Writing & Reading To Ride Better

Always amazed at the incredible level of support the reader community can offer.

Thank you to everyone who invests time in commenting and reading the posts here!  I’ve never reposted any comments – but this one is a must read!

First; Your Daily Dose of Duchess Rice Dream.

classical dressage philosophy


This is from Tonia.  We both clearly play on the same team.  Enjoy!

“…  A bit of good old classical dressage wisdom, which is that we as riders should ask ourselves regularly–why are we doing this? Why do we ride? For some people, the answer is they want to be at the top of the sport…to compete, win and be the best. But for me (and probably–hopefully–for most equestrians) the answer is because I love horses. I have loved them since I was barely old enough to recognize that feeling.
… With that answer in mind, and channeling my inner nine-year-old-self, I go out and do the things that are hard and scary and that progress us forward…  if at any point I start to lose touch with the core reason I am doing all this, then I know I am on the wrong track and I need to take a step back and return to a place of love and enjoyment again, wherever that may be.
This idea of love and enjoyment over competition/progress/goals was reiterated so eloquently to me recently at a lecture I attended by Paul Belasik …it was such a good reminder and came at a really good time for me, when I was in the throes of being hard on myself for what I felt was slow progress over the past couple years (during which time I had a baby, ahem).
I’m passing on that reminder now–not to suggest you should take a step away from showing, but because this concept enabled me to loosen the grip that perfectionism and competitiveness had on me at that time and allowed me to just ENJOY THIS, no matter where we are or what we’re doing or how “good” we’re doing it.” (Tonia)

Find Tonia at Peace Love Horses.

Until next time!

riding dressage
If you haven’t aleady – cast your vote for braid style in Sunday’s post!

Time To Vote On Braid Style!

Unless you’ve got a roached mane, braiding is required at any show.

With a horse that shakes the head a lot (Hello, I know one.), both during the braiding process and after between classes, sewn braids are great since they stay in really tight.

They take a lot longer to put in though.  Yes, even with practice at countless shows.

Last show, I did old school rubber banded ones instead.  There are various ways to roll them up, rosette style (Gorgeous, but falls out easier unless the mane is pulled thinner and kept shorter/short-ish.) or banded in the middle.

Different necks look best in different braid styles – want to give your input on this one?!

Vote for your favorite in the poll below!  Which ones look the best?

⇓ Easier to make, taller rubber-banded braids ⇓

tall braids on dressage horse

⇓ Larger sewn-in braids ⇓

large sewn in braids on dressage horse


#ThingsWeThingAboutWhenStuckOnTheCouchWithaCold 🙂

Show-Breech Hate On Another Level

Considering breaking up with my show breaches.

Seriously, they’ve sucked (literally, like suction cups, unbreathable on the inside.), since the first day.

Not sure exactly which conditions they were originally created for.  Eventing? Nah, they don’t show their cross-country in white breeches?  Showing in rainy conditions maybe.  With extreme stickability…

sweaty full seat breeches
In the hated ones. They’re white. With black full seat. That’s about all they’ve got going for them.

Anyway.  They’re so clammy it’s a pain.

Wearing them feels like wearing a wet diaper, driving on some highway up in Oregon.  Where they always seem to go too slow.  While following the rear lights, painfully close, behind some guy with a “Jesus is coming” bumper sticker:  Damp, infantile, slow-moving, and hopeless.

Not sure you can relate, but the depression with these breeches is real.

Love all my three pairs of Romfh Sarafina breeches, and they’ve held up really well.

sarafina full seat breeches
Last year in Sarafina’s – still as good as new.

Considering trading up for a pair of white too!  Great to be able to switch from everyday schooling breeches to show, without feeling a difference in the tack.

Have a favorite brand and model of show breeches?  Let’s hear it!  Which ones, and why?  I’m all ears.

How To Score A Show Coat With A Better Price Tag

Pikeur show coat, Pikeur quality, without the Pikeur price.

For real.

A reader tip lead to a fantastic site to score a Pikeur at a super price. Sharing the tip today, now that I’ve done the testing for you already!

Order from U.K. based Amira Equi. Yes, it works, the order will go through! Shipping was snail slowish to California, and you’re sort of left in limbo without tracking capabilities or really any shipping updates at all. But it’s awesome!

Find it at Amira Equi.

buy pikeur from overseas

Super easy website, and their currency converter makes things even easier. No VAT, reasonable shipping, to the U.S. (Or where ever you are, but in Europe with VAT.)

Lightweight, navy blue (promise, it IS blue, just dark.) coat arrived the day of the show.

how to buy dressage coat at discount price

Dressage On A Dime A Horse For Elinor

Actually just a couple of hours before, which worked out great since my husband then made a surprise visit at the show grounds with it. Sweet!

Threw it on minutes before mounting to warm up, and it fit. Love it!

Thank you reader peeps for coat shopping tips!

10 More Lessons I’ve Learned From Horse Blogging

Carrying on with the next 10 tips today.

As promised yesterday, here’s the rest from the original list.

10 more horse blogging tips for a reader friendly blog!

Dressage On A Dime A Horse For Elinor

Before we get in to it – remember to have fun with your blog! There’s really no true rules. As always, I’d love to hear what you have to say at the end! Share your own tips and pet peeves!

