Friday, Feb. 23, 2024

A Colorful Milestone

Even though we put our heart and soul into each week’s magazine, I’ll admit that this annual Dressage Issue is particularly meaningful for us.

You’re reading The Chronicle of the Horse’s 70th birthday issue. The first issue, then called The Middleburg Chronicle, was published on Sept. 17, 1937, and for the past seven decades the publication has evolved from a local weekly news and gossip tabloid to a magazine of news, commentary and features for equestrians throughout the country.
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Even though we put our heart and soul into each week’s magazine, I’ll admit that this annual Dressage Issue is particularly meaningful for us.

You’re reading The Chronicle of the Horse’s 70th birthday issue. The first issue, then called The Middleburg Chronicle, was published on Sept. 17, 1937, and for the past seven decades the publication has evolved from a local weekly news and gossip tabloid to a magazine of news, commentary and features for equestrians throughout the country.

This issue is also a milestone for another reason—the traditional black-and-white Chronicle that you’ve enjoyed all of these years has now transitioned into full color.

Throughout the years the Chronicle’s publishers and editors have carefully considered each change they’ve made to the magazine, and input from subscribers and advertisers is of vital importance.

On Feb. 6, 1953, the publication, then known as The Chronicle, changed format from tabloid to magazine. In that week’s Commentary, Editor Alexander Mackay-Smith explained the reasons for the new format, and his words of more than 50 years ago still ring true: “Chronicle readers are a remarkably loyal group who cherish its unique position and flavor. Among them there are sure to be some who deplore changes.”

We’re sure that some readers will love the change, and others will raise a doubtful eyebrow. But we’re really excited about the new look. It’s tough balancing tradition and evolution, but it’s been a challenge every Chronicle editor has faced.

Mr. Mackay-Smith oversaw some major changes the magazine experienced in just its first few decades, including on July 5, 1946, when art was first used on the front cover. On Jan. 6, 1961, The Chronicle Of The Horse was born when The Chronicle was merged with the Horse magazine. The news and commentary of the equestrian world were blended with features and horse care articles, similar to the magazine of today.

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On May 13, 1977, The Chronicle of the Horse underwent one of its biggest—and most controversial—changes when the magazine switched to coated paper stock. All of the subscribers who had previously used magazine covers as wallpaper were hugely disappointed.

Editor Peter Winants noted that the change to coated paper was made to provide better photographic reproduction in black and white and color. “The latter is particularly relevant, for color ads are becoming more prevalent in the horse industry,” he said.

Fast forward 30 years. Today, our printer has the capabilities to provide top-quality color printing for a fraction of the cost it was in the past, and with digital photography fine-tuned to deliver awesome quality quickly, it’s time for us to enjoy the beauty of our equine athletes in full color each week.

The changes we make to the magazine are always made in response to repeated requests and suggestions from our readers. Others before me in this position have repeatedly welcomed suggestions to improve the magazine, and I shall welcome them in the future.

Our world has changed dramatically in the past 70 years, especially in the areas of technology and communication. This year we unveiled a redesigned homepage (www.chronofhorse.com) that’s more attractive and easier to navigate. I’m sure our past editors would never have believed that Chronicle subscribers would one day be able to turn on their computers and see competition coverage and beautiful color photography from throughout the world in real time.

We’ll do our best to merge future evolutions into the magazine as well, but trust that we’ll always strive to retain that traditional flavor that makes The Chronicle of the Horse unique.

Tricia Booker

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