Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Stallion Issue

I recently subscribed to
The Morgan Horse magazine.

It's been several years since I've subscribed to a horse "breed" magazine. When I first got My Boy, I got the Appaloosa Journal for a year.

I learned to ride on a Morgan mare and her owner had issues of The Morgan Horse magazine, which I borrowed and read. I poured over each issue from cover to cover and back again. This was in the early 1980's, but I think she had issues from the late 70's as well.

The "stallion issue" was always my favorite. It was as thick as a phone book, nearly 200-300 pages- filled with colorful advertisements and pictures of beautiful Morgans. I can remember particular farm and stallion ads, and the way each issue smelled. Yes they had a smell, strange but true. I would love to get my hands on some of those old issues.

I was excited that my first issue of TMH, the January stallion issue, would be distributed on February 5th. When it arrived in my mailbox on Wednesday, I was rather surprised.

The issue was not thick. In fact, I have a random (non-stallion) issue from 1988 that was still 232 pages, double that of this issue.

This 2010 issue was 112 pages. There are a fair amount of stallion ads, but not nearly as much as I expected.

I wonder what is going on here? Is it the economy, preventing breeders from the high costs of advertising? Is this a reflection of a cut-back breeding program? Or is the Morgan breed struggling in general with registrations and membership?

I've noticed other magazine markets changing, too. The home decor magazines "Country Home", "Cottage Living", and "Metropolitan Home" went under last year. So did "National Geographic's Adventure", "Hallmark Magazine", "Gourmet", and "Golf For Woman." And those are just a few of the many that ceased existence.

Even the all-breed/discipline publications such as "Equus" and "Horse Illustrated" seem to be less bulky. Maybe they are cutting costs by using thinner, less expensive paper. Or maybe they have less advertisers. Or possibly, they are featuring less editorial content, to try to keep issue size to a minimum as a cost-effective measure.

Or maybe, digital media is keeping us more focused. Instead paying for subscriptions or buying magazines from newsstands, we are reading them online. Perhaps all the wonderful blogs out there are even taking the place of magazines. Who wants to wait for a magazine once a month when you can get new stories, photos, information, and updates every day?

Me? I know I still love the excitement of getting a magazine in the mail. I'm a tactile person. I like a real publication in my hands. It seems more real and permanent. Besides, it has a smell.

I know. I'm weird.

Do you think the age of magazines are about to become nothing but vintage collections in museums and antique stores? Do you subscribe to any horse breed-specific magazines? If not, which one would you like to?


  1. I'm guessing it's the whole "save a tree" attitude that has changed the entire society these days, and everyone is cutting costs anywhere they can. I also love my magazines I get in the mail, but they too are lightweight.
    Wow, I did not realize that Morgans heads and necks ride so high? Is that typical?

  2. {Cousin B}~ Most Morgans are more "upright" than your stock breeds, they are more like Saddlebreds in that way. But it also depends on their breeding, mostly. There are many different bloodlines and types of Morgans.

  3. I think it is a sign of the times. I believe that with the digital age, newspapers and hard copy magazines are going by the wayside, unfortunately. The Arabian Horse Times, to cut printing costs, recently sent out a notice that they would be selling the publication, which used to come free with any membership, unlessyou have a 'lifetime' membership.

    Those Morgans are absolutely gorgeous!

  4. I am in total agreement regarding magazines and books -- I like the real thing; to hold it in my hands, turn pages and have the specific issue on hand when I want to look back at it without having to log on line and search. I could never kindle, though I have during my long train commute read the Wall St Journal on my iphone. I do think news papers, magazines and books will quietly fade away and become collectors items or sought after for home design. This saddens me.
    I don't subscribe to any horse magazines currently. I'm not sure if I mentioned this prior, but our first horse ( I was 9) was half morgan/half thoroughbred. 18 hands worth! But such a sweet gentle mare. As far as the smell in your magazines...maybe it's those cologne samples of that new scent ... Barn Babe! HA!

