Diary of an Equine Mum

Monday, 31 December 2012

What An Exhausting Year!

I cannot believe I have not posted since August. Wish I had taken the time to do the odd blog post as I love reading them back. My main excuse for not writing is that 2012 has been a hugely exhausting year with many highs and lows...

We have finished our house, sold it, renovated a bungalow which we lived in temporarily then moved to a new house in the country and decorated one room already amongst working, looking after teenage boys and animals too! So phew yes I am on my knees! It has taken some getting used to living in a new area, but we are loving it. We have been incredibly spoilt living in a house with all mod cons etc after spending 14 years doing it up to now living in a house that hasn't had anything done to it in the last 20 odd years. We have many plans for the place and it will all come together, probably after another 14 years!

We have had a new addition to the house who swept in like a whirlwind - Harley puppy dog! He is a super little dog but I wont lie it has been hard work.

Stephen who is not a massive dog fan, has really taken to him and we have has some lovely dog walks out which we are both enjoying. It's just fitting the dog in my day which has proved testing, as well as the toilet training. I have become a dab hand with wipes, kitchen roll and spray!

Zeb has proved to be very testing this year. I made the hard decision to move him to a yard opposite where I live to reduce the hours journey there and back to his old yard. It turned out to be the most stressful part of the whole move. He hated it there, becoming a right royal pain in the a**e, bucking, rearing and tanking off. He was just unmanageable and no one at the yard wanted to really deal with him (understandably)...

So after another week of hell, and him hurting a girl at the yard I decided to move him back to his old yard. Well this has proved to be the best decision, as I now have a happy and settled horse. I am now doing part livery which works out better with the travelling. Sometimes things in life just doesn't work out.
The boys have been ok with the move, I think they have taken time to settle too. Billy is now at college doing his A Levels which are proving to be much harder than he thought. Miles is in his final year at school and looking at going into engineering. Our business is busy and it has been hard to move the business twice in a year.
Christmas has been lovely here, despite the stormy weather. So tonight we are saying goodbye to 2012. A year of Olympics, a Golden Jubilee and moving house twice. A year that I will never forget. In a moment of weakness I have let Billy have a party here tonight so I have about 30 teenagers descending on the house. At least the swirly carpets can take the spillages and it will be a good excuse to rip them up later... Wish me luck!

I wish you all a Happy and Healthy New Year and I will blog post much more often in 2013. Have a good one :0)

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Four Paws On Order & Exam Results

Yes I must be mad...Not only are we all moving again but I've been worn down by Miles and decided to get a puppy in amongst it all! It is not a decision we have come to overnight, we have been thinking about it for quite a while now. So this weekend we have bought this puppy who will be coming to live with us in four weeks time. Here is Harley and he is a Jack Russell x Patterdale.
No doubt you will see posts on here very soon where I am tearing my hair out with puppy antics and the cats disputing about the fact he has arrived to live with them! I am also moving Zeb at the end of the month, so if I manage to keep sane after all this, I feel I would need an award. Anyway I will keep you posted, but I am really looking forward to it and all the dog walking ahead of me!
PHOTO SOURCE
Billy did well in his exams with 3 x A's, 4 x B's and 3 x C's. I was really pleased but he didn't exactly put mountains of revision into it which I have reminded him about. Anyway they are good results and have got him a place at college where he enrols at tomorrow to start is AS/A2 levels. There was a media hoo-haa about the marking of the GCSE's being changed this year especially in English. I'm just relieved Billy turned up and did his exams...unlike his dad!
Anyway off to bury myself in mountains of paperwork and emails with work, moving, and Haynet. Be back soon!

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Settling In The Sun


So we have now moved and been in our temporary home for ten days now. The first few days were quite stressful as Dizz really hated being cooped up in the house and drove us all mad howling and hurling himself at the windows to get out.... Anyway by day three when the cat valium was still not working, he escaped out the back door between Stephens legs and shot over the fence and gone! Anyway the wanderer returned that night and that has been his routine since. He goes back to the old house and sits in the garden all day and then comes back to us at night (we have moved about 1/4 of miles away...)
This week has been really nice to actually not to be packing, ringing, stressing and life almost feels normal. However I know we have the rumblings starting again for the next move as we are hoping to exchange on our new house next week to move about 10 days after. So... I am making the most of my free time at the moment. I have ridden Zeb quite a bit which has been lovely.
I am going to spend this afternoon tack cleaning and washing my rugs as we have some glorious summer weather with temperatures hitting 30 deg! I went on a lovely dog walk with Rhonda with her dogs and some  other dogs she is looking after. The fields are glorious with lots of hay making.


