Wednesday, October 13, 2010

What's this all about?

Lately I've been thinking about this blog and what it's all about. And if I want that to change.

I started this blog for a couple of reasons. First, I thought it would be fun to write all my horsey exploits down as they go along so that later I could read about things that I had forgotten. That got me thinking about the things that had happened to me around horses years ago, and prompted me to write some stories. That was a lot of fun to do and to read, and I'm glad I got some of those memories down in words instead of just images in my head.

Second I thought it might be interesting for people to read about my life with horses, a job, and kids. It's certainly a juggling act and results in me feeling like I always short change somebody - husband, kids, horse, and even me (notice that the one thing that can't get cut short is THE JOB. Ugh.).

Then I entered "the contest" earlier this year and I met people I wouldn't have met or became friends with otherwise. First there was Stacey at Behind the Bit. She was a huge cheerleader for me during the contest, which was really great of her, since she entered to win the contest herself.
Her blog is fantastic. She blogs EVERY DAY. I have tried to do that and obviously it just doesn't happen (well it did once during NaBloPoMo and that was painful). Sure while I was at WEG I blogged every day, but as soon as I returned to real life that all went out the window. And Stacey blogs about current events, new products, and other important stuff in the horse world today. She also updates on the progress of her young horse. Interestingly, she has decided that her blog is not a money making venture, so she has no ads on her site. This is rare today, I think, considering how popular her blog is and the fact that she could proabaly cash in on it.

Then, at WEG, I met Jackie from Regarding Horses. Another great site, to be sure. Jackie also posts often, and posts lots of news stories. She had great WEG coverage too. Her site is different from Stacey's in that Jackie has ads and sponsors on her site. But still a blog that's worth hitting a couple of times a week.

Then I met Glenn from Horse Radio Network. He and Samantha Clark also gave great WEG coverage with their radio shows. Glenn also works on a number of other radio shows for HRN. If you haven't listened to any HRN shows, you should. They have something for everyone, and they are great.

Then Stacey posted about Hamish and Dave, blogging duo from Australia who came to WEG to blog from halfway across the world. Their video posts were funny and engaging.

It got me to thinking - would my blog be better if I were more connected to the equestrian world? Should I be surfing the net to find current equine news stories? Could I make my blog work for me and make some money?

I even talked this over with Jackie at WEG. She said that people like my blog for what it is - stories from a mom who has a horse. She said she liked to read how I make it work, because she knows she'll be in the same boat someday.

Still, I was conflicted. I was feeling inadequate. Compared to Stacey, Jackie, Glenn, and Hamish and Dave, my blog was small and crappy. But did I really want to change that? I hardly had time to blog as it was. How could I take on more?

I mulled it over and over in my head for days. Then, last night we had a bedtime issue. Macey has a reading list that she's supposed to fill out for every book she reads. Now, she's in kindergarten, and she can't read complicated books yet. There are some very simple books that she can get through, but most of the ones she wants to read she gets frustrated with because she doesn't know the words. She wants to do it herself, and this creates a problem.

She picked out two very small (and by small I mean they are like 4 inches square!) books and said she wanted to read those books but was upset that they wouldn't count towards her book list. Craig assured her they would. She said they would not. He said they would. She started to cry. Keep in mind she was tired and really just needed to go to bed, so everything was a big freakin' deal.

I came upstairs and took her into her room and tried to get the story about what was happening while Craig read Lily her story. I still didn't get what was going on, but I got her calmed down, got her to blow her nose, and by that time Craig was ready for her. They agreed to read her 4 inch books, and then Macey would cuddle with me in our bed.

Macey was in our bed and I ran downstairs to do something, and I came up less than five minutes later to find her asleep. So much for cuddle time, but she needed to sleep. I left her in our bed while I took a shower and got ready for bed myself. Craig came to bed later to move Macey (she's getting kind of big and heavy for me to move) and said to me "You know, this girl loves me but she needs you."

I said "You really think so?"

He said "Yeah, I do."

Of course that made me feel good. Sometimes I don't feel like the best mom in the world, but I know that I am the best mom for MY kids.

Later, thinking about my blog, I thought that maybe my blog fills a specific need. People read it for what it is right now, and if they want to read news and other stuff they will go to the other sites. I may not be the best writer, the funniest, or the most up to date, but I write about what I know. And that's good enough.

So this is what you get. I'm always open to suggestions about how to make my blog better. But don't expect huge changes, like hard core advertising or up-to-the-minute news stories. That's not what my blog is all about. And I'm okay with that.


Jackie said...

Can you hear the applause coming from a few a miles down the road? I wholeheartedly agree with you. There are plenty of other sites out there publishing news and other types of information ... but there's only one Dressage Mom. Your blog is so much better because it's uniquely you ... and I really think that's what it's all about and what makes a blog worth reading.

And I totally feel you, because I just went through this exact process a little over a month ago. I saw what some other bloggers were doing - and doing more successfully than me - and thought I needed to change and be like them. But I realized the same thing ... I just need to be me and keep writing about the things that interest me - and people like me. I'm trying to be a little more clear in that message as a result.

Ms Martyr said...

I only discovered your blog recently so have been catching up on older entries as time permits. I really enjoyed your breaking up story and felt so bad at the fate of your first trainer. I guess I'm just trying to say that I like your blog the way it is. Have you ever read Pioneer Woman? She has a wildly successful blog just by telling stories about her kids, husband, dog, etc. I think most of us are nosey and like finding out how other people live. That you have a horse is a bonus for me.

Now That's A Trot! said...

Blogs are like restaurants... Some of us sample a bit of everything, and some of us specialize in one or two areas. That's what makes it so much fun to surf, to share, and to read. If everyone served the same thing, going out to eat would be no fun at all!

