Relationships always have a beginning and progress much like a dance, the continuing process of action and reaction. A round pen is like a chance meeting – once eyes meet something significant happens or an opportunity is lost.
How eyes meet sets the tone for the rest of the interaction. If someone held your head and forced you to look into someone else’s eyes, what would you feel? Fear? Anger? Hostility? Resistance?
“You can trust me. It’s okay.”
“Then why is this goon holding my head hostage?”
Freedom to Respond
Halters and ropes are restrictive. The horse has no freedom to respond naturally, to choose, to think through the meeting. Why expect any response other than fear, anger, hostility, or resistance?
Round pens and liberty work are perfect partners.
Round pens offer two primary benefits, safety and freedom. The shape eliminates dangerous corners and lets you work at liberty. That means a round pen must be round and sturdy. Perhaps not perfectly round, but the closer it is to round the better it is for your horse’s balance, development, and concentration.
Obedience at liberty is true obedience, like walking a tightrope without a safety net. Horses must have the freedom to choose to obey. Would Jesus have the same appeal if you were roped and drug into relationship?
I chose Jesus the same way I want a horse to choose me. When He said, “Come,” I came. When He says “Follow,” I followed. Not because I had no other choice, but because I was delighted by the invitation.