An old pair of boots

I’ve had this pair of boots for more than ten years. I fell in love with their retro style the first time I laid eyes on them in a store in Oklahoma City. They were there on my feet for transitions from one magazine to the next; one big horse show to another; and during my life as an early professional, making my way on my own, to my return to this business at a time when I have quite a few responsibilities outside myself.

If you’ve read equine magazines (Nag Rags, as we affectionately call them) for a while, you might remember me as Jennifer Barron. From?The Quarter Horse Journal and America’s Horse?to?The Trail Less Traveled?and Ride With Bob Avila?(my first opportunity to work with Juli Thorson) to?Western Horseman?(where I again crossed paths with Juli) to a freelance stint writing articles and contributing to veterinary books, I adored writing about horses, events, and trainers I’d never imagined I’d have access to. My horse-crazy childhood dreams had come true.

It was a great run, but something changed. As I think happens to a lot of us horse-crazy women, marriage and motherhood caused me to step away from the horse world. I could never completely break ties–my mom and dad still have horses at their place; many of my closest friends are avid competitors; and I kept up with the general happenings in the biz from afar, always knowing that someday I’d find my way back .

After five years in the Big City of Denver and working for a large advertising agency, I had the equine itch. A phone call from Juli put me back on track, and here I am, Managing Editor of Horse&Rider?magazine–the Nag Rag I always really felt would be the right place for me.

I have goose bumps knowing that with my being back in my favorite boots comes the opportunity for my husband (a city boy with a cowboy streak) and son (a 2-year-old whose first word was “horses!” shouted during the 2009 Kentucky Derby) to learn about all the things I immersed myself in as a horse-obsessed kid growing up and as a competitor as I got older. (From Breyer and Barbie horses to 4-H competition to amateur classes in breed shows.)

While I bought a new pair of boots for my new gig (I, too, fell prey to the square-toe trend), my old boots are still my favorites and remind me how I got here–and how lucky I am to be back.?

Moms out there who stepped away from their horsey bliss, I’d love to hear any advice you have for getting back in the saddle–figuratively and literally. The muscle memory for riding–and writing–is coming back, but I’d love insight from other gals who have found their way back to the barn.

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