Monday, August 17, 2015

One Year: A Contest

So I've officially done this blog thing for one year. 365 days.

It's been a somewhat strange and unexpectedly rewarding journey, and I'm grateful for that extra glass of wine that inspired me to impulsively click 'publish' one summer evening.

isabel over time
One of my biggest takeaways from blogging is the sense of 'community,' but maybe in a slightly different sense than you might think.

At any typical barn (and most of us have been around), riders usually end up pigeon-holed, categorized or defined one way or another, for better or worse. Sometimes there's a hierarchy (this rider is better than that rider) and sometimes it's just different buckets (weekend warrior v. horse show diva v. absentee owner v. trainer's pet).

In that insulated world, it's really easy to lose sight of each individual's identity or story, and even lose sight of our own potential to break out of that mold.

last year
this year
What I learned from reading other blogs (and ultimately adding my own voice to the cacophony) is that everyone really does have their own story. We have horses in our lives for one unifying reason: we love them. But beyond that, there is just so much variety.

It's been really inspiring to see the different ways people with that one common interest manage to fit horses into their lives, regardless of background and resources, and with different goals, different interests, different situations, different histories.

It sounds cheesy, but somehow reading about all of your experiences opened my eyes to the possibilities. It made me rethink why I ride - and why I ride Isabel. It made certain ideas (like buying my own rig to haul out for trainers of my own choosing) suddenly feel like realistic and normal options.

we can do this!
Ultimately, it refocused my energy on getting the most out of my investment in horses. And participating by chronicling my own journey with Isabel has been a huge part of that.

So yea, thanks to everyone who takes time to read and comment here - I really appreciate it! Thanks also to all you other bloggers out there sharing your side of the story too. Makes for great food for thought!

cha-cha-cha-changes
*****

Beyond that quick foray into my general impressions of blogging one year in, here's a little look at the stats too (bc I can't help myself!).

Most viewed posts:

Most commented posts:

Busiest day (by views and comments): Wednesday!!


Perhaps viewers are like me - most active during the standard 9-5 work week? Comments are particularly underrepresented on the weekends. 

Popular labels:

Most total Views        Most views per post         Most comments per post        
jumping  waredaca  course walk 
Isabel  contest Fair Hill 
video  course walk  saddle shopping 
lessons other horses  tranquility 
eventing  tranquility  quarantine 


Google search terms:

Beyond the typical 'fraidycateventing' or 'fraidy cat eventing' search terms (by far the most common), here are some of the search terms users have found me through:
  • barn cats horses -- (yes. this accurate represents my blog. I approve)
  • eventing color suggestions -- (eh, ok? not sure I've ever discussed this...)
  • "loughnatousa reiner" -- (this is one of Boyd Martin's horses that I photographed at the MCTA Horse Trials at Shawan Downs)
  • anatomic girths -- (my girth experiences here and here)
  • canter woes -- (.....I so relate to this)

Readers across the world:

Just over 80% of readers are from the US. What's surprised me is how many readers tune in from other locations (beyond just the bloggers I follow internationally). There's a fairly large Canadian contingent, and also readers from Australia, the UK, France, New Zealand and Luxembourg. But also from China, Russia and Germany. Very cool!


Contest Time!!

And, in honor of my one year of blogging - I'm hosting a fun little contest. Super simple rules - just leave a comment telling me about your favorite post. Or, maybe just your favorite thing about this blog. Or... maybe just a thing you like about this blog? Haha.... or really any comment at all. It's cool if you don't have a 'favorite' thing, tho I'm certainly curious.

In any case, a winner will be chosen at random (by the gods that rule excel's random number generator algorithm) and will receive a $25 SmartPak gift card. Winner will be announced on Monday, 8/24!


Also - Olivia from Do It Yourself Horse Ownership is also celebrating a blog milestone with a contest. Check her out too!

34 comments:

  1. My favorite thing is easy! Getting to know you a little here led to me feeling that I already knew at least one person on the east coast. Clearly, that meant my move was going to be alright... and it was!

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  2. I think my favorite thing is how honest you are. You're not blogging to have a cool blog and you don't seem to paint an inaccurate picture. I also love that you've gotten to meet up with other bloggers and share about it. Meeting other bloggers (and coincidentally friends) has been the best thing I've gotten from the crazy blogging world :) it makes me happy to see others getting the same experience.

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  3. I have to agree with Hilary - your honesty is so endearing. I love that you don't paint yourself to be an Olympian but you also don't shame yourself. You tell it like it is and your humor is spot on. Plus, having another Arabian sport horse blogger is super fun for me to watch. Here's to another year of blogging! (Posting from Google because Blogger still hates Wordpress.) Rebecca (backinthetack.wordpress.com)

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    1. I'm going to have to agree with Rebecca! I love that we have our little Arab mares in common!!!

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  4. Hi Isabel, I am glad I found your post. Thank you for sharing your journey on horse back riding. I enjoy reading it because I feel we have the same passion on reading and writing about horses. You are very detailed person about your writing. I learned a lot today.

    Horse Show Schedules

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  5. I love reading your blog BC you are active and enjoy our horse! That is the best part, you guys are a team and always up for learning and adventures. Tbh, you're one of the reasons I don't give up on my blog and trying to share my misadventures. Looking fwd to another year!

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    1. Wow bad fat typing fingers on phone. *your horse... not our ;)

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  6. Congrats on one year! I really love your honesty about Isabel and her journey with you. We don't all have perfect horses and giant budgets and it's fun to see another ammy making life happen on a shoestring. :-)

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  7. I love how zesty you are! Your posts make me want to get off my ass and get to work!

