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It’s week 4 in our interviewing equine bloggers series and today we are talking to Louise from In Due Horse.
When and how did you get into horses?
I started riding when I was 5 years old. It was fair to say that I became obsessed straight away. I went for weekly riding lessons at a local stables and it was the hi light of my week. I loved it so much that I progressed quite quickly for my age so at age 7 I was in the adult advanced riders class at my riding school galloping around the cross country course like the adults! (That was back in the early 90’s I don’t think that would be allowed now!) It was funny as none of my family were horsey before me, so I don’t know where I got my interest for it.
Do you have/have you had your own horse? Tell me about them.
I did have my own horses when I was a teenager. My ﬁrst pony was a 13.3hh welsh x called Cassie, who I bought when I was 12 years old. She was an ex riding school pony and had a very bad temperament. But she preferred life with just one rider and we did lots of fun things together. She jumped well so we show jumped a lot and we also did a lot of gymkhana as Cassie was excellent at barrel jumping!
After that I owned Stanley who is was a 15.1hh thoroughbred. He was like a puppy. I had gone from sassy Cassie to Stanley who would do anything to please me! He was the loveliest horse in the world. He was an eventer, and had been trained up to intermediate level. So when I got him I did lots of showjumping on him and riding club camps and competitions.
Unfortunately Stanley died in his field suddenly one day after suﬀering from a brain aneurysm. It broke my heart. That really was the reason I haven’t owned my own horse since. I took a year long break from horses after that as I just didn’t want to ride any other horses. Luckily though I did return to riding, I did my BHS exams and started part loaning a horse with a work colleague which got back into horses again.
Fast forward many years and I am now on my 3rd horse that I have part loaned Mya. Mya is a beautiful black mare. She is a 16.2hh freisan/irish draught/cob x and is 10 years old. Unfortunately Mya suﬀered a severe injury to one of her hind legs when she jumped a 5 bar gate in her ﬁeld a few years ago. I started riding her a year and a half ago just as she was coming back into work properly. We focus on dressage as she shouldn’t jump anymore. This has been amazing for me as I have never really done any dressage in all my years of riding. So we now compete in online dressage competitions each month.
What is your favourite part of the horse industry? Why do you stay involved?
I love eventing, although I have never done it! (other than the odd one day event with my horses in my teens). But I would love to. I love going to the big events like Badminton and Pau and watching the top horses and riders.
I stay involved because I just love horses. There is nothing else in my life that I love as much as horses.
Do you have any horse related goals? Riding/competing etc
Yes! I would love to own my own horse again. I live in France and I moved nearly 3 years ago for my husband’s job. I actually gave up my career so that we could move and am currently studying French. I have learnt a lot but still have a way to go to be able to work in French. My goal is to start working more and more with a goal of being able to aﬀord my own horse. It may not be soon but something I am striving towards for the future for sure! In the meantime I am loving riding Mya.
I also have shorter term goals with Mya. We started competing in online dressage competitions each month in September. I am a real dressage novice, so it has been a steep learning curve. But I am competitive so each month it gives me something to focus on and improve on. I have been so pleased with our progress in 3 short months that I am aiming to continue to do a test each month. But also try and gain 3 top ten placings so I can compete in the league. (We have managed some top 10 placings already in the fun classes but not in the league ones yet!). My ultimate goal with Mya is to compete at Novice level, but I have just started at prelim so we may have a bit to work on there! Mya is actually far better at dressage than me, she could easily do novice as she can work in medium paces already with her owner – I just need to catch up with her!!
What do you do for work?
I am a qualified Nurse. I worked in a cardiology unit in the UK. Now, I child mind and teach English to children whilst I am taking lots of French lessons!
How did you start blogging? Why do you keep blogging?
I started blogging as I found that I had a lot more free time since moving to France! The school holidays are long in France in the summer, so I decided to start writing a blog as something to keep me busy (as I have 2 months oﬀ from child minding). It also got me back into horses after I moved to France. I started riding Mya in May 2018 and started my blog in September 2018. I found actually that I started doing things I had always wanted to do so I could blog about them. Like go on a beach ride last summer, it’s weird!
What makes your blog diﬀerent to other equine blogs out there?
I think my blog is diﬀerent to other equine blogs as when I started it I had just returned to riding after moving to France and had had over a year oﬀ with no riding at all. My last part loan horse had been about 5 years before that, so I really hadn’t been riding that much at all previous to my blog starting. So I decided to write about things in the equestrian world that interested me instead. It is more like a magazine than most other blogs that I read.
My blog features lists about horses in popular culture as such ‘Celebrities you didn’t know could ride’ and ’16 facts about the horses in Game of Thrones you probably didn’t know’ which prove to be very popular and really is where I get all my traﬃc from! I obviously have a lot more serious horsey content on there too but I suppose my blog is very easy reading and suitable for everyone that likes horses. You don’t have to be a horsey expert to like my blog. Now, Mya and I have started doing dressage I have incorporated some personal blogs in there now, but it is not a personal blog I just feature on there occasionally if I have done something interesting enough!
What is your favourite thing about blogging?
I love that I have met so many like minded people online because of my blog. I know people criticise social media, but it has opened up a whole network of like minded people to me. I am now a co-host of an equestrian podcast called Equestrian Pulse with 2 other bloggers that I ‘met’ online. I have also written some articles for other equestrian blogs and actually have an article in the winter edition of ‘In The Country’ magazine, which are opportunities I never would have had if I hadn’t started blogging. Blogging made me realise how much I enjoy writing. It also pushes me to do things that I would have not done before so I can write about them.
Do you have any blogging goals?
Honestly no! This may sound funny but I have found that getting caught up with wanting so many views or followers actually takes the fun out of it. My goal is just to continue enjoying it as a hobby and hopefully it will bring more writing opportunities to me. I hope people continue to read my blog but to be honest it doesn’t matter how many people do as I love writing it and I will continue to do it for myself.
Do you have a favourite blogger or one you are inspired by/use as a role model?
I absolutely love the blog Horses and Heels. It is just so cool and modern. Kris from the Savvy Horsewoman is my blogging role model. I interviewed her for my podcast and her knowledge and tips were so useful I learned a lot from her. Also, Heather Wallace from The Timid Rider who I cohost the podcast with (and is now my friend even though we have never actually met in real life!) is also my blogging mentor for sure. She is so knowledgable and supportive and supported my blog right from the beginning and for that I will always be grateful! I also have started getting into vlogs recently and love EM Tee Eventures by Life on The Left Rein and EMD Eventing. I watch their vlog every week.
What do you think is the future of equine blogging?
The future may well be vlogging? There seems to be more and more vloggers coming into the niche. There also seems to be a lot of instagrammers/ influencers that don’t actually have a blog, I have heard a few people say blogging is on its way out – but I really hope not! I love having a website and a blog to write on rather than just posting on facebook or instagram.
What advice do you have for anyone thinking about starting an equine blog?
Be aware of how much work goes into people actually being able to find your blog. Doing your SEO and promoting your blog on social media is actually more time consuming than writing your blogs!
Don’t get caught up on how many people visit your blog or follow you on social media. There are people that have thousands of followers but that took them years.
Finally write for you, don’t copy others or change your content to please other people. Equestrian blogging is already very niche. It’s good to have variety within that niche and its definitely not a bad thing to be diﬀerent from the others.