History of the
Just Horses Directory & Website
Just Horses Directory grew out of an annual horse show program
(Bethany CT Horse Show) where we gathered paid ads from local
businesses and horse places. Some ads were for beauty parlors, pizza
places, garages, a few horse farms, etc. After a few years of this, we began asking ourselves: Why not just
horse people? That is our audience after all.
With the enormous help of Pony Club mom Carol Wilkinson and her
husband’s Joe’s printing business Printing Plus, we produced our first
edition of Just Horses in 1987.
It was 55 pages.
Our largest edition (2008) had 136 pages.
The First Cover,
Times have changed since then… a great deal as it turns out!
In 1987, contacts and listings were first collected onto index cards.
No database, just a fat box of messy cards. Typesetting was
done on an early computer, but the type had to be manually typed in
for every page. Display ads and every page were photographed so the
negatives could make the plates for the printing presses. When we
finally had a colored cover, there were areas for each color
hand cut to make the four plates that run through the presses four
times to make all the colors.
Every year the print shop was updated with the rapid improvements in
software and computers As Just Horses got bigger, the task got easier.
Finally we got the first version of QUARK, a printer’s dream.
By 1992 I had my own home computer and FoxBase database and we threw
out the card index!
The print shop could get all text and ad pages onto Quark and from
there onto plates for the presses.
No more typesetting, except for the ads!
Now, all text pages flow from a File Maker database to Quark in
plate-ready form. Ads and photos are mostly digital and come in via
email rather than regular mail. Ad pages end up in Adobe.
We can transfer the entire text to the printers by email instead of
automobile. Mailing lists are sent in Excel and printed right on the
books. Only the UPS system for boxes has stayed much the same.
The website version,
justhorses.com, was added in the mid nineties, when many farms did
not have a computer and had not thought they needed a website. Very
quickly businesses went digital, farms followed soon after and contact
by email cut down on the phone calls.
There are still many Just Horses users who prefer using the book
version, with copies in their barns, houses and pick-ups.
We are not sure when if ever this will change.
We now print 20,000 books (free to public) and get around 20,000
visits per month to the web site (180,000/year?).
Just Horses is currently available in tack and feed stores in our
New England and Eastern New York area, Equine Affaire in Springfield MA, by mail or email
request, at justhorses.com, by cell phones, and…yes... on Facebook!
It’s been quite a trip