Most of the time, I share with you about horses but, today, I want to talk a bit about art, artistry and being an artist — which I consider myself to be.
But let me explain a little bit. Some artists, like my cinematographer friend, Samuel Pyke, create beauty with images, light and expression. Others, like western writer and rancher, John L. Moore, have perfected the art of combining words, emotions and memories into stories that are poignant and unforgettable.
My artistic medium is horseflesh and nature is my canvas. To some, this might be a new concept since we usually think and talk about the horse in regards to competition or pleasure, and there is nothing wrong with that. However, very rarely do we consider that what we do with the horse can become truly an art form, something that far transcends technique and basic skill.
Having given my life to this work, this artistry with the horse, it is natural for me to think, whenever I start with a horse, of the long term, big picture and the potential glorious transformation that might occur in this living creature – and myself. For to positively change a horse one must also undergo some changes in themselves.
So I ask myself, “How can I develop and mold this animal into an object of beauty in movement and softness? What are we doing together that will enable this animal in character and presentation to have a good, healthy, peace-filled life mentally and physically? What healing can I help bring about in this animal and its rider that reflects and represents the redemptive, life-giving relationship that the Lord Jesus has with us and all of His creation?”
As the Master’s artisan, my work with the horse and the human is an ever- growing extension of my relationship with Jesus Christ, the One who willingly went to Calvary to free us from a dead way of thinking and a lifestyle that is not very glorious. On that cross, He birthed in us a new creation, one that is truly beautiful.
So in this round pen of life, Jesus is the Potter and I am the clay that He enjoys so very much. As He works to bring beauty into my life, I, as the clay, get to enjoy all the challenges and frustration that go along with being molded into His image. In this process, I also get to partake of the joy of being in relationship with the Lord, who is always abundant with purpose, patience, love and creativity.
In the decades I have lived in this direction, I think that as He is with us, we should seek to be with our horses.
In my experience, though, the vast majority of riders only want to “train” their horses. Get some result. Scratch the surface. And, truth be told, when I was younger, these were my objectives, too. I simply did not know that there was so much more available and possible.
Yet, as I got older and thought more deeply about what Ray Hunt tried to show me during the years that I knew and worked with him, my perception and goals with the horse significantly evolved. Now, what I desire and look for today is much deeper and significant than “training.”
Such is often that case in our walk with God. When one is born anew, you can start thinking that Jesus’ only desire is to “train” us for service. But, as I have come to see and walk it out, there is an objective much deeper and higher possible from His perspective.
And it is this. To transform us into a true work of art if you will— namely to become like Him.
Jesus does His work not with rules, wrath or criticism. Instead, He accomplishes everything relationally — with kindness, gentleness, and firmness when necessary, ever making us into a vessel of beauty that can be of great service. The vessel only prepared for a job may not show the presence of beauty for which it was intended.
It is my belief that anyone who rides can achieve beauty with his or her horse. Yes. Through having a good attitude, learning some basics of function and exercising due diligence, even the youngest among us can create this artistry.
The well conformed horse of body and mind is relatively easy. As Ray, a master artist used to say, one of those that enable us to say “I are a horse trainer.”
What of the poorly conformed, insecure, troubled and defensive animal. Is it possible? Yes. In the hands of those who have developed their ability into an art they can become sound in body and mind. They are the horses that the change is so noticeable, dramatic and rewarding.
So it is with the indwelling Christ. Those of us that appear most unworthy, unlovely, outcast and having no value are the ones that He can change the most dramatically.
These momentary glimpses of glory I experience in the arena or round pen give me inspiration and desire to continue to create and enhance something beautiful in the horse and those that work with them. Although the biggest drawback personally is that these four-footed masterpieces of mine do not live forever for future generations to see, these horses live on eternally in my memory and in my hope of seeing them yet once again in the new heaven and new earth to come.
Looks like we did talk about horses after all.
Blessings and Happy Trails,