As the new editor of Quarter Horse News, I think there is one thing you should know about me: I love magazines. There, I said it. The secret is out. I love magazines, and not just Quarter Horse News because I work here, or Strings magazine because playing the violin is one of my hobbies. No, I love magazines. All magazines. You could hand me a magazine on a subject about which I know nothing – such as underwater basket weaving – and I would read it. My nightstand is cluttered with a towering stack of books and magazines. And if you ever want to get rid of me for a few hours, just drop me off in front of the magazine racks at Barnes & Noble. If it’s a Barnes & Noble that has a coffee and snack bar, you might lose me for days. Yes, I love magazines.
I come from a family of readers. For as long as I can remember, my parents had a subscription to the daily newspaper. Dad would sit down each night in his Lazy Boy recliner and read the paper while us kids watched TV. Mom still subscribes to the print edition of the Grand Rapids Press. And we always had a house full of books and, of course, magazines.
One of my favorite movies of all time is “Finding Forrester.” Sean Connery plays William Forrester, a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and recluse who mentors an inner-city high school student, Jamal Wallace, played by Rob Brown. Jamal notices a copy of National Enquirer in Forrester’s apartment, and asks, “Why does a guy like you waste his time reading National Enquirer? You should be reading the Times or something.” William replies, “I read the Times for dinner. But this …,” he says, referring to the National Enquirer, “this is my dessert.”
Magazines are my dessert, my guilty pleasure at the end of the day. Sometimes, I only have time to read one article. But when I have the luxury of time, I will sit and flip through an entire magazine, page by page, cover to cover.
I consider myself lucky to be able to make a living in the magazine business because as much as I love magazines, my passion lies in producing magazines. One of my favorite parts of the production process is developing content. And that is where the second love of my life comes in – horses. I was in college before the epiphany hit. I could actually make a career out of writing about horses!
The last thing I did before college graduation was an internship at the American Quarter Horse Association. While my days were sometimes filled with the mundane tasks occasionally assigned to interns, I was also given the opportunity to write articles about horses and the people who love them. I was in heaven! One of my first real assignments as an equine journalist was covering the Quarter Horse races at Remington Park. I was hooked.
Upon my graduation from Michigan State University, I followed my dreams to Southern California, where I dove headfirst into the world of Quarter Horse racing. For several years I was editor of a national Quarter Horse racing publication. I lived less than two miles from Los Alamitos Race Course, which afforded me the opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and get my “horse fix” whenever I needed it. I owned racehorses and started boarding a horse at the local riding stable, hoping to reenter the AQHA show ring in the all-around pleasure competitions I had enjoyed as a youth. I wouldn’t know it until years later, but my trainer at the time was also one of Matt Mills’ first trainers when he was a kid.
During that time, I started freelancing for the Cutting Horse Chatter, covering the annual Pacific Coast Cutting Horse Association Futurity. It was my introduction to cutting horses, and again, I was hooked. While vastly different in type from the racehorses I was used to seeing, these cutting horses were every bit as athletic, and watching a good cutting horse work was every bit as awe-inspiring as watching a racehorse fly down the track. When the time came, I gladly accepted a position as editor at the Cutting Horse Chatter.
While working for the National Cutting Horse Association didn’t allow me the opportunity to become personally involved in cutting horses (it’s against association rules), I did have the chance to ride some cutting horses while working on various stories. I have cut cattle in Texas, buffalo in Arizona and even Barbados sheep in South Dakota. Then one day the call came, and the racing industry beckoned again.
Twice the Quarter Horse racing industry has cajoled me away from performance horses. And twice now the Western performance industry has pulled me back. While the disciplines are vastly different, the people are the same in their love and appreciation of a good horse. As we move forward into 2013, I am honored and excited to join Quarter Horse News as your new editor because as you know, I love magazines and I love horses. And I can’t wait to meet you, our readers, and hear all about you and the horses you love.