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July 18, 2006

Sometimes a girl’s just gotta get dirty, you know?

That day where the pony tail isn’t “just so”, the jeans get filthy and the boots step in a little shit. The manicure gets ruined and the nearest potty is a huge juniper tree.

We found a series of new trails today. I rode a bored Arab on the kiddie ride (yawn) and then a cow horse who needs a curb. But all I had to use was a snaffle. (zing!)

Our 1 hour ride turned into 2 1/2 while we wandered through juniper trees, next to a roaring canal and ended up on the backside of nowhere. Where it’s posted “No Dumping”. It was hot, dry, dusty and didn’t cool off until just about when we got back to the barn.

I crawled up the stairs tonight and collapsed into the black chair. I oculd barely bend my knee to remove my boots before walking on the carpet. There was silence and then a happy sigh.

5 hours of thinking about nothing more pressing than “that arch in his back is not a good sign of his willingness to do…” No cell phones, no email, no gotta do’s. Just 5’2″ me out-witting a 1200 pound equine who thinks that obedience can sometimes be highly over-rated.

It’s good for me. It feeds my soul. In a good way. I am reminded about who I am at my very center. The wild and free part that got nice-ified and tried to become acceptable all those years ago. I am simply Heidi. Not wife, mom, friend, sister, teacher, employee. I simply exist for the moment. I survive for the moment. I am safe, but any second that could change. I must be aware. There is an inherent risk. And over-coming that risk, no annihilating that risk to come back victorious in some small way brings me life. Renewed vigor.

It’s the gallop through the trees that requires me to crouch low over the saddle and lean off to the left. It’s the crush in the barn between the 17.2 warm blood and the 16.5 retired racehorse.

It’s the rough nibble on my back pocket while they look for gingersnaps and carrots.

I forget about the simple life and the feeling of being saddle sore. I forget about how good it feels to do something again that I do well enough I don’t have to think about it.

I feel the pleasure of G-d when I do things the way He created me to do them. Without apology. Without explanation. Without hesitation.

I come back dirty. I smell bad. I smile for days.