Thursday, January 01, 2015

What You Like: Most Popular Hoof Blog Stories of 2014 Featured Clydesdales, Charley and Race/Show Horse Hooves

Some people watch parades and football games on New Year's Day. Not me, I want to crunch the numbers and see what stories resonated with readers over the year.

Today I found that there are definite trends in what brings large numbers of people to this blog, and that the way people read the blog has definitely evolved.

For 2014, one thing didn't change: people still love the Budweiser Clydesdales. The Hoof Blog was one of the first places to host a sneak preview of their "Puppy Love" Super Bowl Commercial.

The death of beloved New York farrier-blacksmith-artisan-teacher Charley Orlando proves that some people really are missed when they're gone. And Charley had a lot of friends, enough to make his farewell #3 on the list.

But the big winners were a set of horse sports articles that no doubt brought in fans who wanted to read about the events or specific horses...from the ground up. We scooped both California Chrome's nailed-on glue-on shoes after the Kentucky Derby and his cut heel bulbs after the Belmont Stakes, thanks to his farrier, Judd Fisher.

The Budweiser Clydesdales starred in today's Rose Bowl Parade in California.

Also very popular was the unorthodox hoof gear (or lack of it) on the Swedish Standardbreds at this year's Hambletonian at the Meadowlands, thanks to farrier Conny Svensson, and the "best shod horse" winners from the international eventing scene in England, at both Badminton and Burghley.

Horse sport enthusiasts are curious about their favorite horses and whether they wear unusual shoes or not. Perhaps they think that the bell boots worn in warmup are hiding something? I think they give the grooms a chance to have some fun with deco-tape!

A simple article on grass laminitis wound up at Number 5, and articles on commercial products filled in the rest: Tildren and Osphos received FDA approval for use in treating navicular disease and Shoe Secure...well, aren't lost and loose shoes still the biggest problem that horseowners have with lost time from riding? ShoeSecure is a viable option and they came here to read about it.

For the first time, some stories were read more often on mobile devices (phones and tablets) than on web-based devices (computers and laptops). In the top 15 blog stories of 2014, five fit this category: "Triple Crown Hindsight" (California Chrome's heel bulb injury after the Belmont); "Shoes, Half-shoes or No Shoes At All" (unorthodox but successful shoeing at the Hambletonian); stories on both Badminton and Burghley "Best Shod" event horses; the Veterinary Equine Podiatry Group's debut; and Dr. Jenny Hagen's three-video super-play of the biomechanical characteristics of heart bar, egg bar and wide toe shoes.

The eventing fanbase around the world has a keen interest in every horsecare detail of the top horses. This New Zealand event horse, attributed to Olympian Blyth Tait, could have been shod in England or Ireland. And maybe he was.

And for the first time, the most popular browser used to access The Hoof Blog was Safari. IPhones and iPads ruled 2014. What's the score? It's an Apple vs Samsung world out there. The mobile traffic was divided between iPhones 38%, iPads 28%, Samsung Galaxy S III, IV, etc. 5%...and a lot of others!

While 57 percent of visits are still from some sort of computer or laptop, 28 percent are via mobile phones and 14 percent are via tablets.

We are over the hump; there's no turning back now that mobile technology is set! I hope that the Hoof Blog's mobile site is working for you. If anyone needs help creating a home icon or finding the mobile site, please send an email for help!

Visitors still come from the same countries: 1. USA; 2. United Kingdom; 3. Canada; 4. Australia; 5. Germany; 6. France; 7. The Netherlands; 8. Sweden; 9. Ireland; 10. New Zealand. The only change there is that Ireland and New Zealand switched places from 2013.

The top ten urban zones were London, Sydney, Los Angeles, New York, Melbourne, Brisbane, Houston, Dublin, San Francisco and Chicago, in that order.

Does any of that sound like you?

Top Ten Hoof Blog Stories 2014

10 ShoeSecure Conquers Lost-Shoe Season

Those were the top stories by the numbers, but were they the "best" stories of the year? The best story to me is the one that I'm working on at the moment. Next, I'll share my top stories, the ones I hope you didn't miss, in hopes you might go back and read some of the stories whose numbers weren't high but I think deserve to be read and shared.

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing; Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is the news service for Hoofcare and Lameness Publishing. Please, no use without permission. You only need to ask. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a headlines-link email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page). Questions or problems with this blog? Send email to  
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