valley Feed carries Purina, Ranchway and Blue Bonnet products and they have a great selection of pet food and supplies, including farrier supplies, ropes, and tack. They are located at 39987 US Highway 160.

We’re checking out their EquiLix, an all-in-one, all-season vitamin, mineral, and digestive aid supplement for horses made by SweetPro. EquiLix comes in a 125-pound tub (other sizes are available as well as bags for top dressing feed). It has diatomaceous earth, flax, prebiotics, probiotics, and best of all: NO molasses. The horses seem to love it.

Welcome Valley Feed!

Welcome Back Advertising Partners

In interviews and surveys, we’ve learned that our horse-owning readers are smart, loyal, and expect a certain quality from any investment they make. With that in mind, we’re careful with our advertisers and make sure they reflect these high standards. When we find great advertising partners, we enjoy connecting them with our readership and we appreciate when they renew the connection year after year.

We welcome back Lucerne Farms, Western Sky Saddlery, and Hay Pillow for another great year!

Lucerne Farms, based in Fort Fairfield, Maine, produces many kinds of forage. They have traditional and molasses-free blends with varying amounts of timothy, alfalfa, and other blends. Check out this page to read how different Lucerne varieties serve different horses, from performance horses to seniors.

Western Sky Saddles for Canada’s park rangers

Western Sky Saddlery, owned and operated by Elaine and Terry Welland, has supplied scores of McCall saddles to riders from near their Carstairs, Alberta shop as well as from the far reaches of the globe. They supplied handsome McCall saddles to Canada’s park rangers. With more than 20 years in the business, they know saddles and riders. Customers rave about their services, as noted here on their testimonials page.

Research show slow-feeding strategies are effective in horse management and may reduce stress and colic in horses. And customers say Hay Pillow is the best slow-feeder on the market. Owner Monique Warren has done her homework in creating products that are horse-owner friendly and optimal for the horse, too. Check out her website here and read more about the benefits of slow feeding here.

Gift Buying Ideas for your Horses and Horse Friends

At NickerNews and BestHorsePractices, we feel exceedingly fortunate to have a herd of outstanding advertising partners.

All American Giveaway

All American Giveaway

Together, we think you could accomplish ALL your holiday gift buying for the horses and horse friends in your life:

For your horse:

Lucerne Forage is a great way to add calories and convenience to your horse feed during the energy-burning winter months. Check out their forage options here.

Concerned about your horse’s nutrition? Check out Hay Balancer offers!

Renegade Hoof Boots are tough and easy to use. Plus, their customer service is fabulous, personal, thoughtful. Get started here.

Research shows slow-feeding is one of the best options for horses’ health. Check out Hay Pillows and Harmany muzzles.

It’s not too early to consider fly predators for next year! Visit Spalding Labs and sign up for your first delivery.

Nelson Waterers take the buckets and thankless hauling out of the equation. Check them out here.

Invest in self-improvement for your horses’ sake: clinicians Libby Lyman and Elijah Moore are here to help.

darn toughHorse losing weight? Looking not quite right? It might be bad teeth or a sore back. Check out equine dentist Steve Akeley and chiropractor Petra Sullwold.

For you and your horse friends

Little purchases:

Wear your heart on your sleeve and your horse on your wrist. Turn mane and tail hair into a precious piece of jewelry. Check out Braids by Britt.

Socks are easy to buy and sooo fabulous to receive. Start here with Darn Tough.

EcoLips makes all variety of lip balm. Straight from Iowa. You can event design your own. Learn more.

Knotty Girlz halters and lead lines feel so good in your hands. Made in America with an extraordinary number of options to choose from. We love their innovative eye-splice lead line! Visit Knotty Girlz.

247-thickbox_defaultOther ideas: a great Kershaw pocket knife and a Me and My Dog (and horse) Adventure Medical Kit.

Join Remuda Readers and get Maddy Butcher’s A Rider’s Reader: Exploring Horse Sense, Science & Sentiment FREE.

Big purchases:

5 Star equine pads and cinches are the best around. Made in U.S.A. Click here.

Leggings from Fringe Leatherwork. Treat yourself or a horsey loved one to beautiful, custom chinks, chaps, or armitas. Click here.

IMG_0270The best selection and prices for Wade saddles are at Western Sky Saddlery.

Saddle bags are a must for those long trail rides. Outfitters Supply has a huge selection for English and Western riders. Check them out here.

