Why Net Neutrality Matters to you and me

Thanks to the folks at On Pasture for reminding us that the recent developments in Washington D.C. impact folks like you.

The prospect of Net Neutrality going away, something the head of the Federal Communications Commission indicated would happen soon, is scary to folks like us at Cayuse Communications, a small business that educates and helps horse owners all around the world.

Writes Kathy and Rachel at On Pasture:

Thanks to Net Neutrality it’s easy to shop and find information on the internet. Net Neutrality is the principle that Internet Service Providers (ISP) must enable equal access to all content and applications regardless of the source, without

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favoring or blocking particular products or websites. Without it, Internet Service Providers could charge users more to see certain content and to curb access to some websites, creating a “fast lane” and “slow lane” for the internet. Websites, like On Pasture for example, could be charged for faster connections, and costs like that would either shut down some sites, or be passed on to users, like you, who really can’t afford to pay either. (For more, here’s a Forbes article on what repealing net neutrality could mean to all of us.)

Recent polls show that three-quarters of Americans support net neutrality because they like to control for themselves what they see and read and where they shop on the Internet. It’s even one of those rare issues where we don’t

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divide along party lines: 73% of Republicans and 81% of Democrats are in favor of net neutrality. Nevertheless, when the Federal Communications Commissioners meet on December 14, they are expected to vote to end it.

If you’d like to have a say in how they vote on your behalf, here are their email addresses:

Ajit Pai, Chairman. Ajit.Pai@fcc.gov
Mignon Clyburn, Commissioner. Mignon.Clyburn@fcc.gov
Michael O’Rielly, Commissioner. Mike.O’Rielly@fcc.gov
Brendan Carr, Commissioner. Brendan.Carr@fcc.gov
Jessica Rosenworcel, Commissioner. Jessica.Rosenworcel@fcc.gov

So, happy gift giving and pardon our foray into politics. We just want to be sure we can be here for you well into the future.

Thanks for reading!

Kathy and Rachel

A Glamorous Hoodie for Horsewomen

Toad&Co. first caught got my attention with its message, not its clothing. I heard CEO Gordon Seabury speak several times at the Industry Breakfast of the Outdoor Retailer; he was smart, inspiring and made a good argument for outdoor recreation companies uniting to fight for public lands, getting people outside, and sustainability.

Like Patagonia, Toad&Co. (formerly Horny Toad, founded by Jessica Nordhaus in Telluride, Colorado about 25 years ago) commits to being pretty transparent about its production stream and contributes meaningfully to social and environmental progress.

Like Cotopaxi, it’s a company that’s easy to like on just principle alone.

Would a Toad&Co. hoodie also inspire?

Enter the Wildwood Sherpa Hoodie in delicious brown.

Brown?

A friend once insisted it was a dreadful color.

But I’d like to suggest that brown – especially this beautiful blend of three subtle, textured shades in the Sherpa Hoodie – is quite lovely. Let brown be the new black. (For you doubters, it also comes in interesting colorblocks of blue, whites, and greys.)

The zip-up hoodie is a repurposed wool blend, crafted in Italy. The wool is processed “using mechanical, not chemical, means and blended with polyester for softness and nylon for strength” according to the garment details.

Remember those tough, utilitarian, and decidedly unflattering pullover sweaters of a generation ago? They weren’t pretty, but they kept you warm and stood up to work.

The Sherpa Hoodie is warm, tough, and pretty.

Details to appreciate:

  • The zipper is not too big, not too small, and has a Toad tab to make it easy to operate with gloves on.
  • The front opening and pockets are trimmed with fine corduroy which feels good and gives the casual sweater a fine finished look.
  • The wool blend means that it breaths better than polyester fleece equivalents and handles multiple wearings without collecting body odor.

Function and practicality are musts for us horsewomen: this hoodie is a practical piece. Toad&Co.likes to label this priority Trail to Tavern but it could just as easily be Horse to Hoedown or Paddock to Party.

One more nice touch from the company, its guarantee: “If you don’t get a compliment within three wearings or if you find something wrong with your garment, we’ll take it back and make it right.”

Nifty zipper and trim details

10 Minutes Well Spent

This week, we hear from Julie Kenney, an incoming member of the Best Horse Practices Summit steering committee. She lives and rides in Harpswell, Maine.

Read her Focus on Fitness articles here. 

By Julie Kenney

Recently, I read an Eclectic Horseman article titled “The Ten-Minute Horseman.” It certainly seemed appropriate given the shorter days we are all now experiencing. My horses are on outside turnout all the time, except when they are brought in the barn during nasty storms. Lately, ten minutes may be all I can spend with them beyond feeding hay, tending to water, and removing manure.

In the evenings, I like to start early enough to get chores done before it is completely dark out. Sometimes, though, I’m running late or we have cloudy, drizzly, snowy skies which brings on the dark earlier.

Ten minutes:

  • To talk quietly with my horses.
  • To look them over or rub them where they aren’t covered in mud.

I ask myself:

  • Are the horses looking relaxed and content?
  • Are they moving around without indication of pain or soreness?
  • How are their winter coats coming in?
  • Are they maintaining, or even adding, weight for the winter?
  • Is the herd hierarchy the same? Changes in hierarchy are a sure sign one of them isn’t feeling well, especially in the Northeast where Lyme Disease is so prevalent.

Ten minutes is enough time to get a handle on herd health. It’s certainly nice to spend more time, but when daylight wanes and the cold wind is blowing, ten minutes is enough. Don’t beat yourself up if you cannot be out there longer. Just make your minutes count.

