NickerView: Maddy Butcher

NickerViews is a series of interviews with horse folks in the Cayuse Communications family. These interviews consist of 14 set questions. Our next interviewee is Maddy Butcher.

Read more NickerViews here

Butcher founded and directs the Best Horse Practices Summit and is founder and publisher of Cayuse Communications.

  1. Tell us about yourself and your life with horses.

Thanks to my mother and grandmother, I grew up riding. My late childhood was spent riding, mostly bareback, in the woods and fields of Harpswell Neck, Maine. After college and kid-raising (twenty years), I returned to horses. Over the last 10 years have ridden thousands of miles of trails in Maine, Iowa, Utah, and Colorado.

2. Do you like group rides or riding solo? Why?

Solo or with one or two other folks. My interest and attention is on my connection with my horse. I’m not really into the social aspect of group trail rides.

3. What has been your finest horsemanship moment?
I have two, actually:

A dedication to learning barefoot trimming and ability to maintain happy, healthy hooves of many horses over the last five years.

An ability to ride bareback well and to pony several horses at one time (bareback or in a saddle).

4. What’s your worst horsemanship moment?

Oy. There are many.

My inability to see the holes in my training, especially with my mule, Jolene.

More specifically and ridiculously:

Stepping into the saddle with my left foot. Really. I was nervous and distracted.

Hopping up bareback and falling off the other side. Really.

5. What frustrates you most in the horse world?

Unnecessary walls between horse cliques.

Righteous ignorance

Humanizing of horses

6. What inspires you most in the horse world?

Summit attendees, of course! They tell me things like ‘it was the best horse educational experience they’ve ever had.’ Or, “The Summit is a pioneering conference” or that they loved the conference’s collaboration and positivity.

7. Tell us about your favorite hat/helmet when riding? Why?

A baseball cap with a Moxie (an old-time, Maine soft drink) logo.

Also, an IRH riding helmet.

8. What kind of saddle to you prefer to ride in? Please describe.

I ride in a lovely, Wade tree saddle purchased for $600 at a Backcountry Horseman tack sale. It has a large horn (great for dallying), custom matching saddle bags, rawhide trim, and beautiful custom tooling. Seems to fit all my horses, from my 16.2 hand gelding to my little pony. Weighs about 30 pounds.

Photo by Zach Rhoades

9. What’s in your saddle bag?

Water. Baling twine. Multi-tool. Mini 1st aid kit. Granola bar. Little bowl for dogs’ water. Hoof pick. When I’m in rough and/or unfamiliar country, I sometimes take a .22 revolver (To scare away coyotes, or, if my horse is crippled, to put him down).

10. What’s your favorite ingredient as trail food?

Nuts, dried bananas, Kate’s bars and granola bars.

11. What’s ingredient will wreck an otherwise delicious trail mix?


12. Where would you like to be (in the horse world/with your horses and horsemanship) in 5 years?

I’d like to do more horse packing so that with my dogs and horses I can go missing for a week into the backcountry.

13. What’s something on your bucket list?


Writing another horse book.

14. What’s the most recent thing you’ve learned (related to horse work).

Go slowly and forget about time constraints.

Laugh more.

Read more NickerViews here

Photo by Beau Gaughran

Posted in Interviews.

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