Horses have become an important part of my life. I’m sometimes not sure whether they belong to me, or I to them. After all, a horse’s first purpose is just to be a horse. Secondly, a horse provides companionship and service to man. I also believe they are a beautiful and divine gift from God. And, they make the land more beautiful. Over the years, my horses and I have developed a mutually supportive network of friendships. I currently have three of these beautiful creatures in my little herd: Jake (the oldest), Josie and Beauty. Jake and Josie are both full sized Registered Tri-Color Paints, and Beauty is a relatively small Black grade kids’ pony. They are all very well trained and provide me hours of good work and joy.
I have learned a great deal working with the horses. In reality, I believe we can learn more from horses than they can learn from us. Positive characteristics such as: patience, kindness, gentleness, consistency, and love come to mind. Also, other practical steps, such as: regular feeding, plenty of fresh water, shelter from the elements, and exercise are important. Most animals can be divided into two broad categories: Prey or Predator. Horses are a “prey” animal and are ready to bolt at the first sign of a potential danger or threat. So in working with them, I first had to gain their trust. I did this by remaining calm, creating a routine: regular feedings, ample fresh water, plenty of exercise, allowing free expression, and a great deal of love and handling. I have had to be patient and consistent with them (bordering on predictable): consistently patient, kind and gentle, but firm. As Buck Brannaman puts it: “Gentle in what you do, and firm in how you do it.” Working with horses has made me a better man.
In the summer, I usually turn the horses out at night to graze in the pasture. During a new moon, when the earth is in darkness, I love to walk out into the pasture and just stand there taking in the majesty of the night. Horses have good night vision, so they can see me …but I can’t see them. They always walk towards me and gather very closely around me in the field. It is inspiring when I hear and sense those large animals approaching out of the darkness to stand next to me. They know who I am, and they trust me. It reminds me of a scripture in Isaiah. Israel had turned away from God, and Isaiah was lamenting: “The ox knoweth his master, …but Israel doth not know, my people doth not consider” (Isaiah 1:3). Israel’s animals know their masters; but, Israel knows not (or has forgotten) God, who is their Master. It is essential that we know our God who loves us and provides for us (see John 17:3). This is certainly a lesson we can learn from our animal friends.
What I have learned from Horses
Clockwise from the left: Josie, Blaze, me, Jake and Beauty.
Site Updated: 7 Dec 2017