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HORSES : Hoofbeat Puts Traders on the Right Lead

August 05, 1993|DARLENE RICKER | Darlene Ricker, an attorney in Laguna Beach, practices equine law. She has written several books on horsemanship.

Two equestrians hope their new, monthly Laguna Beach-based magazine, Hoofbeat, will make horse trading a little easier for local riders.

Publisher Ann Abbott of Laguna Beach and general manager Donna Shabdue of Lake Forest know how confusing that process can be. The women, both from riding-oriented families, have bought and sold numerous horses over the years. Abbott has gotten show-quality horses for her teen-age son, Justin Resnik, who competes widely on the hunter-jumper circuit.

Shabdue, who grew up riding cutting horses in West Virginia, recently bought a European mare, which she plans to use next year in open hunter competition.

Their first issue of Hoofbeat, which came out last month, features 40 horses for sale in the area that the magazine covers--from Santa Ynez (just north of Santa Barbara) to the Mexican border. The horses range from $2,500 lesson horses to $150,000 grand prix jumpers. Each ad includes a photograph of the horse with a written description, similar to the format of auto-sale magazines. If a horse looks promising, the prospective buyer can call the seller directly and make arrangements to view and ride the animal.

Ideally, said Shabdue, someone shopping for a suitable mount through the magazine would enlist the advice of a professional trainer. "A horse may look good to you on the magazine page, but it could have drawbacks for your intended use," said Shabdue. "Paying a trainer to preview the horses that appeal to you can prevent a lot of heartache. It's sad to get excited about a horse and then find out it's not the one for you."

Photo advertisements in the magazine cost $40 for the first horse and $30 for each additional one. The price includes up to 25 words of text. To get the best results, Shabdue suggests that the photograph show the horse performing in the discipline for which it is being sold and that the accompanying text highlight something special about the animal.

Rather than grouping the sales horses by breed, which is a common practice in horse magazines, Hoofbeat will separate the horses by discipline--such as hunters, jumpers, dressage, carriage or cutting horses. Abbott and Shabdue think that organization makes more sense. "People may prefer certain breeds, but when it comes down to it, you buy a horse for a particular use," said Shabdue. "We want the magazine to reflect that."

Hoofbeat is offered free on a direct-mail basis to trainers and other equine professionals. Non-professionals may order a one-year subscription for $12 from: Hoofbeat magazine, 1345 Coral Drive, Laguna Beach, 92651. (714) 494-2033.

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