Wednesday, July 19, 2017

in the clutch

Nellyda age 9, and Duchess. Back yard jumping, Beavercreek OR, circa 1985. 

Jumping.  That's what we call it.  If you've never had the thrilling privilege of riding an animal while she jumps through the air (pegasus, unicorn) then you are missing a piece of life. It's just that simple.  I've ridden waves in the ocean.  I've run and hiked long distances in the mountains. I've caught many a trout on a fly rod.  I've seen the northern lights.  I've been able to go fast on a motorcycle.  I've fired a pistol. I've tasted caviar (not that great). Nothing (and by that I mean nothing) compares to galloping a horse towards an obstacle, and then balancing your weight and hers as she leaps--  carries you through the air, a live animal with a mind of her own (actually, two live animals with minds of their own) collaborating on a feat of athleticism, trust, and communication.
 Nellyda age 12, and Kachina, warming up for competition. Oregon, circa 1988

 Nellyda, age 41, and Abbey (Cat Power), Philomath OR. Inavale Farm, circa 2017. 

 So, that is all good.   But I was somehow foolish enough to walk away from my number-one passion for 25 years.  At the age of 14 I finished my last year of riding, and didn't really look back until I was 39 years old. This was largely a function of cost (horses are just not cheap, no matter what you think you can pull off).  It was also a function of being a hormone-saturated 14 year-old, teenage girl, and then finding cars, boys, beer, etc., all of which pulled me away from the large gentle goodness of horses.  But, alas! I woke up about 2 years ago, suddenly aware of my love for the beasts, and now, here I am, all horse crazy again.

Abbey broke a bone in her leg in May of this year.  We are just coming off a 2 month stall-rest program for the above splint bone fracture. We have completed week 1 of rehab, and she is ruling it.  For the 2 months that her future was uncertain I was deeply depressed. Never in my life has my happiness been tied to another living being like it is tied to this wonderful mare that I love more than just about anything that breathes...  I got her go-ahead to start rehab last week.

We are on top of the world -- soon to be sailing through the air together, woman and beast.

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Devonwood DX

 Nellyda Anslow, rider and Abbey (aka Cat Power), 8 yr old thoroughbred mare taking a corner in the stadium jump round at Devonwood DX Derby, Spring 2017.

Three cheers for this amazing thoroughbred mare! She did so well at her first competition away from home. We made the trek up from Inavale farm in Philomath to Devonwood, a gorgeous facility up in Sherwood Oregon for the first of the DX series.  Abbey won her class both Saturday and Sunday, finishing on our dressage scores for our division both days with no jump faults or time penalties... and we took third place on Sunday in the next division up, which we just tried on for size. 

She exceeded all of my expectations, and we had a blast doing it.  She loves jumping, so this was really a good scenario for her.  All of our damn cold winter nights these last few months, schooling jumps alone late at night in the indoor arena, after work...  I guess it paid off! 

Now, for some well-deserved time off for Abbey, and even some equine body work next week (yes, that is a thing).

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

perfectionism: not for humans

"Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people.  It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life...  I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won't have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren't even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they're doing it. "

~ Anne Lamott

~ Anne Lamott

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Larry Bergman: RIP

 Race car driver
 Renaissance man

Most importantly:  friend, generous soul, rebel spirit, intelligent mind, kind heart.  Larry, you will be dearly missed.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Olympic Distance: how to get there

I walk into the locker room of the Osborn Aquatic center. The echo of water sounds, and the chlorine-laced smell of warm, humid air instantly make me feel happy.

I am training for an Olympic Distance Triathlon.  Of the sixteen week training plan, I am in week zero, getting my body back into its memory of training-- training for something, anything. A large part of my motivation is my equine partner... If I shall expect my horse to get progressively more fit in order to compete in equine triathlons over the next few years, I had better be fair and join her along the way.

Week zero has included several short runs, and today, my third swim. The true training starts next week, week 1, and from there I will follow a 16 week plan to get my brain and body ready to tackle a 1-mile open water swim; a 25 mile bike ride, and a 6.2 mile run.  If my life depended on this, the run I could do today. The bike ride I could do today.  The swim:  not a chance.  The three together...  well, that's why I'm on a training plan.

I slide into the pool during the quiet hours.  I waste no time getting into the rhythm of the freestyle stroke, my face under the water, my breathing instantly transformed into a stream of bubbles and a metronome that keeps time with my arms, my legs. I instantly relax. I am in a very bright orange and pink Speedo. My hair is tucked into a black cap. I have goggles on.  I become a water creature for a brief period of time, everything sleek and simple.

I have no idea what this looks like from the eye of an observer.  I imagine the life guards watching me, wondering if they will have to pull my corpse from the bottom of the pool tomorrow.  I imagine the swim instructors cringing as they try to teach others how to swim correctly.  I keep going. 

Emily taught me to swim a few years ago in the Eel River.  I am forever grateful for this.  I was forced into my first triathlon; nearly didn't make it to my second one; and hope to make this next effort, my first Olympic distance, something other than a complete shit show.  I have a way of sabotaging my 'races' whether running, or triathalon-ing, or what have you.  Maybe 2017 is my year?

Stay tuned for the mortal woman's journey to the Oregon Dunes Olympic Distance Triathlon.