We're Back on Facebook!

By Jennifer Paulson | June 23, 2015

I've been waiting five days to say this...

We can finally return you to our regular Facebook content!

After an extended hijacking of the Horse&Rider Facebook account—and hackers posting disgusting, offensive content—we've finally reclaimed our page! But please note this: If you've shared, clicked on, or commented on the recent spam posts that were caused by spammers, beware! You likely have a virus on your computer that follows what your browser does.

We've removed all of the hackers' posts, and we should back to the content you've come to value, trust, and share with your horse-riding peers. Be sure to look for a special message from our team to explain what we'll do in the future to keep the page (and your newsfeed) free of inappropriate images and articles.

So if you hid us from your newsfeed or unliked our page, you're safe to come back. If you stuck with us through the mess, thanks for your patience and understanding. While we can't respond to each and every personal message notifying us about the hack, know that we appreciate your attention to our page and your attempts to help us get our page back.

It's time to get back to sharing information to take excellent care of our horses, train them with the best techniques, and share advice with our peers. Thanks again for sticking with us.


To Our Fans: We've Been Hacked

By Jennifer Paulson | June 22, 2015

In case you haven't noticed or are one of the many who's asked on our page, our Facebook page has been hacked. 

On Friday, June 19, 2015, we received notification that a false account had taken over our page. The hackers removed each of the H&R administrators/editors, and started posting offensive, rude content that your trusted resource for all-things-Western-riding would never consider sharing.

It made my blood boil and my stomach sick. 

We've spent a lot of time building a community on Facebook. We carefully plan our posts and what we share with you, just like we do in the printed magazine. We respond to comments, answer personal messages, and thoughtfully consider your feedback on each post. We value the relationship that social media has allowed us to build with you outside the pages of the print product. And when someone abuses that relationship the way that these hackers have, we take it personally.

We've worked tirelessly since Friday to come up with solutions. We've emailed/called/messaged Facebook over and over again. We've even had offers of help from our trusted advertisers. (Thanks, SmartPak!) I was fortunate to attend the American Horse Publications seminar over the weekend, where I received so many tips and tricks to try to get our page back, not to mention many sympathetic words of encouragement from my peers. One friend put it best when she said, "It's going to happen to all of us sooner or later."

Here's hoping the H&R staff can serve as a helpful resource to them if they ever find themselves in our boots.

For now, our boots are pounding the trail, so to speak, to find a way to get back our page and return to you the posts you've come to expect, value, and share. If you'd like to help, you can join the effort by labeling each post you see from us as spam to let Facebook know that we've been hacked. Just click the down arrow in the upper-right corner of the post, choose "report post," then "it's spam," and then "Horse&Rider's account is hacked."

We'll be sure to keep you posted on the progress of our effort to return our page to it's regular programming. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter, where we're keeping up our regular posting schedule. 

 Thanks for believing in us and spreading the word that, no, we didn't post "What Your Tattoo Says About You" or any of the much more offensive posts that have gone up. We have lots of great content to share with you once we're back in control of our page.

As many of you know, the Horse&Rider Facebook page was recently hacked. We admins were subsequently locked out of the account and various spam posts were shared on our wall. This was an unhappy reminder of the importance of keeping personal information and accounts safe online. Unauthorized access of your account can produce threats ranging from serious (identity theft) to relatively mild (sheer embarrassment), and even minor inconveniences are serious issue when your personal information is at stake. 

Now that we’re back online, we’d like to share some tips we’ve been reminded of on how best to keep your online accounts safe. These suggestions don’t just apply to social media accounts, either. We know (as fellow horse owners) that transactions are more and more frequently being done online. Cross-country buying and selling of products, tack, apparel, and even horses, is pretty common practice.

Here are our eight ways to protect yourself from future hack attacks.

Change your passwords often. A new password every few months will help keep your accounts secure and be careful not to repurpose old passwords.

Make your password difficult to guess. Include capitalization, numbers, and punctuation in the password to decrease likelihood that someone could easily hack into your account.

Don’t use the same password for every account. If you have trouble remembering each password, write each one down and stow them in a safe and secure place.

Avoid attaching payment information to an account. When given the option, instead utilize PayPal or Square accounts, which provide an additional layer of security.

