The morning was brisk as Phil sat in front of the bunkhouse drinking his coffee. He was looking out over the horse pen getting ready for what was to come. He had a long day of gathering ahead of him and he wanted the best horse in the pen. The one that could go at a lope all day if it was asked of him with energy left over, the one that could gather steers, and cows with their calves all day and would be ready to go some more when the day was done. He was going to throw his saddle on Odie, and Odie was a horse with a sense of humor. He prepared the night before by buckling a night latch to the pommel of his saddle, all he had to do was saddle up and he’d be ready. Phil knew that Odie usually let the offending cowboy who dared to ride him get in the saddle and ride a bit, lulling the cowboy into thinking the ride was going to be smooth, then he went off like dynamite with a sunfish or two, a couple of end to end swaps then a series of crow hops. If the cowboy could make it through Odie usually settled down and got the job done the rest of the day, however if the cowboy lost his seat and ate dirt the horse couldn’t be found the rest of the day and would appear at headquarters in time for evening feed.
The other cowboys couldn’t understand why he was willing to ride this horse, even though he had more stamina and “cow knowledge” than any of the other horses on the ranch what he had to go through every morning wasn’t the most pleasant part of the day. Odie was trained by an old cowboy named Paul, who taught him a lot about chasing, cutting and herding cows, he just couldn’t stop Odie from playing his morning antics.
Jace came out of the bunkhouse and looked at Phil, “Uh-oh I’ve seen that look Phil, don’t tell me you’re riding Odie today?”
“Yeah Jace I am, with the country I have to cover today he’s the only horse I would trust”, Replied Phil.
“Why do you like that horse so much? None of the rest of us will touch him, he’s poison on cold mornings like today. What makes him so special to you?” asked Jace.
Phil thought about it for a second and said, “Before Paul up and retired I had Odie out one morning. I went out saddled Odie, talked to him while I finished my coffee then I mounted up and off we went. We got about 4 miles out when he cut loose. I landed on my shoulders and laid there for a few minutes until my breath came back, when Jack was finished laughing at me he came back here and used a ranch saddle to saddle another horse and we got the job done that day. We got back after dark and there was Odie waiting to get in the pen so he could eat.”
Jace said, “I remember that day you were fit to be tied.”
Phil went on, “Yeah I was pretty angry that morning, and I stayed angry all day. I swore I would never ride that horse again and if given the chance I would take him down to the auction and get rid of him for the Boss. After I unsaddled Odie and rubbed down the horse I rode that day I came in the bunk house and a letter was on my bunk."
"The letter was from Paul, he said in the letter that he wasn’t gonna be around for a while. He went on to say he heard what happened and knew that I was angry. Paul wrote that being one of the top hands on the spread he knew I could ride any horse I wanted to but he said Odie was important to him and could be useful to me. He also said that he would consider it a personal favor if I would continue to use Odie and treat him like a well bred and well trained horse. Paul said he was sure I would do more than he asked for, as far as giving Odie another chance, but would understand whatever I decided."
"I decided that since it meant so much to Paul and since he was probably right, and it was the right thing to do for the ranch that I would use Odie as one of the top horses in my string. It’s proved to be a blessing."
The question is do you have the courage to forgive and accept the way Phil did?