Your Turn: My unpaid internship is better than your unpaid internship

Carla Lake shares her basically awesome experience of interning for Practical Horseman magazine.

From Carla:

Internships can be a mixed bag, but I had a great experience working for college credit one semester at Practical Horseman–I’ll let some of the first tasks I was assigned speak for themselves.

Get used to my desk area: Sure, OK. Email, got it. Oh hi there, EQUUS intern. Huh, check it out, a Rolodex. I can’t believe an actual magazine still uses these! Flip, flip… OMGWTFBBQ I COULD SERIOUSLY JUST CALL MCLAIN WARD.

Research: Also known as “browse around Dover and SmartPak for three hours and report back on anything new and awesome you find for the ‘New for You’ column.” Not a problem.

Transcription:  You want me to listen to the delightfully cantankerous George Morris critique famous eq riders for an hour or two? I think I can make the time.

OK, I’ll stop making you drool. But seriously, if you’re a collegiate equestrian with a literary bent, there are plenty of opportunities to hone your communication skills, get published and make some great contacts—all in a field you already know you love.

Internship controversy has been in the news recently—and yes, there are issues with the current system. Could I have done an internship for school credit if I was paying my own way through college? Absolutely not.

But unlike many of the scare stories you hear in the news and some dead-end internship situations friends of mine have experienced, I truly lucked out. At Practical Horseman, the editors tailored my internship to what I wanted to learn about magazine publishing. I proofed issues; I learned how to use inDesign and in addition to other, shorter articles, I even got to write a “My Life” piece on the last page of the magazine (check out your July 2012 issue if you’re curious). All valuable experiences that I was able to put on my resume—and yes, I did end up with a (paid!) job in publishing right after graduating.

The one problem with interning at a horse publication was that I was actually interested in what I was reading about. So sometimes choosing old George Morris Jumping Clinics to put on the website would take a bit longer than it should have if I saw a great article on how to master your galloping position. And it was very easy to get distracted while filing away reader contest submissions if I came across a really cute letter or postcard from a horse-crazy little kid. How terrible, I know.

There was less-exciting administrative stuff too, like filing reader contest submissions and mailing out complimentary issues to contributors, but if you’ve ever used a mailing machine and enjoyed the satisfying thwack of the envelope hitting the wall or floor, you’ll know that this was not too bad of a task.

How to Find an Equestrian Magazine Internship

In the Washington, D.C. area, you’re luckier than most, with several paid and for-credit opportunities within driving distance. EQUUS, Practical Horseman and Dressage Today are housed in one office in Gaithersburg, MD, and The Chronicle of the Horse is not too far off the Beltway in Middleburg, VA. The Equiery, a smaller local publication in Lisbon, MD, also accepts interns. Nationwide, of course, there are lots of other horse publications, many of which post available jobs and internships on the American Horse Publications website.

Aside from that, there’s no real magic to it. Just think of your favorite equine publication or brand and give them a call to ask if they offer internships. Then apply and try not to have too much fun if you’re accepted!


About the Author

Carla Lake is a financial media editor and a recent convert to dressage from hunterland. She leases an OTTB named Midnight who is an excellent teacher. You can follow their adventures at the Collegial Equestrian blog.



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