Friday, February 28, 2014

~You have the reins

Take my reins Lord, Your will my command
My body your temple, my life's in your hands.
Please use the spur Lord if ever I fight
And try to do the wrong and not right.
Lord I may balk from things I don't know
But if you're with me, forward I'll go.
One step at a time, I'll walk right beside
Because I'm safe, with you as my guide.

In so many ways, the more I learn about horses, the more it reminds me of my relationship with God. He's the rider and I'm the horse. God isn't a dictator, demanding that we obey or else. He's a loving God who has guidelines and boundaries set up to protect us. We have our horses in a pasture. If we didn't they might get hit on the road. This may sound pretty academic but I think it's so neat!
  Most horses are born with a natural distrust for humans. They will hide behind their moms, just out of your reach. Lets say you work with this baby. You show it that when you pull on the halter it is to move towards you. Most times they will pull against you in the beginning; trying to get away from the pressure. If you do it right they will learn to yield to pressure and follow or come to you.
  In that same way God asks us to draw closer to Him. He puts pressure on certain areas of our lives, asking us to make the right decision and turn to Him. (Are you getting this? Or am I just confusing you!)
  When that baby does decide to trust you and follow, he needs rewarded right away. (So he knows he did the right thing.) How? By releasing the pressure.
  God also takes the pressure away that He was applying when we give our wills up to Him and decide to trust Him completely.

 Have you ever round penned a horse? No I don't mean just sending it around to get out some of that energy, I mean Natural Horsemanship- body language. You normally do this when you don't have a very good relationship and you either want your horse to respect or trust you more.
 First you send them away, and make them keep going. In the beginning his focus isn't on you. Its on the other horses, other distractions, or the gate. He doesn't realize yet why he's doing this He slows down, so you quickly apply (Here it is again!) pressure and make him go faster. Such as swinging a rope, or using a whip with a bag on the end, or for the Parelli people a carrot stick. :) There he found out he needs to keep moving and there is someone in the middle of his circle directing him. So he starts eyeing that person, wondering what's going on. (Ok back to you) As he's circling you start backing up and over and make it evident you want him to turn and go the other way. In essence you are now blocking him. He has two choices: (Well he could actually just run over you!) to turn towards you and the middle, and turn around, or turn towards the fence and turn around. (This is so much harder to explain than I thought. Why don't you just come over and I'll sow you what I mean!) Lets say he turns towards the fence. He either doesn't trust or respect you enough because in doing so he has turned his hindquarters towards you and his face away. So that was wrong. Therefore you apply more pressure, making him work harder. Hopefully then he realizes "That didn't work. I turned away and life got harder." Ok horses don't really rationalize like that but do you see where I'm going? God wants to be the center of your world; your total focus. When you turn away he applies pressure to bring you back to Him.
  The last part of round penning is when you have his attention and focus: he's watching you, has one ear turned towards you, and he also starts chewing or licking his lips. They are are signs of a willing spirit. So you step out and ask him to stop. He does, so you turn around and step away. This is the moment. Does he trust you enough to follow or come in to you?
  God does this too. (No not turn his back on you.) He works with you and when He sees the walls come down and the beginning of a broken and contrite heart He tests you to see if you will step out in faith and follow Him.

So, will you? God never fails, He never goes back on His word. 
Can you trust Him?
Will you trust Him? 

Photos by: Tashia

How I talked about it up there is how I have learned to do it. I actually combined my methods of doing this from Clinton Anderson, Monty Roberts, and the Parellis. 

 I got Dunny out just to take pictures for this post. He was like "I know what this is about." Right off he started licking and chewing and trying to come in! I was like "Just hang on fella I need some pictures. Act like we're doing this for real!"

In the end he decided to show off a bit for the camera!

Oh and if you're wondering about those logs in the middle. Well we had a trail course set up and they just didn't get moved yet. I normally don't use logs for round penning!

Oh and by the way, its one of the BEST feelings in the world when your horse walks towards you for the first time. Even if its only a few steps, or one step. He has decided to trust you! Maybe I'm just an emotional person. You don't feel like that? :)


  1. Wonderful post Heather! I have actually read a lot of about 'joining up' and would really enjoy doing it with our hackney pony. Unfortunately- we don't have a round pen! ;-( Hopefully we'll be able to someday seeing as how she's pretty...not 'skittish' but she doesn't really completely trust us either. Great pictures by the way! ~Rebekah

    1. Aww that's too bad you don't have a round pen. I know how it is. I actually used our arena to do it for a while. Its awful having to run from one end to the other end. :( Round pens are so nice!

  2. PS

    I love Monty Robert's methods! :-) ~Rebekah

  3. I really like this analogy! I'm not a horsey person and I've never worked with horses, like trying to get them into pens (I only know how much a pain it is to get sheep into pens!), but I think I got how it works. :) And, I really like the very first photo too. :)

    1. Oh dear! I can only imagine how it is to do sheep! I enjoy working cows with our horses though.

  4. I love this post! I use to have a horse, but we moved and had to give her back. ;( Our horse was ROTTEN! And sometimes I feel like I am doing that with God.
    Thank you so much for this post!
    Bubbles and Blessings!