Guest blog post: Team Tunnah Eventing

If you follow me on twitter it will be of no surprise to you that I find Sophie from Team Tunnah Eventing incredibly inspiring. She works so blooming hard all the time but still has time to ride and compete with Louie, keep her blog up to date and run the ever so helpful Equestrian Bloggers group on Facebook. I don't know how she does it! Since she won the 2016 Equestrian Blogger of the Year Award, I wanted to let the readers of this blog find out more about this wonderful lady! ⬇️

(I have also done a guest blog post on her blog, which you can read by clicking HERE!)
Hello! I’m Sophie from Team Tunnah Eventing and I’m very lucky to have been invited to guest blog on Roosa’s Horsey Life this month. Why have I been asked? Well, it’s time to pass the ‘baton’ onto Roosa - that’s the baton of being Equestrian Blogger of the Year!
Back in October 2016, I was honoured to win the title of Equestrian Blogger of the Year. It came totally unexpectedly as my blog activity was very different then as it is today. But the lovely judges over at Mirror Me PR & Haynet enjoyed the “variety of quality content coupled with her light hearted sense of humour comes across strongly and makes for a great read and engaging content...posts are presented with an honest and very personable tone of voice, which runs seamlessly throughout”. So, I’ve tried to keep that tone & style ever since!

What is Team Tunnah Eventing about?
Starting off in 2012, I created my blog as a way to document my competition days in eventing - looking back at what went well and what needed a bit of work. I soon incorporated our winter training too. However, posts weren’t frequent & definitely were regular! Jump forward to January 2015, when Louie & I became a partnership, I used my blog as a sort of online diary. I knew the amateur, first-timer’s story of getting a just broken 3 year old to train and begin competing would be one full of up’s & down’s, and my blog was a great way to look back at our journey together. It’s also a great way to share a real life experience to other equestrians that could be going through a similar journey…
Photo credit: Jason Goodlad Photography

Whether it’s our latest dressage competition report, a showjumping training session, everyday equestrian life, or just a great view between two grey ears, my blog covers all we get up to. We’re also on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram too! Hopefully, we’ll see you over there soon…
Why do I blog?
Often I asked myself this question!! With a very busy life, my blog often comes last on the list. By the time I’ve done my yard duties on a morning & evening, worked Louie after work, done a high pressured 9-5 day job, got home, showered and dinner… Most nights hitting the sofa and falling asleep as I do so is the easy option! But, I keep finding time and making time for my blog because I have used it many, many times to look back on our journey...and not just on a bad day! OK, so you have a bad day - like when you leave the dressage arena and canter across the next arena! Writing that blog post (through gritted teeth!) when I got home gave me a really easy way to take a step back and look at why we ended up in completely the wrong place, but also take each of the positives from the day (& actually, there was lots). I don’t do this to bury my head about the issues, but I use it as a way to find a solution. Why did it not go to plan? What can we work on? But what about blogging on a good day? I do exactly the same! I will often flick through recent posts to find things that I’d like to develop, or tweak, and consider what we perhaps haven’t worked on for a while. It was doing this that made me realise we hadn’t been out to a dressage competition for AGES recently...so I entered on that weekend! Blogging is a great motivator - give it a go if you don’t today. Remember, you don’t have to promote it across social, you can just write it so it stays personal to you. One day, you might feel others could enjoy your story…
What have I been up to since winning Equestrian Blogger of the Year in 2016?
The award gave me a lot of confidence and positivity about my blog. Initially I started increasing my blogging best practice efforts, using the vast amount of blogger support that there is available out there - from bloggers to other bloggers. But what I soon realised was that there were communities of niche bloggers - I discovered hubs of travel bloggers, food bloggers, lifestyle, fitness, blog bloggers! But no real active community for equestrian bloggers to share knowledge about blogging, share tips, ask questions, concept ideas... There were some small communities out there that enabled traffic and sharing blog links, but nothing on the knowledge side. At the start of 2016, I began considering, with my professional career, how I could fix this. It was a very simple solution - I created the Equestrian Bloggers Facebook group. Open to equestrian bloggers from all over the world, I brought together concepts that I’d seen in other communities across Facebook and the wider web, to try to create a community of support, sharing and openness between equestrian bloggers.

Within the group, it gave members the opportunity to share their blog links each week, share specific social media posts that they would like engagement on, introducing new networks (such as StumbleUpon), add links to a group Pinterest board, presented collaboration opportunities, as well as members being able to ask for help on specific issues with their blogs and bring their own concepts to the group. A key concept each week is Wednesday Wisdom. I try to find links to experts from across the web to share in the group that all members can benefit from reading. I also developed my own Blogger’s Corner feature on my own blog - creating posts with top tips about all aspects of running a blog using my professional knowledge. I also invite guest bloggers to blog in this series where they have seen success themselves that others would be perhaps benefit from hearing. The latest was Heather Wallace from Bridle & Bone talking through her experience of the best plugins for a self-hosted Wordpress blog. I continually try to develop the group, and my aim is for me to become just another member and not be the key director of activity within the group. Each month, more and more members are getting involved & engaging with one another. If you’re not already a member, give it a try! 😊
After winning the award, I have also tried to be a little bolder with the content that I put out, with some content not being about our journey. In March, for 26 consecutive days, I ran an A-Z of Everyday Equestrian, featuring items from my everyday yard life with one every day. I have also introduced my 6 Picks concept - taking a topic and selecting 6 elements that I like about it. I’m very open to the content that I create, so if anyone ever has a suggestion for me, I’d love to hear about it!

What is my advice for other bloggers?
Do it for yourself. Too many people are “afraid” of blogging, worrying about what people will think. Just do it for your own reasons, and as I say, even if it is essentially an online diary, you don’t have to promote your links proactively. Think about your own focus. Another blogger might have a great success with a topic, concept or social media that they introduce to their activities. Don’t feel a). pressured for you to do it also, or b). copy it directly. Why? Because you need to do it with your own stamp. Not to prevent “copy-cats” but because your audience follow you and enjoy your content for a specific reason - it just needs your spin on it. Equally, you don’t have to be on every social platform. Think about what you want to achieve with your social media. Traffic? Don’t use Instagram as the primary! Engagement & conversation to a broad audience? Try Twitter and using relevant hashtags. While each platform can open the doors to a new audience, make sure you’re true to your blog tone and style, and are considering the difference in types of posts across each network. They are very different and the audiences that use them like the content that’s on there because it’s got it’s own style. Memes & funny videos dominate Facebook feeds, but aren’t so popular on Instagram… Consider it when you’re posting!
I’d like to thank Roosa very much for the opportunity to share my blog and experiences of blogging, particularly over the last 12 months. Roosa’s Horsey Life is a very deserving winner of Equestrian Blogger of the Year - not only is the content very relatable, enjoyable and personable, but also Roosa is proactive in supporting other equestrian bloggers. I’m very much looking forward to continuing to follow Roosa & her gorgeous horses hopefully for years to come. Well done again Roosa!!

About Sophie:
Sophie is a digital marketing professional with over a decade of hands-on experience. Based in Northumberland, UK, living a stone’s throw from the beach and a short drive into the beautiful Northumbrian countryside, Sophie enjoys the outdoors lifestyle. Sophie has ridden since she was around 3 or 4, with childhood ponies until the age of 13. Starting up riding again in 2007, aged 21, Sophie hasn’t looked back. Sophie’s equine partner is Louie, a 2011 Irish Sports horse, and is the horse that has taught Sophie the most by a long way. Enjoying local dressage and showjumping competitions as much as she does her training sessions, Sophie aims to get back into eventing with Louie in the future. 

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