When I was a kid, COTH and Practical Horseman were the two big magazines for the h/j crowd. COTH was the fancy “cool” magazine with all the pretty show pictures and ads for things I could not afford. I went about a decade without picking one up (aside from the stallion issue, which I used to buy every year) but since winning a subscription at AEC and reading them regularly for the past year plus… it’s lost a lot of it’s luster for me. I like their Untacked side publication and I like the fact that you can choose print or digital, but the content has left me wanting. Practical Horseman is still the same ol’ solid, dependable magazine that it always was, with lots of riding articles, but it starts to feel like the same thing over and over after a while. Fun to page through, but nothing particularly exciting or cutting edge.
This year I’ve branched out a little bit into some of the newer publications, wanting to find something different. After lots of looking and a little trial and error, I’m left with three: Heels Down, Horse & Style, and The Horse Magazine.
Heels Down is a digital magazine that seems to be catered more toward the younger crowd. They’re usually one of the first to cover new trends or tackle more controversial subjects, plus they have a pretty good balance of riding articles and a really solid social media presence (not to mention their fair share of great giveaways). There is definitely a lot of variety. The magazine is downloadable each month via their app to your smart phone or tablet for $4.99 per issue, or $3.99 per issue if you have a subscription (there’s a one month free trial period so you can check it out first if you want). It’s fun, it’s cool, and it’s current… perfect for the 18-30 crowd (or, uh… 33yo’s who are pretending like they aren’t as old as they are. Ahem.).
Horse & Style is, in a word, posh. It’s printed on sturdy paper with a thick cover, has TONS of show photos, and definitely gives an overall high end, elegant feel. They do rider interviews, style guides, articles about horse shows, equestrian vacation destinations, book reviews, Q&A with a sports psychologist, etc etc. It has a very grown-up, sophisticated feel to it… and it’s just ridiculously gorgeous, cover to cover. They too have a good social media presence, with lots of horse show photos and monthly giveaways (I won one!). You can also page through it here.
Then there’s The Horse Magazine, an Australian publication that I’ve mentioned on here before (and now you can read it online here). They focus a lot on what’s going on in the show world internationally, plus have riding articles and a good dose of breeding stuff thrown in. My favorite thing about them is that they’re never afraid to be blunt, even if it’s controversial. It’s not all rainbows and butterflies, which is really refreshing.
I love all three publications, for very different reasons. If you want something that feels young and fun, I think Heels Down is worth the download. If you want something decadent to hit your mailbox every other month that you can slowly and indulgently page through, Horse & Style certainly fits that criteria. If you want something honest that will get you thinking, The Horse is a great read. If you like variety, read all 3.
I used to subscribe to Warmbloods Today, a US based breeding-centered magazine, but let my subscription lapse for some reason I can’t remember. I really should renew that, because it was a cool magazine if you’re into the breeding stuff… I’ve given a gift subscription to a few people for Christmas before, too. And of course since I’m a USEA member I get their magazine, Eventing USA, which is free with membership or you can buy back issues. It’s actually pretty good.
What about you… what are your favorite horse magazines?