Take extra precautions when using personal cards. If you must connect your account to a credit card, or if you’re making an online purchase, exercise extra caution by changing passwords even more frequently and keeping a watchful eye on all bank statements and transaction history. When making online purchases, use credit cards over debit cards for their added security.

Use your stranger danger senses. When corresponding with a stranger at an online site, for example if you’re exchanging with a buyer or seller at an online horse-sale site, don’t give out your email address, phone number, or other personal information freely. Even if the individual you’re exchanging with seems safe, you don’t know who has access to their accounts.

Never respond or engage with suspicious emails, links, or posts. Though a catchy headline might seem alluring, if you don’t recognize the address, don’t open the message. Also, if the post seems out of character for an individual or page, don’t click or share, this’ll just open your account to potential risk.

Requests for account or personal information should always be treated as suspect. If you’re unsure whether the request is legitimate or not contact site’s IT personnel or report the message.  

Please share your own online safety tips in the comments below.

Again, we offer our sincere apology for the recent spam and inappropriate links shared on our Facebook page. Thank you to those of you who, with your cyber savvy, were quick to realize our account had been compromised and reached out to us with a warning. We appreciate your dedication to the Horse&Rider brand.

My First Shoot With Bob Avila

By Jennifer Paulson | June 04, 2015

Each month I help edit Bob Avila's Winning Insights. And he and his wife, Dana, have helped me at numerous events, including the 2014 AQHA World Show for our Superhorse coverage. But I've never done a full-fledged photo shoot with the legend.

That all changes this weekend.

Today I leave for Temecula to visit what I think is the most exciting attraction in Southern California—not Disneyland or Sea World. Bob Avila Training Stables. Dr. Marc Laxineta
Credit: Dr. Marc Laxineta
In our annual shoot with Bob Avila, we gather photography for 15 to 20 installments of his monthly department.

Adding to the novelty of the weekend, I won't be shooting photos. Instead, I'll be directing the shoot; Dr. Marc Laxineta will handle the photography. (This means I get to travel a lot lighter for this adventure!)

During this visit, we'll gather photography for up to 20 installments of Bob's monthly department—a tall order for just a day and a half. But I'm up for the challenge if it means learning from a great photographer and a legendary horse trainer.

Best of all, I've been assured that all parties are on board to break in time to watch the running of the Belmont. (Yes, I get to watch the Belmont, and possibly see a horse win the Triple Crown, with Bob Avila. I'm geeking out.)

Follow along on our Instagram account to see behind-the-scenes images from the shoot and get an insider look at one of our biggest projects each year. It's something you won't see anywhere else!

Chexy and Lexi Travel to Colorful Colorado

By Alexis Bennett | May 07, 2015

This weekend I will embark on a mission.

My quest?

To bring my horse Chexy home to Colorado.

From Idaho We Go

My parents and I will make the more than 800-mile trip on Monday. But I began busily preparing months ago.

Luckily, I knew where to start: his amenities.

A friend at the office recommended a place nearby. It’s also the barn that she boards her mare. After a visit, I knew it’d be a good fit, plus Chexy and I will have friends! I’ve never boarded before so it’ll be nice to have someone around to show me the ropes.

Ready or Not

During our drive we’ll pass through four different states, which means Chexy needed all of his paperwork ready to go. One visit from the farrier, the vet, and the brand inspector later and he’s now Colorado-ready. 

But, am I ready for him?

It’s been over a year since I’ve had him nearby, and although I’m ecstatic about it, I’d be lying to say it isn't going to be an adjustment. My entire riding life my horses have been at my parent’s place, so this sole responsibility thing will be quite a change. I’m up for the challenge though. Now that I’ve settled in and have a year at the magazine under my belt, having Chexy here will make Colorado feel even more like home.

So ready or not, to colorful Colorado Chexy will go!

If you have any travel advice or insight to make Chexy’s (or my) adjustment go more smoothly, please feel free to share.

To keep up with our preparation and travel, follow #ChexyandLexi on Instagram at Horseandridermag. Over the next few days I’ll be blogging and sharing photos of my packing and preparations, and of our long day of travel.

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