The Arena Bound Amateur | Introduction

Photo By: Nathan and Claudia

A family friend asked my mother the other day, “How did you start Barbara’s riding career?”

It’s a question I definitely have “on paper” answers for and can certainly recount memories featuring various horses throughout my career.
My parents never pushed me into the sport. In fact, I always had a choice to go show or to stay home on Saturday mornings. But, if my mom went out and bathed the horse, I went to the show. Her rules.
I remember the time I was showing in an outdoor arena in the Youth Showmanship with the old reining gelding. We could see the storm clouds rolling in from the west, and when it was my turn to complete my pattern, we could hear the raindrops starting to fall. When I trotted up to the judge, both of us decided to abandon the pattern, and head for dry places. Even after not finishing the pattern, I still placed first.
I remember my first time walking into the John Justin Arena at the AQHA Youth World Show. I was the last Reiner on the draw with over 100 in the class. I wore a green shirt with butterflies on the back. I couldn’t breathe the entire pattern because I was so nervous.
I remember riding in the 2012 NRHA Open Derby with a mare who was a much better horse than I was a rider. She moved so quick sometimes, it was hard to stay in the saddle. But man, what a ride.
I remember contemplating to quit horses, shortly after graduating university. After riding competitively through college, sustaining an injury, coupled with the overwhelming sense of trying to balance my swiftly approaching adult life and the one sport I had known since early childhood darkly loomed in front of me. But I didn’t quit. That feeling didn’t last but maybe a week. Horses are something you just don’t quit.
The one memory I don’t have is the moment I fell in love with horses. For me, horses were always there in my young days, and probably not always as appreciated, or understood as they should have been throughout my younger years. Despite my lack of depth in understanding their language, horses were building the foundation of who I was and who I was becoming.
Today, the animals who humbly began as a childhood hobby on Saturday mornings now define my career, my style, my drive, and my passion in life.
I own a multimedia business, Barbwire Productions, where I create content via videography, photography, social media and more, mostly horse related.
Seven days a week, you’ll find me on my family’s horse farm, Aitken Quarter Horses, riding show horses, working with young’uns, petting Taco the mini donkey, or dodging the chickens, peafowl, or barn cats.
If I am out of town, good chance I am on my way to a horse show with a trailer in tow or a camera across my shoulder on my way to capture a horse show or interview a professional trainer for my next magazine article.
I simply cannot imagine my life void of boots, manure, and leather.
As I continue along Barbwire Production’s journey, and my own journey of getting back in the show pen after a few years off, I want to invite you into my world of working, riding, training, and living a life of a “do-it-yourself” amateur.
My show horses (I have a couple mares and a couple geldings) stay at home where my husband and I ride on a daily basis. If I have troubles, I go back in my mind and fish out information from my lessons as a youth. If my memory fails, I search for the nearest magazine article or YouTube video.
My goal as a rider is to really feel the horse underneath me and understand the horse’s mind. A goal I will certainly never completely accomplish, but will certainly continue to strive towards.
Ride along with me on this journey of professional success; show pen victories and at-home realities.
Come on, I’ll meet you at the back gate!

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