After a lot of thought and with our new rural home, we have decided to get a puppy! Stephen has always been a little anti the idea for many years but has finally come round it. We are moving to a house with long dog walking fields, so it will be fairly easy to keep a dog. We have reserved a male black and tan patterdale x jack russell which we will be picking up at the end of September. So exciting - I will post some pictures soon.
So changing times ahead but looking forward to it. I hopefully will be back on soon as trying to make sure I keep my blog up to date (seeing as I run a blogging network!) Just off now to enjoy the sunshine - happy days.


Sunday, 5 August 2012

Nearly Time To Say Goodbye

So I have only two days left at our lovely house which we have spent the last 14 years in. I have been sorting, chucking, giving away, keeping, filing, packing and binning over the last six weeks and I am exhausted. We are moving into the bungalow for (hopefully) only for a short while as we have found a new house. Its about 6 miles away and will be quite a change of life if it goes through. I am going to say very little about it and will only get excited when we exchange!

I said goodbye to my neighbours today and she started crying which made me well up too. Change is good but it is very hard to move on without getting sentimental and emotional about it all. I bought the boys here when they were babies and they have grown up in this house. We have had great times here and have lots of happy memories. The house is looking very empty and echoes as we start taking the final pieces of furniture out. In the bungalow though this is starting to look like home as it has all our things. I think home is what is around you too.




It has also been a tough decision but I am going to move Zeb too. He has been at my friends yard for 6 years and we have been more than happy there. If we move to the house we are currently buying, it will be a 25 min journey each way which adds alot to the day and to the fuel bill. Luckily where I am moving to is horsey riding heaven and I went to see a yard this morning which is only a 5 minute walk from the house. It's very different in lots of ways. As always there are advantages and disadvantages to any yard but it felt a lovely place to bring him. They are very kindly keeping the box available for me until I move. I have said I want to move into the house first and then think about him next.


If I make it to News Years Eve this year in one sane piece it will be a miracle! What a stressful and unsettling time but I know it will be all ok. So bye bye house - you have been great to be around. Let's hope the new owners love you like we did!

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Calm Before The Storm

Apologies for not writing and updating sooner, life is very hectic and busy at the moment. By the time I finally sit down at night its 8.50pm and I'm whacked. Our house sale is speeding ahead, and I'm amazed at the speed it has gone through. I honestly think that there are some media hype about how bad things are in the housing market. Its not brilliant but its not as bad as the newspapers make out. There are many Sale Agreeds around here now and it's slowly moving. 
I feel my life is in the "Calm Before The Storm" phase... We are expecting to move in 4 weeks and have a bungalow to renovate in that time to put a new kitchen and bathroom in, rewire and put central heating in. Not much work then! We get the keys tonight and that's when all hands to the decks starts. We have another property in mind but not sure if that will come off. I will keep you posted.
I turned 42 last Monday - 42!!!!!! How did that happen!! I felt a bit better when I realised Sir Paul McCartney was 70 on the same day. A mere spring chicken I am then....
The weekend before Stephen hired an old VW camper van and we set out with Jo and Archie, Miles and Georgia and hit Cooden Beach for a barbie. It was lovely and a very different way to celebrate a birthday. The weather was kind for a change and it almost felt holiday like! 
On the equine side of things, Zeb is all well. I fell off him a couple of weeks ago in a comedy fall getting on! In the eight years I have owned him this is the only time I fell off. He just looked at me on the floor with an expression" what on earth are you doing down there!". I ached for days realising I certainly do not bounce anymore! I had another lesson yesterday and had an eureka moment with the collection and keeping him on the bit. Only taken me years... We are struggling with the grazing which we are just scratching our heads over. We have 5 acres to 3 horses horses with only a few blades of grass. The paddocks have been rolled, harrowed and fertilised with one paddock being rested for 9 months. Why is it struggling??


