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Confession to My Schooling Horses

A message from the heart.

Photo by Candace Wade

Confess is a transitive verb that means to tell or make known and to acknowledge a wrong — to God — or to a priest — (or, in my case, to a horse). The intransitive verb to disclose one’s faults; specifically: to unburden one’s sins or the state of one’s conscience. After a particularly enlightening riding lesson I was moved by a gnawing need to ask for absolution from the horses I have ridden.

Forgive me, horses, for I have sinned. I realize that I have ridden you with ignorance and deficient ability. Forgive me for:

  • Hauling on the reins to slow or stop you instead of using my seat.
  • Using my hands first and/or only to demand a turn.
  • Hands heavy as hams.
  • Surprising you with quick decision “asks” instead of “telegraphing” my requests with my body — three steps ahead.
  • Not getting you balanced before changing gaits.
  • Crushing down on the stirrups instead of just “dropping” my heels.
  • Being tense as the Tin Man on your back.
  • Rushing through saddling instead of making it “our time.”
  • Being totally inept and confusing.

I’m sure I’ll discover more infractions as I continue to learn. My joyous penance is to make the effort to continue to learn, to be patient and to practice until I un-learn all my bad habits and solidify balanced riding skills.

Thank you for being so patient and kind. I will do better for you.

Photo by Ilona Gerou

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