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February 17, 2019: The Alaska Icelandic Horse Association and The Dissemination of Information

There was a meeting of the Alaska Icelandic Horse Association last night. Pete and I did not go because we were heading home from Anchorage after attending a late-afternoon Backcountry Horsemen of Alaska meeting. Now, if we’d seen an agenda beforehand, I would have insisted we go because a topic of great importance to me was discussed, which is the fate of the AIHA newsletter.

I often told the former editor, Fran Bundtzen, that this newsletter was the glue that held this organization together, and I meant it.

It is quite likely that the publication will go digital because it has been determined that it is too costly and too labor intensive to keep it going. Had I known about this pending decision, I would have come with all the back issues in hand. I was fortunate enough when I was president to have acquired the first few years’ worth of publications.

The first issue came out in 1991, and was typed and photocopied. The original writer/editors were Miki and Julie Collins who then and now live on Lake Minchumina. Miki and Julie authored an article on cold adaptation in the Icelandic, and Fran Arseneau authored another entitled “Clipping Icelandics.” There’s also an owner’s list of Icelandic Horse owners in Alaska.

Other issues followed. The publication remained broad-based in that it included articles and information about the Icelandic horse community state-wide.

Having these early issues on hand affirms what I’ve been thinking for years, which is that when you elect to go digital with something like this, you lose something. A print copy, in hand offers readers a more tangible history than does the more quickly read and glossed over digital version.

I have been writing articles about my ongoing interactions with Raudhetta fra Alaskastadir since 2004, when I joined the club. I suspect that had I written these articles for a digital version of this publication that they would have been shorter and less exploratory. For sure, I elaborated on my ideas because I knew they were going into print form. I also spent more time writing these articles than I might have otherwise. Well, there’s now a plus side for me. I have a written record that I’ll draw upon when I soon begin writing The Gift of a Good Ride.

We do live in the digital era, and decisions like this are inevitable. However, the arguments for abandoning the print form don’t hold water. The primary one is expense. Well, this newsletter has been in print now for 18 years, a time in which the association has remained flush. The secondary one is labor-related.

Yes, it is very time-consuming, getting all the articles and photos and putting them together in a readable form. But it can be done. Would I be editor? Yes, absolutely. And Pete said he’d do layout. He also suggested that one way of cutting costs would be to get sponsors. This all reiterates what I’ve been thinking, which is where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Next: 49. 2/18/19: The Horse Life: Engagement

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