Inspo Interviews

Inspo Interview #10 Raquel From Horses and Heels

Continuing on our January theme of planning and inspiration for 2020. I am delighted to share with you this month’s Inspo interviewee Raquel Lynn from Horses and Heels and Stable Style. Raquel is quite possibly my favourite equestrian blogger.  I ‘met’ Raquel via Skype a few months ago when I interviewed her for the Equestrian Pulse Podcast and she was so nice and I found her to be very supportive, kind and of course inspirational.

If you are not familiar with Raquel she is an equestrian blogger who lives in LA with her horse Fira and Fira lives in her back garden!! Horses and Heels is a really cool lifestyle blog, that features loads of equestrian fashion, home decor ideas and Raquel and Fira’s adventures around LA. Stable Style is a blog that focuses on Yard Tours. Imagine MTV Cribs but for horses! For those that are too young for that reference, Raquel literally takes you on the most incredible yard tours all over the world. Do be sure to check out both of her blogs, you can thank me later!

Raquel 1

Here’s what she had to say…

What inspired you to start your blogs Horses and Heels and Stable Style?

The idea of creating a blog came to me when I decided I wanted a creative outlet to share cowboy boots, tack obsessions, equestrian home decor, and fashion. Horses & Heels was the perfect name for this lifestyle blog. I started Horses & Heels and really had a lot of fun with it. As time passed and the blog grew, so did my ideas. I started a section on H&H called Stable Style. When I featured my first barn tour it was really popular and I wanted to do more. Since I must rotate through content, I knew I needed an outlet where I could share more barn tours – so Stable Style was born. First I quickly scooped up the Instagram handle and began posting. A few months later I was finally ready to launch the blog. Stable Style is such a concentrated niche site and it attracts equestrians of all ages and disciplines who share a passion for horses.

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Who do you look to for inspiration and why?

Inspiration is everywhere. I am a creative person so my brain is constantly firing off ideas 24/7. To me, anyone who is accomplishing their dreams and living a life that makes them truly happy is an inspiration. I look up to large lifestyle blogs like Glitter Guide, My Domaine and Apartment Therapy. Elsie and Emma from A Beautiful Mess have always inspired me with their home projects and blog. Emily Henderson always makes me smile with her home decor. There are so many equestrians who inspire me with what they are accomplishing with their horses. Kasia Bukowska @equestriankasiadbukowska is amazing. Despite her health issues, she does so much with her horses and I love the bridleless work she does. @westdesperado, Shaley Ham is a wonderful fashion guru I enjoy following along with. Beyond that there are countless women in business that I work with including magazine editors that have accomplished so much.

What would you say has been your biggest achievement to date?

That’s a really tough question. I’m proud of so many little moments that have led up to this blogging life I’ve created for myself. Just being able to live in Los Angeles and afford and equestrian lifestyle, my horse and work from home is something I’m extremely proud of. Lately I have been reflecting on my magazine and freelance writing career. In 2019 I wrote eleven articles for equine publications including Horse Illustrated, Chrome and the Paint Horse Journal. I’ve been featured in two magazines this year, including Horse & Style, which was a real treat. My writing career has been a wonderful side effect from blogging. I remember when I was first approached by a magazine to write for them. Over the years, I’ve gained more confidence and have grown as a writer. I’m thankful for the magazines that hire me back year after year for fun projects.

Raquel 1

What would be your best advice to give someone that is feeling uninspired at the moment?

Take a break. If you are feeling uninspired chances are you need time away from the computer, your normal routine. I always find inspiration when I’m out shopping, riding, hiking or chatting with friends. Blogging can be a demanding job. You might feel like you have to achieve or accomplish a certain amount of tasks – but you should always try to be led by creativity. The same goes for someone who is overwhelmed with work. I often have days where I have so much on my plate that I feel weak and tired. I’ll just go sit outside in the sunshine, do nothing, catch up on reality television or ride Fira. It’s amazing what we can accomplish when we give ourselves time to recharge our batteries.

What are you plans for this year with your blogs and Fira? What do you hope to achieve?

2019 has been a wonderful year of growth for my blogs and Fira. I hope to continue to work smartly on both blogs as they grow. Fira has matured into a lot of ways and I’m proud of the horse she’s becoming. 2020 is going to be our year of adventure together. I plan on taking her to the beach, her first horse show and on trail rides outside of Griffith Park. There are so many wonderful places within a couple hours of Los Angeles to ride and explore. I look forward to sharing my riding trips on Horses & Heels.

Raquel 2

Be sure to check out Raquels blogs at and and follow her on facebook and instagram @horsesandheels_ and @stablestyle.

To check out my interview with Raquel for The Equestrian Pulse Podcast head to this link

Inspo Interviews

Inspo Interview #9 Girl About The Yard

Today’s Inspo Interviewee is Verena or you may know her from instagram as ‘Girl About The Yard’. I ‘met’ Verena when she was a guest on The Equestrian Pulse Podcast (Stay tuned for that episode as it has not aired yet) and she was as fun in real life as she is in her very entertaining instagram stories. I hope that you enjoy reading her responses as much as I did!

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What inspired you to do what you do? 
It all happened quite simply by accident! No word of a lie, one day I started doing IG stories and someone with a big following gave me a shoutout on their stories after watching me dance to Mathilda’s soundtrack and it took off from there! I have a passion for people to not be undermined in the equestrian world, it is hard enough trying to keep a horse/wild animal alive without people telling you what you should and shouldn’t be doing all the time!!  

