f!lly: the Magazine, the Movement


What is f!lly ?

f!lly is a magazine—something new and exciting in the horse racing industry.

New: because we’ll  debut in mid-July, 2013. Saratoga Springs, New York, USA, is the home office,  but our scope is international.

Exciting:  because we’re the only American-based publication that’s by, for and about women in horse racing.  Our unique target audience audience–the majority of the fan base of horse racing–is grossly under-represented in the world of horse racing.  Until now.

We’re based in the U.S., but our subjects—both female horses and humans—are from all over the world.  Wherever women, fillies and mares are working in this beautiful sport—both Arabian and Thoroughbred racing—we’ll tell you about them.

But f!llyis also a movement.  (For a glimpse at the tip of the iceberg, see the page, f!lly Herd.)

The f!lly Movement is about women doing what we do best:

Defend horses.
Protest equine cruelty, abuse and slaughter.

We sincerely believe that by creating a publication that celebrates women in horse racing—and all the attributes that we bring to the sport—everyone in the sport will benefit, horses and humans, alike. As women become encouraged by what they read in our magazine, they will be energized.

And when women are energized, there’s no stopping them. (Us.) We hope that our readers will seek their own roles in the sport: finding careers, and taking their rightful places–whether on the track, the back, the barn or the Board.  Horses, women and men all will experience greater personal and professional growth as women are empowered thus.

Empowerment is the door to great change:
as females become empowered, the sport will grow. Change—one woman and girl at a time—may take time, but in the evolution of the sport and our two species—it can only be good.

Is f!lly Necessary, Really? Come on, now…

We womenfolk are the majority of the population on this blue marble we call, Earth.

We also have a natural affinity for horses.
We’re hard-pressed to think of a woman who didn’t want a pony when she was a little giHall of Fame Trainer, LeRoy Jolley, knows this. He’s often stated that, by marketing horse racing to women—the entire industry can grow and prosper.  One summer day in 2006, we chatted about the misled efforts of much of the racing world, to market itself. The esteemed gentleman noted that horse racing insiders are always scrambling, trying to find ways to market the sport. But their efforts too-often miss the mark.

The answer to racing’s woes seemed pretty obvious to the sage:

“…do you know who they should be marketing it to? Let me ask you a question: Who loves a horse more than a 13-year-old girl?”

Right on, O Great One.

Some little girls take this love for horses—with which we’re born—and allow it to follow its natural path. They get involved in equine sports, and some—like me—find the race track early in Life. We females are the foundation fan base of horse racing. We’re the ones who love a horse whether s/he wins or loses. We write encouraging notes on Facebook, and put “Come on, boy, you can win! Go get ’em!”

You can build a house as tall as your vision takes it. But as any architect or civil engineer will tell you, without a firm foundation, the house will collapse before it can be expanded.

Racing officials want to expand the sport—to make it more FUN!-FUN!-FUN!—but in their failure to market the sport to the one segment of society that is dedicated to keeping the home fires burning–females–their efforts are for naught. We women keep those home fires burning, even when all others have abandoned Home.

It’s quite true, that women have made strides in horse racing. We don’t deny that.
But, lest we think that the coast is clear, I encourage you to look around and ask yourself a single question:

“Are women filling 51% of the jobs in racing?

Clearly, the answer is No. Look at the Boards of Directors—the publishing houses—and broadcasting, both radio and television. Women may fill 5-10% of the professional roles in the sport, but that figure does not reflect our potential. (NYRA–the New York Racing Association–is one of precious few organizations that features females in high management positions.)

Several years ago, I called the owner of a Sirius horse racing channel, to suggest that we create a racing radio show with me at the mic. (I’ve heard for years that I have a voice for radio.) I love the horses and the sport. God knows I’ve been a fan for 53 years. I’m qualified. But the fellow in charge of this radio channel said,

“Honey, right now I have 8300 subscribers—and they’re all MEN.”

This amused me. I responded,

“If you bring ME on, and we create a woman-hosted radio show—you’ll have 16,600 subscribers.”

The poor bloke just didn’t get it, that the presence of an opinionated woman as the lead would lure more listeners, because women would subscribe to a show that spoke to our gender. A show to which females could relate and support.

A show that made them feel represented in media, for a change.

The answer to that single question is that indeed, women are not occupying 51% of the pro positions in racing, across-the-board. It may be a long journey, and we may make strides one woman at a time. But this magazine—this community, this movement–wants nothing more than to grow our sport, in the smartest way possible.

Bring on the women, and give us our head: we’ll find our way home, and into the winner’s circle.

Join us, however you see yourself in the f!lly Movement. Welcome Home, f!llies and colts, alike.

M.E. Altieri

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