Ranch/Cowboy Horsemanship

Ranch/Cowboy Horsemanship

Manuscript length: 1,500 to 2,000 words. Text should deal with everyday training or horse-handling insight based on a working cowboy's use of a horse. Training material should emphasize practical, how-to info, and be produced with credible, nationally known horsemen with good reputations. Resulting features should be aimed at average riders, not beginners or novice competitors, and produced with the assumption that readers already have a grasp on the basics of horsemanship. Above all, keep the safety of the reader in mind while producing a training feature. Make sure the text and photos convey proper, safe methods. Ask the source to double-check his or her tack to be sure that photos will depict proper equipment adjustments. A source can be profiled in a brief (1-paragraph) biographical sidebar.

Photographer Guidelines


Contributing photographers should work with 100-speed color slide film, although medium-format photography is always preferred.

Contributing digital photographers should work with professional-quality cameras rather than consumer-level equipment. Digital photos must be saved at a resolution of no less than 300 dpi, and should be shot using the camera's RAW setting or its largest JPG setting. This results in large file sizes, so all digital photos should be submitted on CD. Please do not e-mail digital photos.

Color copies, home printouts, color lasers, digital proofs and printed matter are not acceptable substitutes for original, first-generation images, and can’t be considered for publication.

Photographers should script photo shoots in advance and plan to shoot as much film as necessary to ensure a good selection of quality images. It isn’t unusual to shoot 10 to 20 rolls of film to produce photos for one training feature.

Photos should be shot outdoors, ideally in morning or early evening light.

Insist that photo subjects wear cowboy hats, cowboy boots and appropriate western attire. Riders should always be pictured wearing cowboy boots. Baseball caps, t-shirts and tennis shoes are not acceptable attire for photo subjects.

Before shooting in an arena, make sure the arena will be groomed and background clutter removed before the shoot begins. Be aware that interior photographs - such as those shot in an indoor arena - cannot be used due to low light and poor backgrounds.

If a freelance writer obtains photographs (or artwork or illustrations) from a third party, written permission for image usage must be obtained from each photographer (or artist). The freelance contributor is responsible for obtaining such clearance.

A photographer should also obtain permission from the owner before photographing a horse, even if the owner is not present for the photo shoot.

Provide at least 15 images (more for ranching or training articles) for consideration. Typically, 5-8 images will be selected for publication.

Provide detailed captions for all submitted images. Include the subjects' full names, horses' registered names and barn names, horses' breeds, horse owners' names, location, description of the action depicted, etc.

Manuscript Submission


Please use default Microsoft Word settings for all document formatting. Refrain from sending files that contain any custom formatting, including adjusted tabs or margins, headers, footers, page numbers, photographs or text boxes. When beginning a manuscript, simply open a new Microsoft Word document, select a font, and begin typing. Additional formatting shouldn't be necessary, and could slow our production process as the text is edited and prepared for design.

Please include a working title for your manuscript, as well as a one-sentence "deck" or subhead that sums up the gist of the story. Refer to any Western Horseman feature article for an example.

Manuscripts should be broken into sections, with subheadings, for greater readability. Sections should be roughly equal in length.

Brand names should be excluded from manuscripts.

Make every effort to work with sources to fact-check your manuscript.

Plan on keeping an electronic backup copy indefinitely.

Include with your manuscript your name, address, daytime telephone number, fax number, e-mail address and Social Security number, which is needed for tax documentation. Contributors should submit manuscripts via e-mail, as Microsoft Word attachments. It’s not necessary to send a hard copy of the manuscript.

Be aware that all freelance submissions will be edited. Western Horseman reserves the right to edit as needed to ensure clarity and adherence to style and space guidelines.

Writers might be contacted during the editing process to provide clarifications or additional information, and might be required to conduct follow-up interviews with sources.

Contributors should refer to the most current edition of the AP Stylebook for usage/style guidelines. The Elements of Style is also a useful reference to settle questions about word usage and sentence construction. Western Horseman uses the most current edition of Webster's New World College Dictionary.

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