God’s Seventh Commandment is no adultery, with the horsemanship comparison of “impulsion.”

Other words would be self-control and responsibility, and work ethic also belongs here. This would be any area where we have feelings or passions of the moment overriding our brain. Examples include laziness, oversleeping, overeating, too much or not enough work or play, panic and uncontrolled anger. If we can’t all confess guilt before God on this one, we need to look at the Ninth Commandment.

A while back, I wrote that balance in the Second Commandment dealt with false gods (distractions, prejudices) in our overall agenda. The balance problem in adultery/impulsion is more “in the moment.” Our emotions tell us to stop when we are bored, lazy or tired, when we actually should keep going. They also tell us to keep going when we are overly excited or stimulated by something, when we should really stop.

Mike Daniels

Mike Daniels

It is funny how the childishness (selfishness) we should lose, we can tend to keep and the youthfulness (inspiration) we should keep, we tend to lose. If it weren’t for Isaiah 40:30-31, we might as well throw in the towel: “…those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles.”

With horses, when we develop impulsion, we are trying to convince a lazy horse to consistently move without us nagging them. We try to convince a lively horse to stay at a constant speed without us having to pull on the reins as much. The goal is to impart a responsibility to keep a consistent speed and direction while also adjusting for obstacles. Horses with go need to stop quickly, and slow horses need to accelerate quickly.

My column on the First Commandment communicated putting ourselves in the role of God so we might understand the big picture (panoramic view). We can see the possibility of imagining a horse that would choose devotion to us over its “indulgences” in the short run. We know that we would be more than motivated to give them more than what they wanted in the long run from this show of loyalty to us.

We can easily see how this would also work between God and ourselves (Matthew 6:33 – seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well). The million-dollar question is: how do we do it?

With horses, we can start this by clearly communicating to them that it is their responsibility to keep moving, not ours. We give them a clear body language to move, enforce it and then leave them alone until they actually stop (do not enforce until they actually stop). The human element is to learn not to nag, only enforcing blatant infractions.

Success is achieved by giving responsibilities that are easy to uphold and enforce, and then gradually building from there. Lazy horses need limited repetition, and lively horses need more repetition to relax. Repetition helps develop good habits so we all learn to respond unselfishly. Too much repetition can sour and dull the thought process, so we need to sense the balance point.

Besides building repetition of good habits, we need to make the right thing easy and the wrong thing difficult. Lively horses will need changes of direction more often to get them to want to stop. Lazy horses should have changes of direction sporadically to fight boredom and stay sharp. Basically, we need to shape their world so lively horses learn to enjoy rest, and lazy horses learn to enjoy movement. Horses actually grow easier than humans here (another reason to tap into God’s capacity to change us once we realize how dependent on him we are).

We can see how positive peer pressure can help make the right thing easy and the wrong thing difficult for us humans; we recognize how little self-control we really have on our own. But when we become transparent and accountable to others, God can turn us from chickens to eagles much easier (Hebrews 10:24, “Let us consider how we might spur one another on toward love and good works”).

I mentioned earlier how we would like to teach a horse to be a self-worker, and start listening to more subtle signals. This skill gets the horse thinking more about body language so we do not have to baby-sit them with equipment so much. It is up to the human to be very clear with their body language, actually exaggerating it to start. A horse can and will do far more with a human this way than they would ever do on their own (provided the human has a fair degree of self discipline). As with humans and horses, human obedience to God translates into far more usable skill with God than without God.

To summarize, the adultery commandment exposes childishness that humans and horses bring into adulthood. Success in the realm of self-control and responsibility makes an incredible difference with horses or humans. Loyalty of horse to human, much like human obedience to God, moves us from a picture of chickens fluttering in a tiny trash-filled yard, to eagles soaring in a magnificent, panoramic sky!

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