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.


  1. Cowgirl would like me to take lessons from you! Actually, she'd like it if I just said that she was right all the time, but we know that's not going to happen!

    1. Cowgirl is a sensitive soul, and she wants to please you. As in, would you please get with the program! (just kidding :-)) On the other hand, she's not afraid of telling you when she's frustrated!