Saturday, November 5, 2016

Tempting a horse to Sin

I was riding Wildfire today and was working on his attempts subvert my path and go in the direction he wants to go even though I don't want to go that way. Let me explain. There are three spots where Wildfire wants to jig down when we pass them. One of them is on the power line behind my house. There is a two track that leads back to my place so when we go by that track he, knowing the way back, will often try to make that turn. Another one is on the northwest corner of a track I have surrounding my pastures. There is trail there that goes back in the woods. He will often try to go there instead of staying on the track. A third one he likes to turn down is where I have a gun range. And the last one is when I am by my house coming around the track he will often try to take control and go to the right. In each of these cases I can bend his head opposite and he will just blow out through his shoulder. I eventually get control, through adding my leg to get his butt around, so he follows his nose. But I don't like that he feels he has to take control.
In response to this I started to take him by the place where he always wanted to turn into, tempting him to turn into it and then correct him when he did with several rapid disengagements and switch directions and do the same. Then we would walk off on a loose rein. As I was going through this process and thinking about the dynamics of what was happening, I realized he let me know long before he was going to turn that he wanted to turn.  Once that light bulb went on in my mind I started to watch for his indication that we wanted to turn. As we came on those spots and he made is intentions known, by tilting an ear, looking in that direction, or turning his head or leaning in that direction I didn't wait for the actual infraction to happen. I started to correct him by looking in the direction I wanted us to go and then lightly picking up the rein to remind him of such.
     It was at this point that I realized there was a spiritual application in this. God doesn't tempt us to sin. He tests us, but he doesn't tempt us. James 1:13,14 "Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he an man: but every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed." What I was doing was tempting Wildfire to sin and then correcting him when he did what I dared him to do. That was wrong of me. So then I started taking him by those spots where he wanted to turn and watched for his indications then I would look in the direction I wanted to go and pick up on the rein to remind him where we were going. When I offered that kind of feel he stayed on the course I offered. We did this at the walk and trot. But I ran out of time so I did not try this at the canter.
What I discovered is that I really need to be paying attention to his body language so that I can head off any troubles that may be lurking around the next bend.
This is also true of my life. I need to be paying attention to what is happening around me and paying attention to what God is doing or wanting me to do. I can do this by making sure I stay focused on
His Word and looking to apply what I learn to my life on a daily basis. There are all kinds of distractions competing for my attention, but if I stay focused on prevent turning down those paths that lead to destruction.
Walk with Him today and stay in His Word.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016


I was doing some research reading for a devotional I am going to do at a conference in a week or so and was reminded, once again, of the need to THINK while riding. Not that I don't think. Sometimes I think about all kinds of things. But if there is one thing I have learned from coming off a horse too many times or having a 'scare' on a horse is that I HAVE to ride with my mind engaged. Because we as riders we have "to make a lot of adjustments so that the horse can understand. . . . a big key to remember is to always prepare ahead of time. in the boldest print of all, remember the word THINK. Be aware and alert, visualize what you want. Realize you are working with a mind." (Ray Hunt, "Think Harmony with Horses") A horse does have a mind of its own and I need to think about how to keep that mind engaged with mine whenever I am handling one.
Additionally, I was reminded to get in time with his feet. Thus, my feet and his feet move together.
So this afternoon I got Wildfire out and tried these things out, that I have known, and was reminded of once again. I have been having pain in my sacrum and learned some exercises to do to relieve the pain. One of the things they said to do was to pay attention how I stand, sit, lie down and walk. So now I am reminded not to cross my legs while sitting. Sit with my feet flat on the floor. It is hard to get used to that, but I am doing it. That is the same with the riding in time with the horse.
So today when I was riding Wildfire I practiced these things. Thinking about what I wanted and what he was doing and thinking. Several times he was daydreaming so I brought his mind back to me. A few times he decided he wanted to drift off through his shoulder and not follow his nose, so I had to swing his butt over to help him come around to my way of thinking.
I also was paying attention to the swing of my legs and keeping them in time with his front legs. Through this I was able to bring him up to a trot without squeezing my calves. It didn't work all the time, but it was something I worked on with him. I find that he is one who needs his mind occupied and directed to positive things. If I don't pay attention he will just stop. So I have to keep riding him with my seat and legs and move him forward.
When I ride like this I get more tired mentally, than physically. I also have more fun, because I feel like we are moving more in sync with each other.
It reminds me of the Apostle Paul's statement in Phillipians 2:13 "For it is God who works in you both to will and do of His good pleasure." Why, you ask? Well, just as I have a desire for Wildfire to walk, trot, canter, make a turn, stop, backup or whatever may be in my mind. I have to set it up (work in him through my cues) to help him do what I want him or need him to do (my good pleasure). When I am riding Wildfire I need him to understand what I want and to help him desire to do what I ask. So I also (as do you) need God to work in my/your heart to will (ie. have the desire) and to do ( ie. have the power/ability) His good pleasure. In other words, God positions you and me to see that His way is best and gives us the desire to follow His way. That is why Psalmist, saying the same thing, intones, "thou has commanded us to keep thy precepts diligently. O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes!" (Ps. 119:4,5) "cause me to know the way wherein I should walk" (Ps.143:8).
That is my prayer and desire to know what God wants and how to do that. And then the desire and energy to actually do what He wants.
May the Lord bless you as you seek to walk in harmony with your horse and the Lord.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Puffer #3

