There are times in relationship when you must step back. Get hold of yourself. Return accusatory eyes from whomever is bugging you to the mirror – and settle. Handling frustration well is critical to the health of relationships.

Horses push your buttons. Like people. Sometimes it’s purposeful, but usually it’s an emotional reaction to what’s happening.

I seldom exercise emotionalism, whether positive or negative, with horses or people. Frustration and anger are poor leadership characteristics. Telling your horse, child, friend, or acquaintance to “Trust me” is never as meaningful as BEING trustworthy. Acting impulsively proves us liars.

“Trust me” is never as meaningful as BEING trustworthy.

But there are times…

A while back I got off a horse before the lesson was over because he was a complete idiot. My feet hit the dirt and I tipped toward irritation. I am shamefaced to report this, but I may even have said, “You have no idea who you’re messing with, buddy.”

Looks innocent, doesn’t he?

While marching back to the barn for a longe line, I recognized my emotion. Stifled it. And figured out my best course of action. The next move was critical.

The horse expected me to get after him as punishment. Maybe that’s what he’s used to. But it’s not my way. We walked back to the scene of the poor behavior and I asked him to —-

“Please walk.”

Quietly. Calmly. Free of emotion.

Except relief, that I’d caught myself before engaging in wrong behavior. That’s the power of the Holy Spirit. Not proving that I’m all that disciplined, but that God offers that much grace when we earnestly seek it.

The lesson went longer than planned, but added strength to our foundation. It was good.

Oswald Chambers wrote, “Watch spiritual hardness, if ever you have the tiniest trace of it, haul up everything else till you get back your softness to the Spirit of God.”