Who do you look to for inspiration and why? 
There isn’t someone or something that inspires me exterior to me, it is mainly that I hope when I am sitting in a chair reading endless thrillers or watching my or other people’s grandchildren play around, that I can think – yes… I allowed myself to be myself during my life and kept generally positive vibes throughout! 

What would you say has been your biggest horsey achievement to date? 
Oh gosh, that completely depends on the day – most days it is keeping Oscar’s (the bay in the photos) shoes on or mucking out with a straight edge to my bed. I am proud of achieving my British Horse Society qualifications, they are notoriously difficult for a reason. I am proud of myself for going ahead and making something out of the horse I had before Oscar who everyone said was a bit of a dud and he kept trying to get me off at every opportunity (the grey horse in the photos!)  I am proud of myself for getting my HGV test and for confidently driving the trailer! It really does depend on the day! I am proud of competing last season.

What would be the best piece of advice you could give someone who is feeling a bit uninspired at the moment? 
Relax, take the pressure off yourself. Your horse loves you whatever you decide to do with them, give them a massage in the form of grooming, or plan something for the future for you both to do, or clean your tack, whatever helps you gets back to the inspired stage. My advice for mindset would be let yourself off. It won’t matter in 3 months time that you had a break, so have a break. 
Enjoy not having hat hair for a bit, allow your boots to grow some mould and when the pressure is off and you’ve completely rested – you’ll be ready to jump back into the saddle! Once you have got back in the saddle – HAVE FUN!! 

What are you plans for this year and what do you hope to achieve? 

I hope to compete, dressage, show jumping and/or eventing more regularly, to have some good outings – go the beach, a fun ride, or the likes with Oscar and to maybe get another British Horse Society exam under my belt! 
Inspo Interviews

Inspo Interview #8 Jennifer Sims The Styled Equestrian

This month’s Inspo Interview is someone that I actually met in person. A first for the Inspo Interview series! I went to meet Jennifer in Provence back in May when she was hosting a polo holiday. However, I did plan to do the interview in person then, but to be honest we had such a nice time drinking wine and watching polo that I decided to email her the questions after!

I wanted to do an Inspo Interview with Jennifer because she is a really interesting person, who is really nice but also is a strong and successful woman. She is a great rider and has made a successful business from doing something that she loves. Jennifer is probably best known as The Styled Equestrian on instagram where she is a very successful equestrian fashion influencer, who has over 44k followers!  However these days she runs EqGlobeTrotter a riding holiday company that takes her riding all over the world.

Jennifer has just returned from riding in The Gobi Desert cup in Mongolia. She has never ridden endurance before however she managed to finish in 2nd place!

Previously a hunter jumper rider, Jennifer is now a polo player. Having gotten into the sport a few years ago. Jennifer was also a professional model for several years, which afforded her the ability to follow her passion of horses.

What inspired you to start the Styled Equestrian? 

I’ve always been a lover of fashion and horses so it just felt like the perfect combination for a creative outlet on social media.

Who do you look to for inspiration and why? Honestly lately I have been just inspired by my travel and my friends.  I wear what I like and what I think is comfortable.  I’ve been too busy to pick up a fashion magazine lately.

What would you say has been your biggest achievement to date? 

Placing second in the Gobi Desert Cup in Mongolia!!

What is the best piece of advice you could give someone who is feeling a bit uninspired at the moment? 

To do what you feel.  Don’t force posts.  If you have to force yourself to try and come up with something to say, then just skip posting until you feel inspired again.  It is nice to breaks from social media now and then!

What are you plans for this year and what do you hope to achieve? 

I’ve got a riding holiday in Ireland in two weeks, then Portugal in December with EqGlobeTrotter.  Other than that, just spend time with my family and friends and keep working on EqGlobeTrotter and StyledEquestrian.

You can follow Jennifer on Instagram using the handles @styledequestrian and @eqglobetrotter

Words copyright of Louise Dando and In Due Horse. Photos @styledequestrian.

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Click here to read the blog about when I met Jennifer Polo in Provence with The Styled Equestrian

