first published in the January 2024 Equiery
The start of a new year is a great opportunity to reflect on the past and embrace the future. Which also makes it a perfect time to poll Equiery readers about which Equiery features they like the most and what suggestions they have for future issues. But before we get into our survey results, here is a bit about The Equiery from its start in 1990 to present day.
A Brief History
The very first issue of The Equiery landed in tack and feed stores in central Maryland in December 1990. The magazine was the brainchild of Crystal Brumme Pickett and Mercedes Clemens and was initially designed to connect Maryland horse people to Maryland lesson and boarding stables. Building the business from the ground up, Pickett and Clemens initially would hand deliver the magazine to distributors across the state. As the publication grew, so did The Equiery team with Pickett remaining at the helm as publisher and sole owner.
The Maryland Horse Council published its first official issue of The Equiery as new owner and publisher in January 2018. Since then, The Equiery has been the trade magazine for the Maryland horse industry and the official voice of MHC. Although The Equiery’s mission has changed somewhat, MHC has kept the best of the old magazine and added its own new columns.
Over 100 people took our survey, 95.2% of whom live in Maryland. Other states represented in our survey results were Virginia (2%) and Pennsylvania (1%). We also had one Washington, DC, resident, and one former Marylander who now lives in Utah, take the survey.
Those who live in Maryland represent 16 different counties with Carroll (19%) having the most survey participants followed by Montgomery (17%), Howard (16%), Frederick (13%) and Baltimore (8%), rounding out the top five counties. There were no survey participants from Calvert, Dorchester, Garrett, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, Wicomico, or Worcester counties.
Fifty percent of those who took the survey said they read The Equiery in print. A further 40.4% stated they read the magazine both in print and online. Only 9.6% said they read The Equiery online only.
For those who read the print version of the magazine, 44 people said they receive their copies by direct mail to their homes. MHC members receive The Equiery mailed to them as a free member benefit. Another 42 people said they pick up their copies at feed stores, with Southern States being the most popular feed store mentioned. Eighteen people said they get their copies from tack stores, the most popular of which is Stablemates in Frederick County.
For those who read the magazine online, 25 people said they read online once a month, 11 said they read online once a week, and three said they read online daily.
Twenty-five people clicked “other” for the question about when they read online. Some of the write-in comments were:
• “When I didn’t get a copy of the print version yet.”
• “If I’m looking for something specific or clicking through to an article posted on social media.”
• “When I get [an] email or see [a] Facebook post.”
We did get one request for more variety on our social media posts and appreciate this feedback!
Equiery Monthly Columns
When MHC purchased The Equiery, the board decided to keep the monthly Equiery Life (now called Life & Times of Marylanders), News & Views, and Out & About columns. MHC also added an OA Social page for photos posted to The Equiery’s Facebook page during its weekly Monday Photo Share post.
Of these columns, it is no surprise that Out & About received the highest number of votes (74%) for readers’ favorite monthly column. The second most popular column is News & Views (60.6%) followed by Life & Times of Marylanders (42.3%). OA Social received only 10.6% of survey clicks.
Out & About was mentioned several times in write-in comments with one person requesting a “bigger out and about section” and someone else asking for “more out and about pictures or pictures of people and their horses having fun and at shows.”
As much as we love printing photos, the number of pages we reserve for Out & About each month depends on the size of the issue, which depends on the amount of advertising for that month. Rest assured that we add more Out & About whenever our advertising supports it.
For those who like seeing themselves and their friends in print, here are some suggestions for submitting photos for Out & About!
• Be sure to list the names of all riders and horses in each photo as well as where and when the photo was taken and by whom the photo was taken.
• Be sure these IDs are listed with the file name for each photo.
• High resolution photos are requested. Think… the bigger the file size the better!
• Screen grabs from phone videos do not print well and thus are often not selected for print when submitted.
• Any photo taken by a professional photographer will only be printed with written permission from that photographer. Reminder – photographers often have different prices for different uses when purchasing their photos.
