It is interesting to me how the horse's purpose in our world has changed over the years. Once used mainly for work and transportation, in our civilization today their purpose is quite different, instead fulfilling the needs of people in the ways of relationship, hobby, sport, and even therapy. Several of the horses at Tyson's Corners have ended up here because of a very common situation in the world of horses. A change in their purpose. More often than not it seems that our biggest problem in working with horses is that we don't share their mind or buy into their true purpose. Other mentalities capture us, and we expect them to fit into our perceived purposes. We create a box unto which to fit them into. And then when we cannot fit them into that box any longer we become overwhelmed with the results we created by trying to put them into that box. The box could be dreams or goals, but for certain that box will change as we accept our own realities, as well as the reality of our horse.
Most of my days consist of working with horses who got off a path and somehow found their way to Tyson's Corners for refuge or a fresh start, out of the box they had once or even many times been put into. Their lesson plans consist of the same things....trusting again, maybe finding the ability to relax in relationship with a human again, or even for the first time. Everyday as I stand in the middle of the round pen at the end of a 22 foot long line, and ask them to just breathe, slow down, connect with me, trust the feel of my energy, my hands on the rope that connects them to me, I think about God. I ask the horses to yield to my touch on the rope, to the sound of my voice, the change in my body, to my care and love for them and their purpose. As I ask this of my horse so does God ask this of me...and oh how He thankfully does it with so much more patience, mercy, and grace for me. He also asks me to look at His horses with eyes of reality, what they are bred to do, what their temperament is suited for, what their own life experiences have conditioned them to do. Because that is their reality, and therefore must be mine as well. Realities can at times be extremely hard. Whether they are realities of our selves, of loved ones in our lives, the state of our relationships, finances, professions, or even our horse, they are not always easy to face. Throughout the Bible we read stories of real people facing real and very difficult realities. We also read the words of God telling them and us, "Do not fear...slow down...connect to Me...listen for My voice...trust My hands at the end of this rope with you...you are where you are because this is part of your reality and your purpose. Have Faith."
His Teaching Cues:
What is the box in your life? The mentality you are believing in?
What is the reality God is leading you into or holding space in with you?
Are you giving Him your faith in His ability to be at the end of the rope with you?
"Therefore, I urge you, sisters, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God-which is your spiritual worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will". ~ Romans 12: 1-2
"But my eyes are fixed on You, O Sovereign Lord; In You I take refuge..."
~ Psalm 141:8
"Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7
For more encouragement read Psalm 139.
From my first memories as a child I remember loving horses. I thought about them all the time. During the day I pretended I was a horse or that I owned horses, I drew horses, I read books about horses, my room was always plastered with posters of horses, and at night I dreamt about horses. When I was a little girl these were my dreams: to own and care for horses, to marry my Prince Charming and be a Mom. Many days of the week I pause and look around at how God has made those dreams come true. Sometimes He catches me in the middle of a tiny moment, like when I sling a halter over my shoulder to go get my horse and suddenly I am 7 years old again dreaming of what it would be like to sling a halter over my shoulder to go catch my horse. Or those first few seconds on my horse's back and I remember as a kid how I looked forward to every Saturday morning's lessons and how for an hour I was an Olympic equestrian in the making. The Olympic equestrian dream did not come true, well, not yet. But so many of my childhood dreams have come true...but not without some heartache in the pursuit of them.
Over the Labor Day weekend we lost one of our beloved horses to the dreaded horseman's nightmare of colic. And in the 13 hours of medicating, walking, trailering, vet visits, praying, pleading and more walking, I feel like I watched a little part of a dream die. Roger was a dream horse. He was horse perfection in my eyes. A beautiful pure bred Arabian, sound, healthy, well trained, sweet and loving disposition, the list could go on and on. The guy even loved to chase a cow! He was the rock of our equine assisted ABA therapy program, and when he was in a session you could tell he knew his job was just as important as the therapist's. Roger just always kind of "knew". If I had to list a flaw the only one I could ever find, is he liked to give one small buck when you asked him to move into a canter. After awhile I actually just came to find it kind of cute about him. I've been experiencing a lot of grief about the loss of Roger, not just in my own heart, but in the hearts of all the others, especially our little kiddos who loved Roger. He was many people's dream horse. He was the star lesson horse that many a beginner started their love affair of horses with. This week I have found myself asking God, "what now?" How do you fill that spot? I relied on Roger and trusted him with many a precious cargo in therapy and lessons. In the herd he was my most reliable member. How do you find that again? I am still waiting on God's reply to that question. But through my worry about that it has me bringing to God the loss of dreams within our dreams. How we love to cling to our dreams...even when they are not ours to cling to. Roger came into my life right when God intended to start using my dream of owning horses to help people. He must have known we needed a dream horse to get started. He was God's horse from the beginning...I mean really how else do you land a horse like Roger for just $500?
