Awarding Excellence in Equine Media Virtually in AHP’s 50th Year

Rewarding excellence in equine media in the year of the pandemic

Members of American Horse Publications planned to celebrate the association’s 50th anniversary in Lexington, Kentucky in 2020. A global pandemic cancelled the gathering. One of the most anticipated events held during the annual conference is the announcement of the Equine Media Award winners. This year, the traditional live award presentation followed the path of most events and was released virtually on May 30th.

Promoting excellence in equine media has been part of AHP’s mission for 50 years. Held since 1975, the annual awards competition recognizes standards in journalistic integrity for informative and engaging content in a variety of media categories. Showcasing excellence in equine media as well as providing guidance for improvement are the two key elements of this member program.

“We can be very proud of the caliber of communication that AHP media are producing for the equine industry,” says Chris Brune, AHP Executive Director. “The publishing world has changed a great deal since the birth of American Horse Publications in 1970. It is changing now with social distancing and endless virtual events. The equine media industry continues to offer multiple media options to provide equine enthusiasts with opportunities to learn, enjoy, and cherish their bond with the horse during this period.”

The 2020 Equine Media Awards competition for material published in 2019 was judged by 21 professionals and included 56 classes, 731 entries, and 111 contestants. The complete results are available online in the awards program (PDF format) and video of the winning entries at

The General Excellence Award is the most coveted honor for print publications. The entries are judged on the effectiveness of editorial content and design, and how well the publication meets its mission. This year’s award recipients included:

  • Paint Horse Journal in Association Publication circulation under 15,000.
  • Chrome in Association Publication circulation 15,000 and over.
  • New York Horse in Self-Supported Publication circulation under 15,000.
  • EQUUS in Self-Supported Publication circulation 15,000 and over.

All four General Excellence winners were eligible for the Overall Publication Award that is selected by a separate judge. The prestigious award was presented to EQUUS magazine. The judge’s comment read, “Like the froth in a cup of cappuccino, EQUUS magazine floated to the top with its laser targeted content and design that resonates with its audience and subject matter.  The magazine delivers on its promise of being “The Horse Owner’s Resource” through captivating storytelling and sophisticated, yet simple, art of show and tell.  The writing style combined with the choice of photography delivers a package that is sure to grab, keep and demand a repeat from an audience looking for such access to information that is relevant, necessary and sufficient.”

The Equine Media Awards contest offers two award divisions. The Publishing Media Division is for Publishing Media and Media Professional members and the Business Division is for Business, Nonprofit and College/University members.

Publishing Media members are equine-related print or online media that publish editorial content relative to news and information about the horse industry. Publishing Media members that achieved multiple honors in a variety of print and online categories included:

  • Western Horseman with 12 awards.
  • BloodHorse with 10 awards.
  • The American Quarter Horse Journal with 8 awards.
  • Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred and Sidelines Magazine with 6 awards each.
  • EQUUS, Keeneland Magazine, New York Horse, and Practical Horseman with 5 awards each.
  • Paint Horse Journal and Speedhorse with 4 awards each.
  • Arabian Horse Times, Horse Illustrated, NRHA Reiner, Quarter Horse News, Team Roping Journal, and USDF Connection with 3 awards each.
  • American Farriers Journal, Canadian Horse Journal, Chrome, Horse & Rider, Horse Network, The Horse: Your Guide to Equine Health Care, Untacked, and US Equestrian with 2 awards each.

The publications that earned one or more first place awards covered a broad spectrum of the horse industry. The winners included BloodHorse, Canadian Horse Journal, Chrome, Dressage Today, EQUUS, Horse & Rider, Horse Network, Mid-Atlantic Thoroughbred, New Bridge Polo, New York Horse, Paint Horse Journal, Quarter Horse Journal, Sidelines Magazine, The American Quarter Horse Journal, Team Roping Journal, USHJA In Stride, and Western Horseman.

Other Publishing Media members that earned EMA honors were America’s Horse, Barrel Horse News, Covertside, Driving Digest, EquiManagement, Hoof Beats, Hoofcare Publishing, The Chronicle of the Horse, and Thoroughbred Daily News.

In recent years, more equine media professionals and freelancers have joined the association. These individuals represent authors, writers, editors, photographers, designers, visual media and multimedia professionals who provide media services to the equine industry.

Twenty AHP Media Professional members received top honors for material they entered in the competition. Among the multiple award winners were Jean Abernethy, Allison Armstrong Rehnborg, Douglas Lees, Tenney Mudge, Shelley Paulson, Shawna Simmons,  Anna Sochocky, and Suzanne Sylvester.

Media Professional members that received first place awards were Jean Abernethy, Julie I. Fershtman, Tracy Gantz, Douglas Lees, Anett Mindermann, Morgan Nati, Katie Navarra, Shelley Paulson, Natalie Keller Reinert, Shawna Simmons, Suzanne Sylvester, and Lisa Wysocky.

Other Media Professional members who earned an EMA honor included Jennifer Bryant, Julie J. Bryant, Kara L. Stewart, Liz Callar, and Patti Schofler.

In addition to staff-produced material, Publishing Media members often submit entries created by their contributors who are AHP Media Professional members. Contributors whose material won or placed in the EMAs included Abigail Boatwright, Doris Degner-Foster, Shelley Paulson, Allison Armstrong Rehnborg, Anna Sochocky, L.A. Sokolowski, Milton C. Toby, Jenn Trickey and Linda Yutzy.

The AHP Equine Media Awards offers the Business Division for its members that are equine-related businesses, nonprofit organizations or associations, and colleges/universities. Multiple award winners that entered their work from 2019 included:

  • Kentucky Equine Research with 4 awards.
  • ASPCA, Central Garden & Pet, SmartPak, and Straight Arrow Products with 3 awards each.
  • AIM Equine Network, National Reining Horse Association, Signal Theory (Absorbine), and US Equestrian Federation with 2 awards each.

Earning first place awards in the Business division were AIM Equine Network, ASPCA, Central Garden & Pet, Kentucky Equine Research, Monty Roberts Join Up International, National Ranching Heritage Center, Purina Animal Nutrition, Signal Theory (Absorbine), and Straight Arrow Products, Inc.

Harness Horse Youth Foundation was also among the Nonprofit members that earned an EMA honor.

Congratulations to all the AHP members who achieved excellence in equine media for their work in 2019. AHP encourages all members to always strive for equine media excellence to keep #EquineMediaStrong.

Rules for the 2021 Equine Media Awards for material published in 2020 will be available to members in early January. 

For more information about the Equine Media Awards or becoming an AHP member, contact: Chris Brune at or visit



American Horse Publications has united equine-related publishing media, businesses, media professionals, colleges, and students. The association celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2020. The non-profit professional membership association promotes excellence in equine publishing media and encourages relationships and communication within the horse industry. For more information, visit


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