Inspo Interviews

Inspo Interview #7 Para Rider Evie Toombes

Welcome to the 7th Inspo Interview of the year and I have someone very special lined up this month…
It is the amazing para rider and Hidden Disability Ambassador Evie Toombes. Evie was born with Spina Bifida, which has leaves her with weakness and severe bladder and bowel problems. Evie struggles with her health on a day to day basis and is in and out of hospital frequently.  Despite this as part of her work as a Hidden Disability Ambassador Evie has  set up a foundation called the Evie Toombes Foundation and has also written a children’s book called ‘Lucy goes to school’ which was written to help children understand hidden disabilities. Evie frequently visits primary schools to talk about disabilities with children and her work won her a Well Child award of ‘Inspirational Young Person’ last year, which was presented to her by Prince Harry and his wife the Duchess of Sussex.
As well as that, when she is well enough Evie competes in showjumping with her mare Daisy. I’m sure you will agree this is pretty impressive and to add to it Evie is just 18 years old!
I first heard of Evie when I watched a BBC 3 clip on the internet called Amazing Humans and they really weren’t wrong when they featured Evie. She is one AMAZING HUMAN!!
1) What inspired you to start showjumping and what inspires to continue even on the days you are feeling unwell? 
I was lucky enough to begin riding aged 5 after growing up around my mums horses. I used to help my mum at shows when she was competing and soon became keen to join in on all the fun. Riding was initially a huge worry for my parents, but amazingly is the exercise of choice for people with Spina Bifida (my main condition) in the States after showing huge success in leg function improvement.
At times I’ve spent weeks in hospital, stressing and discussing the grief my health brings with doctors whilst being really ill, it can be a bit upsetting and it’s so easy to fall into being nothing more than a patient when you’re so poorly at times. There’s a real sense of normality and joy that comes from connecting with an animal, I’m no longer a viewed as a patient or an illness by Daisy… she probably prefers to call me the ‘treat lady’!
Riding gives me a drive to continue trying, taking medications, administering treatments etc. I can set goals and have plans to look forward to which is hugely important for remaining optimistic and continuing to live my life to the full (when my body allows.)
2) Who do you look to for inspiration & why? 
For riding inspiration, I could watch Ben Maher ride all day, he’s so connected with his horses, it’s like they speak the same language.
I also hugely admire my dressage trainer, Kate Lewis. Not only does she teach, but she’s happy to ride any horse too and does so is such an accepting mindset of each unique horse. Nothing is ever forced and she works with horses and their personalities, instead of instantly demanding a robotic shape or good behaviour- through this they seem to work beautifully for her, and she’s so talented so it’s such a pleasure to watch.
I also find myself most inspired at RDA events, which some people struggle to understand. Seeing children who can’t walk find freedom onboard a horse never fails to amaze me, or to see visually impaired and deaf riders connect with animals when they can’t connect with humans very well is indescribable . Horses offer so much more than just a sport to us and seeing the benefits and joy they can bring is a huge remainder to appreciate every gift they bring to our lives. I challenge anyone to attend an RDA event and not leave feeling inspired.
3) What would you say has been your biggest achievement to date?
As crazy as it sounds, I think my best achievement to date is my elimination at Pferd International in Munich last year. I was selected for the Para GB team and after coming third in the first class with a double clear I was even more eager to give it a go in the final days jumping when I was drawn last to go in the jump off. When I attempted a jump off turn to cut inside a grand prix fence from the previous class Daisy not only locked onto the 1.50 fence but jumped and cleared it! I was so shell shocked by what had happened that I just picked her up again and carried on jumping the 90cm para course where we left off. The video went viral on Clip My Horse’s social media and has received over 2million views. I know it’s ironic but for it to happen at such a prestigious show and to have a horse who loves her job that much makes it all the more memorable- it’s a good job she cleared it!
Click here to watch Evie clear 1.50cm in the middle of her 90cm course aka the Munich mishap! 
4) What would be the best piece of advice you could give someone who is feeling a bit uninspired at the moment? 
My motto is ‘find a way, not an excuse’ and its been something I’ve lived by since first saying it aged 12. There will be challenges, hiccups and bad days- but its in your hands how you choose to deal with it. How you respond to these scenarios, whether it be an injury to your horse, broken down lorry or bad health is what produces the eventual outcome, not the actual problem itself. Don’t be afraid to change plans either, its great to have goals but there are times when they need to be adjusted, and that’s okay. You and your horses journey is unique and can’t be compared to others, try not to compare yourself to friends or people who may progress faster or seem to be doing better, let it inspire you to work hard but don’t forget to remember how far you’ve come.
5) What are your plans for this year & what do you hope to achieve? 
I’m having so much fun with Daisy at the moment when I can avoid hospital, I’d love to aim to jump a low level international in the near future. Recently my young mare Breeze, who suffered a horrific field injury 2years ago came back into work full time- she’s performing better than ever which is so rewarding and is loving being ridden. I’m hoping to take her to some pony club fun shows and just have some teenage fun on her whilst working on her dressage with Kate, it’s so enjoyable to work with a horse you understand so deeply, regardless of the level you compete at.
My health has been deteriorating for the past 8 months and we’re looking into further surgery options (finally) with my new specialist in London. We desperately need some help as complications are becoming more common and often end up being critical- its not sustainable, especially when I have so much I want to be doing! For now though, I’m keen to make the most of my time riding now so I have plenty to look back on when I’m recovering!
Instagram: evie.toombes 
I’m sure that you will join me in wishing Evie all the best for the future and her medical treatment. She is a true inspiration!
Evie wanted to make sure that I do a big shout out to her sponsors
KEP Italia and Global Herbs. 
Copyright of Louise Dando and In Due Horse 2019. Photos provided by Evie Toombes.

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Inspo Interviews

Inspo Interview #6 Jake Tarrant From Little Bentley Eventing

Let’s hear it for the boys! I thought it was about time we have a boy on the blog.  I am very pleased to introduce this month’s inspirational equestrian Jake Tarrant from Little Bentley eventing. You may have seen him on this years Omega All Star Academy. He is a riding instructor, eventer, blogger and all round good guy that retrains and competes on his rehabbed horses. I hope you agree that his interview does not disappoint!

