first published in the December 2020 Equiery

By Leah Fondelheit
In addition to the staff, readers, freelancers and advertisers who have worked together to produce The Equiery over the past three decades, there are the interns. These young professionals in the making contributed their own fresh ideas to this magazine. From creating promotional materials, writing articles and coming up with clever cover teasers, among other assignments, these Equiery interns have each left their mark on The Equiery as much as The Equiery has imprinted on them.

Many of these interns came to The Equiery with some type of equine background, but in addition brought a variety of passions. After completing their internships, many have stayed in the equine industry while others have gone on to different career paths. As we celebrate The Equiery’s 30th Anniversary, we also celebrate these interns and caught up with several of them to find out where they are now!

Margaret Rizzo McKelvy: 2003
As one of the first Equiery interns, Margaret McKelvy had a unique introduction to The Equiery. She had met then Equiery owner/publisher Crystal Brumme Pickett while on a trail ride. Margaret had explained to Crystal that she was majoring in communications and public relations at the University of Maryland, College Park. This sparked Crystal to offer her an internship with The Equiery.

Margaret contributed to Out & About and wrote about the Marion duPont Equine Medical Center. She said one skill she honed during her internship that she still applies today is writing. “Writing is a big part of what I do, as well as marketing. All the experience of proof reading and writing helped contribute to my writing skills today,” she said. Margaret now runs her own business, Mythic Landing Enterprises, LLC, which offers services from graphic design to bookkeeping, marketing and advertising, to web development, and everything in between.

Lauren Maruskin Foley: 2003
Studying communications, with a passion for horses and magazines, led Lauren Foley to intern with The Equiery. During her internship, and later as a full-time staffer, she did a bit of everything from writing, database updates, customer service and marketing tasks. One thing Lauren learned during her internship was how to confidently talk with people, whether it be answering phones, helping riders find a lesson barn, or calling someone for an interview. “Horse people are the best, so it was a great way to build my confidence, talking to some really neat people!” she said.

Lauren is currently working for The Chronicle of the Horse magazine as their Editorial Production Manager. “With three children ages five and under, I don’t get to ride my horse as much as I used to, but I get to live vicariously through everyone I read and write about in The Chronicle,” she added.

Starr Crusenberry: 2004-2005
Having read The Equiery for many years and just finishing up an internship with Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred’s Maryland Horse, Starr Crusenberry figured interning with The Equiery was the next step for her career path objectives. She was able to contribute to several articles including features on The Equiery’s Perpetual Eventing Trophy winner and a series on a deadly outbreak of equine herpes. From this internship experience, Starr said, “I still use many of the copy editing skills I put into practice during my time at The Equiery. Always fact check names, spellings and dates!” She is currently the Head of Marketing & Communications at Victor Insurance.

Lauren Risby: Dec 2006-Aug 2007
Looking for more experience in an office setting that also involved horses while at college, Lauren Risby and The Equiery were a great fit. While interning she wrote three articles and completed various other projects. She stated, “I learned about editing, which has helped me in my personal and work life.” Lauren currently works as the Regional Controller at AssuredPartners. “I have two horses and just had a baby boy over the summer,” she added.

Jamie Humphries: 2010-2011
Jamie Humphries became an Equiery intern through her trainer Katherine Rizzo, who happens to also be The Equiery’s Editor. While interning with The Equiery, Jamie got an on-location, behind-the-scenes look at the Washington International Horse Show and when in the office, helped with data entries and articles. Jamie, who now works for the US Dressage Federation, said, “the internship helped me make a decision that I wanted to work in the equine industry. The Equiery gave me the opportunity to take my first steps in it.” Jamie has been working for USDF for five years now heading the organization’s youth programs.

Hannah Rosenberg: 2011-2013, 2015
Katherine Rizzo was also Hannah Rosenberg’s riding instructor and knew of her interest in journalism so she suggested Hannah apply for The Equiery’s internship program. This internship offered her a host of opportunities with one of her favorites being, “helping to select the cover model for the foal issue!” Although she added, “That, or going to pick up (and of course sampling on the way back) Lisbon’s amazing Harvest Fried Chicken, which I think we served at every major event.”

Hannah explained that The Equiery helped her become a well-rounded writer and marketer. The internship also helped her understand the spectrum of what goes into producing a magazine or running an event—”an experience which I still value and reference today,” she said. Hannah is currently working as a Digital Marketing Manager at the Verizon Business Group and is getting married next year.

Jenna Beal: 2012
Majoring in journalism and growing up riding horses, Jenna Beal’s Equiery internship involved writing about events and announcements, and securing ad space. One of her favorite pieces was the annual foal edition. “We used pictures of foals that had been sent in and made yearbook superlatives,” she explained. “We got to pick who was class clown, mostly likely to succeed, and many more fun ones.” Some of the skills learned from this internship helped Jenna become more confident and comfortable while talking on the phone with anyone, especially when it comes to selling products. It also helped her see how dedicated people are to the publication and the strong connections it has with the community. Jenna is currently selling food service equipment for commercial use. She also just got married and bought a house.