  5. I think that, in general, print media is losing ground in our digital age. However part of the reason the stallion issue may be much lighter is that Morgans aren't as popular as they used to be. (I don't have facts and figures, that is just a guess)

    I know that I love to read something I can actually hold and feel with pages to turn and yes - that smell! I just can't picture myself ever preferring a Kindle to an actual book. What would a good long bubble bath be without a book!!! lol

    And while I adore my books and mags I also love my blogs. But to me blogging is also about community.

  6. {fairfield house}~ I have no interest in a Kindle right now, either! I'm a book girl all the way. I can spend hours in a bookstore, new or used.....That is so neat you had a half Morgan!

    {CdnCowgirl}~ I do think perhaps Morgans have "decreased" in popularity. An issue of the Quarter Horse Journal from around 3 years ago ran stats on all the major breed associations, and Morgans were really low (as were Appaloosas.) I always root for the underdog, though! ;)

  7. I think it is a combination of a lot of things , digital media being foremost ,I too love having the actual magazine in my hads ,I stopped subscribing to Equus a few years ago but still have a stack of about 5yrs worth of my favorites

  8. The smaller issues have less to do with growing an environmental conscience or breed popularity than with the decline of print media and its irrelevance today.

    I do this for a living. ;)

    Most print publications are 60% ads, 40% content - newspapers and magazines. Advertisers have to look at the cost per view that their ad will get, and if it isn't cost efficient they are going to cut it. Why put an ad in The Morgan Horse, where you can't track the effectiveness and you are reaching only a niche group of people, when you can spend your money much more efficiently on Google AdWords?

    Sadly, we will never go back to the way things were. We will keep progressing forward, making things like magazines obsolete.

  9. {Grace's Mom}~ I'm going to hold hope that some magazines will hang in there! I don't like reading magazines online (when I know there is a hard copy.) I do love blogs, though. I like both!! I want both! That is why I subscribed to TMH, I guess. I'm trying to show some support. I'm sure subscription rates barely cover publication costs, though....

  10. I like magizines. I am like you. I like to culdly up with the animals and read a good magizine. I can't loom at a computer screen too long. I subcribe to the paint horse journal and QH journal. My mom has gotten me what seems like a lifetime subscription to horse illustrated. Even though it's not my favortue. I love the magizine called The Horse. It's awesome!

  11. I love magazines too. I used to buy all the decorating ones, and horse magazines. Now I don't buy any hardly ever. I really miss them. But had to cut back.

  12. I love that your Morgan magazine caused you to stop and ponder all these questions, PG. You're very inquisitive.

    I'm anti-clutter and I used to be an avid book and magazine collector, but in the past 7 years I give them all away, when I'm done, except maybe some of the collector issues or special books.

    I don't much care for magazines anymore either. They are full of ads that are very distracting to me. They seem to be more ads than articles actually. I also feel bad about the waste involved when I'm done with a magazine, too.

    I don't have a Kindle yet, but would love to have one. My eyes are getting older and I like the idea of being able to enlarge the fonts and also to have the book be read to me, too. And my hands tend to get stiff and tired of holding a book and turning the pages and trying to keep the pages open, whereas that's not an issue with a Kindle.

    That being said, I do receive National Geographic magazine and have done so for more than 15 years, and I don't see me not continuing with that magazine. I also receive Mary Jane's Farm, which was a gif subscription, and I enjoy that one, too. But probably won't resubscribe when it runs out.

    I sometimes pick up the TrailBlazer Magazine through my local Horse Rescue, but I don't subscribe. I do like that magazine for some of the good articles, but even that one is becoming too full of ads.

    I prefer reading articles online now and visiting blogs. :)


  13. While I definitely prefer the print editions of newspapers, magazines and books, it's a sign of the times that they are fading. I live outside Detroit and a little over a year ago we stopped having a daily newspaper!! I about freaked - I ALWAYS read the newspaper every morning with my coffee. How was I going to drink coffee? How was I going to know what was going on in the world except on Thursday, Friday and Sunday when they'd still drop a paper at my door? I'll tell you, it was a rough transition. But you can see what I switched to by the timing of this post - I sit at the computer reading blogs and checking headlines on Google news for the important stuff.

