first printed in the December 2020 Equiery

The December 2020 print edition of The Equiery celebrates 30 years of being Maryland’s source for horse information! Yes, 30 years ago in December 1990, the very first Equiery landed in tack and feed stores, being hand delivered by co-founders Crystal Brumme Pickett and Mercedes Clemens (pictured).

Over the past 11 months, The Equiery has been sharing covers from every year bringing us to this issue, the 350th edition of The Equiery! On the December 2020 cover, you will see our readers’ favorite covers from each year, votes counted from Facebook likes. We also reached out to current and former Equiery staff members to find out which covers stand out the most to them.

What we present on these pages is a history of The Equiery magazine as told through its covers. Enjoy! And thank you for your continuous support. We could not be what we are today without you.

December 1990
Of course, Issue Number 1, December 1990 is obviously one of my favorites! It was our first issue and co-founder Mercedes Clemens and I were scared to death, but yet oddly confident that we had a grand slam on our hands. Our concept was simple: we created a portable tack shop/feed store bulletin board, with a free Directory of Riding Stables at its heart.

The simple cover reflected our simple mission –and truth be told, we were inspired by art covers of The Chronicle of the Horse–but we wanted to do art differently than those classic Chronicle covers, which framed the art in a small space in the center of the cover. We wanted to use the ENTIRE cover. But at that point, we did not know any equine artists–plus, we had no money to pay an artist.

An old college roommate of mine drew this simple horse head as a favor, and we used a standard, free font. We were fortunate enough to actually “sell” ads–rock bottom, introductory rates that kind people couldn’t say no to. But it also took some of our own money to get that first issue on the street. So, yeah, it was scary! With the launch of the first issue, we quickly met artists who were willing to let us publish their art on the cover FOR FREE! Wow!  – Crystal Brumme Pickett, Founding Publisher

April 1991
This cover was dedicated to Col. Turnabout, owned by my childhood friend, Debbie Hauser. She asked if it would be ok if she might be able to purchase a dedication page for Col. Turnabout in The Equiery, even though it had been three years since he died.

“Of course, Debbie!” I said, “But wait–why just an inside page, why not the cover!”

And thus was launched a unique sales product with over three decades of cover dedications–each emotional and touching in its own way. Debbie’s suggestion also launched one of the most beloved features still running in The Equiery today: Greener Pastures. Astute followers will notice that after the first year, fewer covers featured art. Why? Because the wait list for cover dedications was often well over one year!  – Crystal Brumme Pickett, Founding Publisher

December 1991
We had made it one year! We celebrated by splurging on spot color. This was the second cover we ran featuring the art of Cathy Kelley, a horsewoman and graphic artist for The Washington Post Magazine. Cathy was the first of our many “Postie” relationships, which included (but is not limited to) writer and editor Kathy Blumenstock (who eventually edited The Equiery for a while), the late, great photographer and writer Sarah Libby Greenhalgh, and another great photographer and writer Laurel Scott, who eventually also became an Equiery editor. Some of Cathy’s clever illustrations created exclusively for The Equiery back in the ‘90s are still in use today. – Crystal Brumme Pickett, Founding Publisher

October 1992
This photo taken by the incomparable, award winning photographer Cappy Jackson represents, to me, all the wonderful mentors who generously gave of their time and talent to help a struggling, little local publication. A regular cover photographer for Horse & Rider and a regular contributor to Maryland Horse/Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred, Cappy’s talents were beyond our budget–but she never charged us for the photos she let us use. What a gift! Cappy was just one of many mentors who generously contributed their talent (or at ridiculously reasonably rates), including but not limited to Peter Winants (Maryland Horse contributor and later editor of The Chronicle), Tim Capps, Margaret Worrall and many others. What a privilege to have these towering talents as mentors. – Crystal Brumme Pickett, Founding Publisher

December 1995
Our 5th Anniversary! Co-Founder Mercedes Clemens had sold her half of The Equiery to me several years prior, but continued to serve as The Equiery’s Art Director until 2005. In honor of our 5th Anniversary, Mercedes created and gifted to The Equiery a new logo/masthead, which first appeared on this issue and is still used in a slightly altered form by The Equiery’s new owner, the Maryland Horse Council. – Crystal Brumme Pickett, Founding Publisher

January 2005
I had the most fun when we were at the Maryland Horse World Expo proudly showing off the publication and working in conjunction with the show organizers. I so greatly enjoyed working with my fellow horsewomen at the publication including Katherine [Rizzo], dynamo Crystal [Brumme Pickett], who is truly a one woman army charging forward, as well as Tracy [McKenna], Carolyn [Del Grosso], Lynn [Hoffman] and the various interns. – LuAnne Levens, former Associate Publisher

September 2005
It always amazes me how many people in the horse community came into our office bearing food, and I don’t think any of it was healthy! Suzie Floyd (pictured on our September 2005 cover) in particular with her beautiful riding clothes and slim figure had a field day with us, particularly when she was taking her cooking classes! I gained 20 pounds in the five years I worked there! The baking was phenomenal from her. – LuAnne Levens, former Associate Publisher

June 2006
While I was at The Equiery, the Maryland Horse Council and this publication were crossing over in terms of accomplishing many things related to the growth of the Maryland horse industry such as establishing the Maryland Horse Industry Board and supporting it through the Feed Fund bill. In addition, there were talks about a Maryland Horse Park (reported in several issues including the feasibility study published in the June 2006 issue), taking positions on Sunday hunting, and getting behind gambling so we could share a portion of those funds to help save Maryland’s horse industry, specifically racing.

