The Duncan Banner

Local News

September 4, 2013

Horse-obsessed town in Virginia bristles as an outsider buys a beloved magazine

MIDDLEBURG, Va. — They've bemoaned it at the saddlery shop in downtown Middleburg, Va. They've talked about it at the tack place across the street. Loyal readers of The Chronicle of the Horse have even grilled one of the magazine's reporters about her publication's future while she was on a morning trail ride.

In horse-crazy Middleburg, people are still stirred up about last month's sale of the 76-year-old Chronicle, the nation's preeminent news source for all things equine. The Middleburg-based magazine, owned for much of its life by the local Ohrstrom family, is now in the hands of Mark Bellissimo, the majority owner of the Winter Equestrian Festival in Wellington, Fla., the world's largest horse show circuit.

Now, the magazine's devotees worry, Bellissimo might use their horse bible - billed on its Facebook page as "The Wall Street Journal of Horse Sports . . . but better!" - as a promotional vehicle for his annual 12-week Florida horse show circuit, an accusation that the new owner strongly denies.

In an interview, Bellissimo vowed that he will never meddle with the editorial mission of the Chronicle, which covers horse sports around the world and in recent years has written about illegal horse injections and horse slaughter. Bellissimo, whose company, Wellington Equestrian Partners, owns and operates more than $250 million worth of assets, said he wouldn't halt the Chronicle from digging into his own business.

"I don't think we've ever done anything to elicit an investigation, but do I believe there's a circumstance where I might make a decision that catches some attention? Absolutely," Bellissimo said. "There's going to be a circumstance where [the Chronicle] is going to call it like they see it."

Since Bellissimo, 51, purchased the Chronicle in mid-July, readers have been venting in the magazine's online forum, a kind of country club for mannered and fanatical horse enthusiasts. To even register as a commenter, one must answer trivia questions like: "If Mr. Ed was an off-the-track Thoroughbred, we might have seen one of these when he was flapping his lips with Wilbur." (Answer: Tattoo.) Or: "If the farrier shoes three geldings in front and trims four more, how many shoes does the farrier need?" (Answer: Six.)

Text Only
Local News
  • Dollar Tree steps up fight, buys Family Dollar

    The fight for penny pinchers is intensifying.

    July 29, 2014

  • Velma Settlers’ Picnic to bring in big crowd

    Throughout its 124-year-history, the Velma Old Settlers’ Picnic has evolved from a community picnic to a large event featuring a rodeo, carnival and live music.

    July 29, 2014

  • Self-portrait Note: don't overthink when drawing yourself

    Crystal Becerra wants students to learn how to draw self-portraits in the Chisholm Trail Heritage Center’s latest class.

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Voter registration for August runoff concludes Friday

    Oklahoma voters have until Friday to register to vote in the August 26 primary runoff election.

    July 29, 2014

  • Teen Theatre Teen Theatre to perform ‘Pied Piper’ Saturday

    Moving into the last few days of rehearsals, Teen Theatre participants are putting the final touches on their upcoming production of “The Pied Piper of Hamlin.”

    July 29, 2014 1 Photo

  • Commissioners want fed help to buy tree grinder

    Stephens county commissioners voted Monday to apply for grants to help them buy a tree grinder for the county.

    July 29, 2014

  • Duncan’s dead animals to be sold for science

    The City of Duncan has found what it believes is a positive way to handle the disposal of all the dogs and cats it euthanizes.
    It sells their carcasses to science.
    The practice, which has been going on for about five years now, not only furthers the cause of educational science, but provides some money for the cash-strapped Duncan’s general fund.

    July 27, 2014

  • 7-27 Academy.jpg Prisons expand their reach to train new officers

    Joshua Drake once was offered the chance to be a corrections officer but turned it down because he didn’t want to leave his wife and aging parents for six weeks to train hundreds of miles away in El Reno.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cable ONE starts lineup changes

      Cable One, the cable TV service provider for Duncan and Marlow, will begin a series of changes in its channel lineup on Aug. 5, the company said.
        The cable service is changing to an all digital format that will enable customers with an HDTV to see high definition programs in true high defnition.

    July 27, 2014

  • Tax-free weekend begins Friday

    It’s been seven years since Oklahoma legislators passed the tax-free holiday to keep shoppers in Oklahoma.
    Beginning at midnight Friday, the tax-free weekend returns to Oklahoma and is set to conclude at midnight Aug. 3. The Duncan Chamber of Commerce and Industry hopes Duncan retailers will benefit from the three-day event.

    July 27, 2014

Poll

Should the date for The World's Largest Garage Sale be changed from the third weekend in July to sometime in October to take advantage of cooler weather like we had this past weekend?

No. It's better in the summer cause kids are out of school.
Yes. More shoppers would come during nice fall weather.
Either time is fine.

     View Results
AP Video
US Ready to Slap New Sanctions on Russia Kerry: Not Worried About Israeli Criticism Boater Rescued From Edge of Kentucky Dam Girl Struck by Plane on Florida Beach Dies Rodents Rampant in Gardens Around Louvre House to Vote on Slimmed-down Bill for Border Looming Demand Could Undercut Flight Safety Raw: 2 Shells Hit Fuel Tank at Gaza Power Plant Raw: Massive Explosions From Airstrikes in Gaza Giant Ketchup Bottle Water Tower Up for Sale Easier Nuclear Construction Promises Fall Short Kerry: Humanitarian Cease-fire Efforts Continue Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating