This week I get to catch up with Andrea Parker’s blog, The Sand Arena Ballerina. Thanks to an online community of fellow equestrian bloggers, I have been able to meet many stunning equestrians and follow their blogging and horse journey. Andrea is a Dressage competitor in Central North Queensland, Australia. Join me today in the review of her inspiring blog.
About the Author
Meet Andrea Parker: Clinical Dietitian, Dressage Competitor, owner of Nonie the wonder mare, and Creator of The Sand Arena Ballerina. Andrea and Nonie have dressage aspirations of reaching the Grand Prix competition level, and currently compete regularly through Equimind. Read about Andrea’s passion for the sport in her article, “My Love Affair with Dressage.” Meanwhile, Andrea chronicles her journey with equal measures of personal reflection on the delicate dance of dressage, product reviews of her favorite equestrian things, and interviews of fellow equestrians.
How the Blog Reads
Reading the Sand Arena Ballerina is like a window into the competitor’s daily life. Andrea’s discourse draws you in like a friend, as though she’s letting you know what’s on her mind this week. She doesn’t necessarily follow the trend of updating you on every aspect of her equestrian day-in and day-out happenings, but rather shares the highlights of her journey.
Her posts are often a balance of informative and reflective writing. Andrea does a great job of encouraging her readers through her own experience. In “Lessons Learnt in My Medium Debut”, she shares her experience with nerves at new levels of testing, as well as her mental strategies for continuing to progress in the sport. She has also recently set in motion a series called “The Other Equestrian Athlete,” encouraging riders to stay healthy in addition to keeping their horses healthy.
The Sand Arena Ballerina hosts consistently high-quality photos. I appreciate that she uses her own photos over against stock photography. It enhances the personal aspect of her blog while remaining professional. The particular site design she chose is clean and light throughout, and its light-pink hue is a perfect match for her name, calling to mind the delicate ballet slippers in subtle reference to the nuanced yet bold dance of Dressage.
The established branded look of The Sand Arena Ballerina is something I particularly admire of Andrea. She determined her own photo style, image composition, and particular fonts and flourishes, and has been consistent with it on Instagram & Pinterest. It all goes very well with her website and provides a distinguishable look, which is vital today on social media to be recognized.
Andrea also has a unique series called “The Other Equestrian Athlete,” which sets her apart from other equestrian bloggers. She flaunts her expertise by helping equestrians take care of their bodies, stressing the importance of caring for ourselves in addition to our horses. Read the first article of this series here.
I had the chance to catch up with Andrea about her blog and Dressage career:
What is your favorite social media platform and why?
“My favourite social media platform would have to be Instagram. I was incredibly fortunate that when I first started using Instagram I stumbled into a community of Equestrians.”
What are your short and long term goals for you & Nonie?
In terms of goals for Nonie and I, in the short term the priority is to get the flying changes and halfpass really solid. Looking to the future, my ultimate goal is to don tails and compete FEI. More than anything, I am proud of the relationship that I have developed with Nonie over our seven years together.
What are your short and long term goals for your blog?
“I identify as being very goal-oriented, oddly enough that didn’t translate to my blog. I sometimes daydream about having grown the blog to a stage that it would support my equestrian addiction. Ultimately though, the most important thing to me is to continue raising up fellow ‘everyday’ equestrians through this platform via my featured rider stories.
I love writing and I love the discoveries I make about myself, Nonie, and my riding through my blog. The ability to continue learning through a relatively simple act provides me with ample motivation to continue blogging.”
What I find most refreshing about The Sand Arena Ballerina is that Andrea is in the business of promoting her fellow equestrians, be they equestrian fashion designers, competitive riders, or other bloggers. She aspires to grow her blog and her Dressage career, but alongside and not at the expense of anyone else.
Where many pursue advancement in their career or fashioning their dream home, the Equestrian path is clearly Andrea’s foremost passion. This passion exudes from her writing in every post, and might just remind the tepid or waning rider all the reasons why they got into the sport in the first place.
Do you need inspiration? Do you want to follow a polished and engaging Equestrian publication? Do you enjoy hearing stories of triumph amidst everyday life? Find it all at The Sand Arena Ballerina.