Horse Sense

Transparency is true richness because it shows that we are human and have potential to “work” on a few things (to say the least).

My wife and April and I will not boycott the holidays, nor cut God from them, because someone else has something “wrong” about them. We will celebrate the “holy” days for our thankfulness to God for blessing us in spite of and in the midst of our own personal b-b-b-b-bad to the bone-ness.

Like the pilgrims, we give thanks to God for putting people in our lives that teach us and help us even though we might take them for granted at the least and persecute them at the other extreme. As is said: lack of humility on our part here is the result of our own short memory for our role in the bad.

We respect the fact that Christmas is celebrated near the darkest day of the year (Dec. 21) in our place on earth. What better time to light up our world, volunteer our time and resources to point to the time in history that the biggest big wig of all chose to come to earth as a baby in the midst of our own un-thankfulness?  It is incredible how God ran the universe and became a vulnerable baby at the same time! The most amazing part of this to me is God’s willingness to be vulnerable.

Truly Godly people impress me because they exude this humble trait. They admit their weaknesses and failings and are open-minded to be taught ways to help make the right thing easy and the wrong thing difficult. In the same way through the years, I have noticed that the better horse people also become transparent about their badness to become more skilled.

In my 20s, when I owned a horse rental business, I saw this first hand. The riders who admitted their failings were open to instruction, took horsemanship components seriously in practice and therefore excelled beautifully. The self-proclaimed “good” riders who could talk good but get defensive about instruction were my worst nightmare when it came to accidents.

My worst accidents were people who were not motivated to get better, in part because they thought they were already there. I finally learned to evaluate their ability by watching them ride rather than listen to them talk. Many horse owners will not even let me see them ride, because they know that tells all.

I have learned to value and respect people who admit that they are part of the problem, because it challenges me to become a better student and then teacher myself. I have lived long enough to know that I fall short in many ways. But I will be forever grateful for people – past, present and future – who sweat with me to help me get past my badness.

But it starts with me admitting that I am indeed bad to the bone. I thank God he lets “despicable me” approach him as opposed to the “I never in all my born days me.”

Mike Daniels is a horsemanship trainer and barefoot trimming specialist from Raymondville. Email:

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