Pick of 2020: my most read and most recommended blog posts of this year

Here come the last few days of 2020: for many, a great time for briefly occupying the mind with a blog post or two. I'm taking a break from writing new blogs until the new year, but found it really interesting to look at the "charts" for this year's most popular posts. Here are the 2020 Top Ten, plus some extra recommendations from me, if you're looking for something to read to see off this year (or occupy you between your cheeseboards and board games).

2020's Most Read

This post from the beginning of this year has been not only this year's number 1 post, but is also my most read blog ever: it's been read close to 3000 times. RDA groups aren't in such a great position right now to welcome new volunteers, or even to enable existing ones to return at full capacity, but what this blog post says is still true, even if not quite as applicable right now. January is by far the worst month of the year, and I hope we find ways of alleviating those blues.

The idea of discussing the awkward stuff definitely caught a lot of people's attention, with this post taking the silver medal spot. The interactions which we have to navigate to make RDA function as an organisation are incredibly interesting to me, but they definitely have the potential to be a bit awkward too. I haven't run out of examples for follow-up posts, either...

I think it's definitely a sign of the times that so many of my top posts were published pre-Covid, in those almost three months of "business as usual" at the beginning of 2020. I've found it interesting, writing through the twists and turns of lockdowns and closures, but I know I miss the times when I could just write about the goodness of "normal" RDA life. This post really gives me that feeling.

This is probably my most interesting post to look back on, as I wrote it when everyone (myself included, and with great angst) was thinking about how on earth things might work when we were able to restart, but nothing official had been decided or communicated yet. Some things, it turns out, I didn't have to worry so much about: my riders on the whole bounced back with incredible resilience, and I'm avoiding the disinfecting toys thing by just not using them. It's not my most cheerful of blogs, but it does have a place in marking the way our history evolved this year: at the number 4 spot, it clearly tapped into a lot of other RDA people's thoughts too.

At number 5, I'm sure many of these things will be relevant, to different groups and in different ways, now. Things have moved along, but not really on since this post in June. It isn't easy being unable to offer the full spectrum of services and inclusion which we want to offer, which we used to be able to offer, and which people have become accustomed to us offering.

Another early, "business as usual" post which I know I've gone back to a few times since. I've learned plenty more about volunteer management as a result of Covid, and think it will be one of my New Year's Resolutions for 2021 to get better at it. Managing volunteers as a volunteer is one of the strange experiences RDA coaches are challenged by yet also privileged to have: I often describe it as a part of the job you don't necessarily sign up for, but one you have to do to make it all work.

I wrote this post pre-Covid, but have found my relationships with riders' parents and carers have taken on new importance in the nine months between then and now. I'm pleased that this post was well received and discussed: these are important people.

I really enjoyed my interview with para dressage legend and FRDA Clive Milkins, and I'm glad that other people clearly did too. This was the first interview I published on the blog: perhaps I need to bag some similarly interesting interviewees for 2021!

Similarly popular to the number 8 spot was, funnily enough, the second interview I published in 2020. I found Ed's responses very encouraging, and am grateful both to him and to Clive for their support of this blog.

Perhaps the idea of me changing my mind about anything was enticing clickbait for those who know me in real life...? Finishing off the top 10 is this post, which above anything else is about reflection and growth. Thank you for being part of the process!

India's Recommendations

Not everything can make it into the top ten, but I've also picked out five blogs I think are worth an extra recommendation...

Being "thoughtful" or "insightful" is nice, but sometimes you just need to do "fun"! I know plenty of people found plenty to relate to in this post. Own that RDAS label!

This post seemed to generate quite a bit of curiosity (it almost made the top ten!), and actually, I like to think it's quite a positive read. If you're looking for something a bit juicier, you might want to read some of my confessions.

This post was a follow up to one of my most popular of all time, "Five things my RDA riders are not". I think the time I've spent apart from my riders this year has made me realise all the more keenly how important it is to boost them up and fight their corner, whatever that corner might be. One of the biggest reasons I wanted to start this blog was to challenge misconceptions towards RDA and those who participate in RDA activities, so this is staying true to that purpose.

I've written some pretty sobering blogs this year, but also some about the things I'm looking forward to doing, seeing, or going to again. RDA Nationals is a chart topper for my "most missed RDA things" this year, so I'm recommending this post to remind us all of the exciting things we will eventually get back.

2020 will forever be the year we lost one of the greats. Speckles really was a legendary RDA pony: I couldn't possibly leave him out of my pick of the year.

If you're looking for some specifically festive magic, you can also read about my Christmas wishes and Christmas traditions! And, whilst we're here, don't forget to give my blog page a follow on Instagram: @rdacoachindia. It would be really exciting to hit 250 followers there soon!

Finally, thank you for supporting Coach India's Blog this year, whether you've read, liked, shared, or discussed. Keeping the conversations going and supporting each other is the best part of writing for and engaging with the RDA community. Here's hoping for a much better 2021!