Boys are well - Billy left school 3 weeks ago and had his last GCSE on Monday. We think its all gone ok, but only August will tell when the dreaded results are in! Billy will then go to college to study his AS/A2 Levels. Miles is now going into his last year so he needs to decide what to do. The boys will be working next week on the bungalow so I hope to keep you more updated and not once a month with all the goings on. I need some more hours in the day please! 


Sam
x

Sunday, 20 May 2012

For Sale - 14 Years Of Happy Memories

So after months of talking about the moving subject, we have finally bit the bullet and gone on the market. Well I say we have, we are not "officially" on the market until tomorrow but our agent decided to send someone round yesterday with the house in turmoil, the boys rooms resembling a squat, paint and ladders strewn in everywhere, cat footprints on the settee...but obviously the couple like than ambience of all of that and put an offer in!! We were just blown away yesterday that we would have an offer so quickly....


Anyway it was a little under what we wanted so the agent has more buyers interested so the exhausting viewings start this week. Now I know I like a bit of cleaning, but it is draining to keep the house in tip top condition. I am going to pass on the coffee simmering in the machine and home made buns aroma wafting as the potential buyer walks in the door. It will have to be a cup of instant and some co op own shortbread I'm afraid!!


So 14 years of happy memories are for sale.... I have loved living here and this house has seen so many happy times and the only odd sad time. With dad dying a couple of years ago now, I have a lot of work that he has done at this house, the sentimental side of me is looking at the bathroom he fitted, the radiators he put on. I have his plants in the garden..... He is not here to see our next change in our lives and I would of been talking all about this to him and asking his advice. Yes it is going to be very sad to leave it but it is time to move on with the boys leaving school and as Steve says, time is ticking by!


We have an eye on the next property which we are viewing on Wednesday. It will be quite a lifestyle change is this goes ahead but I am saying no more until we have seen it, and if we put an offer on it. I will keep you posted!!

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Riding In An Era Gone By...


I won’t divulge my age on paper but I grew up in what is now a nostalgic time when learning to ride horses and ponies. Through the 1970’s and 1980’s, before health and safety had gone mad, riding was fun and carefree in my opinion.
I started to ride at my local riding school back in the seventies which would now be reminiscent of a Thelwell piece of artwork. It was bit of a scruffy farm with broken wheelbarrows, old tractors and guttering swinging in the wind type of riding school. We would turn up in our plastic wellies and second hand riding hats longing to see which pony would be given to us to endure the mad half an hour belting round the indoor school. The indoor school would be a loose term used for it as it was just a large corrugated shed that would creak and groan in the wind together with a mud floor.
There would be about eight of us in the lesson and my memories of the half an hour was organised but fun chaos. I was given the same pony nearly every week, and I would spend at least some part of the lesson, hanging in his mane or face down in the mud. No one worried whether I was hurt, in fact my mum would just drop me off and let me get on with it! In those days, there wasn’t a mere mention of insurance, compensation or signing a long solicited letter in order to ride. You just turned up to ride and if you fell off, you just picked yourself up, dusted yourself off and got back on.
Compensation culture is killing the everyday riding school. These days’ attitudes have changed to compensation and many feel it is their right to receive payments for injured legs or a bruised shoulder. This unfortunately hikes the prices in insurance premiums which the every day riding school of today is struggling to pay. Many are closing down because of this. If you choose to do any sport, especially horse riding you should accept that if you get hurt that is part of the hobby. I remember we used to hack out round the fields of the farm and we would all be clinging on for dear life bombing up and down the hedgerows. Sometimes there were falls that would result in injuries and broken bones but no one worried about it. It was part of horse riding after all.
I know that many riding schools now make the rider sign a disclaimer making them responsible for their own injuries, which I think is the only way a riding school today can avoid this compensation worry. When we were riding over thirty years ago, it wouldn’t have even entered our heads to “sue” the riding school if we fell off and were hurt. Riding schools have been the backbone of equestrianism, providing jockeys, equestrian experts and riders of all spheres. Those carefree horse riding years in the sixties and seventies have produced top riders of today such as Mary King, William Fox-Pitt, Pippa Funnell, The Whitakers and many more. I worry that in the future, this country will be struggling to provide riders at all levels if the starting point of using a riding school is taken away.

