The Bible says we do not fight against flesh and blood, but rather principalities of the air (Eph. 6:12).
We have to be constantly reminded of this, because it can be easy to lash out at those around us, including our horses when things get tough, or we have trouble with patience.
I personally need to go back to the time I accepted Jesus as lord and savior in the most real way. I was getting bothered with people noticing how selfish they could be as I was managing my horse rental stable. The thing that clicked for me was relating to the first point of the gospel, explaining that we are all sinners. It was revealed to me about how much easier it is to see the faults of others than it was my own faults.
To keep from blaming my horse for things in this manner, I have to make sure I am not skipping steps in my training or riding. To keep from committing murder in my mind, I must set things up to make the right thing easy and the wrong thing difficult. The most caring thing I can do is set things up with my equipment or ways so that it would be hard for my horse and I to fail but easy to succeed. The long lead rope I wrote about in my previous column is a great backup for liberty work on the ground and looped in our belt when riding. Our sensitivity to our horse does not mean we will not make a horse uncomfortable for doing the wrong thing.
But just as important, we need to give horses immediate comfort when they do the right thing. Our emotions can get in the way of our timing, so we need to be careful to make sure our timing is right for crystal clear communication.
With humans, as well as horses, we need crystal clear communication. It is so easy to misread each other. Personally, I have resolved to try to communicate more frequently with relatives and friends. One of my worst faults is that it is easier for me to write these columns rather than call someone to communicate with them regularly.
God is starting to make me more uncomfortable when I make the choice to watch TV or read rather than call someone I have not talked to for a while. I need to spend more time talking to people I know in real life, so we can mutually sharpen each other to fight the real fight.
With horses, it important that we constantly check in with them often when we are riding in order to keep them focused on us rather than fight or flight. Above all, pray, with our horse (lateral flexion) and for each other. I pray for God to help me focus more on the things that really matter.
Help us all to never stop searching out answers instead of taking the easy way out by doing the blame game. I identify with the man in Mark 9:24 – “I believe, but help my unbelief.”
Mike Daniels is a horsemanship trainer and barefoot trimming specialist from Raymondville, Mo.