Some of you might remember that about a year ago, a little piglet arrived in our neck of the woods. Pig Pig is his name. From the very start, Pig Pig seemed to immensely enjoy his new surroundings and neighbors, even though the twentyplus horses had another mind about that altogether. As the months have passed, once Little Pig Pig has grown into now Big Pig Pig with a fullfledged hog curiosity and personality. He has become rather fearless around the horses.
Which I can’t say the same for them. In particular, Cruizer.
A couple of weeks ago, I started working with Cruizer, a 10year appendix registered gelding. The other day, early in the afternoon, I tied Cruizer to a drop from a tree limb. A drop is a rope or light chain with a ring attached to a swivel to tie a horse to. It allows the horse to freely turn in both directions and can facilitate him learning to bend and follow a feel. Unbeknownst to me, Pig Pig was out of his pen and that dang hog decided to check things with the brown gelding. He even chose to do some rooting directly under the drop where Cruizer was standing. When I came to check on Cruizer, that industrious pig had dug a mammoth crater four feet wide and about a foot and a half deep right where Cruizer would have comfortably stood.
Although Cruizer could have given Pig Pig a good swift kick, instead, he was having a meltdown. Standing as far back from the tree and that pig as his lead would allow, the gelding was terrified. He wanted nothing to do with me, Pig Pig or anything within 50 yards of the tree.
In fact, Cruizer’s only thought was to bolt as far and fast as possible. Out of panic, he was willing to run over me to save his life. Having never being taught to let go of a thought and take another, he was too fearful to draw support, direction and comfort from me.
I have to tell you. The situation was pretty dicey. A number of times, I had to do what was necessary to keep from harmed by Cruizer. Finally, after twenty minutes of the most physical and stressful exercise one could imagine between man and horse, to my relief, poor Cruizer finally began to let go of his fearful thoughts about Pig Pig.
In those moments, as I sought to stay connected to Cruizer and give him support, the thought came to me: “This is so similar to walking with the Lord.”
Let me explain. First, one thing we must understand to the core—God is good, period. It begins and ends with His goodness. Were this not so, we would self-destruct in a heartbeat due to the stupid, ignorant, selfish and sinful things we do. It is God’s vast goodness that leads us into that place of repentance and His love.
It is the clash of that goodness and our Pig Pig thoughts that so much stress and disharmony plays in our lives.
Take me, for example. The Lord Jesus has spoken to me audibly very few times in my walk with Him, for which I am grateful. However, that is not the norm. It is through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit that I know when I am in the Spirit or living out of my soul. And, if I choose not to yield to His Spirit but, instead, stubbornly hold on to my own way, then the “stressful exercise” begins on my part, not His part, because my fleshly will left to its own devices is at odds with His Spirit.
However, when I come to grips with what terrifies, bothers or sets off my stubbornness, when I yield (i.e. take up another thought) to His Presence, then the attributes of the Holy Spirit (Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Gentleness, and SelfControl) flood my entire being.
So it is with our horses.
When they let go thoughts that are troubling them and, instead, take up another thought of a more peaceful and productive nature, they can come in a harmonious relationship with us humans – one that is so much talked about in the horse world but which is actually pretty elusive to many, both horse and human alike. The good news is that a life without trouble is attainable if we will “think again” and allow ourselves to be changed.
Although this way of working with the horse and his thoughts can be very exasperating with many of those confusing, “what am I doing here” moments, the joy and satisfaction of helping a horse come to that place of peace in his thoughts far outweighs the investment involved. If you would walk down this road with your horse, you will soon come to the conviction that, “Yes. This is the right path.”
With Cruizer, his encounter with Pig Pig is by no means the end of the story and dealing with his belief system. Like countless other “trained” horses, he has become very well learned in how to “do” all the round pen and ground work “stuff” – but has never learned the core essentials of letting go of his troubling thoughts and learning how to believe in the human and get connected.
However, as I stay faithful and consistent with helping him, I know that he will soon become a believer.
Blessings and Happy Trails,