"New year ... new you!" Shouting at you from the newsstand in the grocery checkout line are loud January cliches, beckoning you to organize, save, trim, focus, run/lift/stretch, accomplish, and lose like never before. I guess it's not so different in your horse-owning life: As you reflect on 2010, the memories of time spent with your horses quickly accumulate--all the things you accomplished and learned with your horses--and yet you automatically look forward to next year and begin imagining how 2011 will be more of this and less of that. Who's that one clinician you want to catch while he's in your state? What (in)famous trail will you be able to conquer by mid-summer? Will you finally get that barn addition built? Maybe this is the year you'll attempt to go as "green" as possible at your farm. Or perhaps you have plans to go paperless with as many of your equine records as possible.
Around the offices of The Horse/TheHorse.com, we've been reinventing ourselves as well, examining new ways we can enhance your print subscription experience in 2011. As the publishing industry morphs in this new millenium, we have adapted to keep up with an increasingly digital world, without compromising the amount of high-quality information we share each month in the print magazine.
If you are a subscriber you might have noticed in past months that we've rolled out a few new features: We've enhanced the "Web Contents section" (usually pages 6-7 of each print issue) to make it more user-friendly, helping you access supplemental online features. My favorite feature has been a tool to help you measure a horse to estimate his weight.
In December you saw our first use of a QR code, giving you access to related content using your smartphone.
We also launched the Smart Horse Keeping blog, with tips on managing horses in greener ways and on stricter budgets. (And we have other fun, useful blogs in the works!)
Our Ask The Vet Live events are now being offered monthly, and they have piggybacked on several magazine stories, providing you with a chance to ask questions of some of the world's top equine vets.
This month in the magazine you'll notice the launch of a new department for 2011: "A Closer Look." In it we'll approach some of the more difficult-to-visualize concepts with illustrations by Robin Peterson, DVM. This month even she hit the books to make sure she's clearly depicting blood-shunting mechanisms in the equine foot and how they respond to frigid temperatures!
You'll see more features emerge in the magazine pages that marry print to online, and I encourage you to send or post feedback.
So, your turn: What features do you find in your favorite magazines that point you toward useful, innovative online content?
(Viewpoint adapted from the January 2011 issue)