When I went to the Fair Hill International Three-Day Event in Elkton, Maryland, I learned a lot about how the equine media industry works. It was my first time having a press pass at an event, and it was a fun experience. The press pass didn’t necessarily grant me access to a lot of specific areas (for example, at Rolex there are roped off areas at the jumps that are only for press), but I still got access to the press tent, attend the press conference at the end of the day, schedule an interview with a rider through the press tent, and more.
1. Press Conferences Are Fun!
Attending a press conference was special to me, as I’ve been reading the articles covering events for so long and have always wanted to hear what type of questions they ask the riders and if what the riders say is different from the quotes that are posted in the article. It is always very surreal to me to see these riders in person when you’re so used to seeing them on video and in photos. The press conference was definitely shorter than I thought; although, it might have been because it was after cross country day rather than at the conclusion of the whole event.
2. Interviews Can Be Hard to Schedule
When I arrived at the press tent in the morning, I put in a request for an interview with Courtney Sendak, because she is a local rider from Maryland, and I was inspired by her story and how she overcame many obstacles to get to this level. I set it up through the press tent, and their job is to contact the rider and then reach back out to me when they hear from the rider. One of the people that was in charge of the press tent actually offered to drive me over to the barns to look for Courtney, and we ended up doing the interview there! It was very cool getting to talk to one of the riders and getting their input on how the day went. You can watch my video interview with Courtney here.
3. Equine Media is Not Just Articles and Photography…
It was also surreal to me to see the journalists at Eventing Nation in person. I have read their articles countless times, and I look up to them since their job is what I hope to do when I am older. It is cool to see how they operate at an event. I met several very nice people in the media industry, one who worked for Eventing Nation, and another who worked for Classic Communications, the company that organized the event. The woman who worked for Classic Communications drove me over to the barns so that I could get my interview. I was able to talk with her about what she does, and she explained how her company handles all of the media activity, from setting up the press tent, arranging press conferences, screening applicants for press passes, to being the link between riders and equine journalists at all different types of major horse shows. It was interesting to see the different branches in this small field, and that it is not only the journalists writing articles and taking photos and video, but there is also the organizing and event planning side of everything.
4. The Life of the Press Has Pros and Cons
I also realized that the people in the media industry have very long days. They arrive at the events from the moment the riders are there to feed their horses in the morning, to even afterwards, uploading all their content from that day to make sure that their audience has all the latest updates from the day. But, they get to travel, meet with riders, and they know all the details about every event. I think it is definitely worth the long days and nights!
5. My Career Choice Became a Little Clearer
I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to get a press pass, because this experience gave me more insight as to what the equine media field is like. Based on my experiences, it definitely made me more interested in exploring the field. I don’t think I know exactly what I want to do yet… but I do know that being involved with the events in some way is definitely what I want to be a part of, whether that is covering them with the press or helping to organize them.
I can’t wait to further explore the field as I attend more events, and I’m looking forward to getting my next press pass!