Now with modern age indulging in Health and Safety and No Win No Fee Claims, it is so nice to look back to these days and reminisce about Follyfoot, Black Beauty and Flambards. I don't know about you, but those days I miss...
 

Sunday, 13 May 2012

A Delicate Horse Riding Lesson & A Trip To The Hospital!


What a day I had yesterday.... After spending Friday night catching up with some friends over some bottles of Cava, I woke early yesterday morning thinking it may have been a better idea to move my riding lesson on a week. Yes I was feeling some what delicate! Anyway, my delicate state soon worsened when Zeb came in from the field a different colour to the bright bay he was meant to be....he was now a muddy dun. The big git was covered head to foot in mud - joy...
 
So after lots of scraping and brushing he finally resembled his normal colour again. My friend was having her lesson first so I decided to warm up Zeb by hacking down the long hill and back again. Coming back up the hill back to the yard, the horses across the road from us were going absolutely mental! Zeb, bless him, was not phased at all and was more interested if he could get a sneaky mouthful of grass whilst his neighbours were doing handstands!
 
I haven't had a lesson since November so very rusty on the schooling side of things...again. My instructor said we would have a look at transitions and do some canter work to get me back into it again. My transitions coming down from trot to walk is particularly untidy so we worked on bringing the trot from a medium trot, to a working trot to almost a jog and then a walk to smooth the transition. After working on this it did start to look almost elegant. Zeb is very sensitive to aids but probably with mixed reactions from me, to come to a walk is almost a stop! Also by adding in some half halts seem to work as well which I am going to have to put this transition work into practise (she says......I will go in the school - honest!)
 
Towards the end of the lesson we decided to do some canter work, particularly on the left rein as Zeb has a habit of putting in some un-asked flying changes. The problem I have is when he puts a flying change in, it puts me completely out of seat and then it all goes to pieces which results back to trot and the whole thing has gone. My instructor this time was making me sit deep, and continue on with canter by pushing him on, and not allowing him to stop even if puts in a flying change. This was done on a large circle as he does seem to be more prone to the FC on the straight. After a few practices and me pushing him on, this worked. We did it on the right rein which was so much better. So a good lesson all in all - I came out feeling positive and there is talk of going along to some low key dressage next month, so I will keep you posted on that.
 
That afternoon once home, my husband decided as for once as it wasn't raining (and we are putting our house on the market..another long story!) to start tidying the outside up. We have some rampaging ivy growing up the back of the house, so he got his ladder out and up he went to trim it all up. Five minutes later, a huge crash and bang, he fell straight down on to the decking! He was out cold then when he came too he was sick! So straight down to A&E....
 
The wait was 4 hours!! Fortunately the girl on reception I knew as we used to work together and she got us in quicker, especially with a potential head injury. (It's not what you know - it's who you know!!) The waiting room was heaving and there were patients on trolleys in the corridors. The staff were running around and I just don't know how they do it. I spoke to my friend later about her job and she told me stories that would make your hair curl! One woman came in yesterday afternoon and said "what was the wait?" She was told 4 hours, then she said ok don't worry I'll come back tomorrow!!! Priceless.....
 
Anyway Mr H had every test going, CT scans, XRays, bloods etc etc. Thankfully he only has a serious bout of concussion, bruises and a badly sprained ankle. It could of been so much worse.It was very humbling to see the workings of that hospital yesterday and I cannot fault the staff, they were absolutely brilliant. So if any of you that work in the NHS, especially in A&E - you need an award! We were meant to be going out to dinner with friends last nignt, which we obviously couldnt make it - so it was a drive in MacDonalds on the way home....with relief that it wasnt anything more serious and we were going home.
 
So a very calm Sunday for me today. We are both walking around like cripples...me from my lesson, Mr H from his fall....

