Interview with EquiPepper – Guide to Buying Your First Horse

The Horse Exchange team are very excited to speak with author and blogger, Ruby Butchers. Ruby has been running the successful online blog EquiPepper for a number of years and has just published her first book the “Step by Step Guide to Buying your First Horse“.

1.Tell us a little bit about you and your horses

I’m a 24 year old equestrian blogger, EquiPepper, with a real love for thoroughbreds, especially ex racehorses. I come from a non-horsey family, so perhaps had a bit of a different entry into horse ownership, spending 6 years at a riding school before picking up rides on quirky horses and ponies for family friends. I grew up dreaming of working with horses but not really knowing how. So after school I headed off to University where I studied Equine Science: Breeding and Stud Management. This is where I really picked up the idea that horse owners are lacking the knowledge of why we do things a certain way and how this knowledge could improve how they care for their horse. It was during my degree that I decided to take the leap into horse ownership, where I bought my gorgeous ex racehorse Scottie, who later went on to be a big driving force in me starting blogging. Scottie is a dope on a rope. I’ve never known a thoroughbred to be so chilled out and easy. He is willing to please and enjoys having a job and while he is incredibly lazy, when he puts the effort in he produces some really lovely work! I would love to event him, but we have had a few unlucky years recently with a kick in the field from his girlfriend and now a tendon injury. But fingers crossed we will get there in the next few years.

2. What is EquiPepper and how did it start?

EquiPepper actually started as a project at University. In my second year of my Equine Science degree we had to create an online portfolio of our skills with a specific job/career in mind. At the time I was toying with the idea of having a business of retraining racehorses. I branded it as EquiPepper quite early on and used it to document my training sessions with Scottie and rewrote relevant lecture notes. I had enjoyed writing it so much that once the project was over I carried it on. EquiPepper has now been going for over 4 years now and I am enjoying it more than ever.

3. Tell us about the awards that your blogs have won

In 2016, after having been running for just over a year, EquiPepper won the Rising Star award in Haynet’s Equine Blog of the Year Awards. This was a huge achievement for us being so new to the scene. Over the following years we have been ranked in the Top 100 Equine Blogs on the Planet and Top 25 Equine Blogs in the UK with Feedspot rankings. And this year we were ranked in Sharpedia’s Top 20 Equine Blogs. And we are continuing to creep higher up these rankings – which is fantastic!

4. When did you realise you wanted to be a writer?

I have always enjoyed writing. As a child and especially as a teenager I would always be writing and planning stories. This is still something I enjoy doing now, but I am yet to ever finish one of these stories! But I never seriously considered it as a career until I started blogging and getting recognition for it.

5. What inspired you to write the step by step guide to buying your first horse?

I come from a non-horsey family, so my biggest inspiration was how confusing I found it trying to buy my first horse. But over the years I have also worked with lots of lovely people and horses who individually are great, but just don’t suit each other. These cases are always sad as both the horse and rider aren’t that happy and it can be hard to decide where to go next. So I wanted to try and help people like this find the right horse in the first place, so that they wouldn’t find themselves in these situations.

6. Provide us with an overview of the step by step guide to buying your first horse?

So this is basically a guide through the entire process of buying a horse from thinking about what you need in a horse, to viewing horses, to bringing your horse home. In each stage I highlight what you need to think about, provide questions to ask and outline what you can expect to happen. While I don’t think there are that many dodgy sellers out there, I do include potential warnings to look out for that things may not be quite what they seem.

7. Where can we buy the step by step guide to buying your first horse?

It is available on Amazon worldwide in both Kindle and Paperback form. 

8. What is your number 1 top tip for buying your first horse or pony?

Seriously think about what you need in the horse. Obviously things like your budget and time should play an important factor in what type of horse you end up buying. But I personally think what you need is more important. Afterall, if you are nervous rider, it doesn’t matter how big or small your budget is, a horse what is going to give you confidence is what you need.

9. What is your favorite part of owning and retraining an ex-racehorse?

I just find it so rewarding. When I was younger I loved the speed and the quirky behaviour. But now I enjoy how their brains work when it comes to teaching them new things. They would certainly be my first choice if I went looking for another horse tomorrow.

10. Are you going to write another book? If so, what on?

I hope so! I have a few ideas I’ve been kicking around for while now, but more specific to ex racehorses. But they are all still very much in the early stages

Bonus! Using 3 words how would you sum up The Horse Exchange as an online marketplace for buying and selling horses?

Simply, Fantastic Idea!