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Writer's Guidelines

Horse&Rider is the magazine of Western riding. Its mission is to educate, inform, and entertain both competitive and recreational Western riders with tightly focused training articles; practical stable-management techniques; hands-on health-care tips; safe trail-riding practices; well-researched consumer advice; and a behind-the-scenes, you-are-there approach to major equine events. We do not print fiction or poems. Please know we concentrate on horse and rider--not rodeo, mule, driving, or Western-themed articles.

We strongly urge you to pick up a copy of our magazine and familiarize yourself with our subject matter and style before you send an article query or submit a manuscript. The magazine is available at most major newsstands. Please know unsolicited/unassigned freelance material accounts for less than 5 percent of the magazine. Our payment scale ranges from $25 to $400, depending on article length, department, and research. Payment amounts are discussed after a query has been accepted. Note: There is no pay offered for Your Stories submissions.

1. Readers you're writing for...
Our readers: 86 percent are female; 76 percent are aged 40 and older; 80 percent have at least two horses; 65 percent keep their horses at home, on their own property; 60 percent ride several times weekly; 57 percent have owned horses 10 years or longer; and 94 percent wear Western clothing. 

Our typical reader: Lives in a small town or rural area, either around a metro area with a good economy (equals higher disposable income) or in a place that's so rural horse ownership is doable, but not big-bucks spend-able; cares for three or four horses, at home, generally on 20 acres; is a do-it-yourselfer and hasn't had anything resembling a formal riding education; wishes to connect with her horse physically, mentally, and emotionally; and spends a large part of her disposable income on horses.

Horse interests: Half of our readers compete in shows/contests, and half don't; 80 percent of those who show compete only at a local level; 70 percent trail ride for fun and relaxation; 25 percent are interested in breeding; other activities include camping with horses, attending equine clinics and seminars, and participating in riding clubs.

Horse ownership: 25 percent of the readership has owned horses for 4 years or fewer, 25 percent has owned them for 20 years or more, and the remainder fall in the middle. Favorite breeds (in descending order): Quarter Horse (65 percent), Paint/Pinto, Arabian/Half-Arabian, Appaloosa, Gaited Horse and Grade Horse.

2. Horse & Rider writing style...
Tone: As the writer, you assume the voice of a well-informed, well-connected, good horse pal, whose advice the reader can trust when she needs it.

Voice: Please address the reader as "you," just as though you were speaking one-on-one to a person with whom you already have some degree of familiarity. 

Title and subtitle: Think of the title and subtitle as part of the text--they're tools for establishing the premise of the story and its promised benefit to the readers. (Note examples throughout every issue.) 

Subheads: Use subheads as organization devices, but envision them as graphic elements in the finished layout to avoid long, daunting expanses of gray text. Never go more than two manuscript pages before inserting a new subhead. 

Lead paragraphs: Use the first three to four paragraphs of text to get into the reader's head and to state briefly what you're about to help him/her get a handle on. Provide a road map of all the story's elements, including charts and sidebars. The first couple of paragraphs should establish relevancy of upcoming material to the reader's horse life.

Article format: If possible, format the main body of text into digestible bits and pieces that can be bulleted, italicized, enumerated, and/or grouped. (See examples throughout our magazine.) Our method is to shape pieces up front, and we love writers who can help us do that. 

Sidebars: Sift material for sidebars. We think of sidebars as graphic, as well as editorial, elements. We like lists, checklists, needs-evaluating quizzes, real-life slices, ranges of what things cost, principles for choosing between Choice A vs. Choice B, etc. We love sidebars comprised of fast-food, bonus-in-the-cereal-box stuff. For a major feature assignment, plan to provide at least two sidebars. 

Research: Do not represent yourself as an agent of Horse&Rider magazine without editor approval. If, once you have approval, you speak with manufacturers, retailers, etc., state that you're researching an article for Horse&Rider, so they don't confuse you with salespeople who might be calling them. If you're particularly impressed by anyone or anything encountered in your research, by all means, include names and examples. Do tread lightly, and carefully, in the area of advertiser sensitivity: If in doubt, contact the assigning Horse&Rider editor. 

Sources: To credit important sources, including any industry people who assist you, add a note stating, "The editors thank xxxxx, of yyyyy company, in city, state, for their assistance with this article." You don't need to say what they contributed to--just give them public acknowledgment, as it's our professional courtesy policy.

Expert bios: If you use one expert source throughout your story, such as in a major training or health-care feature, please provide their professional credentials, as well as biographical and geographical information, for use as a possible sidebar or editor's note. 

3. Horse&Rider photography requirements…
Our graphic standards are quite high. We usually assign the photography or illustration of a story to one of our professional photographers or artists. Also, we rarely accept photographs without an accompanying manuscript. We prefer high-resolution digital photography. Each photo must be 300dpi when sized at least 5 inches by 7 inches (at least 2,100 by 1,500 pixels). Generally, this is at least one megabyte (1,000 kilobytes). REQUIRED IMAGE SIZE WILL VARY BY USE OF THE IMAGE. Submit photography on a CD or DVD, and include caption information. No camera-phone shots. Don't send original photos or illustrations; we can't guarantee their return. 

4. Submission instructions...
Queries: Send queries (which include the focus of the story along with a fairly detailed outline; please be succinct and to the point, no long stories) for consideration to: Horse & Rider, Jennifer Paulson, Managing Editor, 2520 S. 55th St., #210, Boulder, CO 80301.

Materials: No hard copies of manuscripts will be considered. Only digital files (sent on CD/DVD or via e-mail) will be accepted. Mail a CD/DVD, with the manuscript composed in Word and associated photos, to Horse & Rider, Jennifer Paulson, Managing Editor, 2520 S. 55th St., #210, Boulder, CO 80301. To send files via e-mail, attach a Word document containing the manuscript and low-resolution images (to be replaced with the required high-resolution images if the manuscript is purchased) to jpaulson@aimmedia.com

Note: Please allow three months for us to respond to your submission. We do not accept simultaneous submissions. Please target your ideas to our audience as best possible.

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