Monday, 30 April 2012

The Love Of Thelwell


THE LOVE OF THELWELL
How many of you grew up with horses and ponies in the last 40 years had a Thelwell annual, a Thelwell bed cover, or poster on your wall in your childhood bedroom? The answer would be the majority of us horse lovers!
This great cartoonist, Norman Thelwell, gave us the humorous and a honest view of owning ponies in years gone by. We can all relate to the pony dumping us over the home made brush fence, or clinging on for dear life as the naughty caricature takes off over the brow of the hill never to be seen again. What is so endearing about these cartoons is that they have failed to date in the fifty years that they have been around. Pony mad children of the modern age are buying today pencil cases, books, photo frames all decorated with the delightful images that Thelwell is so famous for.
Who was NormanThelwell?
Norman Thelwell was born in 1923 in Birkenhead, Cheshire, the son of a machinist. He was educated at Rock Ferry School in Birkenhead and was always seen carrying pencils and a sketchbook. He sold one of his first drawings of some chickens at the age of fifteen and left school a year later to become a junior clerk in a Liverpool office.
He joined the army aged eighteen and became involved in an army publication where his first cartoons were published, and was soon earning a small income. After leaving the military he became involved in small magazines and then went on to lecture about illustration and design. In 1950 he sold his first drawing to Punch, depicting two horse riders which started his career in equestrian cartoons.
From 1952 to 1977, Norman Thelwell contributed 1,600 cartoons to various magazines and newspapers. He also produced book jackets, worked for television and drew for advertising – including clients such as Guinness and W H Smith. His thirty two books sold over two million copies in the UK. He always signed his cartoons as “Thelwell”, where as his paintings carried his full signature. After a full and wholly recognised career, he sadly died on 7thFebruary 2004.
Why are the Thelwell Cartoons so Well Loved?
Thelwell’s cartoons show a very traditional British way of life and the love of the countryside. Most gift shops and equestrian stores all have Thewell products that you can buy. If you travel to any of the county shows that are held in this country, there are many products that can be found for sale adorning this favourite cartoon. There are stalls full of Thelwell merchandise ranging for ornaments to mugs, aprons to cushions, pens to birthday cards. His style and humour of the equestrian world is likeable to the young and the old. This is a genius marketing approach in today’s world that a cartoon appeals to many generations and that is not easily done these days. For the older age group, Thelwell’s images are reminiscent of how life with horses was so much simpler through the 1960’s and 1970’s before health and safety stepped in!
Thelwell cartoons
 We Have all Ridden a Thelwell Pony!
Thewell’s popularity is that any pony or horse enthusiast will no doubt have ridden a pony just like those portrayed in his famous artwork.  How many of us can relate to the Riding School cartoon, a chaotic hack out with naughty ponies causing mayhem for the long suffering riders!  With most of his famous cartoon images we all have full sympathy for the little girl closing her eyes as the mad pony bucks her off in the hedge, or praying to her pony as it refuses to jump yet again in the show ring. If you see a portly adorable Shetland these days, it will no doubt always remind you of a naughty Thelwell pony.
Hold on to those Thelwell ornaments or cartoon books you may have sitting on a dusty shelf. As the years are going by since Normans Thelwells death, these are becoming sort after collectables, with valuations rising.  However, these famous ponies give us fond and treasured memories of times spent riding ponies of an era gone by. So when you are having your next clear out, think twice before parting with your Thelwell china mug!
Written by Samantha Hobden from hay-net.co.uk, the UK’s No1 Equine Social Blogging Network

Monday, 23 April 2012

Hazardous Hacking



Here is an article that I wrote for Equine Online recently all about the perils of hacking out with your horse these days!