11. Consider the content in any picture before posting.

Readers will have a hard time seeing a quick image as something fleeting or temporary, or as something unusual.

If you choose to post pictures of your horse, let’s say lathered and with a rope halter rubbing off its outside eye on the lunge line, then yes, viewers will see this as a true representation of how your horses are normally handled.

Even if it was just one time. For 5 minutes.

Just that it was published on your blog draws a parallel, and sets a precedence.

Getting off track here… As you can tell below, I check every picture before posting to make sure everything is correct and in place. Right…

candid picture gone wrong

12. Ignore the statistics for now.

Hits of 2000 per month is insignificant, and won’t pull in any money. Just write anyway, have fun with it, and think of the reasons the blog started in the first place!

A way to document? An adventure? A chance to create a network of like-minded that could never happen in real life… Because we’re always too busy waiting for the farrier. Or run out of time cleaning tack, or fixing the broken hay net, again.

13. Spell check.

‘Nuff said. No grammar police, but a spell check is nice. I butcher sentences in my own special way and reverse the words to where the syntax is broken. More or less on purpose perhaps.

But a spell check is easy, and readers really do like it.

The easy part is pushing the square with ABC and a check mark, every time. Yes?

Benefits of hand Walking Young horses on trails

14. Imaging is king. (That’s not even a sentence, I’m lost.)

See 11 above – pictures mean a lot. Include a photo in every post.

We know content is king, but the eye is a cheat and an easy sell and will stay longer on a page with a picture.

Posts with no images get very little views. It’s simply how it works. You can read all sorts of marketing studies on this. Or just go with it – and break up those chunks of text.

Honorable mention:

Try really hard to use only your own images for at least 90% of all pictures on the blog. It makes a difference – the material should always feel as if it comes from you.

Hand walking green horse on trail

15. Page Backgrounds. Just. Don’t. Do it.

It should be illegal for themes with purple and pink paisley to even exist as an option.

No one does this any more. Right?!

16. Once-weekly posting may be enough.

Supposedly webcrawlers look for fresh content and it will help in search ratings if the website has been updated. If your site has new content, it will pop up higher/earlier in search engines. That’s all.

Excessive posting doesn’t really do anything. This blog is published more often, just because I like it… More posts doesn’t always equal more reader-worthy posts.

Cantering green horse

17. Answer comments on the blog. At some point.

I’m always incredibly grateful for reader comments. It’s fun, I love to interact, hear what others are doing and find out what they think about the post!

But there’s not law that says a writer has to be a slave to commenting right away. Many of us have an incredible long list of things that has to happen every day. (We’re horse people!) Taking time to write is huge.

Every one will understand if comments are unanswered for a couple of days. The less stress around anything with your writing, the more fun!

18. Quit it with the pop ups.

Unless it’s a cheesy self-help site. Or a scam. Or a virus. It feels a bit like click-bait…

Most of us are snake-fast with the “Back” button!

19. Focus on “Ease Of Use” for your readers.

The blog should be easy to read, access, and navigate! There are blogs where readers have to “click for more” to be able to read the entire post. Really? Come on! Many won’t click…

Don’t sacrifice ease of use just to get more page clicks and increased statistics on a page that doesn’t bring in any money in the first place. More “views” don’t make a difference in the larger scheme of things.

Readers will stay longer instead if the full post can be read upfront, and why not allow several, earlier, posts below it?

Maybe infinite scrolling of 5-10 posts? Sure, statistics will show more views if readers are forced to “click-through” to see each individual post.

But why??! I’d love to hear your feedback on this. Hit me!

cantering green horse and half halt

20. Reviews, and how they may, or may not generate more followers.

Write reviews because they’re fun and because you enjoy writing them. My posts with the largest statistics and the longest shelf life are all reviews. (Aside from a post with a tag Mount A Horse which keeps getting high hits, Germany every time. So wrong.)

The same goes for some shared posts and certain content found through Online Searches – they generate hits, but not necessarily new Followers.

Many come for the content, read, and move on. A view from Pinterest means just that – a view.

Just what everyone does when getting information, right? We don’t always take time to click-through past the article to find out who wrote it, what else is going on this site, and decide to Follow, Share, Like, Pin, or Forward it.

This doesn’t really change anything in the actual writing of the blog. Just more something to keep in mind – a blog can sit with lower followers and still have a huge reach.

Enjoyed the tips? Help your friends out, share your thoughts!

Dressage On A Dime A Horse For Elinor

Your Horse – The Subtle Art Of Not Under-Appreciating

Quick, tell me your horse’s best quality!

Maybe not that easy.  But you know it’s there.  If not, think fast!  It’s an art in it self, not under-appreciating your horse.  What’s the one thing you keep hanging on to?

Dressage On A Dime A Horse For ElinorNot literally; forget the Clinging Dishrag hanging-on we do on windy days when special mares sport rocket-speed-with-a-groin-pimple moves!  But the thing that keeps you hanging on to the idea that your horse is worth it all.

Something there that makes things click just enough.

The greatest benefit with Valiosa took me a while to figure out.

This isn’t really it…

how to find a horse you like

I’ll share that after the weekend.  In the meantime, feel free to chime in on how you’ve mastered the art of not under-appreciating your horse!