1) What inspired you to start doing what you are doing?
From an early age I was always drawn to horses, but as a boy it was always about the speed and excitement of galloping across the countryside. As I approached my GCSE’s and had to decide on my route through life it became apparent that I could not compete academically with my twin brother, so I decided to abandon institutionalised education and gain a world recognised qualification with the BHS, my AI. As I progressed through my equestrian career, I worked in all the major disciplines to get as much experience of the industry as I could. It soon transpired that my particular affinity was with those animals that all others had given up on, those horses that had run out of hope, but how could i do something about it? The answer was simple, I gave up working with horses………….  took over my family business and gave it an equestrian theme, built my own yard, and started out on a new path of rehabilitating those horses that humans had failed. But as boys only get older, and never grow up, my love of the speed and power of flowing across the country stayed with me, and a love of eventing rehabbed horses was born.
The more I took these horses out, the more I did with them, the less people would understand…….. confused yet??  People simply couldn’t understand why I would be over the moon with a poor result on a horse that consistently kicked out show jumps, or did a dressage test that was half poetry and half pain; they didn’t understand that the success was just there in the partnership, in the completion, in the trust that is earned when these animals have no reason left to believe in us. This is the path that led us to audition for the Omega Equine Allstar Academy, the chance for one of these horses to prove to the world that every horse deserves a chance; a chance to rise above their past and to forgive what has been done to them. They do not judge us, they do not resent us; but if we deserve it, they can forgive us.
2) Who do you look to for inspiration & why?
As many of us have, I have been the victim of a mental health disorder, this makes being inspired both easier and harder. It’s easy to watch the great riders doing their thing and winning at Badders or Olympia and come home being galvanised into emulating them; but no, I love scrolling through facebook and seeing those people that have gone above themselves, challenged themselves, bounced back from trauma to prove that they can be a success, that have gone out of their way to be better than they were. It makes me want to believe in myself again.

 3) What would you say has been your biggest achievement to date?
My biggest achievement is probably the judges ride section of the Allstar Academy, when Charlie Hutton rode rehabbed 16hh Bay gelding Troy, which led to him not only winning the module, but also birthing the viral sensation that was the Cup of Tea challenge, proving that a rehabbed horse can be far more than just that.
4) What would be the best piece of advice you could give someone who is feeling a bit uninspired at the moment?
Everyone has bad days, everyone hits walls in their riding that makes them question whether they are good enough, everyone feels judged by their peers and at that time are found wanting; But the thing is…….. EVERYONE does, you are not alone, it happens to the best of us; and like theirs, your story will be inspiring someone else.
5) What are your plans for this year & what do you hope to achieve?
I’d like to qualify my boys for the Grassroots at Badminton (in addition to the 5* obviously, but that is more of a long term goal), but this will only happen with a lot of training, so I will be pursuing any bursaries and scholarships that I come across to help fund the work I do.
 But in reality, my plans for this year are simple; to every day be a slightly better version of myself than I was yesterday, to enable me to help take these horses further along the path of success, to wherever that may be.
Find Jake on facebook – Little Bentley Eventing
Instagram- @littlebentleyeventing
Incase you missed it check out last month’s Inspo Interview – Inspo Interview #5 Zoe Boyd That Sassy Rider
Copyright of Louise Dando and In Due Horse 2019.
Inspo Interviews

Inspo Interview #5 Zoe Boyd That Sassy Rider

This month I have the pleasure of introducing you to Zoe Boyd That Sassy Rider as our Inspo Interviewee. Zoe is an Equestrian blogger on Instagram and facebook. Her pages follow her progress with her new mount ‘Princess Brian’ as they start competing together.

I reached out to her to be part of the Inspo Interviews because of a really honest blog post I had seen she had written recently for Equissimo a brand of whom she is an ambassador for. It was about some bad personal circumstances that she has been going through. It was so honest and raw but she wrote with such tact and warmth that I respected her even more than I did before. Zoe is not only a cool person and a great rider  but a great role model to her online followers! I urge you to follow her if you don’t already.

  1. What inspired you to start your instagram account/ blog?

It’s not really inspiration but I did it to stop boring my friends and family on Facebook as I used to spam my page with all things horsey! I then realised that there were a lot of people out there that have a geniune interest in how you have been getting on with your horse. So I created all my social media handles. I find it lovely to part of an online community.

2. Who do you look to for inspiration and why?

I don’t particularly have one person that I look up to it’s more of a group of people who keep me inspired. I love seeing how people are achieving their goals and staying positive with their set backs.

3. What would you say is your biggest achievement to date?

My biggest achievement would be competing at the showjumping National Championships 2 years ago. I genuinely thought it was a once in a lifetime thing…until this year on my new horse Brian, I have managed to qualify again for show jumping AND Combined training. I couldn’t make the Show jumping nationals this year though as they were two weeks after the qualifiers and Nationals was about 300 miles away from me. Thankfully I am able to compete at The Festival of The Horse in May.

4. What would be your best piece of advice you could give someone who is feeling a bit uninspired at the moment?

Behind every rider there has been some level of pain or upset. You still have the passion inside to get back to it after a knock back, you just need to get your butt back in the saddle and remember how the good days feel.

5. What are your plans for this year and what do you hope to achieve?

This year I’m hoping to just bond more with Princess Brian, so far we have been quite successful in a short amount of time. Once we have full trust in one another Im hoping to up the ante and compete at a higher level.

Follow Zoe @thatsassyrider on facebook & instagram.

Incase you missed it. Check out last month’s Inspo Interview here. Inspo Interview #4 Poppy from Young Hip & Horsey

Copyright of In Due Horse and Louise Dando. Photo credit Zoe Boyd unless otherwise stated.