Well, Not so good today (Thursday, 10/27)
I worked with Puffer, a little rd penning, disengagement, moving the shoulders (real stiff here, but I think that is due to his lameness in the front feet), backing up. He was real calm. I saddled him and moved him around. I even got on and off several times. I tried to get him to move his feet with yielding the hindquarters and then the shoulders. But I think it is too painful for him to put weight on his front, especially when he takes away a leg to take a step.  She even stumbled a couple times and rolled over onto her fetlock. I told her owner that if I was to ride her forward and she did that she would likely go down on her knees. So between me and his owner we decided to discontinue working with until they can get this figured out. I guess it has been going on for two years.
Sometimes we just have to accept that things are not going to go our way. God is the one who is in control of all things. If a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without Him knowing it, then a 5 years old mare cannot stumble without His knowledge. While I am disappointed to not be able to work with her more, I am thankful for more learning on my part. All things do work for my good and God's glory. So in some way God is getting the glory through this situation, (Romans 8:28).

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Puffer pictures

Here are a couple of pics of Puffer. They were taken after I had taken the saddle off of her.

  This was the second time I worked with her. She is lame on the front legs. It seems to change from day to day. Because of that I have had to take it easy with her. I have not been able to do much round penning because of that. This has been a chronic problem for this horse. They are not sure what has caused it. The vet has been out and they have tried shoes, exrays etc. Nothing comes up. It seems that she breaks over to her fetlock as though she walks on her fetlock. Her right tendon has been swollen some too. At any rate I am working with her very lightly. 
  So what have I done? Well, I have worked with her to move her hindquarters into a disengagement, which she is doing quite well. She doesn't give her shoulders as easily, but we are working on that. Yesterday, I also added flanking her out with a rope. She gave no resistance nor tried to buck even when I put it near her groin. I could put my weight against it and she just came off the pressure, not once offering to buck. You might say that she didn't because of her lameness, but I can guarantee that if she wanted to buck she would. I have seen it the day before when I let her get to bothered with a flag. So I am confident that she was okay with the flank strap. I mainly did it because when I saddled her I was going to use a flank cinch. Needless to say she handled the saddling with the collar and flank cinch without a glitch. 
I also got on her back several times from both sides. She stood calm even though I was acting like a drunk, bumping her on the butt and sides with my feet and legs. I was doing whatever I could to be as sloppy getting on and off as I could. I didn't have her step off at all. That will be for the next time. I really want her to get softer at lateral flexion and moving her shoulders and hindquarters before I ask her to move too much. I want to make sure I can control her feet. 
This reminds me that it works best not to give her more than what she can handle. That is the same way that God works with His children. 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (ESV)
He doesn't ask us to bite off more than we can chew. We shouldn't ask our horses to do that either. 
Well, that is all for now. 
Remember, you can handle what God sends your way!

Monday, October 24, 2016


Now that is not what I was doing. However, I have started working with another horse and decided to continue on my blog.
Puffer is a 5yr old Quarter Horse that has not been started under saddle yet. She has struggled with various issues since birth, beginning with a cleft palate. Then she got into some wire and injured her rear cannon bone and now she has a problem with her front tendons along the cannon bone. But I have started to work with her kind a slow. I evaluated her last week and started today to see what we could get done. I started to round pen her, but she began to favor her right front leg so I stopped that and went to see about saddling her. Her owner said she has been saddled many times. So I put the saddle on and off as I usually do a new horse, just to see where she was at mentally with it. It went alright. No bucking. I didn't want that anyhow. Then I brought my flag out and she went nuts so I really had to back that off alot. I got her much better with it. Chatted with her owner as to where she wanted to go with this as long as she favors that leg. So we decided I would work on getting her to accept various things and that I would just start from the beginning and see where we get to by the time I am done with her  at the end of the week.
I am certain that I will be learning alot from this horse.
On another note I have learned alot from Wildfire a 16 year old quarter Horse I have owned for a couple months. He is a sticky footed horse. However, He is getting much better now that I ask for speed much softer and that he immediately gets a reward for quick response. I plan on taking him to a clinic next month and see where we can make improvements.