Tuesday, Apr. 23, 2024

“Howlers” Are Always Welcome

I’ll usually know quite quickly how my week will begin when I arrive at the office on Monday morning. If my phone blinks red, with double-digit numbers on the message display, and I open my e-mail to an avalanche, I’ll know that the previous week’s magazine made an impression.
   
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I’ll usually know quite quickly how my week will begin when I arrive at the office on Monday morning. If my phone blinks red, with double-digit numbers on the message display, and I open my e-mail to an avalanche, I’ll know that the previous week’s magazine made an impression.
   
Although I’ll admit some trepidation as I wade through these messages—some of which are reminiscent of the Howlers from Harry Potter—most of the time I relish the responses that you send to us in the aftermath of a controversial or hot-button topic.
   
When The Middleburg Chronicle first rolled off the presses in 1937, Stacy B. Lloyd Jr., the publisher/editor, and Gerald B. Webb Jr., the managing editor, published the magazine’s “First Principles.” Their primary mission was to involve readers in the development of the publication.

Throughout the decades, the Chronicle’s leaders have continued to follow this mandate and even expanded upon the original idea. Now the magazine is a sounding board for horsemen to express their support, reflections, ideas and criticisms in a variety of ways.

For those of you who do take that important step in formulating your thoughts on paper (or keyboard), we provide you with a Letters To The Editor department (p. 43). And our Between Rounds column for the sport’s leaders—such as U.S. Equestrian Federation President David O’Connor (p. 14)—is a place for them to discuss topics and share their knowledge. The Forum, our third outlet for opinion, is a department in which horsemen are invited to express their views and offer constructive criticism.

Over the past several years eventing has suffered a spate of unfortunate accidents, and although we’ve diligently reported on the news, the cold, hard facts don’t always tell the whole story. We’ve been fortunate this spring to have prominent horsemen, such as Wash Bishop, Kim Keppick, Louise Meryman, Craig Thompson, Danny Warrington and this week, Darren Chiacchia (p. 16), contribute to the Forum, where they have a platform to discuss issues, address concerns and set the record straight, if necessary.
   
Their words don’t go unheeded, either. I currently have a tremendous backlog of letters awaiting publication—the most I recall receiving at any one time—from readers. Many of these letters are replies to our Forum contributors, and I’ve been both amazed and humbled by the passion, clarity, frankness and thoughtfulness you express in your responses. This open dialogue is truly invaluable to horse sports.

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Even though bulletin boards and blogs are all the rage these days, it’s easy in the fast-paced world of the Internet to lose track of important issues. As our founders noted, the Chronicle is a place for the community to come together in print to support the “people, their farms and their horses.”

Eventing may be in the limelight at this point in time, but I encourage everyone in all disciplines to see the Chronicle as a place to exchange information and opinions. Although much has changed in the past seven decades, we still rely on and value your contributions to the magazine. We welcome your phone calls, letters, faxes and e-mails because we’re here for you, no matter whether your message comes through via a
beautiful snowy owl or by a raging howler.

Tricia Booker, Editor

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