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Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Quickfire Q&A with Samantha Hobden, founder of Hay-Net.co.uk

Many equestrian bloggers will already be familiar with Hay-Net.co.uk, but it's not only for bloggers. Anyone interested in finding out the latest news, top blog and product reviews can head over to the site for a daily round up of all that's going on in the equestrian blogging world.

I first started using Hay-Net.co.uk about 18 months ago, both as a way to share my blog post, but to also discover other equestrian bloggers from around the world with all sort of different interests in all things equestrian. Today, the site has branched out a little further into the countryside living, recently awarding Sophie in the Sticks as Country Style Blogger of the Year 2017.

Teaming up with Mirror Me PR last October, I was nominated for Equestrian Blogger of the Year 2016, and a couple of weeks later was delighted to be revealed as the winner.

As the time approaches for this award in 2017, I caught up with Haynet's founder, Samantha Hobden, to find out what inspired her to start the blogger networking site, its future plans and find out a little more about who Sam really is!

So grab your cuppa, sit back and enjoy 5 minutes with Samantha Hobden!


What inspired you to start Haynet?

I blame my vet! My lovely horse Zeb was having problems with a few sarcoids and my vet suggested keeping a log every few weeks about whether they were changing, together with photographs to keep an eye on them. I thought it would be easier to document this online which led me to start blogging. It soon became apparent than there was no central point to find blogs within the equine industry, so Haynet was born in 2011 to showcase these horse bloggers from all over the world.

In recent years, Haynet has really taken off - what has it taken to make this happen?

It’s taken hard work and it has taken time. I’m all for growing your audience and following with genuine quality followers who want to engage with you and your content. I also think social media has changed drastically over the last few years with it being a vast platform to showcase your business or interest. I have also made some great friends and contacts through Haynet over the last few years and networking with each other is another great way of getting your brand to an interested audience.

Away from Haynet (if that is ever possible), what’s your life about?

My life is all about my close family and the animals that live with us. I am very lucky to live in the countryside and my daily life is caring for my family, my horse, my two terriers and eight chickens which I love. With two businesses to add to the mix, life is hectic. I also have some wonderful friends and I always make sure to spend time with them - which normally involves food and a bit of alcohol too!

You recently did a collaboration with ECN - tell us about what ECN is.

The Equestrian Creative Network is a brilliant concept of showcasing creative businesses within the equestrian industry. These businesses create an online portfolio through ECN which promotes contacts and networking with ease within this tough industry. My recent collaboration with ECN’s founder Liam Charlton-Killen, was taking part in ECN's live video series which introduces the person behind the equestrian business which is promoted socially. I have also started working this year with ECN who are supporting the Country Style and Equestrian Blogger of the Year Awards by offering the winner their very own dedicated business portfolio.

What are your future plans for Haynet? Do you have anything new on the horizon?

Haynet is having some big changes which are immediately on the horizon. Looking towards the future with Haynet and the fast and changing world of social media, I have made the decision to move platforms. This has created a huge amount of work over the last few months but I feel very strongly that this is the right move for the site and Haynet’s concept for the future. You have to keep looking forward in this industry!

What is your advice to all the budding female business women/entrepreneurs out there?

Try and be organised and prioritise. Look at what needs your time and effort and what doesn’t. Think creatively about the work you take on and sometimes it is not always about what you earn from some projects. I would also say be courteous and respectful to those that have helped you on your way in this business. Making quality contacts in business takes time in order to gain a trustful reputation within business and that doesn't happen overnight. Most of all be positive, enthusiastic and be yourself.

Tell us a little about Sam...

Being half Finnish, a place to escape for me is definitely time in Finland with my family. Without being biased (ok I am being) it really is the most beautiful country and I love spending time there. Favourite foods of mine probably extends to a lengthy list from curries to coleslaw and pasta salads, to pub gourmet burgers to Scandinavian Gravlax. Chuck some Dairy Milk in the mix and that is my food heaven!  I am a great lover of all earthy and dark colours. Classic tans, charcoal greys to emerald black are my favourite colours in clothing, cars and furniture and probably horses too! Pastel pinks would be my worst nightmare…


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  1. So interesting to learn a little bit more about Sam Hobden and the origins of Haynet! I'm so happy to have found this blogging network, and the people and blogs I've met through Haynet.

    1. Glad you enjoyed the read and like you, I'm glad I found the network!! :)

  2. I love Sam and even more proud of her since she's a fellow Finn!

    1. Equestrian blogging community is far reaching but a small world too! :)

  3. A wonderful piece about Sam and Haynet!


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