Kayla Veenendaal is happy with her life, bringing up her two daughters on the farm in Wanganui with her partner, but trainer Kevin Myers knows she has more to offer on the racing front.
It is with a bit more than minor verbal persuasion from Myers that Veenendaal is back in the saddle on raceday and enjoying it.
Veenendaal made her comeback at Wanganui late last month when Myers put her on The Big Opal in a jumpers' highweight and, though she finished back among the tailenders, it fuelled her desire to have a few more rides.
She then rode Magic Wonder for Jo Rathbone into sixth at New Plymouth and was again on The Big Opal when he ran eighth in another highweight, at Woodville last week, then participated at Sunday's point-to-point meeting at Waverley.
"It's nice to be out there again," Veenendaal said. "I've got no plans to go back full time and do a lot of riding, but I'll just see what happens.
"It's really Kevin (Myers) that has got me going again. He sent me a couple of horses to work up on the farm and he'd been on to me to have another go (on raceday)."
Veenendaal made a big impression as a jumps rider when linking up with the Myers stable six years ago after working for Stephen and Bruce Marsh (the latter also when he shifted to Singapore) and doing a stint with Ann Browne at Cambridge.
She was successful on Malachite, her first mount for Myers, at Wanganui in June 2012 and went on to hit the headlines the following season when riding 13 winners, then had an unbelievable couple of months at the start of the 2013 term when winning the Grand National Hurdles with a daring ride on the Myers-trained Mahanadi and the Great Northern Hurdles on Harvest The Gold for Mark Oulaghan.
She then ended the jumps year a fortnight after her memorable Ellerslie win with three wins at Rotorua for Myers, the last being on Spring Cheer, who four starts later went on to win the New Zealand Cup.
However, as quickly as Veenendaal had burst on the scene, she disappeared from the riding ranks.
"I got pregnant and that's why I gave up," she said. "My oldest daughter, Kloe, was born the following July and she's coming up four. We've also got another daughter, Delilah, who is one.
"With them and helping out on the farm, I've been kept busy."
Veenendaal and her partner, David MacNab (brother of Wanganui jockey Sarah MacNab), run a 3000-acre sheep and cattle farm, but horses have never been far from her mind.
"Kloe has got a pony and she loves it and I've enjoyed working the horses for Kevin," she said.
Between the birth of her two daughters, Veenendaal returned to the raceday saddle for 15 rides two seasons ago and had one more ride later in 2016, but all without success.
It's been four years and seven months since that last win on Spring Cheer and she admits she would love to experience the thrill of winning again, but she's not prepared to keep on relentlessly in pursuit of it.
"If it comes I'll be happy," she said. - NZ Racing Desk