Working British mums use strict Spanish lockdown as an opportunity to develop new Rider Guider app

Updated: Dec 21, 2021

Lisa and Debs first became friends over the stable door, both sharing a passion for horses, and both with young families. During lockdown they chatted frequently, discussing how to cope with the worries, challenges and demands this brought to all aspects of their lives.

Not having so much freedom to be with the horses, managing young children, dealing with homeschooling and keeping family life ticking over during such a difficult and unprecedented situation with the pandemic. Being in Spain as they were during the lockdown was strict, movement was prohibited apart from essential food shopping trips which only one adult could go on. The children were confined to the house for two months – not allowed to even leave their home for a short walk.

Roadblocks with armed police were a regular sight and shopping lists or full shopping bags had to be shown to justify the reason for leaving the house. Visiting and riding their horses was prohibited (only the yard owner could go to feed and tend to the horses). So Lisa and Debs spent lots of time chatting on the phone about how the digital age was being forced upon many, online classrooms, grandparents having to learn to use video call and many being introduced to a home working environment.

For Lisa as an online marketing specialist, there was still some work, although it was affected. Debs, a BHS qualified riding Instructor, had no work at all because no one could visit their horses.

A few years ago after the birth of her daughter, Lisa had an idea – and this came back to her at this time. She’d had to have a caesarean, so after her daughter was born she could not return to riding her horse as quickly as she would have liked. She moved to a livery yard temporarily to help make things easier while she recovered and found her way as a mummy to a beautiful little girl. But new routines and sleepless nights made it challenging.

While there were experienced instructors on the yard, Lisa found it costly and difficult to organise times for lessons as she would often have to find a spontaneous moment to get down to the yard to begin building up her riding once more. She discovered some small snippets of inspiration with online videos, but by the time she got to the yard most of the information had left her head. Trying to watch a YouTube video while bringing a rather fresh section D mare back into work also proved a little challenging.

She often used her phone to listen to music while riding to help distract her from the fresh four legs underneath her. It was then that the idea came to her – what if you could listen to an audio guide from the saddle with some instructions and suggestions to help keep focused?

After the initial Spanish lockdown, restrictions on travel remained strict and many fellow riders missed their usual lessons with their instructor. This brought the idea to the surface once more.

Lisa had been having lessons with Debs and they found they shared the same sense of humour and the lessons were equally fun for both of them. So they began chatting about the possibility of combining their skills to bring Lisa’s idea to life. Lisa had the technical mind and Debs had a wealth of knowledge and information to share about horses, riding and confidence-building.

So the hard work began. Frequently they would share their childcare between them so that they could each in turn find quiet uninterrupted moments to work on the many challenges their exciting new project would bring. Such as Zoom meetings with developers while gently nudging children out of shot, apologising for high-pitched demands for help in the toilet during crucial moments, and trying to remain professional in front of the app builders… Occasionally all would be quiet – until they would notice a giggling child in the background hiding under a blanket or then there’d be a disagreement between children that suddenly got out of hand and came into full shot on an important video call.

Lisa had the mammoth job of organising all the technical requirements, building the website, working out the functionality and taking on the design, marketing and branding. Many very late nights and early mornings were spent while the children were in bed sitting at screens writing the transcripts for the numerous audios and designing all the images