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July 21, 2010

The Chronicle Of The Horse: 73 Years And Still Going Strong

The first issue of the Middleburg Chronicle was published on Sept. 17, 1937.

Ever wondered how the establishment that is The Chronicle of the Horse came to be?

In 1937, two Virginia foxhunters teamed up to form the plan for what would one day be The Chronicle Of The Horse. Gerald Webb, managing editor of a Warrenton paper, founded and edited The Middleburg Chronicle. Co-founder Stacy Lloyd acted as publisher.

The first issue, published on Sept. 17 of that year, was an eight-page pamphlet devoted to local equestrian news. As circulation grew, the publication expanded to include national and global equestrian sports, and the name was shorted to The Chronicle.

Webb was the managing editor from 1937 to 1942, when he departed for a three-year stint in the U.S. Army. He resumed his role in 1945, but Webb wasn’t able to enjoy the growing success of his publication for long. In 1947, he was killed while competing in the Fox Hunters’ Challenge Cup at the Grand National steeplechase meet (Md.) when his horse fell at a jump.

Lloyd continued to manage The Chronicle for several years after Webb’s untimely departure.

In 1953, Alexander Mackay-Smith took up the editorial reins, and the office moved from its original location in The Pink House on Foxcroft Road just outside Middleburg, Va., to a brick building downtown on East Washington Street, where it remained for 16 years. During this period, the publication was purchased by the Ohrstrom family of The Plains, Va. Mr. George Lewis Ohrstrom, Jr., an avid foxhunter and well-known philanthropist, was also President of the Orange County Hunt, founder of the Bath County Hounds and a Thoroughbred racehorse breeder and owner. With his acquisition of The Chronicle in 1961, he combined the publication with The Horse to create a full magazine, and The Chronicle Of The Horse was born.

In 1969, the office again moved, this time to the Vine Hill building at the corner of East Washington Street and The Plains Road. Another change came in 1975, when Peter Winants took Mackay-Smith’s place as the publisher and editor. Winants held that post for 12 years, stepping down as editor in 1988 when John Strassburger took the job. Winants stayed on as publisher until 1991. He was replaced by Robert Banner, Jr., who held the position for 18 years.

In 1998, The Chronicle Of The Horse moved to a new white and stone building next door to Vine Hill, which it still calls home. Longtime editorial staff member Tricia Booker became the editor when Strassburger left in 2006, and she still keeps The Chronicle Of The Horse running smoothly today.

Curious about other changes at The Chronicle? A timeline:

1945: Sporting art begins to grace The Chronicle’s cover

1953: The Chronicle switches from tabloid size to magazine size

1977: The magazine makes the switch from newsprint to coated stock (a move which was deplored by people who used the magazine cover to wallpaper their tack rooms and houses)

1998: The website www.chronofhorse.com is created

1999: The Chronicle Forums follow on the heels of the initial website

2007: The Chronicle goes full color

2009: The website www.chronofhorse.com underwent its fourth major redesign and launched as you see today.

 

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