The outside of the horse is good for the inside of a man… true enough. But there is also a darker side to horsemanship, a side that brings out some of our worst character traits. Feeding into our masked desire for self promotion and, ugh, pride. We horse people are quick to judge another man’s abilities, quick to give advice and quick to shake our heads and declare “That fool is going to get killed”.
I can not go to a horse show without evaluating each rider’s seat and every horse’s frame. The irony is most of them are far superior horse people. Ah, but something inside of us drives us to criticize, to watch for the one time the trainer loses his temper, to point the finger and call it abuse. Oh, and if someone has one skinny horse in a pasture full of fatties, they are negligent. Why are we so harsh with one another? Perhaps no one else is as arrogant as I am; maybe this pride is restricted to my foolish heart, but I doubt it. Pride and horsemanship like any other, hobby, sport, or for some, lifestyle, coexist because so much of our energy and resources are consumed by our passion. We take credit for our accomplishment as we strut around declaring “My little Birdie has the best frame of all the horses and yes, it is all because of me,” forgetting about all the help received from wranglers, teachers and trainers that many times had to fix the messes I made.
But our God is wise: He made horses so inconsistent and so quirky that just as fast as our head hits the clouds our bottoms hit the ground and humiliation sets in. Horse riding is a bipolar event. At one moment you feel on top of the world, (like “I can do it all!) and just like that the story changes and you wonder if you will ever learn how to get your horse to stop…(fill in the blank). I want to stop riding extremes and just ride my horse.
The first question in the Shorter Catechism is “What is the chief end of man?” and the answer is: “Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him forever.” It is my desire and the desire of Wild Ones Youth Ranch to simply enjoy God’s creatures and give God the glory over His creation without taking credit. If I could spend less time scrutinizing and more time enjoying, my heart would rejoice in His glorious creation, and there is no pride in rejoicing in our Creator. To all my horse friends … I am sorry! Enjoy your horse today, and rejoice with others as they do the same.