When people are full of passion, they cannot help but let it show every aspect of their lives. For this reason, I am continually inspired to follow The Sand Arena Ballerina, one of my most favorite equestrian blogs. Andrea oozes with passion about Dressage, her horse Nonie, and the things & people who continue to inspire her.
This week, I got to catch up with Andrea Parker from The Sand Arena Ballerina about her competition life, blogging goals, and her current favorite things! Hop on over to her blog review if you haven’t already. This week we have a privilege of getting a more intimate picture of the woman behind the stellar blog.
Without further ado, let’s catch up with Andrea!
Q: What is your competition life like right now?
I’ve had a big shake up in my competition life this year. We weren’t quite ready to start medium level (the equivalent of third level in America) having only started the flying changes at the end of 2016. My mum, Nonie and I traveled away to one competition mid-year to have our first start at medium level. While the tests weren’t perfect it was pretty exciting to be competing at this level.
Not competing in traditional competitions opened up the door to a unique way of competing. Mid-year I stumbled across a company based in the UK called EquiMind. They specialise in online equestrian competitions in a variety of disciplines. For the past four months, I have competed in their online dressage competitions. It has been brilliant to be able to ride a test at home, get feedback and even be placed. In September we competed in the Summer Championships are were fortunate enough to become the dressage champions. I believe that this form of competition will really take off over the next few years as it just has so many advantages.
Q: How much does your competition/training life inspire your blog?
I think it would be fair to say that my primary inspiration for my blog is my own experience as a rider. In particular I love sharing the learning that I have experienced within my riding. I have also loved getting to know and share the stories of other riders such as Emily Grimstead, Bailey Nolte, Mathilde Kvernland and Danielle Pooles. Writing product reviews has also be a really fun excuse to do some shopping!
Q: What do you hope people find at The Sand Arena Ballerina?
I want The Sand Arena Ballerina to be a place for all equestrians, in particular the everyday equestrians. Those who don’t necessarily have the money to buy a school master or a super talented youngster. Riders who aren’t necessarily talented, but love what they do anyway. I hope that by sharing my story in an honest way I might help others believe that they can achieve their goals too.
Q: What are your favourite products right now?
I am absolutely obsessed with:
– Celeris ‘Bia’ boots, having boots which not only fit but are also comfortable has been an absolute treat.
– My Wilson Equestrian Denim Breeches, are again comfortable and a great fit. They are the type of breeches that make you feel great the moment that you slip into them.
– Le Mieux saddle pads and bonnets. I’m a sucker for the stunning colours that these saddle pads and bonnets come in and they fit beautifully.
Q: Who is your equestrian inspiration at the moment, and why?
Just last night I actually had a dream that I was walking around a major equestrian centre casually chatting with Laura Graves! She is definitely one of the Olympic level riders that I look up to. Her and Verdades always look so harmonious. Laura is proof that riding is not about strength but rather about tact and cleverness.
I am also a big fan of Manolo Mendez. He was one of the founding member of Royal Andalusian School of Equestrian Art, but now lives here in Australia. His philosophy is all about training the horse in a manner that promotes their wellness and mental state, something that can be easily overlooked. I recently watched a video of him riding one of his horses in an FEI test, and they made it all look so effortless and easy.
Q: What propels you to continue writing?
I’ve been writing for almost twelve months an in this time learnt more about myself, my mare and my riding than I could have ever imagined. I think this is one of the biggest things that pushes me to keep doing it. I also love that feeling when someone tells me that I have put into words something that resonates with them and their experience.
Q: What is your favourite part about blogging?
I love the connections and friendships that I have made through equestrian blogging. The opportunity to connect with other people who live in an equine centred universe and share in their struggles and successes has been nothing short of incredible.
Though I only know her over a distance (the whole Pacific Ocean, to be more specific), I know Andrea Parker well enough to say that she is the equestrian best friend that anyone would hope for and are extremely lucky to find. Even in writing, she is supportive of others who are doing well. She champions fellow equestrians to continue to pursue their dreams, to excel within the sport, and to inspire others. For this reason I strongly encourage any rider, from any discipline and experience level to follow The Sand Arena Ballerina on her Blog, Facebook, and Instagram pages.
Until next time, friends! Tell me who your equestrian inspiration is at firstname.lastname@example.org