If you look up on the internet the term ‘Happy Hacker’ it will either shows you articles on website criminality or you will find numerous equestrian shops or happy hacker horses for sale. But is hacking out with your horse happy or more these days “hazardous hacking”?
I’M JUST A HAPPY HACKER
Why do we feel a little unaccepted in the equestrian world for being a happy hacker? Hacking your horse out on the roads and lanes in this country is dangerous and hazardous but one of the most enjoyable aspects of horse riding. Figures show that more horse owners have their horse just for pleasure, and not to compete with. Yet many of these owners feel they cannot admit in the company of other equestrian riders, that they like nothing more but to ride their horse on the lanes, through the bridleways, along the fields and canter through woods. Horse riding in whatever chosen sphere is a high risk activity, and hacking should be accepted equally to those who choose to ride in a show jumping arena or a cross country course.
Many of us are lucky enough to have the use of safe bridleways or open fields where there is no traffic, but hazards will always present themselves to the horse rider. How many of you have come across a pheasant flying out from the undergrowth, a passing low flying helicopter, or just a rouge plastic bag stuck in a hedge to alarm your horse and then deal with their reaction. Thankfully the majority of horses can cope with these dangers however big or small, but some horses respond in a “spooky” erratic manner needing quick thinking from the rider to limit a fall or an accident.
DEALING WITH HAZARDS OUT RIDING
Always try and be one step ahead of your horse when hacking out foreseeing potential hazards that are out there. If you have to ride on the roads or lanes look and listen for traffic especially from behind. If you come across a noisy or dangerous hazard always reassure your horse. Horses look to the rider for support and guidance in these situations so a calm spoken word from you or a gentle pat works wonders. If you are in company and you have a horse that is more experienced, then let them take the lead. Your horse will follow and gain confidence by seeing another horse not reacting to the hazard ahead. Ride in a positive manner so your horse is feeding from your confidence. Even when you know your horse is going to react, portray calmness and assurance to them. The majority of the time this diffuses the situation and they then walk past or through the hazard, all be it twenty hands tall but you have got past it safely!
RIDING SAFELY ON THE ROADS
It is not always possible to ride on rural bridleways or through quiet countryside, so sometimes hacking out does mean road work. Are you aware of the Highway Code when it comes to riding your horse on the roads? It may seem obvious to us what safety precautions we should be doing when riding out, but take a moment to have a read of the guidelines that are there. You should always ride on the left hand side of the road and never riding more than two abreast. With traffic approaching riding in single file is safer and always acknowledge a thanks to the driver. A courteous thank you to cars that have slowed down and passed wide goes a long way in driver attitudes to horses on the road. Always wear hi-viz clothing when riding out and ensure your horse has adequate hi viz attire too. A study has shown that wearing hi-viz clothing makes you more visible to a car driver approximately three seconds earlier than without it. Those three seconds are vital in an avoidance of a potential accident. Make sure you ride out in clear daylight and not when the light is fading or visibility is poor. Always wear a riding hat and have your mobile phone with you in case of an emergency. However, texting or taking a call when riding is not advisable! If you take all of these safety points when riding out on the roads, it is like wearing a seat belt in a car.
Generally hacking out is a relaxing past time and a great way to bond with your horse. Understandably if you have had an incident while out hacking it can cause you to lose your nerve. Getting your confidence back can take time, but it is vital to get back in the saddle sooner rather than later. Either ride an experienced horse, or ask a knowledgeable friend to accompany you when first riding out again. Make the first rides short and at a walk. Increase the length of time riding out which will help you feel more positive about hacking your horse again.
Take a moment to look about the lovely countryside and give your horse a thank you pat when you next ride out. How lucky we are to enjoy such a wonderful pass time with these very special animals. Hacking out is fun but it is equally demanding in skill you need to stay safe. Most of all, enjoy being a happy hacker!
Written by Samantha Hobden from hay-net.co.uk, the UK’s No1 Equine Social Blogging Network

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Catch Up Post - Ideal Home, Camber, Easter!

It's been ages since my last proper blog post and it's just time! Since launching Haynet, it just consumes so much of my time - enjoyable times but many hours spent at the computer screen. Factor in running a family, horse and work, I look at the clock and realise it's 8 oclock at night!


Me and Stephen managed to gra b a day out together a few weeks ago and went up to London to the Ideal Home Exhibition. It was really sunny and hot so it was a pleasure to be in London. The exhibition was great, 20K hot tubs, 5k garden sofas etc - I think you get my drift! We then went on to Harrods and did some more window shopping at a box of 10 bottle of win at 325K...I jest not! Afterwards we made our way back to Borough Market before catching the train back to Crowborough, de touring at Oxted as there was an incident on the line for an hour....


Easter came and went with a change in weather to cold and showery. Stephen went to Barnsly to watch Brighton play. On Sunday even though it was cold and windy we decided to go to Camber Sands for a walk on the beach. It's a funny old place but very quirky and interesting. We ended up having a coffee at the cafe on the beach - blustery and cold but lovely.


