Changes are Coming for DE!

Hey there.  Rachel here.  I’m writing this post sitting at a Capital One Cafe trying to get work done because they’ve been cutting down trees behind my house…for a week (omg the noise…and omg my allergies).  You see there’s some 70-80 year old eucalyptus trees bordering the fence behind my house.  These trees belong to a local school district and border their fencing to add a bit of privacy for the students.  Great.  They’re beautiful.  However they have been way too big for the space and the slope they inhabit for a long time.  Last week in the torrential storms we’ve had in California two of them fell.  One on a neighbors garage. Another on a different neighbor’s fence and back yard.  No one was hurt thankfully. A third neighbor (the house next door) had to take up residence in a hotel as a third tree was threatening to fall directly on their house.  Thankfully it didn’t and they’ve started to thin them and and prepare to cut them all down.  It’s been an interesting year so far and it’s given me lots of contemplation time!

Why am I telling you this?  There’s a time for things to be…and there’s a time for things to not be (or for them to change).   DE has been around since 2014 (so we’ll hit our 9 year mark mid year).  Holy crap really?!  We’ve currently got over 329 product reviews published (with many others now unpublished due to products no longer being on the market).  We’ve written and published well over 600 articles of various sorts in those 8.5 years.  Did you know that most of the articles on DE are not paid for?  What tiny bit of income that does come in from this website comes from Youtube and various affiliates.  I have no paid advertisers right now because it’s not worth the effort of hunting them down (and I don’t like muddying up the site with adds).  That means I’m unpaid for the work I do here at DE.  Kristin is also unpaid.

Why do I write all this and spend so much time on DE?  Well…here’s a little background.  When I started DE it was 1.  An outlet for writing.  2. To get some free products because I was broke.  3.  To share my opinions on those products because some of them I had purchased just were not worth the money I spent.   I was broke.  Super broke.  I literally worked my ass off barter style to ride.  My lease was covered via work.  My lessons were covered via work.  I bought the cheapest products I could.  I found out quickly that the cheapest products certainly weren’t always the best…and so the website changed a bit.  As I started discovering better products, I started refusing to review crap products.  I’m not here to tear down any brand.  I’m here to make sure you spend your hard earned money on something that is going to be worth it.

So while I fiddle around with other posts on the occasion, the main goal for this page has always been to provide you (dear readers) with as much information as I can on products that come out on the market.  We only have so much money.  We only have so much time.  With new brands and products coming out almost daily trying to take the money out of your pocketbook, it has become my great passion to share my opinions on things to help you make the best decisions for you.  It’s something I wished I had been able to have when I started riding (and wasting money on crap that was bad or I didn’t need).  I’ve continued this crusade for this long for you.  As mentioned above, I get very little from it other than the satisfaction of helping you, enough cash to cover the hosting fees from affiliates and occasional free products (even at that most products I review are purchased, not gifted).

In all this time I’ve washed in and out of various social media for it’s various benefits and annoyances.  Currently they’re all annoying, but culturally that’s where we are right now.  The majority of our readers have always come from organic search…which is right in line with my goals for the site (aka people searching for reviews on specific products they are looking at purchasing).

Speaking of social media, please go follow/like/subscribe if you’re not to help me understand where you’re looking and where you want to see us in the future.   Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Youtube  You didn’t know I had a Youtube?  Funny thing, it’s actually our most followed social media with over 15,000 followers (yup!) and I have one video with over 7.5 million views!  Weird right?  Go subscribe to keep up with what I’m up to over there!  I’ll probably be producing more video content this year as honestly, it’s the only content that pays in the current market and I can’t keep working for free forever…

And that’s where we are.  I give away a lot of my time for free.  Here.  For the local dressage GMO board I am on.  For the non profits I help.  I’m always busy and always hustling…but I have very little to show for it except appreciation from a handful of people.  I have reached a point in my equestrian journey where money is what is holding me back (and I hate that).  Money to pay for the support Jax needs to be his soundest and most competitive.  Money to pay for more training and clinics.  Money to pay for the bigger shows.  Money to pay for a horse or horses of my own so I’m not at the whims of an owner who might decide anything any day.   I need to take a bigger step back from all this free work and reassess how I need to move forward from here to reach the goals I have.  I’m turning 39 this year…and I’ve not got enough to show for it.

I’m not proclaiming doom and gloom for Decidedly Equestrian.  We’re not going away…but I’m going to be dialing things back a bit.  I’ve tried doing this for years but end up just writing my days away instead of doing other things I would like to do, but I’m stating this publicly here to help back myself up.  So here’s what you’re going to see from us in 2023.

  1.  Occasional Reviews – I’m no longer actively seeking products to review.  If I see something that looks super interesting…I might reach out to the company or buy it to review it…but I’m no longer going to feel like I HAVE to get out a certain amount of reviews for you each month.  They’ll come when they come!  If you see anything you are interested in having me review, please let me know.  I have a couple of reviews lined up and coming, and I know Kristin does too, but after this batch I’m not sure how regular the posts will be. I will continue to develop the Sunshirt Showdown post as I try more of those and I intend on creating a similar post for breeches.  I also am going to update my What I Use articles with the current items I’m using for grooming, schooling, and showing so you can see what is sticking around in my regular use rotation.
  2.  Adjusted levels of Other Content – this has been in adjustment for a while, but you’ll see less Company and Artist Spotlights (honestly rounding up artists to do this is becoming more annoying than it is satisfying).  But you will still see Learning out of the Saddle, Pilates, Decidedly Dressage,  DIY projects and other fun stuff.
  3. More Art and an Etsy Shop – You’ll see more art from me on socials, with my collaboration with C4 belts, and with an upcoming Etsy shop.  I’m intending to sell originals, prints and printed items (like cards, stickers, etc).  As an on and off dormant artist I am feeling a strong need to create in that area of my life right now.
  4. Potentially more collaborations with other brands.
  5. Occasional Freebies added to my Freebie page for email subscribers.
  6. I plan on running at least one giveaway this year.

So that’s that.  DE isn’t going away…but you’re going to see some differences around here going forward.  As always, I love to hear from you.  DM me or email me if you have any requests for reviews, articles or want to collaborate! Thank you for being here with me on this journey!