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  8. I really love that you show the good, the bad, and the ugly! I also love that even though Isabel is a lease, you love her like she's your own.

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  9. Congrats on the one year mark, you have made more posts in the one year than I have in all of my years blogging. Ha! I love that you show your journey and include the good, the bad and the ugly. And post pics of it. Ha! I hate pics of me riding badly and have only one post showing really bad riding as a result. I like following your journey with Isabel even though I have only been reading this year. Keep on posting!

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  10. I wouldn't be able to utilize a gift card from SmartPak, but I still wanted to comment and say how awesome it has been following along in your journey this last year. I am blown away at how much Isabel and you have changed and grown together. Wtg :)

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  11. I can't believe it's only been one year. Your blog really feels like one of the ones I've been following for years. I don't have a specific favorite posts, but let me tell you--any time Isabel's horse head twin makes an appearance, I pretty much die.

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    1. Yesssss, love the horse head twin, too!

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  12. Yay for one year!! Since I decided to do endurance with Quest instead of eventing for now, I enjoy living vicariously through your training posts and eventing outings. Your dedication to the sport and to always working to bring out the best in you and Izzy is inspirational :)

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  13. Congratulations!! I really love your blog, hard to pick a favorite post or thing. But I'm going to go with (a) your positivity and enthusiasm and (b) DIY-ness with things like the trailer window panes, jump construction, etc.

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  14. Personally, I like how friendly you are :) Pretty simple but true

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  15. Happy anniversary!!! Cheers for another year! No seriously, you are never allowed to quit! Lol.

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  16. Cheers to one year! I really admire your voracious appetite for knowledge and how strongly it comes through on your blog--following you and Isabel is always such a trip!

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  17. Pretty sure the cat trying to get the pen through the table is my favorite thing! That gif should be all over the internet.

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  18. What? It has already been a year? Well dang! And you are one of my favorite bloggers, regardless if I comment on a post or not! One of my favorite things is when"Isabel" is adding the commentary on her photos. I love it!

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  19. I'm not sure if this constitutes a favourite thing about this blog, but I love how active you are in the blogger community and how kind, reflective, thoughtful, and positive you are. You have emailed me TWICE now out of the blue, comment on nearly everything anyone posts, and are unendingly positive and helpful. I wish you lived in California because I would force you to be my best friend forever and ever. That is probably my LEAST favourite thing about this blog: it's not located near me!!

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  20. Congrats on a year of blogging! I don't know if I have a particular favorite post, but I really enjoy your lesson recaps, your show recaps and the posts where you build your own jumps :) But most of all, I love that you always have pictures!

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  21. Happy blogiversary!! Everyone seems to be mentioning your honesty in your writing and I definitely have to echo that. In addition, I like that we seem to have so many similarities in our riding (as we both frequently point out lol)

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  22. I love your sense of humor about everything! Good ride, bad ride, you share it all and with a great attitude.

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  23. I love your style of writing - especially how you're able to recap lessons and outings so well! The tone of your posts is so easy and fun to read.

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  24. Such a great year of blogging- Congrats!! My favorite thing about your blog is that you are a fellow leaser and everything you do with Isabel shows how well a lease arrangement can work. You are a wonderful ambassador for those of us out there that can't, don't, or just don't yet own our own horse but are still deeply passionate about horses.

    ...and the cats, yours and the barn crew...I may be the only one who likes the cats too.

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  25. I found your blog bc you posted a comment on mine! Love the Isabel over time photo montage! Blogs are so much fun to go back through and really see how you and your horse has changed :) Happy blogging and looking forward to reading about more adventures with you and Isabel!!!!!

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  26. My favorite thing is that I'm pretty isolated where I live, but through your blog, and others, I always have a connection to what is going on with people and their horses. It's so fun to read about your progress and follow along, and while I am new to the blog, I'm definitely a follower now! So, keep going and keep helping me feel an attachment to riding in Maryland and all your adventures!

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  27. Woops I forgot to comment! Yay 1 year! I would have sworn you've been blogging for longer, I feel like I've been reading about your adventures with Iz for like... several years.

    I'm with Nicole- not only is your blog so fun to read, I love basically everything you post, from lesson posts, shows, your ideas/opinions/questions/whatever, but I love how I see you comment on almost everyone's posts. I went through and discovered some new blogs recently and you beat me to every single one! Plus, your comments are always so nice and supportive and yes the major downside about your blog is that you're SO FAR AWAY. So come out to California or I'll catch you on my (now pushed to the spring) DC trip for sure :)

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  28. Congrats on one year of blogging! My favorite posts are the show recaps where you show each of the jumps, especially when you manage to get pictures of you jumping them.

    I also really appreciate that you take the time to comment on my blog so often. I'm terrible at commenting, but realize they are much appreciated by everyone.

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  29. I've only recently started following your blog, so I'll have to look back at some of the older favorite blog posts!

    Can I pick your jumper show post as my favorite (I just read it before this post, and CONGRATS!). Jumpers are so much fun. =-)

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  30. As per usual, I suck and am WAY LATE to the party. Regardless, congratulations on being part of the equestrian blogger community for an entire year!! I've loved following your journey with Isabel <3

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  31. Congratulations! You've been an awesome blogger and always so supportive of everyone else - I think that's my favorite part about this blog for sure. It's hard to both blog as often as you do, and take the time to comment on everyone else's blogs all the time!

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