How I Landed My H&R Job

Alana Arrives!

Sorry to be late on the scene?deadline weeks have a way of consuming your life. But, I want to welcome you to our new H&R blog, and give you a lil’ insight as to how I got my start here.

At age 10, I went on an elementary-school field trip to this Stepford-Wives’-pseudo town, called Enterprise City, where fifth-graders learned how to “hold jobs,” write checks, manage their money and time, eat at a restaurant without their parentals, and basically pretend to be grown-ups. My job for the day: editor of the Enterprise Tribune. It was that day I decided to follow the yellow-brick-road of journalism…

PHOTO ABOVE: My brother Mac, 2, and I, 5, aboard my great aunt’s American Saddlebred in Appleton, Wisconsin.

…A little less than a year later, my mom shook me out of bed with some good news. There had been a cancellation at the riding camp I’d tried to get into all summer. I was in. And, it was that day I decided the horse life was for me. I won’t bore you with the next decade’s worth of “I love horses” stories, but besides the occasional recreational trail ride, I did the hunter/jumper thing. After honing my own skills, I also taught riding lessons at my barn’s camp program and throughout the school year?

PHOTO ABOVE: My occasional trail ride op…this one took place somewhere outside Tempe, Arizona? Going to take a wild guess and say late 80s?…as denoted by my pumped-up bangs, hideous rolled-up, ultra-stone-washed jeans——-and ridiculous rolled-up T-shirt sleeves. OMG.

…Thirteen years later. Berlin Wall down. Twin Towers down. 2002 graduate of Texas A&M University (coincidentally the university of my co-blog-host, Erin); B.A. in journalism, English; former A&M Varsity Equestrian Team rider and co-captain. I returned to Dallas to live with my parents——-just until I could find a job. That plan didn’t move along as quickly as I’d assumed. After working at a small suburban newspaper for a year-and-a-half while teaching riding lessons, my then boyfriend (now husband) was flipping through The Dallas Morning News and came across the H&R Editorial Coordinator ad. (Yes, I almost peed in my pants.)…

PHOTO ABOVE: Me at 15 (on right), beaming after winning reserve champion a local North Texas Hunter Jumper Club show on my then leased American Saddlebred, C.B.

…I landed the job, and hit my fifth year mark about a month ago?moving through the ranks from editorial coordinator to production editor to managing editor. While five years may not sound like an exponential amount of time, I’ve been privy to quite a few changes at H&R since I started this gig——-from moving offices, to changing editors, to a mag redesign, to new art direction, and so on.

On a day-to-day basis, I head-up our “home base” office in Lake Dallas, Texas (just north of Dallas, south of Denton). Our other editors live in California, Idaho, and Houston (telecommuting is quite the miracle invention). These days we wear (and love wearing) many hats, but my “office” responsibilities include writing, editing, and managing editorial material for each issue, as well as coordinating words and photos with our art director, Adam Purvis. I also serve as liaison and primary writer for our Team H&R members (yes, I do know some of their secrets). And, in the last few years I’ve even learned to shoot a little (that is, with a camera)?so you’ll occasionally see my pics on the pages of H&R. I’m no Cappy Jackson, but I do love the photog thing!…

PHOTO ABOVE: Another rare chance I get to ride Western——-and an even more rare opportunity to ride on the beach. Me, at 18, riding along the Gulf Coast on Padre Island, off of Texas’ very southern tip.

…But, my absolute favorite part of the gig? Planning and directing on-site photo shoots (you never know what will happen; don’t worry we’ll share plenty of “interesting” photo-shoot experiences with you along the way), AND traveling to major shows and other events where we get to meet readers like you, and have fun chatting with the pros.

While I now have a reasonably firm grasp on the Western world, I still primarily ride English (also being the only saddle I can afford), and show in hunter/jumpers on my 17.2-hand bay Thoroughbred gelding, Memphis. (BTW: Even though TBs are somewhat ostracized in the Western world, Memphis has graced the pages of H&R a few times.) I still teach riding lessons on the weekends (and love it), and I still reside in Big D…

ABOVE PHOTO: Taken a year or two ago, this is me and my crazy 17.2-Thoroughbred gelding, Memphis, after taking reserve champion at a jumping show. Indeed, we were proud that day. (Wish you could see our saddle pad and polo wraps—–all matching in sea-foam green!)

…Now that I’ve unwittingly forced my autobiography on you, PLEASE let me (and Erin) know what aspects of the nag-mag biz (as we call it), you’d like to hear about? The day-to-day details? Deadline horror stories? Industry gossip? The most idiotic thing I’ve ever had to take a picture of for this magazine? The inside scoop on what our Team H&R members are really like? Worst H&R traveling experience ever? We’re here to give you the goods! Talk to us!


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