  • Ask yourself if you are leaving your horse better or worse off at the end of that short time.
  • Are you talking softly or hollering at your horse?
  • Are they moving out of your space or impolitely crowding you?
  • Do they stay soft and relaxed in your presence or are they uptight and on-guard?

If you find that the time spent is stressful, then set aside some time during the brighter, warmer part of the day for some groundwork:

  • With a halter on, ask them to move their feet in all directions.
  • Ask them to release any tension in their head and neck by giving to light pressure.
  • See if you can have them respond to the lightest pressure possible to get a correct response to your question.

Eli

My main riding horse, Eli, was recently diagnosed with Lyme Disease. He started taking almost imperceptibly shorter strides with his front end. Now that he’s been on medication for a week, I wanted to check if his shoulders and front legs were indicating continued pain. I put him in a halter with an eight-foot lead and asked him for a balanced walk and then a trot. I was pleased to see he was moving nicely with an even cadence front and back. Because it was 15 degrees with a wind chill, I kept the session short.

After I took off his halter, he stood there hanging out with me. I gave him a rub, then asked him to soften his head left and right with his feet still. I asked him to move his front end away from me, crossing his outside front foot in front of his inside front foot.

After he moved correctly, I asked him to back up with my fingertips gently touching his chest. I rewarded his correct answers with an immediate release of pressure and a soft rub on the neck. Next, I asked him to follow me and to then stop his feet and back up a step, so there was no crowding. He accomplished all of this calmly, quietly, gently, and correctly in about five minutes, with no halter.

If you have worked with your horse and he knows the correct answers to your clear questions, ten minutes is enough time to connect. If you encounter resistance, be sure you are allowing enough time for him to find a correct answer. You are training your horse every second you are in his presence. Be aware and conscious of his answers.

Then again, some of my favorite horse times are when it gets so far past sunset that the sky turns black. I love to sit and listen to my herd.

Jeanette’s Journey Part III: Death Valley Home Stretch

Editor’s Note:  In the third installment of a multi-part series, we hear from Jeanette Hayhurst, a long-time and avid horsewoman from Barstow, California. Like many of us, she has continued to connect with horses, even when her age and physical limitations kept her from doing a lot of riding. Kudos, Jeanette!

She writes of her transition from riding to driving and owning a miniature horse. This month, she will participate in her second Death Valley drive with two miniature horses.

Enjoy this multi-part series.

Read Part I

Read Part II

By Jeanette Hayhurst

That night I joined the corral group for their meeting and pot luck dinner. They opened the sign-ups for the Death Valley drive. After seeing how well Danny did that day, I was confident he could handle it.

Haflingers in a 3-up.

Corral 14 had permission from the Park Service to bring up to 13 wagons as well as outriders. In order to secure my place I signed up and paid my money that night. Since Danny and I drove at the back of the wagon train I didn’t get to talk to the people in the other wagons during the day. At the meeting, I learned Danny and I were a topic of conversation since there were a few that had doubts about how a mini horse would do on the drive.   But Danny impressed them and that day they nick-named him the “Chihuahua.” Later, I found out that Corral 14 was originally a Shetland Pony Club and it was Shetland Ponies that were used on the Club’s first Death Valley wagon drive back in the 1960’s.

We were committed. I continued to drive and condition Danny for Death Valley which was less than two months away. By this time I had decided that eventually I wanted to drive a pair and I had bought a second mini. (This new one wasn’t trained to drive, but that’s another story.)

I knew I would need a four-wheeled cart if I was going to drive a pair, so I went ahead and ordered one. I did my research and ended up buying an “entry level” wagonette. It arrived a few weeks before Death Valley.   The new wagon was only about 75 pounds heavier than my cart. Because it had four wheels it wouldn’t put weight on Danny’s back and it certainly would be more comfortable for me, so I thought maybe I would take it instead. I hooked Danny up to the wagonette and we started practicing with it. It had brakes which slows the vehicle when going down hill but they were pretty easy to figure out. After a few test runs I decided to take the wagonette to Death Valley.

Unpacking the new wagonette

The home stretch.

Since you can’t take hay into Death Valley I needed to make sure Danny would eat pellets. Everyone suggested soaking them to help keep him hydrated and avoid colic. I discovered that the “certified weed free pellets” that you are required to use quickly turn to mush when you add water, but Danny didn’t seem to mind and slurped them right up.

It was time to pack for trip. We would be gone a total of eight days. I had lists for everything. All my feed and personal stuff would be placed in the support truck so I had to limit what I took. The wagons all hauled their own bedding, clothes, and food. The outriders and I couldn’t haul our own stuff so it all went in the support truck.

They did encourage me to bring my guitar so that was my bonus item. The weather was pretty warm, but I heard that the year before it was so cold that the horses’ water buckets froze at night. I brought layers of clothes and a heavy jacket, just in case. Danny was starting to get his winter coat but I decided against shaving him in case it got cold.

Practicing with her new four-wheel wagonette

There were four of us ladies going from Barstow including me, two outriders and one support truck driver. Between us we also brought a camp stove, cooking utensils, cases of drinking water, and food for the week.   And just in case one of the horses got sick, we also had about every horse drug and remedy we could possibly need.

The time had come.

I was about to find out if I had prepared myself and my little horse for a five-day, 60-mile wagon train trip through Death Valley!

Read Part I

Read Part II

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

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