by Robert Stewart, Director; Professor
I just received the following “report” from our top graduating senior, Chelsea Toy. She gave me permission to share it with you.
Life is great at Horse & Rider, and I’ve just finished my first big feature for our September issue.
In the month that I’ve been here, I’ve been given three departments to manage and at least one feature a month, plus I’m responsible for updating our Facebook with engaging posts 3-4 times every day. One of those departments is Western fashion, which is probably my favorite thing in the world next to barrel horses, so I couldn’t be more thrilled about that. On top of that, the managing editor and I get to go to horse shows and rodeos throughout the week if we see fit and shoot video and photos. We’ve never had staff videos before, so when I posted our first last week, it was a point of celebration for our staff. There will be many more to come, that’s for sure.
Just as I arrived last month, our company (Active Interest Media) launched a contest to see which group (the equine group, the healthy-living group, the outdoors group, etc.) could develop the most innovative iPad application. The group publisher selected one magazine within the equine group to write, design, and launch the prototype. Horse&Rider was picked, and so our three-person editorial staff is coming up with an iPad app for this contest. It’s a HUGE learning curve, but it’s really going to be something to put on the resume, and something that’s probably going to make the way we do web even better, too.
With our company also owning lots of related publications, our group publisher asked me this week to help him expand the barrel racing coverage on one of our sister magazines, Spin To Win Rodeo. This is going to be great, as Spin To Win is pretty much the top roping/rodeo magazine in the industry, and I used this magazine for part of my market review in my HTC scholarly essay that accompanied my professional project. (And that was just one year ago that Cary Frith and I were putting that analysis together… Funny how things change in a year.)
I found out I got the assistant editor job with Horse & Rider on Wednesday, April 21. To say I was thrilled would be an understatement. Phone call #1 went to Mom and Dad, of course, who were thrilled that I wouldn’t be living in their garage attic. Phone call #2, though, went to my horse trainer, Ginny. She’s been my mentor, my best friend, and my biggest (and sometimes, most critical) fan since I was 9-years-old with my terrible bucking little pony named Boogie. She couldn’t get over the fact that I’d be living our dream of going to out West (Boulder, Colo.) and taking my horses with me, not to mention I’d have access to industry professionals that we’d only dreamed of talking to just a day earlier.
The first week in May, I went home to say my “see-ya-laters” (goodbyes are way too permanent sounding) to my family and friends in Apollo and Vandergrift, Pa. Ginny’s was my first stop after saying ‘hi’ to Mom and Dad. Proudly, she brought out my graduation present from her bedroom (a silver bracelet with “Live the Life You Love” carved into it). She went back into her bedroom, though, just a moment later, and brought out a tattered magazine covered in dust. It’s cover read Horse&Rider, and it was dated April 1971. Slowly, she opened the delicate pages to a section titled Miss Western Life, and there, on a two-page spread, was an 18-year-old Ginny, in her Appaloosa National Horsemanship Queen crown, aboard her old show horse. Somehow she had been chosen by Horse&Rider as Miss Western Life some 39 years ago.
When I left home, Ginny and I both shed some tears, but I just kept thinking about how she’s taken me full circle, honing my riding and horsemanship skills to such a fine point that I could get a job with the same magazine that recognized her decades ago for the exact same thing.