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June 5, 2012

The Birth Of The Chronicle of the Horse

The first cover with the Chronicle's iconic artwork and logo appeared on Jan. 6, 1961 when The Chronicle of the Horse magazine—a combination of The Chronicle and Horse magazines—debuted.

Jan. 6, 1961

Alexander Mackay-Smith explains to readers about the merging of The Chronicle and Horse magazine.

THE CHRONICLE OF THE HORSE

It was in the autumn of 1937 that Stacy B. Lloyd, Jr., and Gerald Webb, both ardent foxhunters, decided that the little town of Middleburg, the center of Virginia horse country, needed a newspaper. So was born the Middleburg Chronicle. It was an unpretentious 8-page sheet, filled with local happenings and gossip, which necessarily meant news about hunting, hunt race meetings, hunter horse shows, Thoroughbred stud farms and the people connected with them. In the first issue appeared the list of original subscribers—less than 100 of them.

Because it was entertainingly written and because Virginia was and is a horse center, new subscribers from other areas were soon added and then accounts of their sport. A year and a half later, the small town newspaper had in effect become a weekly horse magazine, so the title was changed simply to The Chronicle.

In 1945 (Vol. IX #1) the cover was first embellished with reproductions of equestrian paintings and with Robert Ball’s decorative masthead and border. Over the years it surpassed the longer established weeklies in circulation and became first a national and finally an international publication with only 10% of its readers in Virginia. It also became the official publication of such organizations as the Masters of Foxhounds Association of America, the U.S. Equestrian Team, the U.S. Combined Training Association, the U.S. Pony Clubs, and others.

Last week it was mailed to nearly 8,000 paid subscribers. Its chosen fields were expanded to include all sports connected with the Throroughbred horse—racing, breeding, steeplechasing, foxhunting, hunter and jumper shows, combined training, polo, riding ponies, hunter seat equestrian and dressage.

In addition to reporting equestrian events, The Chronicle has always published general articles providing background, instruction and variety. In 1954, Bert Clark Thayer, dean of horse photographers, founded the monthly Horse magazine for readers with a general, rather than a competitive interest in horses. Some 18 months ago this publication was acquired by the owners of The Chronicle. Since then, according to the policies of the founder, Horse has published nearly 200 notables articles and stories which have elicited much praise and have gained many new friends and subscribers.

Americans are a competitive lot, however, and readers of Horse magazine are no exception. Constantly we have received from them letters asking for reports of the Olympic Games, of the international horse shows, of the Kentucky Derby and of other major events. It has thus become increasingly evident that the 13,000 paid subscribers to the two magazines can best be served by including all the features of both in a single publication.

Consequently with this issue we become The Chronicle of the Horse. It will contain all the material that has made The Chronicle the country’s largest equestrian weekly, supported by a readership of exceptional enthusiasm and loyalty (nearly 90% renewal rate) with the highest average income of any periodical subscriber group in America. In its 52 issues per year there will also be the how-to-do-it articles, the controversies of theory and practice, the breed histories, the stories and the illustrations which have brought comparable success to Horse magazine. More than 13,000 copies of this and subsequent issues will be mailed to all parts of the United States and Canada and to more than 20 foreign countries.

Naturally, this means more pages—over 2,000 are projected for 1961. Chronicle subscribers will continue to receive their accustomed 52 issues per year. In accordance with the rules of the Audit Bureau of Circulations, subscribers to Horse magazine will receive approximately three issues for every one to which they were previously entitled—a 200% dividend—and considerably larger issues at that. Subscribers to both magazines will have their subscriptions extended proportionately.

Thus we reach another milestone. With your continued help and support—staff, subscribers, and advertisers—The Chronicle of the Horse will achieve further heights, further distinction.

This article was first published on Jan. 6, 1961, in The Chronicle of the Horse. It's part of a series celebrating 75 years of Chronicle history.

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