• We select photos based on when they were sent with those submitted before the 10th of the month having priority for printing in the next issue.
• We also try to select one photo from each person submitting photos before printing multiple photos from the same person/event.
MHC Monthly Columns
As many longtime Equiery readers will recall, MHC printed its quarterly newsletters in The Equiery for many years. Now that it owns the magazine, MHC prints several new columns related to its various committees.
Of all these new committee columns, the Government Relations and Sport Horse committee columns received the most votes, with 36 votes each. Both of these columns are printed year round, although you may see a break from time to time based on what is going on, or not going on, within the industry.
Some write-in comments related to Government Relations were “I love the political news when [the] legislature is in session. Where else can you get information about the results of contemplated legislation?” and “I like The Equiery a lot more now that it is run by MHC and has the MHC updates, especially the legislative info.” As a suggestion, one person wrote in that they would like to see the Government Relations column “more reader friendly and less text dense.”
The Sport Horse column is fairly new and highlights the successes of Maryland-bred sport horses from all over the country. It is written by the Sport Horse Committee, which is dedicating to supporting Maryland breeders and branding the Maryland-bred sport horse. If you breed sport horses or own a Maryland-bred, be sure to put their information in MHC’s new Maryland-bred Sport Horse Database so we can track their results. Link here: https://mdhorsecouncil.org/sporthorses/
Update & Letter from the President received 34 votes while Farm Stewardship and Industry Professionals each received 32 votes. The Trails Stewardship Committee column received 30 votes.
Special Annual Issues
Everyone loves a good theme and throughout the year, The Equiery presents its readers with several specially themed issues such as Farm Fix Up and the Internationals.
According to our survey, the August Photo Contest issue is the most popular with 42 votes. This comes as no surprise to us considering we typically receive around 300 photo submissions for the contest. Because the submissions are soaring, we have decided to move the deadline for entries to July 1, 2024, to give us enough time to sort through them and vote on the winners. The submission period is open now, so get your entries in!
The second most popular themed issue is the March Calendar of Activities. This issue received 32 votes. We are currently working on the 2024 Calendar of Activities so be sure to email your 2024 dates to email@example.com no later than February 10, 2024.
Our Lesson Stables & Horses issue is a relatively new themed issue created by MHC for the June edition. This issue received 31 votes. The October Internationals & Horse Month issue received 24 votes while the Preakness issue in May received 23 votes. Our February Yearbook of Champions, April Farm Fix Up & Earth Day issue and new November Art Contest issue each received 19 votes.
We received several write-in topic suggestions, some of which we have covered in the past so please check our online archives! These topic suggestions are being reviewed by Equiery staff and the MHC board for inclusion in future issues.
In the meantime, here is a sneak peek at what is in store for 2024 Equiery editorial (note – editorial subject to change).
• February – Be sure to send your year-end awards and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org by January 10, 2024, for this year’s Yearbook of Champions.
• March – Calendar dates will be accepted through February 10, 2024, for this year’s Calendar of Activities. Please email email@example.com. This calendar is free for activities in Maryland, Equiery advertisers and MHC members. There is a small fee for out of state activities that are not hosted by Equiery advertisers or MHC members.
• April – Farm Fix Up and Earth Day tips with a special advertising section for businesses related to improving farms from footing to fencing and more!
• May – Preakness preview, bios of this year’s Sunrise Tour Guides and Thoroughbred topics.
• June – Celebrating the lesson stable horse with reader submissions and stories.
• July – Tips on how to beat the summer heat.
• August – Annual Equiery Photo Contest with NEW DEADLINE! Photos must be submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org by July 1, 2024.
• September – Fall Activities Calendar and also tips for trail riders from trail riders.
• October – International competitions and Horse Month previews.
• November – Our new Art Contest returns with submission deadline of October 1, 2024.
• December – Reader reviews of the Internationals and more!