Recent reviews:

Patagonia Bivy Jacket

Justin Bay Apache Boots

For more reviews, start here and scroll down for links to reviews of:

Nocona Cozy Cow Boots

Ariat Midtown English Boots

Ariat Monoco Paddock Boots

Patagonia Baselayer

Cotopaxi Barn Coat

Cotopaxi Altiplano Vest

Cotopaxi Kusa Jacket

Skidmore’s Leather Creams

LL Bean Slip-on Boots

Kimes Ranch Jeans


All American November Giveaway

All American Giveaway

All American Giveaway

At NickerNews and BestHorsePractices, we like to research and highlight quality, American-made products. From lip balm to saddle pads, we’ve found some amazing and impressive goods.

During the month of November, when you subscribe to Remuda Readers, you’ll qualify to win a $700 prize pack. Talk about kickstarting the holidays!

One heckuva prize! Enjoy all the goodies or share the love and re-gift them to several friends.

Remuda Readers enjoy access to exclusive content on BestHorsePractices. We’ll send you a free gift, just for joining. Read more here.

Or, Sign Up with your PayPal or credit card here.

Congrats and Partner Welcomes!

Congratulations to Kelly from North Carolina!

She’s the winner of our Custom Leggings contest, sponsored by Fringe Western Wear and Leather Work, a Canadian business owned by Kathy Threlfall.

od_granola_pouch_quinoa_cacao_v2_web_prod_lAnd while we’re giving props to our friends north of the border, check out One Degree Organic Foods. They produce super yummy foods and you can track ever single ingredient of every item right to its source. Pretty nifty. Their salt comes from our partners Redmond Mineral in Utah.

Stay tuned for a new Remuda Reader contest in November. We’ll give away One Degree’s new Sprouted Oat Granola and Redmond salt. Details to follow.

Meet our new and renewing advertising partners:

Darn Tough, the popular Vermont sock company, has come on board as an advertiser and a charter sponsor of the BestHorsePractices Summit.

Welcome Darn Tough!1833_majesty

We’re happy that Darn Tough is one of those special companies that recognizes the hard-working, outdoors-y horse community. They have socks to fit every horse outing, even fun cowgirl designs, like the Belle Star, inspired by a Western boot.

You’ll find even their mid-height socks like the Summit Stripe stay put. No slipping down past your heal, just all day comfort.

Steve Akeley continues to serve Maine and beyond with his equine dentistry practice. Akeley is a mindful guy who always takes as much time as each horse (or mule or donkey) needs. He invests in continuing education, too,

Photo by Kathy McCarty/Presque Isle Star-Herald Steven Akeley, a licensed equine dentist, demonstrates on his horse, Tori, what to look for when checking a horse for problems, during a visit last month to the Northern Maine Fair in Presque Isle. Akeley, formerly of Presque Isle, now resides in Damariscotta but travels the state performing dental work on horses.

Photo by Kathy McCarty/Presque Isle Star-Herald

heading down to Oklahoma every year for regular recertification.

Dr. Petra Sullwold brings her chiropractic care to the pages of NickerNews and BestHorsePractices.

Welcome Dr. Sullwold!

Sullwold is even treating Jolene, a challenging mule and one of the NickerNews herd members. You can read more about this next week. Sullwold is certified by the International Veterinary Chiropractic Association. We love that Sullwold enjoys praise_main_picbolstering her work with current research. Indeed, her website lists scores of research pages. Read more here.

Fall Riding Favorites

IMG_6163Autumn is the optimal season for riding. Kids are back in school. Bugs are nearly gone. Foliage is beautiful and falling (which makes visibility better). Riders and horses are likely in the best shape of the year.

It’s also a great time to remind readers of some of our favorite items for the trail.

In the saddlebag:

An Adventure Medical first aid kit. The New Hampshire–based company makes perfect tiny kits that fit anywhere. Also consider their bigger, more comprehensive

Few folks ever regret taking a 1st aid kit.

Few folks ever regret taking a 1st aid kit.

kits. Our favorite? Me and My Workin’ Dog kit.

A Gerber camp saw or folding saw. Both are great for taking care of deadfall and taking care of smaller trees that stand in the way of a good time and clear sailing. We like the Myth folding saw and the Freescape camp saw.

Kate’s Real Food trail snacks. The yummiest in the b22554681c_largestbar category. Kate’s have seeds, nuts, honey, oats, and chocolate. All good. All the time. Our favorite is the Grizzly Bar, with peanut butter, dark chocolate, and nine grams of protein.

