To Forgive is Equine

Definition of FORGIVE (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)transitive verb
1a : to give up resentment of or claim to requital for <forgivean insult>
Resentment is a surly word.  Someone who feels resent is called resentful.  As if you can’t be just a little, you have to be full.  To resent is to fail to forgive, to carry around bad feelings, to be full of bad feelings.
          Contrarily, forgiving is to let go of the resentment.  Is it to empty oneself of the surliness?  Maybe.  Certainly it is to move on, to go forward, and to accept a change in attitude.
 A forgiving individual definitely carries the lighter burden.
          Last year, I learned a lot about forgiveness.  I learned that the act of forgiving benefits the giver much more than the receiver.  As I said above, to forgive is to lay down a burden.
          My mom's big, beautiful buckskin mare, Belle, gave me a lesson in forgiving.  In riding, forgiveness is a constant transaction.  As I ride, my heavy hands offend my horse’s sensibilities.  A quick jerk, an accidental spur, an unintended shift in weight – these are all transgressions in the partnership I have with my horse.  
          Belle has her trespasses against me, too.  A slow response to my leg cue, a pulling on the bit rather than softening collection, and not speeding up during the run down to the sliding stop; she is an individual with an opinion as well.  
       However, Belle has the superior trait of forgiveness.  She lets me know when I cross the line with a flick of her tail, shake of her head, or unwillingness to follow my direction.  Once I quit the offensive behavior, she relaxes and we are a team again.  She’s not anticipating the next time I make a mistake, or lecturing me for the last one, she’s just riding with me, in the present.
I've been working on that as a rider.  
To start with, I used the breaks in riding to check in.  Belle has learned to sigh during these breaks (thanks, Mom!), and after an intense transaction, she will look back at me as if to prompt me to sigh, too. 
So I do.
I use the sigh to relax my muscles and my brain.  As I worked on this, and I got more comfortable with the forgiving attitude, I was able to shorten my time from the mistake to letting go.  Belle might have a different opinion, but I think that I am able to forgive on the fly, which clears us for the next maneuver and challenge.  Someday, I hope to be like her and forgive right away.

Should I Geld Him?

          Sergio (Itsgoodtobeapepto) is a son of Peptoboonsmal out of a big, beautiful daughter of Doc O Lena.  I have owned him for four years, having purchased him from Todd Crawford's place when he was four.
          I am a Nonpro Reiner.  I have been riding and showing reining horses for over 10 years.  After owning a couple of confidence-breaking geldings, riding Sergio was a breath of fresh air.  I enjoyed riding a horse who was interested in my thoughts and opinions only after he checked out the mares in the area.  His confidence has given me confidence.
          He has always been a gentleman, and never so stud-ish that I was afraid.  My twelve-year old daughter has ridden him, and she leads him around safely.  Again, he is always well-behaved, keeping his head down near her and walking quietly to wherever she leads.  Unfortunately, as a stud, my daughter cannot show him.
          He has performed well in the show pen, for both of my trainers and for me.  He has grace and beauty.  He has been shown in cowhorse a handful of times, where he has been a great competitor.  He has won a couple of buckles, and he clearly enjoys it.  He has also done well as a reining competitor.  One of my trainers won the Intermediate Open year end award in our affiliate on him this past year.  The prior year, I won third in the Novice Horse Nonpro division.
          My trainer has advised me to geld him.  He thinks that my daughter would be more competitive if she showed this horse, and he says that if I am not going to breed or promote him, I do not need to own a stallion.  He also thinks that Sergio would be worth more if he were a gelding.
          Sergio's semen have low motility, making shipping it near impossible.  I have attempted to promote him in the past, but I have a full-time job and my trainer has other more successful studs in his barn.  So Sergio's exposure is limited.
          I am in conflict.
          I am afraid to cut him.  The way he is now is wonderful.  He's engaging and fun, he is in beautiful physical shape, and we are competitive in the show pen.  It seems a waste of great bloodlines to take away the opportunity to breed him.  My vet is confident he could settle a mare if the mare were inseminated on site, with fresh semen.
          I am afraid of what he will become and what I will lose if I geld him.
          Does anyone have experience with this?  What is your advice?

Barn Time

Photo by Johnny Magnusson via
          Whenever I go to the barn, I find that the passage of time changes.  My sister calls this "being present."  What she means is that she is fully in the moment while she is in the barn, even if it's cleaning stalls.  
          C.S. Lewis says that living in the present is the closest we will ever come to eternity during this lifetime.  Reflecting back on the times I have been in the present with my horse, I agree.  When I spend time with Sergio, I focus only on him, and the effect is meditative.  When I am done, I feel refreshed and ready to face the world again.
          How I get there is simple now, but it wasn't always easy.  The pressures of life and the long list of things to do always seemed to come between me and my joy.  By following these three steps, I am able to enjoy my time at the barn (most of the time).
1)  Give myself permission to spend all the time I need.
2)  Schedule this time and stick to it.
3)  Do not hurry, and follow a routine to prepare my mind for this time.
          Something about spending time with Sergio fills me with joy.  Time stretches out, and I am not hurrying anymore.  In the couple of hours it took me to ride and groom him, time seemed to be a friend.
Spending that many hours in the saddle gave a man plenty of time to think.  That's why so many cowboys fancied themselves Philosophers.  ~Charles M. Russell