It has been a while, but we are back with another Equestrian to Grill! This time we were delighted to welcome Holly Lenahan who some may call the Irish Queen of Equestrian Social Media.
We gave poor Holly some tough questions which we think has made for one of our most interesting Grill’s yet. With the emphasis mostly on the woman herself we give you the inside scoop, from training exercises, to what it’s really like being an equestrian influencer.
We certainly didn’t go easy on her…
The World of Social Media Fame
How do you manage your time so well? Between your studies, your horse, your personal life and your blog, how do you have time for it all?
I’d love to say it’s because I have such excellent time management skills, but realistically, the only reason I’m able to keep it all going is because my parents are so supportive. Without my dad helping by feeding and looking after them while I’m at college, there would be no way I could keep on top of it. I’m also so lucky to be able to keep our horses where we live so we don’t have to pay for livery and as they live out on grass all year round, that also cuts out a lot of costs.
How do you maintain your online presence? Do you just go with the flow or do you plan and keep to a schedule?
There’s definitely no schedule to it! I used to try and upload a video on a set day every week but I soon gave up and upload when I have enough time to film a good quality video. That has been difficult with college and studying, but I do try and pre-record videos if I know I’ll be very busy for a few weeks. Posting to Instagram and YouTube is also very dependent on who I can rope into videoing for me. Sometimes I wish I had a clone who loved taking photos and videos as much as I do and would film me every day! But that’s not the most realistic dream…
How do you find keeping consistent and relevant content coming on your channels?
I sometimes find it very hard to know what videos people actually want to see, especially as it changes all the time. At one point, my show vlogs were my most watched videos, whereas now people are more interested in cleaning and grooming videos. And I’m sure it’ll change again. I try to just film videos that I myself would like to watch and that’s worked well enough for me so far.
Do you receive much negativity online? When you do, how do you deal with it?
Yes I definitely get my fair share of negative comments. I mostly ignore them or block them because deep down I know all they want is a reaction from me. But that can be very hard sometimes as the comments can be quite vicious and personal and it’s difficult not to defend myself. I think deleting comments is the best way to deal with them, but I’m always worried that people might think that I’m trying to hide something or that deleting them is a sign of guilt.. But hopefully people understand it’s not very nice to see these kinds of comments.
Do you often get recognised at events you attend?
I’m starting to get recognised more often now at shows and even in non-horsey places which is such a surreal experience. Sometimes people message me later that day saying they saw me but were too nervous to say hi, but I always say they should’ve come over! I’m just as socially awkward as anyone else so there will be no judgement from me! It also makes me realise that there are actual real people behind the accounts that comment on my videos and like my pictures, which just makes it even more crazy to me.
Would you change anything about your social media success?
Honestly not really. I’ve met so many lovely people and made lifelong friends from my social media and I’m also quite proud of the fact that I’ve never been involved in any online drama or fights. Being on social media has definitely been a positive experience for me and I think part of that is because I really started getting into it when I was a good bit older than a lot of people who start now.
If you could tell your followers one thing, what would it be?
If you have a goal, you should do everything in your power to achieve it, but if it doesn’t come to fruition, then reflect on what you learned and focus on your next goal. Reaching your goal isn’t the most important thing, the journey is where you learn the most.
Holly’s Life & Horses
As a vet student, do you ever find yourself being way too cautious when any issues come up with your horses?
It’s definitely a case of the more I learn, the more worried I get about the horses. Suddenly a lame horse could mean a million terrible things instead of the simple stone bruise it is. But I think it’s also a good thing to be more educated as prevention is better than cure and I am able to spot issues quicker.
Do you have any plans to compete in Cross Country or Eventing, or is showjumping your main priority?
Showjumping will always be my main priority. Although I have done a bit of cross country and even a one day event years ago, our horses are mainly show jumpers so that’s what I’ll be sticking with.
What is one of your favourite training exercises?
It may sound basic, but this exercise single handedly gave me an eye for a stride. Basically you set up two poles, a set amount of strides apart e.g. 5 strides. And you canter down it in 5, then 6, then 4, then 7 if you’re feeling really brave. The most important thing is to treat the poles as actual jumps and ask yourself, if that was a jump, would I have knocked it? It teaches you to get a good rhythm, meet your poles accurately and ride straight. It also teaches the horses to extend and collect and become more responsive. So many benefits and all you need is two poles!
Who in the industry do you look up to?
Edwina Tops-Alexander is my absolute idol. She’s such a competitive and sympathetic rider and also Australian like myself which is always a bonus. And not to mention she had a child at the end of 2017 and was back at the top of the sport very soon afterwards, what a woman!
If you could train with any equestrian in the world for a day, who would it be?
Edwina or Marcus Ehning. Marcus is an unbelievable rider. The connection he has with his horses allows him to appear motionless on their back. It’s always a pleasure to watch him compete.
Where do you see yourself 2 years from now?
Oh no, I’ve been having a bit of a crisis lately about what I’m going to do when I graduate next year and then you come at me with this question! I can honestly say I don’t even know what country I’ll be in 2 years from now, let alone know what I’ll be doing. You’ll have to get back to me with that question!
What is your favourite thing about bringing on a young horse?
Young horses are my absolute favourite to work with. There’s no feeling more satisfying than when you’re trying to communicate something to a young horse and they have this eureka moment where it just clicks. They also make a lot of progress really fast so it’s such a rewarding experience.
Ok to wrap us up, here’s a hard one – if you had to sell all your horses except one..who would you choose to keep?
That is an awful question! Fiona is the first horse that comes to mind because I don’t think she’d do very well in a lot of yards and I wouldn’t like to see her get passed around, but in this hypothetical situation, I’ll sell her to my dad to ride (Is that cheating? I don’t care). And I would keep Dali as the rest of the horses would easily sell to good homes and he is probably the horse with the most unknown potential at the moment so I’m really excited to get working with him.
We have to admit, we really did enjoy coming up with these questions. A massive thank you to Holly for taking part & we would like to wish you all the success in your studies over the summer.
Be sure to head over to Holly’s Instagram @hollylenahan & check out her Youtube account while you’re at it, She’s guaranteed to inspire you with her fantastic content, not to mention the videos of her Dad, if you havn’t seen them they are a must!!
Keep your eyes peeled for our next grilling coming up very very soon. We’re staying on the girl-power track with a very well known Irish record maker! Can you guess who’s up next?
Until Next time,
Darielle & Orla