Bo and I just finished a lesson. Well, mostly we were working on the foundation of our relationship, but also on gait cadence, frame, and canter departures. At one point I started to think that I might be putting in more effort than he was. I remembered something Tim McQuay said during a reining clinic years ago, “Your horse is bigger and stronger than you are. Don’t always help your horse. Teach your horse to help you.”
Have You Taught Your Horse to Quit?
Does your horse lose his frame the minute you relax your hand, seat, or leg? If you quit insisting does your horse quit working?
Many horses train their riders to fix, help, assist, encourage, and push in order to keep the horse’s posture, direction, and impulsion up and going. Bo was doing a bit of that with me this morning. Recognizing that the error was mine I relaxed and suggested that Bo put in a little more effort. After all, he’s a 1300 pound horse which means there is 10 times more of him than there is of me. Why should I be pulling the load?
Riding a Horse Properly is Like Driving a Car
Cars are really powerful vehicles. Horses are really powerful animals. Cars have no loyalty, personality, or spirit, but driving one is similar to properly riding a horse. You don’t drag or push a car around; you steer, apply acceleration or brake, and decide whether to travel forwards or backwards. A well trained horse should be the same.
Driving for long periods can be tiring. You have to concentrate, keep your foot on the gas, and have a limited area in which to sit. But, you’re not going to break a sweat from physical work or pull a muscle. The car provides the power. You control how fast and where it goes.
If you get really tired when you ride your horse may have trained you to do the heavy lifting. It’s far easier to teach your horse to help you.
An Easy Yoke
A rider in right relationship with his or her horse will not be exhausted by the effort required to keep things moving along. Being in a right relationship with Christ provides a similar blessing. If your walk with Jesus is too much work you may be taking on way too much of the load. Be willingly led by the Holy Spirit and accept the peace and joy available to you.
When you accept more of the work load than your horse you are not in right relationship. Your horse is riding you more than you are riding your horse. Become the leader your horse wants you to be. Teach him or her to be willingly guided. The best example of the most worthy leader is Jesus Christ.
A Delightful Ride
When I asked Bo for more effort he gave it. We had a delightful ride and spent some lovely quality time together. One of the greatest miracles I have experienced is the relationship possible with a horse. May the trails you ride be just as blessed.
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