Our fifth installment of #FollowFriday takes us to the Cornwall, where we meet Tina Wallace, the fabulous blogger behind Life on the Left Rein. I met Tina through the #twittereventing Facebook group, and we became firm online friends through our mutual passion for blogging, and most recently through Tina’s adventures in building her first website! Tina is one of the stars of the 2017 Blue Chip All Star Academy (you can watch her AMAZING audition here), and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed following her journey with Banksy (aka “Jackass”) for the last year or so. Tina’s sense of humour, complete honesty, and fantastic vlogs are the reason I enjoy following her so much – I’ve been learning a lot about how to develop great videos for my followers, should I ever decide to go down that road. She’s also sponsored by some pretty cool companies and often does giveaways on her Facebook page, so make sure to follow her!
Name: Tina Wallace
Location: Truro, Cornwall
Blog Name: Life on the Left Rein
Social Channels: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube
Horse(s): Banksy – a 10 year old Skewbald, Extremely Cheeky Hunk of an Irish Sports Horse!
1. Tell us a little about your blog – what inspired you to start it, and what to you blog about?
I initially started my blog as our Eventing Facebook Page first off to stop inundating non horsey friends with constant posts that only us equestrian lovers understand but also as part of a sponsorship competition where you could win some funded training, I think at the time I entered it I only had about 60 followers, so realistically the chance of getting selected was very minimal but I’m so glad I did create the page back then (June 2016) as it gave me the love for Blogging about our antics which in return in March 2017 earnt us a once in a lifetime opportunity.
I mainly blog/vlog about our day to day antics, my love of shiny new things which in turn leads to tried and tested honest reviews, Training outings – which we don’t go on as often as we should but I’m making a concerted effort to dedicate more time to that, Event Reports, Oh and last but not least Banksy’s Jackass moments…
2. Your horse, Banksy, is a character of his own! Tell us a little bit about him and what makes him so unique.
Banksy… Aka Jackass… Where to start – right at the beginning I guess!
Banks is 10 this year and was imported from Ireland as an unbroken 5 year old, he was late starting his education, but has thoroughly enjoyed every stage of it so far, I say this on his behalf obviously!
He is the most adorable and loving character, he is not a foodie, he thrives off love and affection, I don’t have children, so he is my baby and gets all my love dedicated to him, much to my husbands disgust at times!
I first started riding Banksy 3 years ago when my lovely Boy Buddy sadly went lame with hock arthritis. We had qualified for the BRC National Championships in Lincoln and I desperately wanted to go as I had only become a team member that year and it was our first event riding for Cornwall Trec Group so to have Won and qualified was such an achievement for me and Buds, we hadn’t been remotely competitive up until that point and it gave me the love for competing.
My friend Lisa kindly offered me the ride of her young talented gelding Banksy. I was so honoured to have been allowed to ride him but also felt quite daunted by the prospect, Buddy was the Mr Been there done that, got the T-Shirt, point and go kinda horse.
He safely took me over everything I faced him with and gave me so much confidence and love for riding again after a long 10 year break.
Banksy was a whole different ball game, super talented, but was I competent enough to channel his exuberance in the right direction…. At the start NO! But boy am I glad I persevered.
Cut a long story short, our first ever show, which was our prep for Lincoln was a 3 day away show, showjumping in Wales, literally thrown in at the deep end, ridiculously nervous, I hadn’t competed out of Cornwall before and neither had Banksy! Well the tension showed and a millisecond after my first leg up he freaked out and rodeo’ d me onto a tent! Bearing in mind I hadn’t even paid the deposit for him at this point I had to keep this from my husband for a day or 2 until the weekend was successfully completed without any further mishaps! Despite that happening I well and truly fell hook line and sinker in love with his character and knew he had to be mine.
So that was the start of what was to be a fairytale romance… We even got a frilly at our first ever show!
If you follow our page you will know that there have been more Lows than Highs….BUT we are getting there and I have certainly come to realise that it’s the whole journey that is the fun part, the memories made and friendships created through our equestrian antics are to me what it’s all about, I love being a part of the eventing family and really do take great pleasure from seeing others do well and achieve their goals.
3. What has your time as a Blue Chip All Star Academy Finalist* taught you? Would you do anything differently if you were to go back again?
Uummmmmm, yea, not fall off!!!
It sadly did not end how we would have liked it to, a spooky sharp Jackass moment, which recently I have learnt to sit to, however sadly the saddle slipped in the midst of it and I didn’t stand a chance.
But as I said at the time the positive side of that was (with Banksy being Banksy) it could have happened on the first day so at least it happened on the final night!!
Swindon A&E however was not somewhere I had planned to go during my time at Talland.
