Who has the upper hoof in your barn? Are you really in control, or has your beloved horse got your number?
Who models leadership, you or your horse?
Don’t tell me you’ve never been totally irritated by an equine bad actor.
“Why did you tear up your brand new blanket?”
“How can you not know what I want??? You did this perfectly yesterday!”
“Ow! Didn’t you see my foot before you decided to take up tap dancing?”
“What are you trying to bite me? I’m bringing you food!”
“I feed you. Clothe you. Keep you warm. Pay your pedicure and doctor bills. Why are you so stubborn?”
“It’s the same saddle blanket you wore yesterday? Why are you afraid of it?”
“But I love you! Why are you pinning your ears at me?”
Parents of children and horses understand dirt, sass, and being dumb on purpose. They’ve dried tears of both joy and frustration. It comes with the territory.
Horses are Amazing People Trainers
Horses usually teach us how to behave more than we teach them. When an inexperienced or insensitive human tries to teach a horse and it doesn’t learn, the human calls the horse stupid.
The truth is, the horse won.
Horses are simple, but often more effective getting their desired result from us than we are from horses.
Humans talk and pontificate, threaten and yell, while horses look at us with amusement or disdain.
Horses lean on you. Ignore you. Step into your space – and your feet move. Not theirs. More horses step on people than people step on horses.
Horses Know What Bugs You
Horses also know how to press your buttons. They’re geniuses rooting out what bugs you most. When they bait you into yelling or yanking a rein – they win. The failure is yours.
That’s one of the good news/bad news things about relationship with horses (and with God.) When things aren’t right, it’s our fault. Another marvel of such relationship with a horse is how God uses it to train us, teach us patience, grace, and mercy. And gratitude.
Which sounds eerily similar to lessons we teach horses. Patience in particular. As we teach them, we learn. Their failure to learn reveals our need for greater skill. Enter humility.
Learning as You Teach
Horses forgive. They give grace when we don’t deserve it. We’ll never be the perfect master or leader, teacher or steward. And yet. They nicker when they hear us approach. They stand like warm fuzzy statues when we need to hang on their neck for comfort.
God is good. Horses are a gift when we are simple enough to accept it.
The more highly educated we are in worldly things the less simple we get. God may laugh at our delusions of grandeur, unless His emotion is more one of disgust.
You can’t fool a horse and you can’t fool God.
“Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.” – Galatians 6:7
Even when we louse things up royally, God and horses forgive. They welcome us back. Often with celebration. Like the prodigal son. Just when you think you’ve screwed up too badly for forgiveness – you’ll hear a soft nicker of invitation.
Sometimes it’s the still small voice of the Holy Spirit.
To learn more about horses think and help us better understand our relationship to Christ, check out Amazing Grays, Amazing Grace