Well its been a long few years but this weekend I feel like I conquered a major milestone. About oh.. 7 years or so ago, I started in no particular instance getting more and more cautious of what I got on. Years of riding and trimming nutters had taken its toll on my body and I figured I would adopt a more tactical plan for longevity. For the following few years I still owned 20+ Horses at a time and rode most of them, (and had a few young brave guinea pigs on hand which really helped). Cue about 5 years ago when plan to move to NZ came about and I had to sell all the horses and decide what to do next. knowing my body was on the fast track to crippletown, I opted to focus primarily on a breeding program, and bought my then weanling Stetson. Also bought a riding horse and did keep it up a bit, then swapped horses and got a lovely cold backed sort who I loved, and I rode, but that first 5 minutes was always intense. Fear was taking over at this point. That horse sold (not my choice, I had him leased), And I bought another, who was also a stubborn sort who would crow hop into the canter and again, fear.. Did distance riding with him won a heck of a lot, and slowly convinced myself out of riding and sold him. Bought a mare who was to replace him as a riding horse, and well.. just never got back on after about 3-4 rides. Nothing she did.. Just started getting so so so anxious every time my foot hit the stirrup. I figured hey Ill just take some time off let my body heal and I will be fine.. right? Turns out fear became a part of more then just riding. All of a sudden I because leery of night driving.. and lots of random stuff. Not sure what on earth was happening. About 8 months ago at a reining show a lady I knew online and I really hit it off as friends and she let me hop on her mare. She understood my needs so well, within a few minutes she had me loping her in the warm up pen, in front of other riders (biggest fear has become riding in public, or doing anything in front of others, I assume due to some weight gain? No idea.. ) I had the biggest smile on my face, and wanted to buy the mare but she wasnt for sale. A few weeks later mare tied up badly and I lost all hope of ever buying her, as a PSSM mare is hard work, and well, when I am focusing on being a breeder obviously not a broodmare so put it on the back burner. I went to Canada ( Home) for a month and decided to take some reining lessons. Turns out my fear was so bad, I never broke a trot.. Just couldn't. But I fell in love with a kind kind stallion who I have since purchased, and figured one day Ill ride him. One day. Well friend lives in the South Island and me in the North and convinced me to come down for a visit and ride. I knew she would get me going at least back to the lope on her big farm and I would be fine. An additional impromptu trip had me down for 2 days where I walked mare around bareback and next day loped in the paddock and I felt so free again! Cue trip planning, turns out weekend I had available she had a show on. Cool ok, I will be groom. She figured I could probably toodle around and maybe even enter a class (cue me hysterically laughing). Cue me also assuming it some little ribbon day at some little club. Turns out its a 3 day show.. one of 2 a year at one of the biggest western riding clubs in the country. I head down knowing I will be showing (entered 10 classes, with no real intention of doing them, was easy on paper with the horse hours away..). Friend is injured day before show and isnt going YAY! I have a free pass. Nope. Still going. *cue irrational fears* We do a few practice rides in the paddock, me feeling like a fat flopping monkey, trying to remember how to ride. Prepared to fail. First class of the show, adventure trail. I assumed again little cute course with some logs and a gate. NOT a narrow deep trench, banks and teeter totter bridges. Well, we did it! and I Lived. and Placed 5th! Next day was Trail. I did my first ever trail pattern. went off pattern in the first one and came 3rd in the next. 3rd! I was stoked. Reality hit that I had 2 reining classes that afternoon. Lets recall, I am scared to canter, own some of the best reining horses in the country, yet have never ever even practiced a reining pattern. Ever. Whats the worst that can happen! Well, I came second! (and there was more then 2 entries I think 6 and 9! I was wrapped! Next day was a few more classes and I got more placings. I have never done classes that are judged cause I am just not one of those people who naturally look good on a horse. Spent years riding trails, barrels, ,games, little jumper days etc. Essentially nothing judged cause it scared me. Well I did it all. All of it. And won ribbons! Even a first in Rookie Ranch Riding! Mare is now on her way to me on lease, and I plan to continue! Another show end of January. I go back to Canada for the holidays and will be getting 2-3 lessons a day with the reining trainer and riding our stallion so.. I guess this breeder is now also a rider :O Now to lose some weight, and with the mare being PSSM she has to be worked every day so that's some intense motivation. I am so thankful, and missed being in the saddle. Still waiting on specialists for my back, but screw it. I am gonna ride while I can!