I had an interesting day yesterday with this little Lady
She belongs to my good friend, Becki... and her name is.... Lady
Becki kindly offered me some equine therapy in the spring, when everything seemed dark and closing in. It did me a world of good to leave behind chemo and hickman catheters, and simply brush a horse for awhile.
Each time I arrived, she would come running to meet me, eager for some brushng and her apple. I was told she did not like to be tied- indeed had broken a board in the fence, so we worked on that a bit. I occasionally would lead her - just to get a feel for the horse. On one of those first occasions, I led her in a circle, set her up to look pretty and stepped in front of her. When I stepped toward her- up in the air she went. I've never been in that position before- it was somewhat like a movie- horse rearing over my head. I've been quite cautious with Lady ever since. I might not know much- but I do know that a horse without 4 feet on the ground is a dangerous thing.
We went along without incident until last weekend. I was there with my son, simply wanting to brush and fuss. I led Lady away from the gate, and without warning- those back feet were flying in the air. Thank God noone was behind her.
I've been talking to my friend Sandy about Lady. Sandy is fascinated by horses and their behavior. For years she has been training her own and helping others with their problem children. Sandy came with me to the barn yesterday.
The first 15 minutes were fine. She began teaching me to "ask" the horse to lower her head. Simply put a tiny bit of pressure on the lead and the Moment the horse Gives at all- RELEASE. The release is the reward. You must be quick with it.
That was all well and good. We stood and talked for a few minutes, then started to lead Lady toward the fence. Apparently Lady had enough- because up in the air she went. Stand back.
Then began the most fascinating demonstration I have ever seen. Sandy never lost her calmness or coolness. She got the long training whip from the barn- and without ever touching her- simply began moving the horse. When Lady came toward her, Sandy raised the whip and let out a "yah" Lady ran to the far side of the field. Sandy followed at a determined walk. Lady ran back, Sandy followed. The horse was perfectly free to run, but within 15 minutes or so, it became obvious that Sandy was directing the horse which way to go.
An Hour or more of this followed, and at the end of the hour- the horse was standing- without any type of lead or restraint and facing Sandy no matter what direction she turned. When the horse turned to face Sandy, Sandy would often turn her back and walk off a few feet. The horse turned to face her again. Any time the horses attention was off of Sandy- Sandy simply raised the whip. Lady would start to run off again, but she wasn't running far now- just a few feet- then turning back to face Sandy.
I followed them back and forth across the field- safe on my side of the fence. As I watched the last half hour or so, with Lady turning to watch Sandy- to keep her eyes always on Sandy- without restraint- totally able to leave any time she wanted- it seemed clear to me that this must be a picture of what God does with us. He lets us run, wild and free. When we are in trouble, when our behavior is such that it is going to cause a problem- does he perhaps simply say- keep running- I'm just going to walk behind you and patiently guide you?
Is God's goal for us the same as Sandy's was for Lady? Sandy was patient, determined, and intent. She would not stop until she was standing with Lady's eyes fixed on her. She did not restrain, she did not beat the horse..... she simply kept her moving until she was tired of running.
As Lady stood, eyes fixed on Sandy.... Sandy would approach her and rub her face- or brush her a bit. We're ok, that gesture seemed to say. I'm in your corner- I want what is best for you. Just keep your eyes on me.