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
CanineChronicle.com
Clean Run
The Daily Corgi
DressageDaily.com
Equine Chronicle
EquineChronicle.com
GoHorseShow.com
HorsesDaily.com
The Reiner
Rodeo News
Western Shooting Horse Magazine
The Wrangler–Horse & Rodeo News

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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 GoHorseShow.com: 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?

GoHorseShow.com 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.

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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 GoHorseShow.com: Judges Discuss the Dos and Don’ts of Western Fashion.

Horse Shopping Tips & Etiquette

Horse shopping is stressful! It’s a big financial commitment that’s more than just purchasing a car, because there’s even more to owning a horse than just the buying process. I was able to talk to three industry professionals for their tips on how to be better prepared to purchase your next horse, as well as how to be a better shopper.

Here are some shopping tips from Candy & Bret Parrish, Lora Whittington, and Ruth Ellen:

  • No question is a dumb question. If you ask a question and the agent or trainer, whoever is representing the horse, doesn’t give you a straightforward answer, it would be time for your red flag to go up.
  • If you look at the price range where you can absolutely not go, you’re never going to find the horse that suits you in the price range that you can afford. So I always tell people that I need to look for horses in their budget, that’s how they find something.
  • Deal with people that you know are looking out for YOUR best interest.
  • Understand that spending a little more up front in your horse investment can be a wise decision. It costs the same amount to take care of, train, show, etc. a high quality horse as it does a horse of lower quality. Buy the best horse you can for you budget; don’t settle for a horse just because it may be less expensive.
  • Show some common courtesy. It will not only earn you respect in the industry; those you treat well will support you in the search for your perfect horse. Return calls and messages. If you’ve asked someone to accommodate your specific requests, only to determine the horse is not a good fit, let the seller know and thank them for their time. They will remember you when the right one comes along!
  • Don’t get hung up on age – Olympic caliber mounts don’t start getting good until they’re about 12 years old. It is my experience that if a horse is still sound at age 10, there’s no reason to think he won’t be for many years to come. Yes, he may require some maintenance, but if you need a horse with miles, it’s a small price to pay for your safety and success.
  • Be ethical! A large percentage of show horses are represented by trainers and agents. These are trust professionals hired by the owners to manage the sale of their horse. Circumventing the listed contact seldom proves beneficial and is often embarrassing.
  • Don’t set unrealistic expectations—every horse will have his flaw or slight issue, and no horse is perfect.

 

For more tips and advice, read my article on GoHorseShow.com: So, You’re Buying a Horse...