Thankful for a Successful 2014

The time between Christmas and New Year’s is usually a time to reflect on the previous 365 days and how far we’ve come. I’m always guilty of this because I’ve caught myself saying that the year has gone by so quickly, but then again, you feel as though it hasn’t.

It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation. — Herman Melville

This past year has seen MA Communications grow exponentially. What started as just a side gig to fill in time and keep in touch with my favorite industry has turned into a second full-time job with a growth in contacts that I appreciate everyday. Last week I sent in my last article for 2014, and I have already been working on articles for the 2015 editorial calendar.

Overall, in 2014, I wrote 80 articles–both online and in print–and covered four live events in person, as well as a couple from afar. I’ve been published in eight print magazines, as well as eight websites.

It was exciting covering the World Equestrian Games for two websites, bringing the excitement of reining to everyone.

It was exciting covering the World Equestrian Games for two websites, bringing the excitement of reining to everyone.


I launched my Facebook page.

I love sharing my work and experiences on my Facebook page for everyone.

I love sharing my work and experiences on my Facebook page for everyone.

I traveled to South Carolina to receive my first independent award from the American Horse Publications.

First time entering an awards contest independently =  not too shabby.

First time entering an awards contest independently = not too shabby.

I’ve expanded my horizons and stepped out of my comfort zone to bring the best of what I could offer to different audiences–and I’ve loved every challenge.

I’ve brought along clients for social media marketing and to help grow their business from just starting to thriving in just one year.

I’m looking forward to another great year in 2015. I already know there will be challenges (in February the newest member of the MAC family will joining us as Matt and I welcome our little girl), but that will only make it more interesting!

Thank you for supporting and reading everything from MAC. If you have any article suggestions or topics you’d like to see covered more in any genre, please let me know!

Thank you to the following websites and publications that worked with me in 2014:

America’s Horse
American Paint Horse Journal
American Quarter Horse Journal
American Quarter Horse Journal Online
Canine Chronicle
Clean Run
The Daily Corgi
Equine Chronicle
The Reiner
Rodeo News
Western Shooting Horse Magazine
The Wrangler–Horse & Rodeo News


Before They Were Legends–The Industry’s Top Horses

When you’re watching greatness like Peyton Manning last night (yes, I am a Colts fan, but also a Manning fan), or even some of the top horses competing at the All American Quarter Horse Congress this month, it’s hard to imagine that at one point, everyone had to start somewhere. Peyton had to start in the pee-wee football leagues. Harley D Zip had to start out with a trainer to figure out the right buttons.

Here are a few quotes and tidbits about some of the horse industry’s top performers and how they were before they were legends:

  • Harley D Zip “I hobbled him; I rode him in orchards and in cow pens, and I treated him like a horse and wore him down,” trainer Doug Pratt remembers. “Jason Martin still had his hands full when he got him, but as he got to be seven, eight, and nine, he got better. But even when he was six or seven, if you didn’t longe him just right, he’d have a hump in his back and you’d have to grit through it.”
  • RL Best Of Sudden “When we first saw him we knew he was special, truly, he just had such a presence he looked like a special one,” says Candy Parrish. “Then, when we saw him lope around under saddle with just a handful of rides, we had no doubt he was a great one. Bo was exceptionally easy to train. He was so naturally gifted that Bret just had to show him what to do and it was easy for him.”
  • Allocate Your Assets When Brian Isbell and partner Kevin Garcia first saw Allocate Your Assets as a long yearling in 2001, it was all they could do to keep calm—they knew he was going to be something. “I knew right then and there, he was going to be my once-in-a-lifetime horse,” recalls multiple World Champion trainer, Isbell.
  • RPL My Te Cheerful RPL My Te Cheerful’s first show wasn’t until late into his two year-old year with Monte Horn. His breeder, Bobbie and Henry Atkinson, felt that the late-blooming son of My Te Telusive needed some time to just grow and be a horse, so he spent many days out to pasture, with some light work here and there with the Atkinson’s farm manager, Michael Ochetto.
  • John Simon “There was never a question the second I saw him move that he would turn into something special,” says Tim Gillespie, who said he was the best minded stallion he has ever trained. “He was very easy to finish out and was a true gentleman. He never had any quirks or gave us any trouble.”
Harley D Zip, ridden by then-owner Brian Ale, and trainer Doug Pratt at the 1998 Tom Powers. Photo courtesy Doug Pratt