    Out of necessity I also listen to a lot of audio books. Again, I still prefer a good print book but I spend a ton of time driving and I can listen much more safely than I can actually read!!! And I'll admit to having a couple of books on my iPod for those times when I'm stuck in a long line or at the DMV and need something to do...

    I still get The Horse (great for medical type horsey stuff), Horse and Rider and The Paint Horse Journal. All have gotten very thin though the PHJ is still pretty thick most issues and they also still use the heavy, high gloss paper.

  14. I grew up with printer's ink in my blood. I also have a love affair with paper. On the glossy magazines, it's often the varnish that gives that wonderful smell.

    I think it's a combination of the high cost of printing, plus people getting info from the internet. When people cut back, stuff like magazine subscriptions are the first thing that goes. I gave up my 3 miniature magazine subscriptions when Mr. Fry's job woes started. The only ones I keep are H&R and Prevention.

    Sad but true; it's a sign of the times.

  15. I'm a marketing student, and I've taken whole classes on the ebb and flow of the popularity of different kinds of media. The sad news is, print media is in decline. Since most people can read newspapers on their computers and smart phones, there is really not much use for physical papers anymore.

    The same concept goes for magazines, coupled with the distinct fact that we are in a recession, and a magazine subscription would definitely count as a 'superfluous expense' that is likely to be eliminated in tough times.

    There is hope for newspapers, magazines, and books though! With the launch of Apple's new iPad, and Amazon's handheld Kindle, there may be an emerging market for electronic versions of papers (not just websites, but actual papers) that could be downloaded directly to these devices for a fee and read electronically.

    Being a poor student, I don't subscribe to any magazines, but I've had my eye on the Vegetarian Times, and I used to subscribe to Horse Illustrated, and the AQHA magazine (I loved that one for the 'history' articles)

  16. It seems to be economics and selling ad space. I tried to get a couple of publications (one small, one large) to review my book. The only way it could happen was if I spent a bunch of money on ad space. I understand that, but on the other hand, what happened to doing things for fun instead of always having a money angle?

  17. A lot of people are worried newspaper are going to go that way too, but I think more people than you would expect like to have something to hold in their hands. I got my first issue of Sunset in the mail yesterday (yay!) and wouldn't trade it for the online articles even if you paid me. I like to flip through the pages, earmark them or even tear them out. With online publications, you either have to print them out anyway or go online to access them.
    As far as the thickness of the magazine goes, I think the economy has something do to with it. I know that the breeding market is WAY down (my company's sales says so) and so there are a lot of stallions that have been pulled off the market since no one can afford to breed their mares to them. Also, the attitude towards marketing and advertising has changed I think. People have learned to cram everything into a small square instead of buying a whole entire page.

  18. I am totally a book and magazine person (mostly books) but it did used to annoy me when I went to work by train, that the carriage would be littered with free newspapers, and when you buy a Sunday paper now, it is HUGE and impossible to read in a weekend. I do like my horse mags, though, they are so inspiring.

  19. I only subscribe to Hobby Farm and Hobby Farm Home. I used to pick up Country Home then give the issue to my mother. My husband hassles me over the magazines because of the waste and because he has to haul them to the recycle center. I have a handful of old magazines that I saved whole, but I used to rip the good articles out and save in a scrap book. Especially gardening info.

    As for horse magazines... I belong to the Saddlebred Association and I love their bi-monthly member magazine. The others I can keep up with on the WEB, and I don't bother with the glossy breed mags with all the vanity ads. There are plenty of online resources if you want to actually research stallions.

    But I do LOVE books and magazines. I have a collection of varied magazines from the 1920s and 1930s. I love the illustration art and old ads. I've copied some covers to use as artwork in my home.

