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
  • 4-24 Velma Team Roping Kids.jpg Velma teens win roping competition

    Two Velma teenagers have claimed victory again this year in a statewide roping competition.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • 4-24 DonRidley.jpg Marlow residents reflect on council member Ridley

    A void remains on the Marlow City Council following the death of Councilman Don Ridley.

    April 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Velma storm siren problem fixed

    A glitch with the storm sirens in Velma has been fixed, but just to be sure a weekly test run of the tornado warning system will sound off at noon Friday, Mayor Shawn Enloe said.

    April 24, 2014

  • Marlow Chamber sets banquet for Monday

    The Marlow Chamber of Commerce will focus on the town’s local businesses when it host its annual banquet Monday at First Baptist Church in Marlow.

    April 24, 2014

  • Council votes for cheaper, quicker water fix

    The Duncan City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to go with a $650,000 fix to its water infrastructure needs.
    The council approved a $43,000 contract with Crafton, Tull, Sparks and Associates to build a 1,000-foot long pipeline that will be capable of putting about 3 million gallons of water per day into Lake Humphreys.

    April 23, 2014

  • 4-23 DHS Band 0042.jpg DHS band wins fifth straight Sweepstakes

    The Duncan High School band received a rare distinction, winning Sweepstakes for the fifth consecutive year.
    Senior Cody Plumley is excited the band won Sweepstakes for its fifth year in a row, making the DHS Band one of the few school bands to do so.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Do the crime, you’ll face a bigger fine

    It just got considerably more expensive to be cruel to animals, ride a bike at night without a light, drive over a fire hose and noodle in a city lake.
    The Duncan City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to increase the amount of municipal fines and bonds associated with dozens of misdemeanor offenses.

    April 23, 2014

  • Sheriffs: State backing out on prisoner promises

    State efforts to save time and money by shuffling prisoners more swiftly through the system are riling local sheriffs who are losing money because of the efficiency program.
    A change in Department of Corrections practice is landing a “significant hit” on two-thirds of Oklahoma counties, which depend on reimbursements to house state inmates locally, said Ken McNair, executive vice president of the Oklahoma Sheriffs’ Association.

    April 23, 2014

  • McKinney: DOC move will benefit Stephens County jail

    Oklahoma Department of Corrections efforts to move county inmates to DOC prisons has helped the Stephens County Jail dip below capacity.
    But Sheriff Wayne McKinney wonders why it took so long to happen when the county jail was overcrowded for several years.

    April 23, 2014

  • Officer urges volunteers to sign up for mentoring program

    A new in-school mentoring program trying to recruit volunteers got a boost on Tuesday night when Duncan Police Officer Julio Alvarez stepped onto a stage to tell a crowd of 50 spectators that a mentor helped him overcome the trauma of childhood victimization.
    “Go out and spread the word,” Alvarez said, urging people to sign up as mentors through a program that is being developed by The Well Outreach, Inc.

    April 23, 2014

Poll

Who do you favor for the U.S. Senate seat that Tom Coburn is giving up?

State Rep. T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton
U.S. Rep. James Lankford, R-Edmond
State Sen. Connie Johnson, D-Oklahoma City
Former State Sen. Randy Brogdon, R-Owasso
     View Results
AP Video