I cannot believe I’ve been blogging with HJU for over 4 years now…Holy cow, have we grown!

For me, the worst blog ever was the first one published. I remember the day after my 51st birthday, waking to see something I wrote and put in a black hole (the draft), show up, published and on the internet for all to see, under the control of someone else. I still cringe and am grateful that one never resurfaced. There were so few of us then, and we really had no clue what we were doing or what HJU was to become.

That first blog wasn’t a brilliant piece but over time I, along with everyone else, evolved and learned to open up. There have been some truly amazing, moving, funny, emotional and informative stories from all who have shared.

I hopped on this opportunity to write mainly because I had a boring job and really needed something to do with my time other than horse shop and build riding plans, during the 8 hours I sat rotting at my desk.

I told myself this is an opportunity to sharpen my mind and give me something to do. What I never expected to gain from this experience was a bunch of amazing friends and a backbone. My husband says HJU made me brave.

The one thing few people know about me is I’m the most introverted person ever. I don’t know when it happened or how but I had become absolutely terrified of people. I can hide behind my horse or kids as my safe house but to get out there and talk to people by myself, I crumple. Even friends I’ve known my whole life, I cannot just pick up the phone and call them. I don’t know why, but I can’t.

So here I was, a rapidly becoming a social recluse; a dressage rider stuck in the UP of Michigan, in a job I hated, with no dressage at all anywhere in the area, committed to writing about my equestrian experiences, WEEKLY. I hadn’t met Patricia yet but you knew she was not someone you could let down.

I couldn’t just sit at my desk writing about the umpteen twenty meter circles the Mare and I rode . alone. again. last night. I need to start living the world I loved, so I would have something to write about. I had made a commitment!

And it began slowly, I hyperventilated a lot but step by step I began to grow. I traveled down state to find a trainer, in the past my husband would have had to call someone for me, but I did this on my own. I started to haul down for lessons, I DROVE my truck and trailer with my mare in it over the Mackinac Bridge by myself! I dragged my petrified behind to shows and clinics.

I was excited to realize I was not the only one that clicked at their shopping cart, supple their lawn tractor or who wore breeches everywhere in public.

The next big step came when I somehow convinced myself I could drive, ALONE, 10 hours south  to meet and spend a few days with people I have only ever met over the internet. YEP, “A made for TV movie,” “body never found” rang in my head throughout the entire nightmare of a drive.

ROLEX

I met Amy, Tracy, Carrie, Patricia and more. I had signed up to work as a volunteer for Rolex just so I could not chicken out. Friendships were formed and a great time was had. I didn’t crumple or hide.

Then came a huge shock: I was in a tack store several hundred miles from home and handed the lady my credit card for my purchases, she looked at it and asked are you ‘Cheryl Figures from Horse Junkies United?’ Holy Cow!! Before I would have smiled and ran, but now I found myself chatting away, totally comfortable.

 I’ve been a little behind in the blogging department but I promise a whole new phase is coming, real soon.