When your horse is troubled, a good question to ask yourself is this: “Is what you are doing ‘keeping the pot from boiling over?’ Or have you successfully turned off the stove?”
The primary way that a horse relates to trouble (and reacts to trouble in the natural) is by moving his feet. Along this line, the bigger the “BOO,” the faster and further a horse is likely to run. Depending on the circumstance and temperament of the horse, after a short run, he might become curious about what startled him and take another look at what caused the hubbub in the first place.
Understanding how a horse responds is pivotal to alleviating the trouble brewing in your horse’s mind. Think about it. What does your horse do when frightened, uneasy or distracted? When he is not “with you,” his mind is somewhere else.
Generally, one classic method to help your horse how to let go of the thought that is troubling him is to get his feet moving, not in any ol’ way, such as endless circles, but in a precise and planned manner as possible. In this light, the more accurately you can move his feet, the more your horse will need to think about what he is doing – which will require him letting go of his troubling thought. His feet moving, the horse “may” believe that he is escaping the source of the trouble.
Said another way, moving a horse’s feet “keeps the pot from boiling over.” It doesn’t, however, turn off the heat.
So I discovered.
For years, I used the “moving feet” approach but, truth be told, I was not being successful in helping the horse to learn that it was okay to let go of the thoughts that were troubling him and take up another thought. Time after time, I ended up with a horse that was still troubled.
To this day, I can still hear the words of Ray Hunt ringing in my ears, “Charley, get the trouble out!” As I kept seeking to “get that trouble out,” I learned through experience that when a horse is not troubled (and I mean NO TROUBLE, as in none ), a horse’s mind is at peace and his feet will follow naturally.
When we help the horse do this, to “turn loose” of his thoughts, we turn the stove off.
A horse that is turned loose will be attentive to what you are doing and asking of him. Most generally, he will respond with some curiosity and interest regarding where you want to go and do because there is something in it for him. When the stove is turned off, he is at peace which is something your horse loves and will hunt up (if we are aware and give him the chance to find it). Again, peace gives the horse something tangible and enjoyable. If you offer your horse the opportunity to have a peace-filled relationship with you, believe me, life will be so much sweeter and easy for the both of you.
Oft times, our walk with the Lord Jesus can be just like this. Our hearts and minds can be troubled but, instead of encountering the Prince of Peace (and giving Him our troubled thoughts), we “do” just enough keep our lives from being a total wreck. Because we don’t turn off the stove, we end of being in a constant state of unrest, agitation and distraction, ready to bolt when the heat gets too hot. The Kingdom of God, though, is righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Jesus has promised to fill us with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness and self-control. If we try to produce this fruit of the Spirit on our own, we are acting just like the horse that is moving his feet, running in circles. The good is that Jesus has turned off the stove that is pressuring our lives. We can have a life continually of peace and rest as we abide in Him, taking up His thoughts. May we so learn to yield, let go of our trouble and become curious about what His is up to in our lives.
Blessings and Happy Trails,