Episode 9: Building Your Remuda

Western Horseman editor Chris Hamilton and freelancers Kate, Katie Navarra and Abigail at the American Horse Publications Seminar. Photo credit: Darrell Dodds

Western Horseman editor Chris Hamilton and freelancers Kate, Katie Navarra and Abigail at the American Horse Publications Seminar. Photo credit: Darrell Dodds

Freelancing can be a solitary job. Instead of working in a cubicle or office with other professionals, you may find yourself at home most days. If you’re like us, you may get a little bored without social stimulation. Worse, if you don’t make a conscious effort, your skills could stagnate. In this episode, we’ll be talking about ways you can continue your education, and also how you can find and build relationships with other equine media professionals.


Benefits of conferences

  • Networking with colleagues, potential clients and clients
  • Learn new techniques, trends
  • Refresh and renew--gain motivation.


  • American Horse Publications Conference
  • Livestock Publications Council Ag Media Summit
  • Photoshop World or other learning opportunities like Santa Fe Photography Workshop, Texas School of Professional Photography or the
  • Niche Media Conference offers podcasting, blogging, advertising, sales, etc.
  • Podcast Movement 
    •  There are so many conference opportunities. Choose something that is more than just a “cool” event to attend but one that offers the best learning opportunities for what you need.

In-person courses

Benefits of in-person courses

  • Building relationships shops with teachers and fellow students
  • Hands-on skills and learning
  • Use of equipment and software


  • University and community college classes
  • Continuing education courses--Early on, Abigail took photography courses though UT Arlington
  • Poynter Institute

Mentoring and coaching


  • One-on-one, customizable to attack exactly what you need
  • Targeted and intense
  • Can take you to the next level

Finding a mentor or coach

  • Reach out to other professionals or instructors
  • Some groups offer mentorship for a fee. Kate is in a photography group that does offer mentoring. Check out Facebook groups. 
  • Seek someone with the skills you want to attain, or the career path you want to emulate.

Online courses and webinars

Benefits of online courses and webinars

  • Unlimited potential to gain knowledge and skills
  • Flexible pace, timing
  • Takes less time to attend than going to a brick and mortar location

Examples of pay courses online:

  • Poynter - journalism
  • Lynda.com - business, technology and creative skills
  • Mediabistro - journalism, marketing, PR and social media
  • Creative Live - photography, video, design, business, audio, music, crafting, and software training
  • Kelbyone - Photoshop, photography and Lightroom
  • Don’t forget YouTube!

Building your own community

  • Reach out at conferences and network—not just for a job, but also for friends and collaboration possibilities.
  • Join our Freelance Remuda private Facebook Group
  • Find a Hub or shared workspace or even a coffee shop to grow your local network of creatives--or just to get some social interaction.
  • Don’t view other freelancers as a threat. Be confident in your own value.
  • Envious? Reach out and congratulate that person, and use that feeling as motivation to improve your own work.
  • Schedule phone calls / coffee / drinks to trade concerns, challenges, successes.
  • Collaborate!

About The Freelance Remuda

The Freelance Remuda is a podcast about navigating the equine media frontier. Co-hosted by seasoned freelance professionals Abigail Boatwright and Kate Bradley Byars, the podcast explores the trials and triumphs surrounding life as a freelancer in equine media, while sharing valuable tips from equine media editors and creatives doing what they love. Find and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and Stitcher.

Abigail Boatwright