November 07, 2018
Jamie Harden is a FarmHer who lives her life with pride and purpose. She surrounds herself with people who do the same, and she spreads her love of life to all who are around her. She married young and had two daughters, Krysta and JaBra. Her husband Jimmy went to college before returning to the farm to be a peanut and cotton farmer and she supported him while raising a family by his side. She worked in town as a banker for the income and insurance. Once she retired and her daughters left home for college Jamie retired and started her horse business. She purchased a stud and started raising babies. Then she sold those babies to people around the country, eventually raising and rearing five world champions. Today she still rides every single day.
I caught up with Jamie, who doesn’t sit still long, at the sprawling ranch in the small town of Camilla, Georgia. She was ready to head out for a morning of working her horses and working with a few of the young women who she has taken under her wing. We started out in the barn, giving each of the horses some hay. She then saddled up her best boy, Sonny, and headed out to the reining ring. As the sun came up behind the pecan trees in the neighboring pasture I watched Jamie work her horse with posture and grace. Back and forth she rode, running through the various drills and exercises with the horse who is new to her. She explained the reining process as she went. By the time they were done, the horse had steam rising off of him in the cool morning air.
About then Krysta, Jamie’s younger daughter rode out to the ring and went through some warm-ups and drills with her horse. While Krysta has long grown and moved out of the house, she still loves to come home and ride. Her sister JaBra stood off to the edge and watched…riding is no longer her thing.
It was fun to watch Jamie and Krysta work together, with Jamie calling out strong yet kind words to Krysta, correcting her as she rode.
She did the same for Reid, the young woman who has been working with Jamie for the past four years. When Reid started coming to the farm she didn’t know the first thing about riding or caring for horses. Under Jamie’s positive guidance she has flourished as a rider and today cares for her horse as if she had been born in that barn.
Next up, it was my turn for a quick lesson from this seasoned FarmHer. I have ridden a number of times in my life, but can’t say I am super comfortable on horseback and I definitely haven’t ever gotten a lesson. Jamie calmly gave me a few pointers and before long I was off and trotting on Sonny. I stopped short of running the reining drills, and left that to the professionals! Soon enough our time in the ring was over so we rode the horses out through the Pecan Grove to cool them down before we headed back to the barn.
We finished the day with a south Georgia treat, a low country shrimp boil on the banks of the Flint River. The warm sun gave way to dusk as the river flowed slowly by. As I enjoyed a wonderful dinner surrounded by friends both new and old I thought about how truly blessed I am to be on this FarmHer journey. I meet the most amazing women who share their wisdom and passion with me, just like Jamie had that day. She and her husband have not only created a beautiful life for themselves but raised two strong and successful daughters who are still very connected to the farm and relish their days spent there. Jamie continues to spread her love of agriculture and zest for life to young women who find their way to her in their quest to become FarmHers. This FarmHer has a love of the animals and the land that provides for her family cares deeply for her community and is a FarmHer at heart.
Until next time,
December 28, 2018
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