Easter Monday we did the family thing seeing both sides which was nice. The boys spent the holidays fishing and shopping! Billy leaves school in a months which is a scary thought. I cannot believe my children are leaving school with Miles leaving next year! All the animals are fine, cats driving me mad. Zeb is all good, touchwood. Just waiting for the grass to grow and summer to arrive. 
Promise I wont leave it so long next time. I'm off to Badminton in a couple of weeks which I cannot wait. I will report back!
MILES
BILLY AND DIZ
NAUGHTY DIZ
BLUE
THE ONE AND ONLY ZEB

Friday, 13 April 2012

Equestrian Blogging - My Article

Sorry it's been an age since my last post. I have been so busy with work, family and running Haynet. I am going to blog this weekend about the latest goings on but in the meantime here is an article that I have written for Equine Online all about Equestrian Blogging:


"I imagine you have come across in the social media, websites and equestrian magazines celebrity and well known riders writing about their life with horses. I have always read and followed these online diaries with interest and find it quite fascinating how people have such different lives with horses.
WHAT IS BLOGGING?
I started writing a blog about my horse really by accident last summer. I didn’t really intend to keep a regular diary but was following some friends online blogs, I became inspired to start my own. As a teenager I kept diaries for several years documenting the angst, worries and joys of being fifteen. I had forgotten all about these diaries and it was only last year that these were discovered in my mother attics after a clear out. I bought them home, dusty, tattered and started to read them. I laughed, cringed, and got very emotional at them as it bought back so many lost and forgotten memories of my teenage years. I had also written about the fun times horse riding, falling off every week in the lessons but living and breathing all things pony! These diaries are very precious to me now. However we have moved on in the thirty years since then and blogging is now the 21st century way of keeping a diary.
WHY BLOG ABOUT YOU AND YOUR HORSE?
I don’t know about you but I sometimes struggle to remember what I did yesterday. I wish I had kept a diary over the last twenty years but time has evaded me. By starting my blog, I began writing about the joys and frustrations of owning my horse. I had started having lessons last year – some weeks I made brilliant progress, other lessons were exasperating disasters. By documenting this down, it was a way to read back to see where I was going right riding my horse and where my weaknesses were too. Blogging can also be a powerful way to share your knowledge, especially in the equestrian world. The majority of us horse riders source the internet these days to help us find answers to those problems that come up invariably having horses! By reading others rider’s diaries that are sharing their equine wisdom, blogging is now another way of sourcing this helpful advice.
BLOGGING IN THE EQUESTRIAN INDUSTRY
Blogging is now becoming a very versatile tool in the equestrian world. The equestrian industry seem to be embracing this way of blogging to promote their equestrian businesses, competitions or chosen equine area of expertise. Most websites these days have a blog which can then be linked to social network pages such as Facebook and Twitter. Some top equestrian companies are now using blog pages to raise their companies profile or employing professional riders to write about their career through their websites. All the tops riders especially through the competition season blog, tweet or post about their successes and failures these days. Rather than wait for a magazine article to come out in print, this is now the quick and fast way to get their equestrian news out there as well raising their profile and their horses.
HOW CAN I START?
Why leave blogging to the professionals? Why not start writing about your equestrian life too? There are many ways on the internet to start for free through Blogger, WordPress etc. Do you think you haven’t got the time? Yes, this is a question that I am often asked. You can give as much time as you want to your blog but sometimes if an article or piece is short but interesting, that is better than long laborious text. Be yourself when writing and your personality will shine through. No two people have the same opinion especially in the horse world, so be honest, truthful and considerate in what you write. Add pictures to your text too which makes your article more appealing to the eye. Sometimes a page of full text can be off putting and the reader may pass by your interesting blog post. If you want to build up a readership, update your blog often to encourage followers to return.
I urge you to have a go and start writing about the ups and downs living with your horse can bring. I like nothing better than looking at my blog posts from many months ago. What seemed a hurdle with your horse then, is now a solution. Just think a few years ahead how nice it will be to look back at the wonderful times your horse gave you. As in the words of Oscar Wilde “Memories is the diary we all carry with us”."