God and Horses: What is the Journey of Joy?

Success is the quality of the journey that begins with submission to God’s will and continues until His will becomes our joy.  There is a world of difference between:

“O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me;  nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.”– Matthew 26:39


“ I delight to do Thy will, O God.” – Psalm 40:8

The beginning of the journey recognizes and accepts God’s choice above our own by a conscious decision of submission, capitulation, and resignation subjugating our personal preference for some different circumstance by yielding to the will of God.

Horses begin training by accepting the will of the trainer over their own preference to laze in the pasture with herd buddies. They often submit, capitulate, and are resigned to the greater power of the trainer. Horses may offer obedience, but obedience begins by making a conscious decision to yield to the new boss.

Predicting Relationship Success

The most important predictors of relationship success are the amount of time spent together and the degree of focus each party places on the other. The process of sanctification, the personal journey with Christ, begins with commitment and continues by:

  • Prayer
  • Bible study
  • Discussion
  • Teaching
  • Application
  • Works as the natural fruit of faith
  • Fellowship with Christ and others in the family

The process of transformative relationship with a horse also begins with commitment and continues with:

  • Liberty work
  • Ground exercises/games
  • Pasture or stall visits just “because”
  • Pursuing challenges designed to reveal weaknesses in faith
  • Obstacles
  • Teaching
  • Practice
  • Fellowship with Christ and other members of His body in the equine community

The foundation of both sanctification and Christian Horse Training is God’s Word in the person of Jesus Christ and the living Word of scripture. CHT is not a facility or a scripted lesson plan. CHT is a lifestyle of commitment.

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Specific routines or repetitive “games” that work for some trainers are not the lifeblood of CHT and do not necessarily produce transformative relationship. Simple routine and repetition of a particular exercise more predictably create a habit of task than a habit of obedience. The secret of relationship is not what is done, but how, why, and by whom it is done.

Horsemanship using Gospel Principles

Discipleship with horses describes, teaches, and shares how the same principles of your journey of joy with Jesus Christ can be used to offer leadership to a horse to bring it into delightful and confidant fellowship with you as a worthy master. Gospel principles are the foundation of CHT.

Christian Horse Training (CHT) offers horses relationship that transforms conscious capitulation into reflexive, instinctive obedience built upon faith in a worthy leader.

Delight in God’s will does not recognize any conscious decision to obey or preference of outcome apart from God’s plan. Delight and faith abound when His will becomes your will. The journey of joy you share with Jesus – and with your horse – can be effortless. Every load becomes so light it fails to even register as a burden.

What could be more blessed than to walk each day in true delight?

“You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy.” – Psalm 16:11

Animals Know How to Live

Horses don’t care about goals. Neither do dogs. Animals are simple. Nature is simple. Horses care about spirit, security, food, rest, play, and companionship. Horses are herd animals hard-wired by their Creator to seek relationship. Dogs care about food, sleep, play, fellowship, and will happily interrupt their travel to investigate an interesting sound or odor. Dogs are pack animals hard-wired by their Creator to seek relationship.

Horses and dogs will literally stop to smell the roses. How else will they know if the blooms are edible or if someone they know passed by recently? Sniffing the environment is like checking the canine version of Facebook. Who’s been here? What did they do? Who did they do it with? Which way did they go?

Horses and dogs are outstanding power-nappers and often share a soft shady spot with a friend. Horses and dogs are far better at relationships than people. Dogs are beloved for their loyalty. Dogs will remain faithful to an undeserving owner, put up with little kids painfully tugging at ears or tails, and show grace and forgiveness even when it is undeserved.

Horses and dogs know what’s important. They aren’t conflicted. Horses and dogs don’t look at a half full water bucket and fret that half is gone. They look into the bucket of water when thirsty and take a drink. They trust that the necessities of life will be provided.

“Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things.” – Matthew 6:31-32 

The blessing of relationship is the journey itself, not some imagined or mystical destination.  Right relationship is enough, not the pursuit of more. People who don’t have enough, who keep pressing on for further gain, don’t realize that what they seek is relationship. There is no thing or material item that will ever satisfy the hunger to belong; to love; to find security; to know God.

The measure of true success on your journey of life is determined more by direction than speed. What matters is where you’re going and with whom you travel, not how fast you’re clicking off the miles.

Enough is as good as a feast.

Jesus said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes.” – Luke 10:21 

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