Laying a dream to rest....is something God calls us all to do, even though it is our very human and sinful nature to cling to dreams. We find love, connection and belonging, sometimes even our identity, in our dreams. But God instructs us in His word to cling to Him first, and He will make all of our dreams come true. I woke up early this morning struggling with some discontent. As I wrestled with the details of each of my dreams that I did not see working out lately to my expectations, God reminded me that He asks me to be content in any and every situation. To me Roger is my reminder today that just like my Prince Charming and my beautiful children, they are His first, and by clinging to my Heavenly Father and not to them, I can then be all His dreams for me require me to be.
His teaching cues.....
What are those dreams you are clinging to? Is God asking you to take a look at them with Him, reevaluate their priority, or even lay them to rest?
Can you trust that He has your best dreams in His plans for you?
Can you bring Him today the details of your dreams and thank Him for the grace He gives you through every last detail of them?
"Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be as well."
~ Matthew 6: 19-21
"No one can serve two masters. Either she will hate the one and love the other, or he will devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money."
~ Matthew 6:24
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! . . . I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
~ Philippians 4:4, 12
Last hours with Roger
Guest Blog post by fellow Horse Chick and friend, Rachel Loscomb, a woman who loves God and horses too. It is with great esteem I welcome her to the ranch to share how God works in her life through her horse Ahmbi.
One of the greatest ways that I've found to exercise my mare is by long lining. This seemingly observable "easy" technique can quickly turn into a tangled ball of rope and horse if you aren't paying attention! The long lines serve as extendable reins, a direct connection of my hands. When my mare and I first started this journey, I had no idea the implications it would have on both of us.
Now Ahmbi has the type of personality where she is never overly excited to work and tries every trick in the book to find a short cut to the exercise she is asked to do. The classic "mare face" is unleashed when the time comes to work! However, once she understands the task I'm asking of her she gives it her whole heart.
Often at times when I'm working with her I often think of the situations that I've tried to find life's short cuts or faster ways around what was happening in my life. Ducking, weaving, evading-all common themes I saw in my mare at first that I've found my own self perfecting for most if my life. Why work harder when you can evade? Run away? As the months have gone on, I've noticed that as I learn to convey the right amount of pressure paired with releasing at the right time, Ahmbi's learned that her evasion techniques can't work in our partnership. Now, this doesn't mean she doesn't try and I have to always be that one...or two steps ahead of her!
This is how we often approach our lives with God. We duck, dodge, weave around His plans in hopes that He didn't see that latest defensive tactic because it makes us feel uncomfortable or it doesn't jive with what we hoped our lives would look like. Sometimes we get in a pattern of living like this that we instinctively hit the repeat button and try it again...over and over again. But just as I have learned to be patient with Ahmbi to teach her, I realize that we are both teaching one another! Stability, trust, genuine love...all core components of a working team! The long lines serve as an overreaching extension of the trust and respect we share, which can be a positive or negative experience depending on the hands holding the reins!
God wants us to approach with a willing attitude and not one of resistance and contempt. Most of the time this is easier said than done and it's something that I constantly fight with. A futile fight that God ends up winning. Every time.
I've learned over the last few years that you don't train a horse, you don't break a horse. You come into partnership with your horse, you teach one another, you allow one another to enter each other's lives. Ahmbi is an incredible teacher and I am truly blessed each day to have such an incredible gift from God. She's showed me how to love, play, and trust. Most importantly, to be in the present, showing me the person God has always intended me to be.