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Inspo Interviews

Inspo Interview #4 Poppy from Young Hip & Horsey

For this month’s Inspo Interview I would like to introduce Poppy from Young Hip and Horsey. Poppy is an Equestrian blogger & I have been following Poppy’s blog for a few months now and find her very inspiring. Poppy had a total hip replacement in June 2018 at the age of 26 and her blog is about her recovery and return to riding after her operation. 


1) What inspired you to start your blog Young Hip and Horsey?

Strangely it was my mum who first suggested I start a blog about my hip replacement recovery.  We both thought that a record of the experience of having a hip replacement at such a young age with a view to getting back to an active hobby might be useful to other people who might face a similar situation. I also saw the potential for my blog to be of interest to other riders, perhaps those who, like me, only started riding as adults, enjoy coloured cobs or have dressage ambitions but are really starting from scratch! As soon as I started writing and creating images to use for my blog, I was hooked.  I was already keen on photography and my personal Instagram and Facebook accounts were full of pictures of my beloved Pea.  I had been keen on writing when I was younger, writing many many stories, but rediscovered my love for the written word when blogging gave me a purpose.  

2) Who do you look to for inspiration and why?

 When I decided that dressage was my chosen discipline I dived straight into the Youtube archive of Charlotte (Dujardin) and Valegro videos.  I feel like you can’t NOT be inspired by her success, she has changed the face of dressage in this country forever and has achieved so much at such a young age.  After reading her book I’ve been even more inspired by the journey she has been on to get to where she is today.   Another young, female role model I look to for inspiration is Olivia Towers.  She is a professional rider who creates very real videos, podcasts and social media content about the highs and lows of training her horses.  She is passionate about having a positive mindset and encouraging others to improve and develop.  I love that you can gain an insight into high level dressage through her content and she definitely offers tips and tricks that can be taken away even as a relative beginner in the riding and dressage world. 


3) What would you say is your biggest achievement to date? 

This is a really tricky one for me as I feel like since my hip replacement (in June 2018) each month has brought a new ‘biggest achievement’ in terms of both my recovery and my riding.  Ditching the crutches completely by 2 months post op and getting on Pea at 10 weeks post op were massive!  My first lesson with my new hip in November (and each lesson since then) was also incredible. If I had to chose just one achievement it would have to be the competition we did in January.  Even before my operation I had never been to a dressage competition away from home, I had never competed without people from my yard around and I had never competed in an indoor arena.  In January, for my first competition post hip replacement, I did all of these things!  I also did it relatively confidently and confidence has been a real issue for me in the past, particularly in terms of competing. 

4) What would be the best piece of advice you could give someone who is feeling a bit uninspired at the moment? 

I’m quite keen on inspirational quotes because I think sometimes we all need a reminder to be positive and a catalyst to motivate ourselves.  I post quotes on my Instagram every Monday so I have plenty of motivational messages and advice in my mental bank but I think the best piece of advice I could give right now is that ‘dreams don’t work unless you do’.  If you are feeling uninspired just think about what it is you want to achieve, then you can work out what you need to do to reach that goal and do it!  I think you always need something to work towards but equally, goals need to be achievable and measurable.  Breaking overarching goals into smaller pieces make them more manageable and therefore you are more likely to achieve.  Making goals is, of course, the first step and then the hard work starts! 


 5) What are your plans this year & what do you hope to achieve? 

The equine flu scare has put a slight pause on my competing at the moment but this year I plan to compete regularly at prelim level.  I would like to go to lots of different competition venues to broaden our competition experience so that we are both more confident in different environments.  I hope to improve Pea’s suppleness and get her working from behind, over her back into a consistent contact as that is something that we really haven’t mastered yet!  I want to be able to improve her canter which, due to the discomfort associated with my hip problems, has never been great.  I want us both to be stronger and fitter and would really love to have more equal strength and flexibility between my left, historically bad side and my right, good side.    

You can follow Poppy and Pea’s progress on their blog and on facebook and instagram @younghipandhorsey

In case you missed last month’s Inspo Interview with Heather Wallace The Timid Rider click here to read it. 




This content is copyright of Louise Dando & In Due Horse. All photos are property of Young Hip and Horsey. 

Inspo Interviews

Inspo Interview #3 Heather Wallace The Timid Rider

Welcome to the third ‘In Due Horse Inspo Interview’! I am SO excited to introduce to you this month’s inspiring Equestrian.

Heather Wallace or ‘The Timid Rider’ is an American blogger, author and pony owner. Heather is also an animal massage therapist and mother and all round excellent person! Heather is an incredibly inspiring equestrian. She uses her own struggle with confidence in the saddle, to help others with theirs. Encouraging other equestrians to be brave be bold & be honest!

From a personal note despite being over the other side of the Atlantic to me, Heather has been so encouraging and supportive of In Due Horse. We ‘met online’ back in October when I participated in Heather’s Blog Hop and Blogtober challenge and she has been so welcoming and supportive since and I am so pleased to be able to collaborate with her.

Photo Credit: Callie Heroux photography.

1) What inspired you to write your book ‘Confessions of a Timid Rider’? 

Confessions of a Timid Rider  was a book that I feel that I had inside me waiting to come out. I loved to write stories, but I was too afraid to share them with even my family. More, I loved horses but felt pressured (mostly by myself) to compete to be the best. I let the pressure of being perfect overwhelm me and cause anxiety. I stopped writing and I stopped riding horses for 17 years. I lied to myself for a long time.  

