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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 5:07 pm 
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Can a terrible mistake be corrected?
Can trust, once broken, be made whole?

With horses, anything is possible…

Last November, I broke my horse’s trust and, through anger, inflicted pain on him. Yes, I am admitting it. I made a huge mistake. As soon as I had done it, I felt sorrow and shame. I felt remorse over what I had done and I came to the realization that I must never do it again. I was working Jackson under saddle and it wasn’t going well. Jackson didn’t do anything wrong, but for some reason, that day, I let my anger and emotions tell me that it was my horse’s fault and I took that frustration out on my horse.

My horse had a look of fear and sorrow in his eyes and it was enough to make me want to weep. For days, I hated myself for what I had done. I had broken the trust of a loved one who had done no wrong and could not understand why. Could such a wrong ever be righted? Could such a broken trust be repaired?

Horses do no wrong and are very quick to forgive. When I look at Jackson, I don’t see that fear and sorrow there now. Will that look come back? If I forget the pain of what I did, perhaps. However, even such a terrible breach in trust has been repaired. It took time and feeling, but it happened.

But there is forgiveness. There is such a thing as repentance. Even my doing such an evil thing as raising a hand in anger, was forgiven and the stain of it wiped away. Nothing is too terrible to be washed clean.

Horses are one of the most forgiving animals in nature. They can show affection and they can also show fear. It must be our goal to always strive to gain and maintain the trust of those around us.

I did a terrible thing that day, but the lesson I learned from it was so incredibly important. I have remembered that day and not forgotten the consequences of it. I am sure that the experience will drive me to never break such a trust again.

Let this lesson be learned only once…

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 7:04 pm 
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Quote:
Nothing is too terrible to be washed clean

I am afraid I can not agree with this.

But I am glad Jackson forgave you, he must think what I think now: Ivy is very young, as I once was.
As a teenager I too have done things like that hurting those I loved, often without even realising it.
Makes us all the better adults I guess.

Anyway, a classic example of why we at AND think the horse the teacher.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 7:07 pm 
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Josepha wrote:
Anyway, a classic example of why we at AND think the horse the teacher.


Right you are. People are failable and it can be best to learn from what your horse says. He is always right!

Ivy

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 8:02 pm 

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I think there is a difference between forgiveness and consequences. The horse or a person may forgive us but sometimes the effects of what we did will go away and sometimes they don't, depending on how much damage was done. Fortunately both people and horses are quite resilient and can often go on to function quite well in life in spite of bad experiences in the past. Of course there are also many people who use their past as an excuse for bad behavior in the present.
Quote:
Horses do no wrong and are very quick to forgive.

I would say it depends in what sense. If you define "wrong" as anything that hurts another being horses can and do plenty of wrong. If you define "wrong" as making a choice to hurt than horses rarely do wrong (although I've seen it). The same might be true for people, more harm is done that was unintended than what was intended. Either way it is impossible in most situations to judge another person or horse without knowing what caused them to act the way they do.
Forgiveness for me is about the choice to not dwell on someone's wrongdoing. This means it is in part giving up the right for revenge, to not hurt the other back. The other part is to experience freedom from bitterness and tension that comes from holding on to anger, even justified anger. Forgiveness helps everyone involved in a conflict. Life is too short to stay in the past and dwell on the bad stuff.


Last edited by Birgit on Mon Feb 08, 2010 8:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 8:04 pm 
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Josepha wrote:
Quote:
Nothing is too terrible to be washed clean

I am afraid I can not agree with this.


I can't even say if I agree or not, I just feel that it's not that simple. What is "to be washed clean"? Having a horse who does not avoid our presence after the incident? Who does not show signs of fear in similar situations? Who is not in any way affected by what happened in terms of reacting to us? Who does not have any memory of the incident?

What I am aiming at is that I believe that, even if the horse does not show obvious signs of fear, the memory of what happened may fade but not necessarily disappear. In the past I have done things with my horses that I am not proud of. The things that seem worst to me aren't those where I used physical pressure and pain (there aren't that many of them although I remember a situation where I rode Titum with a bit and really pulled the rein when he wanted to canter in another direction than I on an open field - completely my fault by the way as I had provoked him quite a bit). What I am really sorry for are those situations when I systematically used mental pressure to get my horses' obedience, like when I chased Titum away to make him come to me.

Now, years later, Titum doesn't seem to be afraid of me. He seems rather confident actually and I thought in terms of washing things clean for quite some time. But only when I got Pia who has never been treated with pressure, I realized what "clean" actually means. I have never had this with a horse before - the youngsters that I had started (not only in terms of riding but horse-human interaction in general) had to learn very quickly that resistance is counteracted with pressure. But with Pia I think I can say that I never forced her into anything (except staying within a space of about two meters from me when I have her on the lunge line because I have to give a vaccination) and her reactions are so pure. She is never afraid to say what she wants and if she does not agree, she lets me know this. But she trusts me more than any other horse has ever trusted me. When she feels threatened, she canters towards me and does not leave my side anymore. I am her protection and she has learned that ever so quickly - maybe because she never had to learn that I can also be the thing that she needs to be protected from.

