In the early ‘60s, there weren’t many advertisements in the Chronicle, and the same ads repeated for months on end. They were, however, high-end advertisers, like Cadillac and Rolls Royce. As the decade continued, more and more diverse advertisements appeared, such as feed companies and horses for sale. The first congratulatory ads for sold horses appeared. The classified ad section continued to be the definitive source for a horse or employment. The first hints of color in the Chronicle appeared in 1967, when a tint appeared in an advertisement.
As always, the Chronicle could be counted on to put in print what people were talking about at the in-gate. One of the hot topics of the ‘60s was women riders. By that decade, women riders had competed at the Olympic Games in dressage and show jumping, but it was 1964 in which Lana DuPont (Wright) became the first woman to compete in the Olympic Three-Day Event. The announcement about the shift in rules appeared in a brief news item in the Feb. 8, 1963, Chronicle, stating simply: “As a result of the action of the British delegate to the FEI meeting, the FEI has decided to allow women to compete in the three day event at the 1964 Olympics in Tokyo. After that the question of female participation in this event will be further considered.”
Mackay-Smith commented on the decision in an editorial titled: “The Weaker Sex And The Olympic Three Day Event.” “Certainly this broadening of the Three-Day base will have a profound effect on the world equestrian picture,” he wrote. “Opening up the Olympic Three Day Event will undoubtedly induce many top women riders to train themselves and their horses for the try-outs to select the 1964 Teams.”
The More Things Change The More They Stay The Same
Some topics of hot debate in the Chronicle in the ‘60s are moot points now, such as a raging flurry of letters and editorials about differences in judging jumper classes between FEI rules and national rules—national classes counted “ticks,” or rubs, while international classes didn’t.
But many hot-button topics of the ‘60s sound eerily familiar. Editorials and letters to the editor abound about the use of tranquilizers in hunters.
Concern about the safety of cross-country jumps is ever-present.
The word “shamateur” isn’t just a recent invention to describe amateur-owner riders who may skirt the U.S. Equestrian Federation amateur rules. In the ‘60s, it was used to describe international riders. Mackay-Smith's editorial calling for the inclusion of professional riders in Olympic teams was more than 10 years in advance of the rule change.
Then, as now, prominent horsemen wondered where the next generation of international stars would come from. You may recognize the author of this Letter to the Editor, published in the Oct. 14, 1960, issue.
One of my observations after watching the Olympics, namely the Prix des Nations, was “what next”?
I would be one of the first to agree that we now have one of the foremost teams in the world. I say now.
But what do we have four, or eight years from now? I can name only four or five riders who have the necessary international experience that one needs to negotiate an Olympic course, whereas Britain has anywhere from eight to ten riders who are capable. Most of them have ridden overseas at one time or another, thus gaining the necessary experience.
I can only suggest that we send a team of five or six, instead of the former four riders. These extra riders could be rotated from time to time, thus providing us with a “strong bench” as it were.
Before this can be accomplished, I believe that the training methods used here in the U.S. must be improved. Many instructors are able to teach very little to their pupils, due to a lack of knowledge of theory. In short, too many people know how, and too few people know why!
To quote Lt. Col. H.D. Chamberlin—“The correct principles of equitation and horse training are in themselves simple and well defined, and easily within the comprehension of any intelligent mind.
James C. Wofford
While weighty topics and controversies appeared regularly, the Chronicle has many light-hearted moments. A famous horse even wrote a letter to the editor.
The Letters to the Editor section wasn’t limited to discussions of what appeared in the pages of the magazine, as it is now. Readers treated it as a way to communicate with the horse world at large, as in this letter that appeared in the Dec. 1, 1967, issue.
We are hoping to move from our New Jersey place to the Flagstaff, Arizona, area. To do this, we would like to ask the help of your wonderful publication, without which, we assure you, life just wouldn’t be complete!
We don’t know a soul out there and thought that, perhaps, some horse people might like to get in touch with us by mail, to tell us a little bit about the area, horsewise. (Do you have a pack of hounds—we couldn't find one in the Roster, if not, is there interest in hunting, etc.)