  20. I think it's all of the above factors you mentioned. I know our Paint Horse Journal & Quarter Horse Journal is much thinner than it used to be. The paper is even different and of lesser quality as is the printed photos. not sleek and shiny anymore. It is disappointing that our options for choosing a stallion or horse to buy is less (it's hard enough to choose when there's many) but I understand the need to cut back. In the larger scheme of things that's happening around the world it's not important but definitely a sign of the times. However, I can still detect a Photo Shop job on some of the stallion ads in the seems they would at least make it look professional! It's not that hard! That was more of a disappointment to find out that people would actually "Dr." a photo just to sell a stallion service to a mare owner. Hollywood is not the only ones to sell deception. Locally a GM foundry just let 135 jobs go with less than a week's notice. Taxpayers bailed out GM and GM is sending those jobs to Mexico. People are outraged! It's too bad things like this is taking place.

  21. I sure hope that magazines don't become a thing of the past. But, I wouldn't be surprised if they do. Our society is changing into a "gotta have it right now!" world. People have no patience and we're all moving 99 mph it seems. We all need to slow down...take time to smell the roses and enjoy life, in my opinion. I love getting mags in the mail, it's kind of exciting to see the bright pages and the ads and all the gorgeous pictures. A lovely little treasure besides junk mail or bills. :) As far as the smell, I can relate to a lot of things...just don't remember a magazine smelling memorable. You're not weird, but if you were, you'd be in good company. We're all weird, I think. That's what makes people and life so very interesting! Anyway, I think the economy is also a factor, less ads, more expensive to produce and distribute than the internet...and less horses being bred, less horses being shown, the list could go on and on. Morgans for one breed have been declining for years now. Appaloosas too, have been, and continue to decline in registrations, but even the Apps out-number the Morgan Horse. A very, very good friend of mine has been breeding and showing Morgans for about 40-50 years now. She knows everything and everyone who has anything to do with Morgans. A unique and valuable source of information for sure. She's a wonderful lady. Her farm is called Rogue Hill Farm in Sheridan, Oregon. She has some of the old bloodlines and her horses are beautiful. They have a wonderful personality too, very personable and so flashy. I love all horses. There is something to admire and respect in every kind, I think. Good post PG!!

  22. I'm a long time subscriber to the Morgan Horse Magazine and the Morgan Connection. You're right about the length of the issues. The Morgan Horse even puts two monthes in to one a few times a year (I think they still do). I still love them though, the quality is still there for sure.

    I know that the Morgan breed is struggling to grow (atleast the Michigan Morgan Assoc)- some shows are being canceled (loss of show grounds also factors in) and numbers have been decreasing at the ones already in existence.

    To be honest, while I think Morgans are some of the most beautiful horses, I never really hear about them. I don't know whether it's a lapse in marketing the breed or a bad reputation that's resulted in this....most people don't seem to know much about them either - it's interesting.

    I'm so glad that you feature Morgans on your blog once in a while :).

  23. My folks were friends with the Shaws of Walla Walla when i was a teen. They are long gone now, but they had their own bloodline of Morgan horses, their farm and bloodline was called "Shawalla". They did a lot of horse shows to promote the bloodline and i actually got to ride one of their geldings at a 4-day 4H training school. He was a nice boy, used just for trails at that point. I remember that i struggled to get him to pick up one of the leads, but he was plum gentle. He was good looking, but looked very litle like the photos you have. The Shawalla Morgans were not like Saddlebreds. They were more like stock horses with fine legs and thick bodies. The heads were higher than a QH, but not arched. The Morgan horses i remember (from the 60's) came in the 2 types and were used like a saddlebred or like a stockhorse.

  24. I prefer paper too!!! I dont want one of those digital book thingys, like you said, no smell, or feel.
    I used to pour over old issues of Appaloosa Journal at our friends when I was a kid, they are the ones that introduced me to Appaloosas, I loved all those ads! and the inch or so thick issues! I would subscribe to Appaloosa Journal again, I currantly subscribe to Horse and Rider, Country, and Farm and Ranch magazines.

