Tuesday, July 5, 2011

a methed-out bison

My riding lesson tonight was clunky, off kilter, and hot. I was sweating and unfocused, and so my mount wasn't in the best of hands. My uneven reins and poor leg yields made for a wobbly-trot and crisscrossing of the arena that made me look like I never sat in an English saddle before. Hollie was positive, patient, and when I did something right she let me know it "Now THAT'S how you make a corner!" but despite her outlook, I felt like a sack of potatoes on a mule tonight. It is time to get serious about my body and mind. Time to get them holding hands again.

Truth is, my body is perfect. It's not, you know, magazine perfect but everything works and nothing is too shabby, diseased, or falling apart yet. I am not down on this mortal coil, but it could use some polishing up. I want to feel amazing in the dressage saddle, and comfortable sprinting up hill to pull Ashe's head out of the fence hole when she cries. I want to be comfortable with myself, and that means putting as much love and attention into my body and mind as I do to this farm.

I came home and leashed up Gibson and we went for a mile run. I wanted to feel my heart again, know it was in there. My three-mile adventure yesterday made it easy to run the first 1.5 miles (the first mile is all downhill) but on this short jog we headed down the mountain, and then turned around and finished going up. My goal was to just keep going. Don't walk, don't stop, don't you dare stop. I slowed down to an 82-year-old's waltz, but I never stopped lifting my feet. By the end of the mile I was pep-talking myself to the finish line.

"Come on, girl. You just cantered (accidentally!) a 15-hand thoroughbred without falling off. You shoved dewormer down a ewe's throat. You earned a paycheck in corporate America. You can make it another 30 yards....right?"

I finished the mile like a methed-out bison and sat right down on the side of the road near my bass pond, sucking air and sweating worse than that trotting gelding. Gibson (who was not even panting) decided I just started my ground game and pounced on me with licks and the kind of wag that moves his hips. I told him he was a failure as a stoic hill dog. He could not have cared less.

Wood is being delivered tomorrow, possibly three cords, and that's a fine start for winter. Saturday and Sunday are a big holiday around here: The Merck Forest Sheepdog Trials and I can not wait. If you're new to this blog, go back to that July 2008 post and read about my first year there, and how it sent me onto this collie course. This will be my fourth year going, keeping score, and chatting it up with the NEBCA scene. Come see Gibson and I, say hello. It's a fun day for the whole family with draft-horse shuttle carts, shearing demos, food, merchandise, crafts and hikes for the kids.

Plus, Sunday is my birthday. Talk about the perfect way to spend it.

20 Comments:

OpenID Tami said...

Happy early Birthday on Sunday...will you be 30?? My 30's were my best years. Hope they will be for you too!

July 5, 2011 at 9:45 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

29!

July 5, 2011 at 9:47 PM  
Blogger vcassie88 said...

As you get older you are so much more aware of exactly how long it takes to heal from insults to the body, big sigh there. My left knee can now tell when it is going to rain thanks to being kicked by a horse and having a run in with a Great DAne mix, I am not sure if forecasting the weather with my knee at 25 goes under the interesting list or pathetic list

July 5, 2011 at 9:52 PM  
Blogger Luann said...

Happy Birthday Jenna!

July 5, 2011 at 10:59 PM  
Blogger SaffronYellow said...

Good luck with the running! You could have been describing me. After walking a few months, I just started "jogging" (not running). I like going downhill best too! It is hard - and I have 10 years on you. I tell myself that everyone starts somewhere. Have a great birthday!!

July 5, 2011 at 11:55 PM  
Blogger jim said...

happy early birthday also- you've had an amazing year of accomplishments- coming year will be even better--you're a sure winner. Never hear much about the huskies- are they okay----

July 6, 2011 at 12:23 AM  
Blogger Donna said...

Man I wish I could have 29 back LOL Although I can't complain too much I still seem to manage to outlast everyone else around here. I tell them it's because I was raised a Mountain Woman. Have a great birthday on Sunday! It's great that it falls on one of your favorite "holidays" during the year. Mines the 11th so we are only one day apart

July 6, 2011 at 1:12 AM  
Blogger doglady said...

Good grief girl, you're only 29? With your drive and ambition I can only imagine what the next 29 years will bring. Enjoy your day and I know you will because you'll be working your dog.

July 6, 2011 at 6:23 AM  
Blogger Teresa H. @ Oak Tree Farm said...

Happy Birthday to you this Sunday, Jenna! What an incredible and challenging year you have had and what fortitude and grace you have shown through it all. Thanks for sharing your many trials and successes and helping folks like me (new farmer for only one year) to keep so many things in perspective and to keep laughing and to never give up! Wishing you a Wonderful 29th Year!

July 6, 2011 at 6:26 AM  
Blogger phaedra96 said...

Happy Birthday a couple days early! Hope you have a good one!

July 6, 2011 at 6:52 AM  
Blogger Jenna said...

Yes, Jazz and Annie are great, oddly great really for their age. at 11 and 12 they still circle and play like pups.

I don't write about them much, since they are basically adult roommates now, and no longer working, but they are my family up here, for sure.

July 6, 2011 at 7:34 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Happy Birthday! I never got as far as Cambridge in my travels yesterday, so I put the little gift I bought for Jasper in the mail to you. You should have it, coincidentally, in time to call it a birthday present. :)

July 6, 2011 at 8:55 AM  
Blogger steak and eggs said...

What a great way to spent a Birthday, living your dream. Just 29 and look at all you have accomplish. As the old saying goes "You have come a long ways Baby" Happy Birthday

July 6, 2011 at 8:59 AM  
Blogger CJ said...

Happy Birthday, just had my 48th and I still feel like I'm in my 20's - most of the time.

July 6, 2011 at 9:08 AM  
Blogger Natalie said...

I'm familiar with the off-kilter horse lessons... But it's great to hear your instructor is patient and encouraging. Mine used to get mad and short with me, which wasn't the best treatment for a shy, pubescent girl... Ah well, cowgirlin' ain't easy. Cheers to good health and keepin' on!

July 6, 2011 at 11:02 AM  
Blogger Dawn said...

Happy early birthday, Jenna! I run through the woods regularly with one of my dogs, too. I've even taken my little Arab mare for runs. I bet Jasper would make a good running partner, too!

July 6, 2011 at 2:34 PM  
Blogger Janet said...

Happy Birthday - coming - up to you - may you have many more. I bet you will have a wonderful time at the Trials. I'm familiar too with those odd off -kilter riding days! Better days coming I know.
Am sitting here in the heat wondering if my wood will be here today or will it be tomorrow. Then the joy of piling it.

July 6, 2011 at 3:29 PM  
Blogger Hi! I'm Jenny said...

Jenna, good for you! And you are ONLY GOING to BE 29!!!! YIKES! Wishing you all the Michael Perry dreams a young'en like you can dream.

July 6, 2011 at 8:35 PM  
Blogger redbird said...

Methed-out bison!

I like your observations about putting as much love and attention into yourself as you do the farm—you are, after all, the engine of Cold Antler. Happy early birthday!

July 6, 2011 at 9:27 PM  
Blogger Mayleen said...

May your new year of life bring you astonishing joy, tear-full laughter, quiet sits, and a healthy self and flock! You are an amazing woman, an inspiration, and I cannot wait to meet you in the not-so-distant future (my daughter's dad is in Ithaca, and I'm from Maine originally, so I know our paths must cross) Enjoy your weekend!

July 8, 2011 at 2:58 PM  

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