Having a horse loving little girl means that we have spent our fair share of time seated upon bleachers as spectators at equestrian competitions. The riders and horses work as a team and the feats performed vary.
Among the competitive events offered is one called “Gamblers Choice.” In Gamblers Choice there are a multitude of “obstacles” for the horse and rider to maneuver through and around. In one particular competition we observed obstacles such as a “Tickle Me Elmo” in all of its giggling glory, a caged rooster and a path of colorful swimming pool “noodles” that had to be walked through. These items that would typically draw the close-up interest of even the smallest human child have the ability to instill pure terror in a horse.
Timid by nature, horses have a tendency to be extremely wary of anything new, different or unknown that they happen to encounter. The “fight or flight” instinct within them is perpetually set to “flight” and when feeling afraid, their favored response is to turn tail and run. Literally.
As horse and rider attempt to overtake each obstacle before them several important elements come to light. It’s understood that it is impossible to for a rider to force an equine to do anything that it does not want to do. With no less than an 800 pound advantage, a horse only does ultimately what it decides it is willing to do. When asked to maneuver around an object that it would rather have nothing to do with, it is ultimately trust that encourages a horse to “walk on.”
With no confidence in themselves, it is confidence in the one who leads them which spurs a horse to overcome their fear of those things which seem insurmountable. I continue to be amazed at these majestic creatures who are obviously clueless of their own strength. Even one mild kick of their hoof would obliterate any of the obstacles that oftentimes render them paralyzed, balking in fear.
The trust that exists between a horse and its rider is one that has been developed over long rides, long talks and sometimes long battles of the will. A skilled equestrian is one who has worked with their four legged friend faithfully and patiently enough to assure them that they will never lead them into danger. A horse was created to feel most comfortable when it is being led. The one who leads must endure the process of proving themselves confident, consistent and courageous enough for both of them when courage is in question.
As a child of God I can identify with an all around fear of the unknown. So much more comfortable to me are those things which are familiar, safe and known. And yet, life continues to be one great big “Gambler’s Choice” event. One unknown obstacle after another presents itself before me. Often I balk at that which seems insurmountable, sometimes paralyzed even by fear. And yet, consistently, it is my reliance upon the one who leads me that helps me overcome each time. I tend to forget 1 John 4:4 which states “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
Whatever obstacle is set before you Child of God, be encouraged…the one who leads you loves you more than you could ever fathom. He is trustworthy and faithful and as you submit to His leading, you will be strengthened by the Joy which you find in Him.
Father, thank you for your Holy Spirit which leads and guides me into all truth.