After having my first child at the age of 31, I was determined that I needed horses back in my life. I craved something just for me, something that filled my soul. I still had doubt in my abilities and was quite nervous. I felt elated being on horseback again, even those it was much higher than I recalled. Maturity, experience and yes, stubbornness, got me back in the saddle and kept me there since. I still expect a lot from myself, but I realized that I was the only person I disappointed if things didn’t happen the way I wanted. I’ve never been much of a risk taker, but I have to ride horses to be truly happy. This really gave me a new perspective, and with it, confidence to share my story.  

I am inspired by those around me who unapologetically live their lives and pursue their passions. When I started my blog, The Timid Rider I realized quickly from the responses that I wasn’t alone. Whether you are a returning adult equestrian, junior, amateur, or professional you have moments where you think, “I can’t do this.” But we are wrong. We CAN do it.  

The trick is to be perfectly imperfect. Be bold and be true to ourselves. We all have something to learn, and horses are the best teachers, but it’s okay for us to go at our own pace. This book is my story and my experiences. In it, I hope that others find motivation and inspiration to keep moving forward and pursue their passion, whatever that may be…  

Photo Credit: Callie Heroux photography

2) Who do you look to for inspiration and why?  

I have been so grateful to have amazing female role models. My earliest inspiration in blogging was Susan Friedland-Smith of Saddle Seeks Horse. I first followed her on Instagram, and after engaging with her as a fan, she kindly helped direct me to organizations that would help me improve my writing and blogging skills. I had the absolute pleasure to meet her in 2018 at the American Horse Publications conference and even reciprocated with some feedback for her recently published book, Horses Adored and Men Endured. I am so happy to help others because I know that I wouldn’t be as successful without advice and support of others. I want to provide that in return. 

I look to many women in the equestrian world as inspiration as I always believe that I will never stop learning. A significant person in my life is Camille Champagne, an FEI 3* endurance rider and founder of The Gobi Desert Cup. She took a chance on me as the 2018 Media Consultant for her event in Mongolia. I applied sight unseen to live in a nomadic camp with strangers for two weeks, with absolutely no camping experience or knowledge of endurance. Not only is Camille one boss babe, but she is extremely loyal and supportive. She tirelessly works to improve the lives of all the people she works with, not just me but also the Mongolian people, and she continues to give me opportunities, show her appreciation, and be a mentor in many ways.  I am very grateful for her friendship. Sometimes I think she believes in me more than I do.  She is going for the World Championships in Endurance and I have no doubt she will accomplish everything she dreams. 

Photo Credit: Heather Wallace/ Gobi Desert Cup

3) What would you say is your biggest achievement to date?  

Wow, my most significant achievement is a tough one to answer. I honestly have so much to be grateful for in my life and am quite ambitious. I own two businesses (animal massage and small publishing company); I have written an award-winning and best-selling book and traveled to the depths of Mongolia to work with an endurance horse race that changed my life and my perspective. But what I am most proud of is raising three horse-crazy daughters who believe that women can do anything. They see me following my dreams and working my tail off to get there, but I do it in a way that lifts others instead of tearing them down. At the end of the day, to be a positive example for my family is the most meaningful. 


Photo Credit: Heather Wallace.

4) What would be the best piece of advice you could give someone who is feeling a bit uninspired at the moment?  4) What would be the best piece of advice you could give someone who is feeling a bit uninspired at the moment?  

We’ve all been there. Don’t believe everything you see on social media, we all have moments where we question our path, our expertise, or our progress. Life is not supposed to be easy. I have learned more from my mistakes both in the saddle and in life than I ever had with success.  

However, it is essential to acknowledge the lack of inspiration and why. I often find that changing up my routine helps incredibly. It is easy to feel overwhelmed in this crazy world. So give yourself a break! Go on a quiet hack instead of exercises in the ring or decide on quality time hand grazing your horse. If you are feeling uninspired with work, plan a fun adventure on the weekend to have something to look forward to. The one thing you can always count on is change. You won’t remain uninspired for long if you get up and do something you love! Be bold, brave, and honest but always keep moving forward and pursue your passion. 

5) What are the plans for this year and what do you hope to achieve?  

I like to set a few achievable goals for myself, crush them, and repeat. Last year I met every goal I had set, and it did wonders for my self-esteem. This year, I have a few goals, but I may add more if I successfully accomplish them!  

I plan on doing more speaking at events and conferences. Recently I’ve been massaging a llama with a right hind injury and anxiety/trust issues. The first time we worked together he wouldn’t look me in the eye until we were halfway through the session. Clemente’s owner kindly recommended me to the Greater Appalachian Llama and Alpaca conference, and now I’ll be a presenter and demonstrator there! I never anticipated working with llamas, but I have learned to go with the flow, and it has opened up many possibilities. 

Complete another book for publication! I have three books I’m currently working on and bounce between them as inspiration strikes. They are all very different, and I’m very excited to share them when completed.  

I plan on continuing to build my pony’s top line and work with him in a bitless bridle while gaining more time on trails and jumping to develop my own confidence. He loves to jump and is quite adorable!   

I will be attending The Gobi Desert Cup again in August and helping to produce a documentary under the direction of Jamie Baldanza Claps of This Mustang Life. While there a few of us will also be spending a little time in the saddle with our Mongolian friends before the race begins. These men are born to the saddle and have so much to teach me about horsemanship and confidence. 

More, I have some inspiring things in store for The Timid Rider in the next two years. Sadly it’s too early to tell you just yet. You’ll have to follow me on social media for the official announcement!  


