“A horse is such a thing of beauty…none will tire of looking at him as long as he displays himself in his splendor.” ~Xenophon
Have you ever watched a horse running free in a field or playing with other horses? What a thing of beauty! There is nothing so majestic and regal as the horse. Nothing created by man can ever compare to the beauty that God has bestowed upon the horse. The kind of beauty that gives you chills and makes your heart beat a little faster. The kind of beauty that leaves you longing for more.
Now look at horses being ridden. Do you see the same beauty? Unfortunately the answer most often times is no. In our competitive, results driven world horses are often forced into doing things through the use of gadgets and gizmos and harsh treatment. Winning the next competition is the goal and it is done at any cost. Look at competitive horses today and you will see hollowed out backs, pinned ears, swishing tails. But the most heart breaking part is looking into their eyes. They have lost the fire and their spirit is broken.
photo courtesy of Kristina Powers
Correct training should be done in a way that it enhances the natural brilliance and beauty of the horse. The horse should be taught to work with you as a willing partner. He performs because he wants to, not because he has too. Training should be done through love and respect for the horse and in turn the horse will love and respect you. Only then will his true beauty shine. There will be a fire in his eyes and a lightness to his step. He will move with ease and grace. This is something that cannot be forced. Training a horse is an art form. Art and beauty can never be forced.
True beauty is a thing to be desired. A thing to be sought after and pursued. It is one of the great blessings we have been given by a God who loves us. It is something to be ever thankful for and to be treasured. It is something to be shared with the world.
“If a horse becomes more beautiful in the course of his work, it is a sign that the training principles are correct.”~Colonel Podhajsky
photo courtesy of Ivy Schexnayder
This isn’t directly about horse training, but like many life lessons it can easily be applied to horses.
I have a book on my bedside table called Grace for the Moment by Max Lucado. It has a different inspirational message for each day of the year. Today’s message really hit home with me so I thought I would share it. It talks about how change starts with each individual and how you should do what is right even if others aren’t.
Do what is right this week, whatever it is, whatever comes down the path , whatever problems and dilemmas you face- just do what’s right. Maybe no one else is doing what’s right, but you do what’s right. You be honest. You take a stand. You be true. After all, regardless of what you do, God does what is right: he saves you with his grace.
So here is my challenge for you. Do what is right. Do what is right for your horse. Be kind to him. Eliminate forceful training. Teach him to perform through kindness, respect, and love. Sure, there are many people out there using forceful training methods and seeming to get great results. It would be easy to follow in their footsteps. But what about the horse? His spirit is broken. His mind is destroyed. This is not right. There is a better way, maybe it is not so easy, but it is better. Training through patience and love will create a horse that is truly your partner.
What a difference we could make in the world if we simply do what is right.
“Depend on the Lord. Trust Him, and He will take care of you.” Psalm 37:5 (NCV)
My horse, Ilustre, truly was a gift from God. He came into my life in such a magical way. I have always loved horses, but could never afford one of my own. I’ve worked long hours to earn precious moments in the saddle. I felt such a strong longing to simply be around these magnificent animals. I will always remember that day, three and a half years ago, when I first saw a picture of the horse that would change my life. The photo showed a beautiful white Andalusian gelding. An Andalusian- the horse of kings! My very own Shadowfax! His owner was not looking to sell him. She simply wanted to find him a good home where he would be loved and cared for. I could never have afforded to buy such an incredible horse, and yet God took care of me. The very next day, Ilustre stepped off the trailer and into his new stall, and so the journey began. Ilustre’s name means “distinguished, renowned, or glorious”. He has certainly lived up to that! He has become a wonderful performance horse as well as an enduring partner. Ilustre has taught me so much about horses, relationships, spirituality, and life in general. It hasn’t always been easy. We’ve had our share of struggles along the way, but I’ve learned just as much-maybe more- from the bad times as the good. Through the spiritual relationship I have found with Ilustre, I have come to better know myself and better know God. I am so blessed to have him in my life.