  25. i think it is the economy. money is tight and we are going through some tough times. even the martha stewart and oprah mags are smaller in pages. i have practical horseman and have had for over ten years and have kept most of the issues as the instruction is so good. no kindle for me yet..btw, my grandfather from vermont loved morgans (of course)and had several during his life.

  26. I love magazines and books. I prefer to have them in my hand and flip the pages rather than click a scroll bar. I hope they stay around. But I too have seen them getting thinner. I subscribed to The Morgan Horse when I was a horse crazy, but horseless kid. Also a pinto horse, palamino horse, quarter horse magazines and Western Horseman. Now I read Equus, Horse & Rider, and The Eclectic Horseman.

    I also have an "Ask Pony Girl Question". But I'm going to catch up on your posts to see if you've already answered something like it. I'll ask if I don't find it.

  27. I really like magazines, even some of the trashy ones that try to bully you into thinking you a not pretty enough to survive without make up and boyfriends! hah! Of course I work in the beauty industry so part of my job involves reading them. The only magazines I actually subscribe to though are horse related: Horse& Rider and Horse Illustrated. My friend Bill gets Equus so I like to look at that too. The problem is, I never have time to read them cover to cover! And usually I don't find extremely helpful stuff in them consistently each week. Some of them are too heavy on supplements and calling out the vet at every little scratch! We are too self sufficient in these parts for that kind of talk! Still, I really like getting them and seeing what's what and who is who in the horse world. Maybe more people instead of subscribing to magazines are doing something more like the "clubs" you join where you get videos, magazine and discounts for a yearly price. I like magazine though so I hope they do not become extinct!

  28. I have always loved magazines, but in recent time I have virtually stopped buying them. Trying to simplify and de-clutter. I do think the economy has had an impact on many publications. Horse of Kings went to an all virtual magazine. I'm like you, I like it in my hands, but at the same time, I would like to see fewer magazines overall. I guess a balance in all things. Morgans have always been a favorite breed of mine, I hope they are retaining their popularity. I love the old Lippitt morgans the best.

  29. We won a Kindle on a recent trip and I have yet to even open the box. I just like the feel of a book in my hands and I'm always ripping out pages in magazines saving articles that I like or recipes etc... I think it's just a sign of the times that some magazines are smaller or have gone out all together.

  30. I like a magazine in my hands also. I have noticed that there aren't as many as before and they are not as interesting as they used to be. I have always been a big fan of decorating magazines and they are boring to me also now. I think the modern style they are taking now bores me. (Reminds me of my childhood in the 1950's and I hated it then! ha ha)

    Pony Girl, you are going to pass out when I tell you this since I am such a horse person...
    I have never in my whole life saw a Morgan Horse except in photos! They just don't have them around here in what has always been called horse country. If it isn't a Quarter, Paint, Pinto, Mustang, or just about isn't in these parts. We have a Thoroughbred ever so often....but all most all western bred horses. Just a few Arabians....
    Did that shock you?????? lol

  31. {K.T. Sparks}~ I don't think not ever seeing a Morgan in "real life" is too strange....I've seen only one Saddlebred in my life, in over 25 years of horses, a participant at a clinic I was watching, but recently just touched one and rode one for the first time! :) I think it's fairly common for some breeds to be less popular in some areas. Maybe you could find some Morgans at an open show? Or perhaps there is a breeder in your area that you could visit? :) They are pretty horses, I hope you get to see one in person! And so you know, I don't see very many, either. I know of one Morgan, at my mom's stable. I am hoping to attend some Morgan shows this spring, though!

  32. I've noticed the same thing with the Appaloosa Journal that I subscribe to. It's a fraction of the size it used to be back in the 80's, with much less editorial content and much less advertising. I'm with you though, I love to have reading material in my hands, to reference again and again. I still have my App Journal issues from 20 years ago and do revisit them sometimes when I'm feeling nostalgic.


I love hearing from my readers!! I truly enjoy all of your feedback, advice, helpful tips, and stories. You all make me laugh and I learn so much from you, too. I will try to post replies to your comments as often as I can.

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