- Where Barn Banter Goes Global
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About NickerNews

WiseAssWallace from Maddy Butcher on Vimeo.


NickerNews was created in 2008 by Maddy Butcher. Watch 90-second video introduction

NickerNews is an opinion & news site developed to showcase the many ways of caring responsibly and compassionately for our horses.

NickerNews strives to provide an inclusive environment for exchanging of information and point-of-view to make us all better, more informed, and more compassionate hors e owners.

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 profits to an equine-care related non-profit organization.

The site's creation is a two-bit story:

First Bit:
For many years, I ran a horse care business. I mucked stalls, fed, groomed, exercised, rode, medicated, trailered, and bathed horses. Dirty, hard on the back, and not real profitable – it was pretty close to my dream job.
One Maine winter morning, I was driving from one barn to the next. It was zero 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.
At the second barn, I removed the horses’ heavy blankets, replaced them with even heavier ones and confined them to big 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 alright and sought trees for cover. They had thick coats, never shivered, and had plenty of food and water.
The pampered horses might have been removed from their natural inclinations, but it wasn’t exactly neglectful treatment.
(My own horse care fell somewhere in the middle. My aging mare got a blanket and all the horses had access to a run-in shed to get out of the wind.)

What do these anecdotes have to do with the founding of NickerNews?

Pull back to look at our big, diverse equine world. You'll see horse care is a matter of perspective. Sometimes, it’s a matter of money. It’s certainly a matter of opinion, culture, and upbringing.

NickerNews was developed to showcase the many ways of caring responsibly and compassionately for our beloved horses. NickerNews strives to provide an inclusive environment for exchanging of information and opinion to make us all better, more informed, and more compassionate horse owners.

The Second Bit:
As a longtime writer and reporter, I value written work and cherish the craft of writing. NickerNews was created to log and share those horse moments we find funny, endearing, life-altering, and enlightening. 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, generous 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 that first 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.

Our 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 .

Watch 90-second video.

About Maddy:
  • Born and raised in Brunswick and Harpswell, Maine. Grew up riding the woods and fields of Harpswell Neck and beyond. Now living in Colorado.
  • 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). Read Boston Globe articles. Read Wall St. Journal article.
  • 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 living in Connecticut, Montana, Massachusetts, Maine, Iowa, Utah, and Colorado.
  • Licensed as a Wilderness First Responder.
  • Certified in Technical Large Animal Emergency Rescue.
  • Single mom of three wonderful sons.


"It is the hardest pill for all of us would-be horsemen to swallow, but it is absolutely true - if the horse is not responding properly, we are doing something wrong" - Mary Twelveponies