I also remember fondly Ross Peddicord bouncing in periodically, interacting with people like Jim Steele and Dorothy Troutman, living legends if you will; and so many others who are so vital to our industry. I learned more about other farms in the Maryland horse community while The Equiery continued to be a source of information for those who needed to find stables and products and information— legislative, supplies and otherwise. I am so very, very proud to have been part of The Equiery team and I continue to applaud its efforts and the uniting with MHC… the perfect combo!  – LuAnne Levens, former Associate Publisher

July 2008
I feel that this cover captures a wonderful moment in time as the little boy realizes he has been slimed by his pony, and Muffy looks completely innocent and is posed perfectly. Brody and his family have moved out of state, and he is now 18 or 19. We gave him this as a poster one year at Expo, and the family still has it (even though he took up other sports in high school). This photo was taken by another future cover subject, Jacqueline Morris, who was on our March 2019 cover. – Tracy McKenna, Associate Publisher

October 2009
My first cover as Art Director! After several months of guidance and tips from former Art Director Derrick Cook, I was let loose to design my first Equiery cover. I remember spending a lot of time playing with colors and fonts until I felt it was ready to show the team. Just a few additional tweaks from our amazingly creative group of Equiery staffers and then off to the printer! – Katherine O. Rizzo, Editor-In-Chief/Art Director

October 2012
The cover of our October “International Issue” used to take turns every other year between the Washington International Horse Show and Fair Hill International. In 2012, it was WIHS’ turn. For certain big issues, our entire staff would collaborate to choose a cover image. Cover images are harder to come by then one would think; a remarkable photo does not always make a remarkable–or even doable–cover. But to me there was no other option in 2012 than Diana De Rosa’s photo of Elise Ledsinger aboard Practical. The horse’s beautiful expression, the bright colors of the tri-color champion ribbon were stunning! I worked for The Equiery for a period of 79 monthly covers and to this day, that is my most favorite. – Jennifer Sponseller Webster, former Associate Publisher

March 2015
If I had to pick a runner-up best Equiery cover, it would be the March 2015 cover of James Stierhoff and the 2010 and 2012 Maryland Hunt Cup winner, Lucy Goelet’s Twill Do. We were celebrating James and Twill Do’s selection that year as winners of the Maryland Steeplechase Association’s Hurdy Gurdy Award. I’m a big fan of timber racing and of Twill Do, in particular, so this particular choice was everything to do with subject matter, and not just artistic quality! – Jennifer Sponseller Webster, former Associate Publisher

January 2017
The Equiery’s first glossy cover also happened to be the last Maryland Horse World Expo. Coated cover stock had finally become financially attainable but who knew that this Maryland Horse World Expo would be our last? This issue marked the closing of a fruitful 18-year partnership. – Crystal Brumme Pickett, Founding Publisher

January 2018
A beautiful photo, a spectacular layout by Art Director Katherine O. Rizzo, a fitting tribute for the transition to the New Year, and the new Equiery owner, the Maryland Horse Council. A photo celebrating snow and winter was a brainstorm solution to the unfortunate last minute cancelation of Horse World Expo. We had not celebrated horses in the snow on a cover since December 1991. And I had such fun leading the Maryland Horse Council Executive Committee through the photo selection process – it was truly a collaborative effort – which to me meant that this ownership transition was the right thing to do, at the right time. – Crystal Brumme Pickett, Founding Publisher

August 2018
Almost a Cover – I have been in love (obsessed) with this photo since the moment it was submitted for the 2018 Foal Photo Contest… Greystone’s Baron instantly melted my heart! His cute little Fjord baby self just exuded fun, curiosity, sweetness, simplicity and love. Plus, I just wanted to squish his fluffy little face with his eyelashes for days! So it may not have been the actual cover for that August, but to me, it wins every year. – Emily Nessel, Marketing Coordinator

January 2019
And then… in January 2019, the first full glossy edition of The Equiery came out! Having a fully glossy magazine was the brainchild of current MHC President Neil Agate who kept saying “we need to be all glossy” until we made it happen!

June 2019
Out of all the photo shoots for covers I have done for The Equiery over the years, this one is most memorable simply because of the experience of the shoot itself. The athletic, and sometimes unruly Senior Senator, circling the huddled group of his connections while they just kept smiling at the camera was priceless. It was a challenge to get the three-time Maryland Hunt Cup winner composed for what would end up being the cover image but I felt privileged to be in Team Senior Senator’s company and grateful to be able to tell their story. – Katherine O. Rizzo, Editor-In-Chief/Art Director

November 2019
One thing that has always stood out to me is how supportive the horse industry is to each other and to other causes. People are always willing to step up and lend a hand, or money, as needed and they are always caring and supporting many causes, not just horsey ones.

I am looking forward to seeing The Equiery grow and prosper and continue to keep horse people in the know as well as continue to expand the horse industry. – Carolyn Del Grosso, Bookkeeper

June EquieryJune 2020
My current opinion may be skewed by the fact that the COVID-19 pandemic is still going on, but my choice for favorite cover is from the June 2020 issue. It was just such a heart-warming scene captured by Jennifer Cloutier. It felt hopeful…it felt special…it felt joyful.

When I first saw the cover put together, it seemed perfect, just what we all needed in that moment to remind us that everything would be okay…reminding us of how unique and remarkable the bonds with our horses can be and how powerful that is in bringing our community together. Our horses bring so much joy to us and to others and we should never take that for granted…not on the good days and especially not on the bad days. – Emily Nessel, Marketing Coordinator

January 2021
What will the January 2021 cover look like and what will the New Year bring for The Equiery and Maryland Horse Council? Only time will tell but we are surely looking forward to producing more and more issues for you!