Carly Weilminster: 2012-2013
Knowing The Equiery was the go-to publication for all information about what was going on in the Maryland equine industry, Carly Weilminster applied to The Equiery internship program to help develop her writing and communication skills as well as pursue her interest in equine-interest communications, while majoring in communications. Carly worked on editorial pieces including covering the UMD breeding program that was starting up again at the time. “The UMD breeding program allowed me to follow the foals and write about how they were doing with their racing careers,” she said.

One thing Carly appreciated from this internship was learning how to do a good interview. She commented, “you have to be able to represent the person and their story by making them feel comfortable enough to open up. By learning this, I was able to connect easily with whomever I was interviewing. It helped me become more personable with them and allowed me to truly capture the person’s passion and personality.” Carly is currently living in Lexington, KY, and working as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for US Equestrian. She oversees the organization’s social media platforms.

Kira Young Connor: 2013
Having met Crystal Brumme Pickett at a Maryland Horse Industry Board meeting, Kira Young Connor was invited to send her resume to The Equiery. She found herself contributing in a variety of ways during her internship. “I designed and managed various email campaigns, I attended shows to provide coverage and photographs for the publication, and I had the unique opportunity to be a liaison to the Cavalia equestrian production while they were on tour in DC,” she stated. With Cavalia, Kira assisted with various grassroots marketing efforts and represented The Equiery at media events. A few things she learned during her time at The Equiery were effective marketing and the importance of fostering solid community relations through interpersonal connection. Kira is currently living in Nashville, Tennessee.

Alexa Easton: Summer 2014
Heading into her sophomore year of college, Alexa Easton was looking to get experience in the communications industry with relation to equestrian sports. The Equiery gave her that opportunity. “It allowed me to be creative in my young professional life,” she said. Some of her intern experience involved taking photos and reporting from Pimlico during Preakness week. Alexa is currently working on getting her MBA in marketing and technology at Georgetown University.

Elizabeth Scully: Summers 2014-2016
Elizabeth Scully had been submitting steeplechase photos to The Equiery for Out & About when Katherine Rizzo suggested she apply for a summer internship. While interning she continued to photograph events and help with the Maryland Steeplechase Association Governor’s Cup Series Awards Reception event logistics. “I learned how to write a good event-recap article at The Equiery and became familiar with new software and technology that I continue to use today,” she said.

Elizabeth is currently a junior at Loyola University Maryland studying history with a business minor. She has been able to ride in a few jump races on the National Steeplechase Association circuit and hopes to continue race riding as an amateur jockey.

Veronica Green-Gott: Winter 2014-2015
New to the area at the time, Veronica Green-Gott admired The Equiery magazine and was looking to combine office life with her love for horses. During her internship, Veronica focused on the organization of the Coming Events calendar. “I looked into what shows, clinics, and special or new events were scheduled for the month and organized them into the monthly calendar,” she explained. “This internship helped me find the different organizations and associations that are in the equine industry.” Veronica started her own business, Golden Fleece Marketing, this past January. The company focuses on helping equine related clients run their business through marketing, web design, blogging and social media advertising. Veronica is happy to say she is able to work from home and still have time to ride and train her two horses.

Sara Gordon: Summers 2016-2018
With a passion for horses, journalism and photography, interning at The Equiery made perfect sense to Sara Gordon. She found that The Equiery would help her extend and explore her passion while she was majoring in multimedia journalism with a minor in equine science at Virginia Tech. Sara completed many tasks while interning, including writing articles, taking photos, proofreading and attending events. She is currently working for the Maryland Horse Breeders Association as their Communications Manager. Sara also writes for MHBA’s publication Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred, as well as taking photos, proofreading and managing the website. “I absolutely love my job!” she said, adding, “My best advice? Pursue your passions. It’ll be worth it.”

Stacey Wells: Fall 2018
While working on a degree in writing and having a background with horses, Stacey Wells found The Equiery internship program to be a good opportunity for finding out how a publication operates and how to implement and improve her own writing skills. “I wrote articles about news-worthy events in the Maryland equine industry, from Marylanders competing in the Mongol Derby to a feature story about the Baltimore City Mounted Police,” she said. Stacey graduated from Magna Cum Laude in 2019 with a degree in Political Science and a minor in Writing. She is about to start a new job at a law firm.

Leah Fondelheit: Fall 2020
Leah Fondelheit is a senior at the University of Maryland, College Park majoring in Equine Welfare and Management. Her mentor, Dr. Amy Burk, told her about internship opportunities with The Equiery. Leah found that her interest in The Equiery is more along its involvement in the Maryland equine industry and the business aspect of a publication. “I have never worked in an office setting before and enjoy seeing what it’s like to run a publication,” she said. “Many of the tasks I have completed so far involve organizing and proof reading of classifieds, articles, and the Out & About column.” Leah said she has enjoyed interning with The Equiery even with the struggle of the COVID-19 pandemic not allowing her to physically meet with staff in the office.