The whole experience was just surreal, it all went by so quickly.
Riding in the indoor arena at Talland on the very first day just gave me goosebumps.
I’m quite an emotional person and cry mega easily, you might have picked up on that if you watched the show and saw my “I want my Mum Moment”!!
But with regards to doing things differently no, not really, I massively enjoyed every minute of being at Talland, it really was a once in a lifetime experience and every single person I met whilst up there was so supportive and encouraging, everybody loved Banksy and he thoroughly enjoyed all the attention he received, although I’m not sure he was overly keen on having Charlies strong, long legs applied to his side during one of the riding modules. We saw a glimmer of his Jackass side at first but once he realised he couldn’t evade what he was asking he worked quite nicely for him and it was really good to see.
The very best part of being on the Academy for me was the friendships made with the fellow All Stars, most of all my “Blue Chip Bestie” Hannah or “The American” as everyone refers to her as, that girl is literally the loveliest person I have ever met in my life and I am so so grateful to have found a friend for life in her. We were roomies and I spent hours and hours listening to her dressage to music over and over again, nodding and agreeing that yea that bit is perfect, because I was utterly clueless as to what was expected of us initially and she was On it and determined to make a success of it, I just pretended to understand!
*You can watch Episode 1 of the Blue Chip All Star Academy Series 2 for free HERE
4. Up until recently, all your blogging has been done on your Social Media Channels, but you’ve now launched your new website, Life on the Left Rein. What can we expect from this new website?
Well I would love to say frequent Blogs, product reviews and updates, but if I’m honest I keep forgetting about the website which is not good!
I absolutely LOVE Instagram at the moment and find I put most things on there, pictures and videos are so the way forward! I love filming and editing videos, the Vlogs that we are required to make for Horse & Country TV are what I’m focusing on at the moment as some of the footage from these will be being broadcast on the All Star Diaries on their Sky Channel from September through to March. The content of these will be specific so whilst at the moment fortnightly Vlogs is all that is required, I am getting in as much practise as possible as to me the filming is the easy part, the editing and trying to squeeze all that I want to say/show into 3 to 4 minute Vlogs is the challenge! Once I start talking about anything horse related I struggle to stop.
But back to the website… I must channel more energy into that again… I may require your assistance Natalie! When I know how to use something that I am confident with I use it regularly, when I find it a challenge, I use/do it a lot less regularly…. I guess this reflects in my riding too. I have been making a conscious effort to dedicate more time and effort into our dressage, something I have struggled to understand and do not find easy. So I will challenge myself to do the same with the website and not take the easy option. I will learn and put into practise what I learn and I promise to make at least weekly attempts to post from it going forward from now, after all I did create it for a reason!
5. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
My husband always says “Slow down to go Faster” and I try to live by that now, my Blog became named “Life on the Left Rein” in an attempt to reiterate to me that I need to slow down to go faster.
Life on the left rein, as I described on my website “can be Crazy, Chaotic, Unbalanced and a little scary…. Correction VERY scary at times!” Very much like our first ever dressage test on grass.
But we are slowing down to go faster, focussing on more training, learning to contain the exuberance when within the White Boards and I’m super proud to report that it’s working!
That and the discovery of the Blue Chip Calming Balancer, which seems to really suit Banksy.
At our last event we absolutely smashed our previous PB with a dressage score of 22.8 and a Double Clear to Win, yes WIN our section.
So I thank my husband for giving me that top advice, they say a woman is always right, but I have to admit that my husband IS ALWAYS right, he is also super supportive, encouraging and actually gets quite competitive on our behalf, whenever he comes to an event with me he always treble checks that I have the correct optimum time and that I know my minute markers and stops me stressing before I got into the start box… for that I am very grateful.
6. And what’s the worst piece of advice you’ve ever received? How did you know or realise it was bad advice?
Well actually in February a couple of days after I submitted my audition video to Horse & County TV someone said to me “it’s a good video but I don’t know why you bothered entering they’re not going to pick amateur from Cornwall” well that just gave me more determination to A) To share my audition Video which swiftly got over 1.5k views on YouTube and B) To share as many posts as possible about the show on the Public settings on Facebook, just in case they did miss the fact that I DID get selected!!
7. What is the one thing you would like readers to take from your Blog?
Persevere, nothing worth having comes easily, everything horse related takes time and patience, enjoy the journey….that’s what it’s all about, having fun!
Tina is pretty busy between working full-time, looking after the horses at home, and filing and editing vlogs at least once a week – thank you so much Tina for taking the time to share so honestly with me! Make sure to follow TIna and Banksy’s journey, I hope you enjoy their vlogs!