One way to think about genuine religion is it is really about giving credit where credit is due.
It is eerie how easy it is to ignore our faults but take the credit for ourselves, or give credit to someone or something that has no right to it. When we are too lazy to search out the truth, we assume something is right when it is not. Primarily we need to give credit to the creator God who invented the truth and light that we learn from his creation and the Bible.
I am most impressed by God in the flesh – Jesus Christ – who walked in our shoes. He could have sent someone else down to do the dirty work, but chose to feel the mud, blood, sweat and tears himself. But the clincher is that it was totally for those who believe. He did not earn his way into the God-hood he already had, but it was purely volunteer.
In the horse world, we see how easy it is to be proud, not ask questions and even take for granted where we learned things that made our horsemanship better. In many instances, just before I learned something important, I thought I already knew what I was doing, but I really did not.
I give Monte Foreman the credit for teaching me how to feel where a horse’s feet were, and how to help a horse do everything better based on where my body weight was positioned. He also helped me realize how important it was to warn a horse with an easy signal before I enforced it with a pull on the reins, or a kick with my feet.
Jimmy Allen also showed me how to do this with his good example.
Although I did not see John Lyons personally, I give him credit for his famous round corral reasoning tape, which helped me with groundwork in the round pen.
Ray Hunt helped me think about ways to get a horse to be a self-worker. He brought out how logical a horse will think, with not nearly the sinister twist we think they are employing. Ray also emphasized the timing of the pressure and release on the reins to get our horses to respect our hands more. He also showed us how we can get a lively horse on a loose rein so we are not babysitting them with a tight rein all the time.
When everyone else was going to fancier bits, Hunt showed us how to get a good headset with a simple snaffle and no tie downs or running martingales. I found out I could quit blaming everything else but myself when I was shown that my hands were the true culprit.
Pat Parelli helped me observe a horse closer much like Ray Hunt. He also showed more specific moves for working with a horse on the ground, and testing him there so we can see what they might have a tendency to do when we get in the saddle. Pat showed a very simple quick way to get a horse to listen to body language so that the bridle becomes a back up for controlling the horse.
I like to attribute this method to the plains Indians because they had similar equipment to do the same thing way before any of us.
Pete Ramey got me thinking about how to condition barefoot horses so we are less dependent on horseshoes.
The whole process of giving credit where credit is due helps me not take things for granted so easily. So much of life – as well as working with horses – is so dependent on our attitude.
On that same order, I need to thank God for my wife April, who has added so much color to me and all the people around us. She is so naturally caring and spontaneous. She hates to see people or animals hurting and will do what she can to make life easier for them.
Dear God, help us all appreciate you and the people you send us to keep us in a learning, caring frame of mind.
Mike Daniels is a horsemanship trainer and barefoot trimming specialist from Raymondville, Mo.