While most magazines about horses concentrate on certain breeds or specialized areas of interest, Linda Hazelwood feels her magazine is unique because its scope is more general.
Horse Country, currently in its twelfth year of publication, is aimed at “Prairie horse people,” according to its website, but is read throughout Canada and areas of the United States. Hazelwood attributes this to the wide range of topics covered in the magazine.
“We’re getting a lot of interest from Ontario,” Hazelwood says, “which surprises me. I think it’s because it is of general interest. There is no other magazine in Canada that deals with miniature horses, Arabian horses, and heavy horses all in the same issue.”
Hazelwood, who works from her St. Vital home, has been editor and publisher of Horse Country for four years. She became involved with the magazine after years of riding and photographing horses.
“I’ve been riding for fifteen years,” she says, “but I’m not an expert on horses. I prefer that my readers and expert writers provide that knowledge.” Contributing writers specialize in different topics, such as riding, training, breeds, showmanship and health issues. “I have many writers and experts who contribute,” Hazelwood says. “My most recent hire is a geneticist. She’ll be talking about the genetics and development of different breeds, and also about how hereditary diseases can affect horses.”
Although she had no publishing experience before taking over the magazine in 2001, Hazelwood brings a degree in business administration and sales management to Horse Country. She also turned to the Manitoba Marketing Network for basic information about the business community in Manitoba, and for introductions to a network of business support.
She says the network was very helpful in the beginning by introducing her to a mentor. “She’s not a formal mentor,” Hazelwood says, “but someone I can turn to for a second opinion.”
Keeping in contact with her mentor is helpful for Hazelwood because she works alone, which can be challenging. “Producing the magazine on schedule eight times a year is a big responsibility,” she says, “and takes a huge amount of time and energy.”
Hazelwood says Horse Country is a magazine with a very loyal readership. Subscribers depend on it for news of what’s happening in their horse community; a community that starts in the Prairie Provinces and continues right across Canada.