EcoLips lip balm. This Iowa company makes organic lip balm with simple and edible ingredients. That’s right: you could eat your EcoLips lip balm if you really wanted to (or had to). Create your own custom lip balms here.

dsc02170Patagonia’s Alpine Houdini will take up less space than a banana and will keep you invaluably dry if you get caught in the rain. Read review here.

On You:

Kimes Ranch Jeans fit great, don’t ride up, and have seams that will not rub you when you’re in the saddle. Read review of the Francesca jean here and Betty jean here.

Darn Tough, a charter sponsor of the BestHorsePractices Summit, makes some of the best socks on the planet. Their Merino wool socks keep you warm on cold days and cool on hot ones. Read this testimonial from a Darn Tough convert.

bengal-back-flaps_30e8c0b3-8398-4d1b-a006-030993a9f8c8_1024x1024Cotopaxi is a new Utah company with some great items for riders. Check out their Barn Coat (a favorite of the NickerNews team), the Kusa jacket (with llama fibers for warmth) and the Altiplano vest. A percentage of every purchase goes to help projects in developing countries.

Fringe leggings. Kathy Threlfall is a pro at crafting beautiful chinks, chaps, and armitas. Each pair is made for your custom fit – from fringe length to special tooling. You can qualify to win a free pair of Fringe leggings. Click here.

leek3Kershaw knives. The Onion series of knives from this Oregon company is hands-down the best line of knives for horse owners. We feel horse owners and riders should always, always, always carry a knife. The Leek and Chive are especially attractive for us ladies; they are strong, easy to handle, and have sleek, unobtrusive styling. Read review.

Readers tells us Ariats are their favs. Read our review of the Vaquera here and the Monaco Zip Paddock Boot here.

On Your Horse:

Knotty Girlz gear. The Washington company knows rope and knows rope halters and lines. Owned by Robyn D , Knotty Girlz

Eye splice is simple & elegant

Eye splice is simple & elegant

has an outstanding selection of halters, ropes, mecate reins, and more. You can outfit your equine in dazzling or conservative colors. Each one feels wonderful in your hands. Read more here.


Kathy Threlfall, Fringe Leatherwork

5 Star Pads. We’ve been using 5 Star pads for many years and our horses have never had a single sore. Heck, Ben Masters and his team traveled from the Mexican to the Canadian border using 5 Star pads and never had any rubs or soring. Hard to beat. All pads are made in Hatfield, Arkansas. Check ’em out.

Outfitters Supply. If you need any item for the trail, chances are this Columbia Falls, Montana company has it. We particularly love the Calvalry saddle bags (handmade in Montana) and the saddle bags for English saddles.

Trailering? Consider these tips from our partner, Bobby Fantarella at Elm City Trailer. He weighs in here, too. And give your horses hay in the best slow-feeder Hay Pillow, on the ground or secured in a trailer.

Darn Tough is horse-gal friendly

When I was a kid, wool socks were those thick, bulky things you wore in the winter. You wore them skiing. You wore them to and from pond skating. You wore them underneath your thick, bulky boots while shoveling snow.

All so yesterday. All so lumberjack.

darn toughWool socks are now worn all day, every day. And thanks to Darn Tough, an American company based in Northfield, Vermont, today’s socks are versatile, stylish, and particularly female-friendly. We loved them so much, they were featured at our Equine Affaire booth.

Darn Tough might be the perfect horse gals’ sock: they can be sassy or straight-laced. They work brilliantly with tall English boots or cowboy boots, which means there will be no yanking off boots to hoist up slouching socks. Nor will you be kicking off your boots because your feet are roasting, sweaty, or frozen with cold sweat. Read this review.

I visited with the Darn Tough at the Outdoor Retailer. They are decidedly one of those companies not ignoring this vast, fantastic community of horse owners.

I tried the new Wandering Stripe Micro Crew  in grey, yellow and lavender. While only reaching to low-calf, it nonetheless stayed put during an entire day in boots. Here in the mountains (7,000 feet elevation), days start in IMG_3469the 40s and can swell to 90 degrees or so. That means the Darn Toughs do double duty: keeping my feet warm, then keeping them cool. When I finally kicked off my boots around 8 pm, the Darn Toughs did double duty again: I scuffed around shoeless for an hour before taking them off.

That was when the trouble began. It seems I’m not the only one in love with these socks. The new puppy, Monty, thought they were pretty great, too.

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