Transformative relationship with God and horses is not a destination; it is a journey of joy.
Humans are hard-wired to react rather than respond to challenges. The first plan is usually to do too much rather than take a moment to correctly diagnose any problem – or opportunity! Grace and mercy recognize moments of distraction and corrects them with love, patience, and supportive guidance.
God knows your heart and your limitations. You are accountable to know the heart of your horse and his limitations. You are to grant grace and mercy in the same measure your Master grants it to you.
Total perfection does not exist in the world. No human performs perfectly in every challenge or enterprise of importance. Sooner or later our attention or feet will stray from the path directed by the Holy Spirit. Wandering thoughts and temptations of the flesh will draw us away from complete focus and obedience to God’s will.
Years of relationship with horses provided a context for processing my own walk with Jesus Christ. When challenged to identify where I am and whether or not I remain on the right path in God’s eyes I flip the question from God and me to me and a horse. Usually that brings clarity and I can determine if the issue is one of inability or unwillingness. When it doesn’t, I know that patience is the best plan.
Do not push. Wait.
Reining horses are defined as being willingly guided. One of the most grievous errors a reining horse makes is anticipation, jumping into a maneuver the rider did not ask for. Rope horses are scored in the box to produce patience and reduce anticipation. Reiners stand quietly in the center of the pen to teach the horse that one big move does not mean another will happen immediately afterwards. The right answer is always to be ready but not act until the request is made.
Aspire to Observe as a Little Child
Little kids enjoy more intimate and amazing relationships with horses than most grown-ups. The older you get the more you quit observing and begin studying. Children communicate with each other; they both listen and speak, observe and are observed. Their intentions are simpler and often more effective. How many six-year olds have a problem figuring out if their little six year old friend just said yes or no to a question? Childhood inquiries are simple and direct and so are the answers.
Kids ask horses simple questions and usually understand the horse’s simple response. Horses respond to the energy, body language, and purity of children. The more adults learn about proper riding the less they rely on their powers of observation and the greater they fear unpredictable outcomes.
“Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” – Matthew 18:3
The Greatest Challenge – Start Simple and Stay Simple
Too many Christians focus on doing rather than listening. The journey of a New Creation in Christ is a wonderful illustration for properly training and providing great leadership to a horse and is the goal of Christian Horse Training.
Early in the training process lessons are very simple and horses need frequent correction. Before you concentrate on subtle variations of the hue and saturation of color, you need to learn to recognize the lines on the page and keep crayon marks inside the lines. Introducing new skills to a horse proceeds in a similar manner.
You can’t take a proper first step unless you know which direction you’re going. God does not expect us to read His mind and you fail your horse when you expect him to read yours. Communication is a give and take, back and forth exercise.
Perhaps the next step to improving communication with your horse is to spend more time observing and less time doing. Listen. The most profound and beautiful relationships are built on small, simple, and apparently insignificant moments.
Sometimes there is no distinction at all between being still and being blessed.
~ ~ ~
More about the pursuit and promise of relationship with God, horses, and one another from author Lynn Baber.
Click to visit each title on Amazon:
Amazing Grays Trilogy, FREE on Smashwords
“Discipleship with Horses” on Amazon
“He Came Looking for Me” on Amazon
“Amazing Grays, Amazing Grace” on Amazon