Someone asked me why I blog the other week. After all, my blog is free to read so I don’t get any revenue or reward for my time – unless you order from Noble Outfitters by clicking on the links at the side of my blog. Then I get a small percentage. That’s a massive, elephant sized hint for anyone who likes Noble Outfitters range! Otherwise, if anyone would like to pay me to air my views and experiences then please get in touch!
My answer to them has many levels.
Firstly; I like writing. I also like reading. The two go hand in hand and there’s a great online network of people sharing views and stories.
Secondly; writing things down allows you to step back and reflect on the day. Reflecting may mean you notice a clue that you missed at the time, so you will keep a look out for that sign in a similar situation. You may also think of reasons that the situation arose, and how you could diffuse it in future – hindsight is a wonderful thing. You may also be able to see which was the most effective solution, or easiest path, which will help you in the future. After all, we may try two or three different methods and the next time we are in the same situation we will go straight to method three – the successful one! When I write I am rarely caught up in the moment, or full of the emotions that I had at the time, which means I can see multiple viewpoints, and am able to analyse it more fairly which means I can better learn from it. From a teaching perspective, I can plan future lessons based on what this particular horse and rider found easy, understood and succeeded in, and what perhaps needs to be revisited or explained in a different way or with a different exercise next time.
Thirdly; I’m a big believer in that we never stop learning. Our horizons are broadened and we get a better depth of knowledge through lessons, reading, lectures, videos or visual representations etc. Even if the topic is something we already know about; it may be explained in a different way, or from a different perspective, or illustrated more clearly in a second session which will increase our understanding. Taking other people’s experiences will help us learn to see different perspectives, different ways of solving a problem, and give us reference points if we ever end up in a similar situation. For example, hearing about someone’s horse having colic means that you are more aware of the symptoms and will know how to react if you ever came across a horse in the early stages of colic.
Those reasons above are ultimately why I decided to start writing a blog four (tempus fugit) years ago. I hope that I cover situations, experiences, subjects that are relevant to amateur or leisure, horse owners and riders.
I endeavour to keep everything anonymous, but I’m sure occasionally people will recognise their horse or their lesson. And that’s not a negative thing – it means I think you/your lesson/your horse are worth talking about, and can help educate or give confidence to others. After all, if you’ve been secretly worried about something then hearing about another rider having a similar problem and learning how they overcame it actually makes you feel relieved that others are in the same boat and then you feel more positive in your own journey. I always try to portray learning curves in a positive way, and highlight the success of the horse and/or rider on that day.
So if a blog post is about your lesson then treat it as a bonus: a written explanation that you can reread will help cement a concept in your mind. Reflecting on it afterwards, when you aren’t tired or emotionally connected to it may also help you see how you were going wrong or right. In a similar way that in writing the post I will have learnt for next time. Photos may or may not be the subject of the blog – it may just illustrate the point well or provide a visual break from the text!
Also, it is worth remembering that the human mind is very egotistical and will try to relate everything back to yourself or someone/something you know. So if a subject sounds familiar, don’t assume it’s you or a horse you know because another rider may well be having a similar issue or be at a similar point in their training. Stand back, take what you can from the post, and take confidence that others hit potholes on their roads too. Use their experiences to motivate and help you progress.
To further confuse my readers, I rarely write, or publish, a blog about “today’s lesson”. I digest it, sleep on it, add it to my list of blog subjects and get round to it eventually. Which may mean that I’ve written about a jumping exercise I did at the beginning of last week, but I coincidentally also did it with another horse or client today. This all helps to keep my clients anonymous, and adds a surprise for my followers.
To conclude; I write my blog to help me improve my teaching, the services and standards offered to clients, and to educate a wider audience of horse riders and owners, as well as to give them ideas and confidence in how to progress their riding. The reward I get from it may not make me materially rich, but I do get a lot of satisfaction from people learning and taking something positive away from my writing.