Success is the quality of the journey that begins with submission to God’s will and continues until His will becomes our joy. Transformative relationship with Jesus Christ opens the door to similar relationship with our horses.
Christians have asked, worried, and fretted over this question for two thousand years. Many are impatient and ready to march right out to serve God. But, how? Here’s some insight into God’s answer.
Sooner or later most horse folks meet or hear about a horse that is dangerous or unstable. People who own such horses seldom wish to keep them but have no idea how to get them off of the feed bill honorably. Every horse person has an opinion about every horse question. This problem is no different, but here’s the unvarnished truth.
This article compares the basic “commands” Jesus gave to His disciples with the four basic “commands” we give to our horses. Read on a bit further and you’ll begin to realize that rarely will these four be used in a commanding manner.
When a horse puts up figurative yellow caution tape around part of its body or resists a particular situation there is an obligation to resolve the problem and tear down the tape. What do you do if your horse says, “You can’t get on my left side,” or “Don’t even think of using spurs on me buddy,” or “Pick up my hind feet at your own risk,” or “Touch that girth and I’ll bite you”?
Transformative relationship with God and horses is not a destination; it is a journey of joy. Horse love training faith
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.
The book of Ecclesiastes is avoided by many teachers and bible study groups because it is “too difficult.” To put it in the simplest of terms, Solomon* spent a great deal of money, time, ego, and energy on the pursuit of horse cookies. The conclusion he reached is that the pursuit of horse cookies eventually leads to an empty cookie bucket while pursuing relationship with the one who offers the cookies leads to eternal reward.
Solomon discovered the emptiness of seeking the gift instead of the Giver. To their detriment, horses, children, dogs, and Christians also get lost when their focus centers on some treat, entertainment, bone, or blessing and not on the trainer, parent, master, or Savior.
Swizzle, my adorable gray filly, lowered her head, opened her mouth, squallered like a mad hog and BUCKED.
Over the past 5 years I have tried to remove her bucking bubble. It didn’t work. I can bury it, I can correct it, I can punish it – but the bubble completely disappears. As time goes by it builds up enough pressure until Swizzle must express it to relieve the pressure. I have many ways to correct a horse that bucks due to unwillingness or lack of leadership. Swizzle is one of my amazing grays because she taught me that some horses, like people, are simply born with quirks. Swizzle has a bucking bubble. She may always have a bucking bubble. She doesn’t want to have a bucking bubble. My job is to help her build faith in her ability to manage it and my ability to help her.
How does Jesus love us through our own bucking bubbles?
If you measured the success of Jesus’ earthly ministry using a worldly yardstick it was a colossal failure. To some Jesus was just that guy from Nazareth, and you know, nothing good comes from Nazareth [John 1:46]. The folks with the power and opinions that “mattered” during His ministry were not impressed as much as they were annoyed. Efforts to upset the balance of power are never appreciated by those who presently wield it.
Humans are amazingly consistent when it comes to issues of ego, greed, and power. Horses, on the other hand, are amazingly consistent when it comes to matters of leadership and relationship. Our work to earn worthy leadership status with horses is a work of every day, not something that it is possible to master and retain. The only way to achieve success is to risk being a failure in the eyes of a world that elevates fifteen minutes of You-Tube fame over the life of an unborn child.