My name is Heather Wallace I stepped away from horses as a teen due to anxiety and regretted it ever since. Now I’m back but things are a little different now. I’m a mother, I’m less flexible, and I’m a lot more nervous. The biggest difference? I’m following my passion despite lacking confidence. Join me as I talk about all those things we think but don’t say out loud. social media @timidrider.

In case you missed last months Inspo Interview with Krystal Kelly you can click here to read it.

Copyright of 2019

 Blog: The Timid Rider 
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Inspo Interviews

Inspo Interview #2 Krystal Kelly

For the second edition of our Inspo Interviews about inspirational women in the equestrian industry I had the pleasure of interviewing Krystal Kelly.

Krystal Kelly is a California Girl, joining us from her current base in England for a talk about her life as an Equestrian Adventuress traveling around the world on the back of a horse. She is currently the ONLY FEI II Showjumping Coach from the USA and offers jumping and dressage clinics, yoga for horse riders, and even helps to promote horse riding adventures and holidays around the world. She organizes groups to off-the-beaten path destinations with her own travel company Krystal Kolumbus Travel (like her upcoming trip to Bhutan!) She talks with us today about her life abroad and what it’s like working in 14 different countries with horses and traveling to over 50+ countries including Iraq, Bhutan, Romania, India, Egypt and more!

1) What inspired you to do what you do?

I have always wanted to work abroad with horses. I never felt like I belonged in America to be honest and I felt since I was very young that I needed to go and see the world. I was always fascinated to see the Olympic Showjumping on the television. Seeing top riders from around the world gather in one place to share their love for horses has always been something that drove my passion to seek “unique destinations” and countries most people would never think of going to ride horses! I just recently returned from Iraqi Kurdistan where I got to ride some gorgeous showjumping horses and also meet a few local men who breed Arab and Kurdish horses. They welcomed me like I was one of their family members and treated me to local tea and even gifted me a golden horse statue which now sits on my dresser. I love exploring countries, but exploring different cultures and countries because of a shared love for horses…that is an opportunity unlike any other!

2) Who do you look to for inspiration and why?

I am too busy making my own lists of things I want to do and where I want to go that I don’t have much time to think about what others are doing. Especially because my goal of seeing every country causes a lot of anxiety to others (try telling someone whose never left their hometown why you took a secret trip to Yemen…) and you will realize that you often times have to be the source of your own inspiration. In order to drive yourself to step outside of your comfort zone, take the leap and trust your own judgement and gut, sometimes you have to take inspiration from any means you can whether it be scrolling through Instagram, reading other’s blogs or watching documentaries. I take my inspiration from many outlets and its difficult to pin it down to one specific person. I will say that any woman challenging the system and conquering her goals (whatever they may be) in a male dominated sport / business / culture etc. is always a key source of inspiration for me! I love seeing women “stick it to the man” and empower other sisters around the world to follow in their footsteps!


3) What would you say is your biggest achievement to date & why?

I have many. I’ve started the only horse riding program in the country of Bhutan, and now organize group expeditions there! I’ve fundraised to send a Yemeni girl to University. I’ve driven a junky car SOLO from England to Mongolia and back again. I met my husband in Azerbaijan (he’s German) and taught him to ride horses—where we now own two lovely horses in England and play polo, compete in Endurance and many other horsie-activities. I completed a 1,000 kilometer race on semi-wild Mongolian horses across the Mongolian steppes… I guess you could say there are a number of achievements I am proud of, but I also have quite a number more to cross off my list! I’m a big list maker so whenever I do cross something off I usually replace it with another equally challenging goal.


4) What is the best piece of advice you could give to someone who is feeling a bit uninspired at the moment?

I think many people when they meet me, often tell me, “Wow, your life is amazing! You’re so lucky!” But the real secret is, I am not doing anything anyone couldn’t do. To be honest, back in 2010 when I first left America to work at my first international job for an Olympic rider in Belgium, the only thing I did that others didn’t was: I got on the plane. Many of my adventures, jobs and goals started with simply committing to getting on that plane. It didn’t matter if I didn’t have much money or I didn’t know where I would end up or how I would afford a return flight should the job not work out etc. It didn’t matter because I knew it would all work out. I would be able to handle any situation I came up against and I had faith that things would all work out in the end. And you know what? It has. So many doors of opportunity opened up for me simply by having the guts to get on that plane and take a chance that I never could have dreamed would be possible.

You don’t need to have all the answers, you don’t need to have everything planned. All you need is the will and a way will be shown. And if the people in your environment or life are opposing your internal goals and wishes and desires then STOP INTERACTING WITH THEM! Reach out to people with similar goals who’ve actually achieved them and start surrounding yourself with people that will lift you up (even if it’s only virtually on the internet for a while!) In this way the internet is really your biggest ally as there are so many inspirational women and horse lovers out there that are happy to talk and inspire other—and even offer them a job or a free bed for the night or a coffee! So get out there and start networking!


5) What are your plans for this year and what do you hope to achieve?

I have a few trips lined up for this year which I’m still looking to fill. I have several open spaces for people to join me on a once in a lifetime chance to visit the country of Bhutan —my all-time favorite country—on the back of a horse! Last year I took a group of 8 ladies and we had such a wonderful adventure that I’m excited to bring another group this year. I also have a few other trips in the making and my filming projects are beginning to pick up. I hope to release a youtube series soon about various Equestrian Adventuresses around the world so please join my Facebook group to keep up to date with the different adventures and projects I am planning as well as getting your horse travel inspiration and contacts from like-minded ladies in the group!