Sometimes I see lots of people posting about one big thing going on in the horse world, and I think, I should speak up too. But then I realize that it's not quite in my comfort zone, and I feel like I'd do a disservice to whatever I was trying to cover since I didn't have my whole heart in it.

Like you said, write what you know. :)

Anonymous said...

One of the reasons I read your blog, is that it is what it is and you write what you know. I'm barely making ends meet and can't afford to be involved with horses as I like. Reading Dressage Mom helps keep me in touch with everyday horse lover life.

Thanks for sharing your life with us.

susanne said...

Sheri, I believe the secret to your blog's success is YOU.

I am constantly checking out blogs, but few draw me back for very long. Some are "Dear diary" blogs with glimpses into the bloggers' lives, others are strictly informational or event driven, but a blog with your irreverent vie wof life and horses is rare indeed. Your rye view of the world and the portraits you paint of your horse, your family, and (yes) your job bring me back again and again.

I look forward to each new post and would hate to see you change a thing.

Dressage Mom said...


Thanks everyone. I feel all gooshy inside!

I have the best readers. Seriously.

Stacey Kimmel-Smith said...


You're so kind -- thank you for the compliment. Isn't it funny, this summer the Purina WEG blog competition had me really down -- not being selected made me think I was just some middle-aged, talentless, babooshka-wearing nobody. YOU have the riding talent and the unique perspective of a grand prix rider who rides arabs, and is a working mom. That is truly unique. And I was/am envious. I'll probably be a first level forever, and will never be taken seriously by the dressage community. Your blog has been recognized by Dressage Today, Equestrian COllections, and yes, Purina.

Don't ever change!!! :-)

Cheryl said...

Shers, You being you and sharing your life stories are what makes your blog so readable. So many of us have had similar experiences over the years and are in tune with what you have to say.
Blog on girl!!

Anonymous said...

Being happy with your blog is the most important part of blogging.

I blog daily (5 days a week) for my job and have a personal blog where I write when I get time. That's about me, my life, my cats, what we're cooking stuff. They're different things and I don't think a blog has to be commercial or be anything more than an online journal to be popular.

For me, I follow blogs of people who can tell stories and write engagingly about their life. That's what you do and why I stayed reading after discovering you during the WEG contest. Whatever those stories are, they're entertaining or insightful or interesting or just pretty horsie pictures.

In any case I am a firm believer that there are multiple legitimate reasons to blog and none of them are wrong. You need to blog in a way that fulfills you (or fulfills something you need -- my professional blog is just that and it's often a PITA but it's good discipline and good for other stuff and things). If you're happy with the occasional update and the meandering "what I want to talk about today" you'll find an audience who likes reading that stuff.

Blogging can be a job if you let it, and I don't think that's always good for the blogger. It's always good to think about why you're blogging and where you're going, but not making a change is as valid a decision as any other.

Val said...

When I learned of your blog from Behind the Bit, I started visiting your blog and reading your stories. Your blog is a unique adventure of horses and family. I love it! I do not want all of the blogs that I read to be the same. I continue to read yours, because your blog offers a perspective that I have not encountered before and may need to juggle myself some day!

Aggie said...

Coming from a self supported college student, I can understand the feeling of wanting to do more. I personally work over 20 hours a week at two different jobs to make ends meet for me and my horse, work my butt off to pay off riding lessons, oh and have to take full time classes WITH a GPR of 3.5 or higher to keep my scholarships. And this year I entered an undergraduate research program which will end with me publishing my work. It's a lot. Things suffer, like my time with my boyfriend, time with friends in general, I pay more to eat out b/c I'm too tired to cook. Essentially, you can't do everything. You've said in your blog how your day works and you're busy! You don't NEED to make this blog something more. I admit, I don't read all your posts all the way through, but I enjoy your blog as a whole, I like the differences, I like your personal stories. Sure it might be fun to do more, but is it worth the sacrifice of something else in your limited time in the day?
You and your life come before a blog, and we as readers can't blame you for that and we'll still read what you do post and like it all the same.


Jen said...

If I remember correctly (and my memory is often defective :o) "blog" evolved from Web Log. Aside from the tree factor, my understanding of a log is a chronicling of events and things happening in your work/world/life which includes everything you already write about: horses, family, friends, etc.
Like Jackie, I went through the wondering process about my blog, but you know what? I'm content to post once a week and will continue to write about what goes on in my reality. Do I hope I get lots of readers? Absolutely. Am I going to become famous? Probably not (and do I care? Nah, not really *grin*).
Write about what makes you laugh, cry and smile girl, we'll all enjoy reading about it and laugh, cry and smile right along with you. Why? Because we can, of course ;o)

achieve1dream said...

Don't change a thing! I love your blog just the way it is.

Anonymous said...

I agree with everyone who posted. I do radio because I can't write without being heckled by everyone who actually passed English class. The power of new media is the people. Never before have we been able to learn so much and get to know so many people as we can today with blogs, Facebook, etc.

People like to read you because they like you! If they didn't, they wouldn't stay. People like our shows because they like the hosts. If they don't like the hosts they don't listen.

It is all about the personality and you have found a very special niche that people enjoy. Now it is time for you to stay there in that niche and enjoy it too!

Glenn the Geek

Rising Rainbow said...

I'm sure glad you got this figured out. I wish you realized how special you really are and that is what makes your blog so special. I for one would be saddened to see you try to fit into someone else's shoes. I love you and your blog just the way you are. AND the Arabian horse community really needs more quality blogs out there helping dispel those myths about our horses. Don't ever forget you play an important part in that too.

Header Image from Bangbouh @ Flickr