Happy New Year

Sometimes it's good to take a step back and look at the big picture. Maybe you will discover that the way you've put hay in the loft all these years can be done differently to save you time (and an aching back). Maybe you've decided that you want to start lessons again after years of riding on your own; after all, it's tough to be your own coach, and you want to improve. Maybe you are ready for your next horse, and the old guy who has taken you this far could drop down and take on a younger rider, with less strenuous work.

Sometimes it's good for magazine editors to take a step back and look at the big picture, too. You will notice a few differences in this month's issue of The Horse. It is the start of something we hope you will like.

We aren't making any drastic changes in what we do--we'll still have cutting-edge information on equine health, management, and welfare that hands-on horse owners and professionals can use immediately, and save for reference. We're just making a few changes in how we do it.

Take the AAEP Forum (page 26), for example. The American Association of Equine Practitioners is a very established and trusted group of some of the best equine veterinarians and researchers in the world. Those vets know they can't practice medicine solely from what they learned in vet school, and neither can they present the right image with something that's 50 years old. Hence, a makeover in their logo, and a touch-up of their page of information to horse owners.

The 2000 AAEP Convention also showed some changes in direction. The group took on some very controversial topics, such as medication and alternative therapies. It's good to know that the people we trust the most when we have health concerns with our horses are leading the way into the new century.

Next month, subscribers to The Horse will receive something special--a supplement to the magazine. It will arrive with your monthly issue, but it will be dedicated to the information presented at the AAEP Convention. The AAEP has picked through hundreds of abstracts to choose the topics with the most appeal to the practitioners. There were overlapping presentations every day, so even those in attendance couldn't get to everything! Included were panel discussions and presentations on the newest treatments, most up-to-date research findings, and hot topics such as EPM and West Nile.

The American College of Theriogenologists and Society for Theriogenology (reproductive experts) had a convention concurrently with the AAEP. We also will include information from their up-to-the-minute research presentations in the supplement.

More Changes

When we started working with the AAEP leadership about six years ago, they wanted to educate clients and help improve the quality of information that horse owners receive, and we wanted to use their wisdom and expertise to help us create a product that was unique in the industry. The Horse is owned by a not-for-profit company; therefore, we exist to serve the horse industry.

One of the items that we started with was the AAEP AnswerLine, also known as Ask the Vet. It originally was designed to be a place for multiple readers to ask AAEP veterinarians to expand on the reader's question about a certain disease, condition, or topic. The column wasn't designed to diagnose ailments of specific horses, or become a lengthy treatise on one topic. We regularly use readers' questions and suggestions for full-length articles in each month's magazines, but we weren't being as selective as we should have been for the AAEP Ask the Vet. So, the answers got longer and longer, finally ending up being one question and one answer per issue.

Now, we are going back to the idea of letting multiple readers guide the AAEP Ask the Vet section. This will allow veterinarians and researchers from around the world to explain this complicated animal we all love and want to learn more about.

We also will be revamping our web site (www.thehorse.com) in the near future. Most of the information from the magazine ends up on the web site, with daily and weekly additions of health tips and special pages for breaking news and references (including West Nile).

Free Weekly Horse Health E-Newsletter

Something new for you information buffs is a free weekly electronic horse health newsletter. That should kick in shortly (perhaps by the time this magazine reaches you!). If you haven't signed up already, go to the home page on our web site and click on the button that allows you to join the list.

Across The Fence

In keeping with our theme of improving industry communication, we wanted to offer a page to allow individuals and groups to express opinions on topics of importance to horse health. In this month's issue, we introduce Across the Fence. If you have a topic that you feel would be of interest to the general readership of The Horse, please contact me at the address below. Horse people are known for having strong opinions, so it's good to create a forum where those opinions can be expressed.

About the Author

Kimberly S. Brown

Kimberly S. Brown was the Publisher/Editor of The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care from June 2008 to March 2010, and she served in various positions at Blood-Horse Publications since 1980.

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