The Art Of Staying On

Thundering hooves sound alarming every time, even on fiber sand.

Unless you’ve never been on, during the actual thunder, just quietly observing things unravel very quickly, it’s hard to explain the feel of it, from the top.

I called out – “It’s alright I’m okay!” Which we all know in reality means cleanup on aisle 6.

By small wonder, still stayed on.  Again.

¶ Stickability  » Streak of non-dismounting epoch by the grace of your horse, who of course could dump you if it wanted to. «


Much quieter day, last summer.

riding and not falling off

Vulnerability, For Strength

Not sure about you, but I click on some sites more often than others.

Hard to say why, but there are some that really are interesting – when there’s extra time it’s great to see what’s going on.

A big key to it – open writing.  Sure, plain and conversational helps.  But also, reading something that most would rather not show to others makes it a lot more interesting.

vulnerability in writing

Vulnerability: There’s strength in that. Even though it seems polar opposite.
Just sharing some training issues makes the writer face it all – accept that Yep, right now they’re probably looking like they don’t know what they’re doing.  Or things may not be going all that great.

And that this is OK.

dressage horse blogs 2018
Your not overly impressive team. But happy!

Horse sport is incredibly difficult.  No one will argue with that. 🙂 Doing it on your own, even more so.

Adding the discipline of dressage; ultra meticulous and so elusive most people grow mold just trying to explain what it is, makes it almost impossible.

It’s been a blast sharing some of the challenges with our training, and of course it’s going to click more with readers than glossy things, endless perfect days and successes.  (Good, since we don’t have too many.  Yet.)

It makes you a better rider too, just reading about someone wrestling with the same stuff.

how to write so readers come back
Let’s go achieve something, even if we don’t know how to get there!

The crazies that goes along with it are half the fun.


Up next, a riding tip.

Invitation To Share Your Site

Late last spring, this post below went up.

It’s worth offering this to you again!

Read on – and feel free to chime in the comments!


Open invitation to share “What Makes Your Site Different.”

A Horse For Elinor has been the same from the very start – I write, and take way too many pictures, of and about the horses I ride.  Training, some competing, and like all other dressage riders strive to find that “just that right” connection with my horse.

Warning – looks like a personal post coming up.


Every blog is different – and this is where you come in at the end of the post!

Part of what makes this site have its own “feel” is that it’s written by an adult rider who wants to have lots of fun but still has several goals.

Tons of Horse Blogs out there.  Lots of energetic young riders writing endless product plugs.  Or how about the massive amounts of Scandinavian horse blogs where it’s all about matching the polo wraps and saddle pad?..  This site has mostly impolite posts about training on my own with a young horse.

bare hoof riding ggt footing

Still, we’re moving forward, getting out to compete, and have a blast doing it.  I have more physical ailments and side-kick diseases than I can keep track of at this point (Hey, who’s counting?!).

It’s inspirational to read about others who push through that, and have fun and do well anyway.  Maybe you think so too?

barefoot dressage

It’s challenging sometimes, when you look just fine on the outside, healthy, and in shape.  I show up, get the once-over glance; – “Oh, she’s one of those…”  Truth is I have to sometimes literally scrape myself up and scoop me out the door.  My body can be a super hero one day, and leave me half-broken and unable to do much the next.

I get a sense of constantly letting people around me down, because of making tons of energetic commitments while getting sick, or injured, so often.

It’s not the focus of this site at all, but some of the – “Hey let’s enjoy the heck out of this for as long as it lasts!”, probably comes through 🙂

bare foot dressage training

So.  Now it’s your turn! 

Today’s blog post is an opportunity to say “Hello” to other readers.

Comment below with what makes your site “just a bit different.”  Or Comment with just a link to your blog, as an opportunity to have more readers connect.

It’s just as easy as that!  Or stick a link in there to one of your posts you especially liked creating!

Up to you!

This 1 Little Known Detail That Could Affect Your Riding

Having people tell you not to give up.

Just as easy as that.

Never saw that one coming!

It works in other sports, and it works well in riding too. Maybe you don’t know, but just by having a blog you may get a lot “cheering on” from the sidelines.

Just in case you’ve wondered if it really makes a difference – yes it DOES! Your comments are very valuable, and I truly appreciate the help, the inspiration, and the motivation.

Today; Big Thank You to everyone who’s taken the time to just come in here over several months!

how to motivate your blogging friends

Some of you have really taken the time to write out constructive thoughts, cheering on, and reassuring that this is, after all, doable. Which I sometimes doubt 🙂

So, thank you for helping and for just checking in!

motivating a horse
Gray Slytherine could use some motivation too. I know you can’t help with that.

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

20 Tips To Rock Your Horse Blog!

Hey, this is really cool – I’ve had readers coming to me asking for “How To” tips.

This is not an expert site in any way.  But thing is, I’ve already got a list posted at the ready! If you’ve missed it, let’s get in to it right away.  Below is the first 10.5 tips.  Add your own at the bottom!  We need it – I’m not an expert or anything.


10 and 1/2 quick tips on how to make blog posts that readers will take the time to read.

There’s fantastic content out there, in all those blogs, some is really well worth a read!

