Alyssa Knee has recently had a book published about her lordotic horse, Spike. You can read a review here. Alyssa kindly took the time to answer some questions about her life and involvement with horses.
How much of your day/week is related to horses?
A decent chunk of my day is related to horses, both directly and indirectly. I’m lucky in that my horse Spike is agisted just a few minutes from my house so I am out with him every day. A lot of my day is also taken up writing for my equestrian blog, Brunette in Breeches. This details Spike’s life and our journey.
What is it exactly that you do?
I am an administrative assistant for local government during the day but I am also a writer. I’ve been writing for my blog, Brunette in Breeches, for a little over 12 months and during that time have been lucky enough to work with some major publications like Hoofbeats, Horsewyse, Horse Nation and Horse Network. I’ve also recently
released my first novel about my horse, Spike. Spike has a rare congenital condition called equine Lordosis which causes his back to have a swayed appearance, our hope is that via our blog and other equestrian related media outlets that we can educate the equine community about the condition and the effect it has on the horses who have it.
In this field of work, is it possible to be a full time professional and
earning a liveable income?
When I figure that out I will let you know! Right now I am juggling a full time job and writing on the side. Although I would love to be able to make my blog my main source of income – that is the end goal.
What are the general steps taken to be employed in such a role?
I don’t think there’s any one particular pathway to becoming an equestrian blogger. I started with little to no knowledge of blogging. But I have learnt about how to be a blogger and what it takes to maintain a blog over the last 12 months (and I’m still learning!). My biggest piece of advice for anyone who wants to start an equestrian blog is to just throw yourself into it.
Favourite horse memory?
My favourite memory with Spike would be from the day that I got him. To get to the house we were living in at the time you had to go about a kilometre down a dirt driveway and cross an old wooden bridge over a narrow creek. The bridge was an old rickety thing. It had no side rails, there were small gaps between the planks and it creaked because most of the planks were loose.
I had asked my partner to walk Spike up the driveway while a friend and I followed behind in the car, but when they got to the bridge Spike stopped and despite all the persisting in the world he simply refused to cross. We stopped the car behind them and I got out.
I walked over and took the lead rope from my partner and stood with Spike for a few minutes. Then I gave him a rub on the face and the neck and simply spoke to him. I don’t remember exactly what I said, I’m sure it was a lot of nothing but it felt right. We must’ve stood like that for a good 10 minutes or so before I asked him if he’d cross the bridge with me. I took the first step, Spike followed and we crossed the bridge together. He didn’t hesitate, he didn’t spook, he wasn’t afraid. He just crossed, like it was nothing. Like he just trusted that I wouldn’t ask anything of him that he couldn’t do or that would put him in danger.
My current professional goals are to continue growing the blog and educating the equestrian community about equine Lordosis. As far as my riding goals, I would really like to bring Spike back in to more regular work and try our hand at show jumping. He was originally bred to be a jumper. So it’d be interesting to see whether it’s something he would enjoy or excel at.
Best thing about your sport/profession?
The best thing about the equestrian community is the people. Since I started my journey with Spike and writing for Brunette in Breeches I have been very fortunate to meet so many wonderful people who support Spike despite his differences and who regularly cheer him on via the blog and social media, even though they don’t know us in real life. It’s lovely to have that kind of support!