Tracy Schumer, editor

Tracy Schumer, editor

New Year’s day and I’m sitting in front of the computer working, that pretty much says it all. This is the webpage I’ve been the least enthusiastic about writing- the “me” page. After looking through HMH, a person might ask; why is there so much stuff about Florida? That’s an easy one; I’m a native of Florida. Fourth generation on my mother’s side and third generation on my father’s side; both sides of the family were ranchers and citrus growers at various times.

Horses have been my passion since I had baby teeth. I’ve owned many over the years, you know you’re a serious horse addict when you find yourself thumbing through old photo albums and come across pictures of horses you forgot you owned. I do not consider myself to be an expert horseman however. Anyone who makes that claim openly is most likely not. If horses are anything they are humbling; the more time you spend with them the more humble you become.

For nearly twenty years it’s been my privilege to work as a freelance writer and photographer for a variety equestrian print magazines. It started out as a means to augment a meager teacher’s income and to help finance my horse habit but it quickly grew into a passion of its own. Now retired from teaching and seeking more editorial flexibility, starting up HMH was a natural progression. I owe a lot to the editors of the print magazines; they gave me an opportunity to learn.

Like many people, the American West captivates me and as a result, I’ve spent a lot of time there. Unique people make a place special and ranch raised folks are as genuine a breed as you’ll come across. My own home state being a ranching state, an appreciation for ranchers everywhere comes naturally. From the Great Basin to the Northern Plains, the Chihuahua Desert to the Big Cypress; the work is difficult and life can be harsh.

From a horsemanship perspective, ranchers and cowboys possess a wealth of information. The fact that they spend enormous amounts of time horseback is the reason. They see good and bad every day, in the most practical of applications- the better the cowboy is horseback, the better his horses are, the more efficiently the job gets done. Like the cowboy, carriage drivers have a special connection with history. Their modern recreation was once essential transportation. I started driving only a few years ago- I wish I had started sooner.

Europe is my latest frontier, a continent filled with so many traditions of fine horsemanship; It’s a whole new challenge. With that I’ve taken up classical dressage. My stock saddles and buckaroo gear collection are currently in storage and for the first time, I don’t own any horses. There’s a great deal to overcome, different languages, adjusting to different cultures and philosophies of working with horses. I quickly found my own riding had grown rusty and stale- there’s a lot of work to be done.

Like most folks who’ve been around horses for a long time, there are boxes of old faded ribbons and dusty trophies packed away down in my basement but these things don’t make someone a great horseman or even a good one. Above all else, if I’ve learned anything about Equus ferus caballus it’s this; horses never lie. They have a natural ability to show us who we really are and that has always fascinated me.

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