God’s sixth commandment is do not murder.

The things that can get people or horses injured or killed starts with “attitude.”

Normal people and horses murder from negligence or emotion, which can roller coaster one to another. Poor attitudes cause us to skip steps, which makes it easier to destroy rather than build (and experience undesirable “happenings”). To counter this we need the attitude of a good teacher and detective.

Negligence starts with laziness. We may not feel like learning or doing more. We can assume we already know, or just don’t care. We might pacify ourselves into thinking we care by giving a horse more carrots, rather than spending time and sweat within the partnership. Sometimes we assume that if we can talk it, or watch it, then we can do it (Jeremiah 17:9 – our heart is deceitful). With horses as well as all else, love is shown by what needs to be done, not just following feelings. I tell people that the round pen, and/or arena with props, speaks far more love than a stall (prison cell) or treat (bribe).

Mike Daniels

Mike Daniels

Horses and humans both have a couch potato problem in our modern times. I will relate in my next column about the seventh commandment that following feelings, rather than what is right, imitates the lack of self control in adultery. If fear is the reason for our negligence, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The only thing that will conquer fear besides prayer is to get out there and just do it!

Usually, panic or anger is the up and down exaggeration from negligence, because steps were skipped and/or preparation skimped. This escalation of both extremes reminds us of the imbalance of false gods in the second commandment. Lackadaisical attitudes in practicing can cause over-reacting attitudes in a given situation (Proverbs 18:9 – laziness is brother to destruction).

In our time of specialization, we might think we should get someone else to teach since we may not be as versed, or as natural in this area. I am convinced that true love is the willingness for us to learn so that we might help others learn. I know this is God’s way of stretching us to take on skills, and do things we would not normally do. It is funny how we will attempt something like this when we are first infatuated with somebody or something. Then when the newness wears off, we pay more attention to our aches, pains and naturally ebbing feelings.

We care about our horse by always considering what we might do to prepare us both better knowing that storybook feelings come and go. This truth and light campaign is the “volunteer effort” to become a better detective, searching out sins that might surprise us in the future. Detective work for the “learning partnership” can be remembered through the 10 Commandments:

I – test lateral flexion

II – test spookiness

III – test three body languages (I-III = God’s tools)

IV – test maneuverability

V – others’ input

VI – teachable attitude (IV-VI = learning)

VII – test responsibility

VIII – test imitating Christ

IX – test vertical flexion

X – test liberty work (VII-X = skills)

This evaluation of our horse’s attitude can take up to 20 minutes or so if the partnership is out of practice. But it can take as little as a matter of seconds once we are familiar with the process and everything is clicking into place.

We can let our guard down on our well-trained horses. After starting hundreds of colts (some of them quite intense), my only trip to the hospital was from a horse I use to give lessons on. This is also one of the horses I use to give bareback, bridle-less demonstrations.

One day I jumped on her out in the pasture without equipment. I assumed her attitude was right, and neglected to check it. She spun me into the ground harder than I remember ever coming off of a horse. My arm had to be stitched and my ribs were sore for about six weeks.

We can summarize the no murder commandment by recognizing the importance of “attitude.” Negligence destroys, but the true love of a teachable attitude builds through truth and light!

The fourth, fifth, and sixth commandments may be considered the learning, growing ones. Use your brain, and others’ brains, then detect, learn and teach.

Then may all our surprises be good ones.

Mike Daniels is a horsemanship trainer and barefoot hoof-trimming specialist from Raymondville. Email: rlhorse58@yahoo.com.