Just out of curiosity, may I ask what you did to Jackson? But you need't reply if this is too personal. :smile:

P.S.: Birgit, I only read your reply after sending mine - and realized that I could have left away all my longwinded babbling, you expressed it so clearly in just a few words. :clap:
And I SO agree in terms of the horse being wrong depending on definitions. I have always had problems with "The horse is always right" as long as it is not defined clearly what one means when saying "right" or "wrong". And a universal definition of that seems impossible to me. :friends:


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 8:12 pm 

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Romy,
I have made the same experience with some of my animals. The ones that I have used the least pressure with are the most trusting by far. I can't undo the past but I can gradually earn some of the trust back with the ones that had to suffer from my mistakes more.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 8:16 pm 

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Romy,
and now after I just read your response I think it's good to express the same things in different ways sometimes, I'm sometimes too dry and analytical for people to really get the heart of what I'm trying to say, so we complemented each other. :kiss:


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 08, 2010 9:04 pm 
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Thanks for those replies. I wrote this to mention my failure and the lesson that I learned from it. But also as an allegory to how we have all broken God's laws and are condemned for it. But Christ offered himself as our sacrifice, and, with repentence, our sins are forgiven; the stain of our wicked deeds washed away.

Ivy

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2010 8:04 am 

Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2010 8:19 pm
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Location: Estonia, Tallinn
I don't know about the religious part now (as i have no religious background, only deeply spiritual one)...but, as i have learned: horses forgive, but don't forget. They know and understand that everyone can make mistakes and they appreciate when we, humans, learn from our mistakes and change our ways. In that way, we can't even make mistakes, because everything we do serves the purpose of personal development and we can choose to see it as support. Now about forgiveness, i think it is the most important trait for humans too. This is something we must learn (as we are often taught otherwise). I think that the key is that we don't have to forgive the deed but to forgive the person..the soul..the other human being...in compassion. The deed might be unacceptable...but person himself is innocent in a way, cause we are all here to learn and make decisions, sometimes positive, sometimes negative ones - we need to experience both. And well, yeah, if we choose not to forgive, then we only harm ourselves by not setting ourselves free and holding the fear and anger in.
So in that sense, i think that a horse can be the greatest teacher, how to forgive and what forgiveness can be and how important that is. And they are also very happy to forgive and put the past behind - they are happy to see, that we are changed and want to start over.This, as i believe, is one of the things why they are here with us...to enlighten us and offer us some wake up call.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2010 4:45 pm 
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ivyschex wrote:
Thanks for those replies. I wrote this to mention my failure and the lesson that I learned from it. But also as an allegory to how we have all broken God's laws and are condemned for it. But Christ offered himself as our sacrifice, and, with repentence, our sins are forgiven; the stain of our wicked deeds washed away.

Ivy


Hi Ivy,

I am sure I understand this wrong, could you explain some more? The way I understand this, one could do simply everything and be forgiven by your God because Jesus sacrifised himself?
That can't be right... sorry for being slow on this. :blonde:

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2010 5:12 pm 
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Josepha,

No problem at all. I will try to explain as best as I can. All mankind has sinned and broken God's Law (Romans 3:23 "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.") The old testament covenent laws of sacrifice did not obsolve the people of their sins, it only put it off until one who was perfect would sacrifice himself for the world (John 3:17 "for God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved"). Hebrews 9:22 "Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins." And without remission or forgiveness, the whole world is condemned to hell.

"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8 This means that God did wipe away the stain of our sins now and forever. He doesn't hold those sins against us. But all of us can still be condemned to Hell. Why? For rejecting the sacrifice of Jesus. "if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved." Romans 10:9

So, yes, Jesus does forgive all sins and, if we repent and believe, he invites us to be co heirs in heaven with him.

Does that make sense? I hope I explained it okay. I am happy to talk about this as much as you want. I do not mean to offend anyone either.

Ivy

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2010 5:48 pm 
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ivyschex wrote:
But all of us can still be condemned to Hell. Why? For rejecting the sacrifice of Jesus.


Guess I am condemned to hell then as I prefer not to count on anyone's sacrifices to make up for my sins, but act in a better way myself instead. :smile:

ivyschex wrote:
Does that make sense? I hope I explained it okay. I am happy to talk about this as much as you want. I do not mean to offend anyone either.


This sure makes sense - within your belief system. You don't offend anyone as long as you keep in mind (and let it be reflected in your style of writing) that here at AND everyone is free to believe in what he wants and that a person's belief is not wrong just because it doesn't match yours. To me it always feels a bit like "making others shut up" when someone states his truth as THE truth - or at least that's the effect it has on me personally. I am sure you don't mean to do that, so maybe just be a bit careful with the way you present your beliefs - as beliefs, not as facts or ultimate truths. :smile:


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2010 6:22 pm 
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I believe Ivy was just answering my question, that's all :)
Thanks Ivy. I never understood Christianity like that. Now I do.
Guess your the first one to explain it in a way I can understand. :)

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 09, 2010 6:27 pm 
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Romy, I was answering Josepha's question. Perhaps next time I will do it in a PM! :D

Josepha, I am so glad you were able to understand it.

I do love this forum and I try to be nice and obey all the rules. Thanks for being such a great group here!

Ivy

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 10, 2010 4:17 am 

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I think whenever talking about one's religion or beliefs it is a good idea to put it in the form of "my belief, my experience," etc. simply because everyone thinks that their beliefs are correct in those areas where they are different from anyone else's and it helps people to feel respected. I'm also a Christian, so understand where Ivy is coming from but I'm also surrounded by people of many other belief systems. I have learned that some things are hard to understand because religion often uses it's own language and terminology with definitions that people within that religion have huge disagreements about (like hell, condemnation, salvation, sacrifice, sin, forgiveness, heaven, repentance).
The most important thing for me to share about my faith is that my experience tells me that the God of the Bible is real and personal and that everyone, not just Christians, is able to communicate (to hear/perceive and to talk with God) if they wish to do so. The hearing/perceiving part Christians call revelation, the second part prayer. Hope that made sense. :)


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