Harley D Zip, ridden by then-owner Brian Ale, and trainer Doug Pratt at the 1998 Tom Powers. Photo courtesy Doug Pratt


Read more about these legends and their younger years on Before They Were Legends: A Look Back at their Younger Years

Too Much Bling? Dos & Don’ts of Western Show Clothes

The Western world is notorious for bling–watch any Western pleasure class and you’ll see silver-encrusted saddles and crystal-laden shirts and jackets. Some think they have to spend more money on show clothes than some do for school wardrobes. But is that always the case? had me talk to some AQHA/APHA judges to get their opinion on how they feel about Western show clothes and how you can dress for success in the show pen.


Here are some quick tips:

  • Invest in a well-shaped, quality hat.
  • Choose an outfit that best compliments your horse and your body type–don’t just follow fads and trends.
  • Make sure you have your showmanship pants hemmed while wearing your show boots so they don’t end up too short in the show ring.
  • You don’t have to get a super fancy outfit for showmanship–women can rock a well-tailored business suit found in a department store.
  • More outfits is not always better–invest in one quality outfit if that’s all your budget allows.
  • Moving parts of your outfit is not always best when it comes to classes like horsemanship and showmanship, so stay away from fringe, chains, etc. Save that for Western pleasure, riding, or trail.

Want more? Check out the article on Judges Discuss the Dos and Don’ts of Western Fashion.

Teaching a Soft Touch to Your Horse

I’ve been lucky to be able to talk with some great trainers and learned a lot about how they work with their horses. In this article for the Paint Horse Journal, I learned from Heather Thompson how to teach “guide” to your horse for silent communication.

A Soft Touch

You’ve seen it in the show ring: a horse-and-rider team moving flawlessly through the motions, making square corners and round circles, changing direction with what looks to be no real effort at all. You can barely see the guidance the rider gives the horse through her hands, and yet he responds effortlessly.

That silent communication is the basis of what American Paint Horse Association Professional Horseman Heather Thompson calls “guide,” and it’s something she teaches all of her horses and clients.

“When I work with my horses, I don’t like to pull them. I like to push them,” she explained. “If I’m going left, I put that right rein into the horse’s neck and they know that means to ten left. I’m using rein pressure first.”




“Guide” refers to a horse’s willingness to respond to slight pressure fro his rider. The better your horse guides, the easier he’ll be to ride.




Download the entire article here: A Soft Touch

Thinking of Collegiate Riding? Shoot a Video


One of the best things I remember from my years at Murray State University was competing on the equestrian team as part of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA). When I originally went to Murray I went for the Rodeo Team, but I also fell in love with the coaches of the Equestrian Team and ended up spending all four years there, including being captain my senior year. So when I’m asked to write about college and riding, I jump at the chance.

That’s why I was excited to write for the American Paint Horse Association‘s magazine, the Paint Horse Journal, as part of their “Caught on Film” series. I spoke with intercollegiate coaches for both IHSA and NCAA for tips on shooting recruiting videos. I strongly suggest passing this along to any youth rider looking to compete in college to help them make the best first impression.

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You can also read it via PDF here: CollegiateVideos




After the Proposal…

It’s the proposal that was heard all around the APHA World Show—the surprise marriage proposal between Kyle Crager and his then-girlfriend Kelley Goldsmith (now Crager) at the photographer’s booth in 2010. You’ve probably seen the photo pop up every now and then, especially during this time of year.

Of course, Kelley said yes. The couple was married August 27, 2011, in an outdoor ceremony at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky., right next to the track.

The wedding, which was themed “A Day at the Races,” incorporated the couple’s love of their home’s Bluegrass traditions and their fun-loving personalities. Instead of the traditional bouquet and garter toss, guests were invited to compete in stick horse races during the reception. The couple later honeymooned in Aruba, which of course included a ride on Paso Finos along the beach. “We’re nerdy like that,” Kelley laughs…

Read the rest of the story on the