But much of it doesn’t actually.  You know.  Get read.

Dressage On A Dime A Horse For Elinor

None of us are expert blog marketing gurus.  Let’s face it – we’d rather be in the saddle than reading up on mysterious ways to increase readership traffic on our little side-kick horse blogs.

Since we’re all in this together – today is all about sharing a bit of what I’ve learned from 3 years of blogging. (Actually 4 now since this is a re-blog.)

 

      1.     Fewer words.  So little time.

Many horse blog posts I’ve come across are simply too long.  Wordiness and endless blabber isn’t going to get much more than a click on the Back button.

Unless a post is documenting a very specific event, contains research, intricate discussion points etc.  (Forget this post – I’m already blowing it here by making it much too long.) it should be easy to keep it under 600 words.

Every time!

It will help readers actually make it through to the end.  Trust me on this one.

leading horse out from barn isle

     2.     Pictures.  Without them, no blog is truly alive.

Your posts need images that will anchor the text and the content, and offer a break for the eye.  Test your self when reading other articles etc.  Which ones do you find the easiest to read and follow?

Note how soon a picture will appear in the text, often very high up, and how a second image will make the post seem less “chunky” even if there are several sentences before and after it.

Experiment with your posts.  It’s a blog outlet, not a book 🙂

Close up picture of legs on cantering horse

     3.     Tag your images!

Google has a phantasmic way of sorting and organizing web content.  Take advantage of it!  All that’s needed:  correctly labeled pictures –  readers will find your content through images searches.  And find your blog, yay!

While there’s no proven way to make sure of a high rank in Google results, chances are upped by putting a tag on the picture.  If you don’t, Google will use the title of the image, which isn’t often as descriptive.

The more “unique” the content, the better chance of a higher search-rank result.

Your horse abscessed from a broken wine bottle opener, and you found the corkscrew poking out of the hoof wall?  Label the picture!

All bets are I’ll find it when I search for it.  Because that’s the sort of stuff that would happen to my horse!  And yep, you know I’d be up all night searching for a picture of it to see if this can actually happen…

"Elinor Yee"

     3 1/2.     Tagging posts.

Honorable mention for tagging the posts too.  From the WordPress articles I’ve read on this, depending on the content of the post anywhere between 3 to 10 tags is good.  11 we’re pushing it and the post may not even show up in the Reader.

Personally, since this is All Horse, All The Time, mine rarely go above 8.

 

     4.     Provide some space.  Avoid squashing everything together.

Many readers will come to your blog from a small phone, late at night, when the day is done and they don’t have the energy to read big blocks of text.  Again:  It’s a Horse Blog.

Sometimes posts are really good, but because they read like an essay, I just skim through the content.

Because they’re too long.  Too cluttered.  Too squished.

Couple of simple clicks on the space bar will make for easier breathing.  And reading.

Horse tail Horze Bridle Touluse Horze ear hood

5.     No need for Social Media Channel Overload.

How many channels do you absolutely need to post on to have a solid readership?

Your blog platform?  Facebook?  Twitter?  Pinterest?  Some other cross-posted platform?  Plus all the others…  Really?  Not sure I’ve bought this.

3 is OK.  Feel like you absolutely have to Tweet, Pin, flash on Insta, and schlep up on some other channels?  Fine.  Just know that it isn’t a requirement for having meaningful interaction with readers.

6.  Forget Diary Posts.  It’s so pre-2010.

Don’t have much to say today?  No need for a “just-because” post!  Also, no need for “catching-up” post content.  It often feels stressful to read, harried, egocentric, and irrelevant.

Everyone doesn’t have to read about everything that has happened.

That goes up on your Facebook feed instead!  And then friends can Unfollow you there.  True.

Elinor Yee

     7.    Be ready for the tone of posts to be misunderstood.  Roll with it.

Things will go wrong sometimes.  Or often.  English isn’t even my first language, so hey, there you go.

A focus on always creating flowy sentences or just the perfect intonation will pretty much kill off any creativity.  Too much pressure.

In the end, blogging will feel blocked.  And all those intentions to post will wane.  Some days, just post and be happy!

 

     8.     Cuss words may not be necessary.  Unless you’re incredibly funny.

This blog hasn’t been that funny yet.

Cantering without stirrups on white arabian

     9.  Write for yourself, not to please any particular reader.

Having a narrow niche blog is great.  And if you’re here, yours is probably about horses.  That doesn’t mean you have to appeal to a specific person(s).  Just something to keep in mind…

 

     10.     Count on possibly getting completely picked apart.

Picked apart is usually constructive.  Appreciate it!

On the other hand, getting attacked can only mean two things.  Either it’s from some troll, who should be ignored.  Or, your content is simply painful/neglectful/dumb-bottle-necked for the horses.

Post stuff like that and be ready to be eaten up.  And definitely Unfollowed.  I’ve avoided this category so far.

And trolling myself is not high on my “Let’s-make-time-for-this-today” list.  The Unfollow is much easier.

Elinor Yee Leading horse

As always, I’d love to hear your comments on this!

 Stop by tomorrow for the next 10 Tips!

Dressage On A Dime A Horse For Elinor