Dear John: The HN Staff 2017 Holiday Wish List

In a growing Horse Nation tradition, we as a staff got together this year and put together an itty-bitty list for our long-suffering publisher John. Really, John, it’s just ONE thing we’re after.

Working for Nation Media is pretty much a dream job. I get to be involved creatively with the industry that I love, work from home which means spending plenty of time surrounded by cats and good coffee, and of course work with the best team of writers in all the land. (Shameless plug: Jumper Nation is hiring, so if this sounds like your idea of a dream job as well, click here to learn more about the opening!)

The one downside: I don’t get to work with that amazing team of talented, creative, side-splitting hilarious team of writers — at least not face to face. We communicate almost daily via email and text (and yes, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat and Bitmoji too) but it’s just not the same as being able to walk over to someone else’s office or desk and ask them for their thoughts on something. I’d love to hang out with these gals after work too, as I’ve come to call them all my friends and colleagues, and I bet we’d have a great time going for a little post-workday trail ride.

Tragically, the best thing we were able to do this year is get together on Monday night for our annual video holiday party, drawing the line of best fit for a meeting time to catch all of us from coast to coast. Everyone flipped on their webcams and met up in a Google Hangouts room (realistically, I’m sure 90% of us were in our pajamas. Actually, LW might have legitimately been in bed) and spent some time just hanging out with our e-friends before the crush of the holiday weekend. Even John, the Silver Shadow, our mysterious publisher who typically eschews e-social gatherings, made a brief appearance.

“But this isn’t the same!” I bemoaned, waving the My Little Pony mug full of wine I had received as a Secret Santa gift from Biz (the mug, not the wine) for emphasis. “This is fun every year but I think we need a real office. A real headquarters for Horse Nation. Not just our annual wine-and-cat party.”

So we did what all self-respecting equestrians do: started looking for the dream location to build HNHQ, a place where we could all come together — and of course do our best creative work, naturally.

As usually happens, we found the answer hiding in plain sight: this little number called the Shakespeare Ranch on the shores of Lake Tahoe. Lorraine was so moved by this place that she wrote the entire Fantasy Farm column in verse.

Photo courtesy of Christies IRE.

It appears to have everything we need: plenty of rooms, casual spaces (like, you know, that interior pool), private docks and of course a picture-perfect barn with plenty of pasture and riding space for everyone. Meagan and I got actual tears in our eyes imagining the Horse Nation wolfpack of all of our dogs running down that dock and leaping into the lake for a group swim.

There were just a few little additions we needed to make it truly perfect for Horse Nation:

  • A gourmet chef on retainer to prepare meals because ain’t nobody got time for that between working and riding (Kristen)
  • A jump arena, and a cabana boy/barkeep working at the dock (Meagan)
  • A dressage arena with fully mirrored walls… AND ceilings (Biz)
  • Adding heat to above-mentioned dressage arena (Morgane)
  • A separate wing of the barn for mules, with a closed speaker system so we can hear them braying from the house (Maria)
  • An infinity-edge hot tub, because the one that already comes with the property looks dated (Leslie)

And Candace is just happy to be here: “I miss Tahoe and am already packing my bags.”

So there you have it, John. Just one little thing that we need this year… please and thank you.

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