Thank you to everyone at In Due Horse for the feature and I am very happy to continue to follow along on your adventures!

Feel free to follow me on Instagram (https:// or check out my websites:

In case you missed it click here to read the first Inspo Interview with The Sand Arena Ballerina.

Copyright of 2019.

Inspo Interviews

Inspo Interview #1 The Sand Arena Ballerina

Welcome to the very first In Due Horse Inspo Interview! In these interviews I plan to interview inspiring women from the Equestrian Industry. For this first interview, I had the privilege to interview Andrea Parker AKA The Sand Arena Ballerina who will be the first person in this series of interviews.

Andrea is an Australian blogger, her dressage blog The Sand Arena Ballerina follows her & her horse Nonie and their journey as they compete (very successfully) in dressage. The blog also features interviews, features on riders and horses, nutrition and fitness, fashion and mindset to name a few.

Andrea often talks about motivation, improvement and inspiration in her dressage blog, which is why I thought she would be a perfect person to interview for the Inspo Interviews.

1) What inspired you to become a dressage rider and start your blog?

I have always loved dressage, even back in my pony club days I was the kid who loved torture time (aka sit trot without stirrups) and ride around the barrels in a perfect figure eight rather than going flat out. While I used to ride all disciplines a few bad falls in my late teens steered me away from jumping. But it was probably the experience of riding a coaches Grand Prix stallion and advanced mare in my early twenties that sealed my fate as a Dressage rider. The opportunity to feel some of the higher level dressage movement like passage and canter pirouettes had me hooked and is something I will forever be grateful for.

Creative writing is something that I have always loved. However during my university years I had to put my creative thoughts aside and learn how the human body functioned and to write scientific reports in order to gain my Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics. After graduating I often thought about starting a blog, but I worried I wouldn’t know what to write about, how to write it and whether anyone would read my ramblings. In 2016 I became a brand ambassador for an equestrian clothing company and needed to write monthly updates for their blog. It was through doing these updates that I developed confidence in my writing and took the plunge into the world of blogging at the end of 2016.


2) Who do you look to for inspiration and why? 

There are so many people in the equestrian community that inspire me – I could go on all day.  Of course high profile riders like Charlotte Dujardin, Laura Graves and Ingrid Klimke are a source of inspiration, however one of my key sources of inspiration is my wonderful coach Danielle Keogh. She is one of the hardest working, most humble people I know and of course she is a beautiful rider. It’s  been awesome to see her do so well this year and kick her goals. She works full time as a physiotherapist in addition to having several horses competing and a number of riders that she coaches – this is something I would love to do in the future too so she is an inspiration in that way as well.

Another inspiration is an Australian Para Dressage rider Emma Booth who also inspires me hugely. Emma began her riding career as an Eventer but a car accident in 2013 left her a paraplegic. Just seven months after the near fatal accident she was back in the saddle. Aside from being a beautiful and tenacious rider she is also an incredible role model eloquently calling out bullies and trolls online.

3) What would you say is your biggest achievement to date?

I have been so fortunate to have a number of amazing experiences with horses, but if I had to name just one thing it would be competing at the Australian Adult Amateur Owner Rider Dressage Championships this year. This was my first time competing at a National level and what made it even more special was the fact that I have brought Nonie along from a green baby to successfully competing at medium level. As we come down the final centreline of our first test I was fighting back tears. Receiving a sixth place in this test was the icing on the cake.

4) What would be the best piece of advice you could give someone who is feeling a bit uninspired at the moment?

I find few things to be as inspiring and satisfying as feeling Nonie and I make progress. If I feel that I am letting us down, struggling with the basics or just stalling this can make me feel a bit unmotivated and uninspired. How do I get past this?

1. Set goals which are realistic, meaningful and achievable.

2. Take lessons as often as I can afford to – sometimes you need an outsiders perspective to know where you are becoming stuck or to help push you through something challenging.

3. Reflect on every ride (I find it really helpful to do this in writing) and make myself find at least one or two positives from the ride – I promise you there will be something there. In the long term this will also help to train your thinking to look for the good in things.

4. Always remember the rule of 1%. If you can achieve and sustain a 1% improvement every time you get in the saddle you’ll be 100%  better in just 100 rides.

5) What are your plans for this year and what do you hope to achieve with your blog & Nonie?

I have a few goals on my list for Nonie and I in 2019. I  am aiming for an advanced start towards the end of the competition season – dancing down the centreline in tails and a double bridle with Nonie would be an absolute dream come true. In order to be able to do this we need to nail our flying changes and learn to ride the canter pirouettes 😬 Oh and I also need to master the double bridle!

In 2019 I would like to enter some new territory with my blog, namely I want to do interviews with professionals within the equestrian industry – think vets, trainers, riders and judges just to name a few. The thought of approaching these people to be a part of my blog terrifies me, which is exactly why I am making it a goal.

Be sure to check out Andrea’s brilliant blog at . You can also follow The Sand Arena Ballerina – equestrian blog on Facebook & the_sand_arena_ballerina on instagram.

I hoped you liked the first Inspo Interview & be sure to check out next months interview with Krystal Kelly an Equine Adventuress who travels the world on horseback.

Copyright of 2019