This column titled Horse Sense has been going through God’s 10 Commandments in horsemanship language every couple of weeks for the past five months.

We were able to compare our quest to improve harmony between human and horse, to real life situations. I communicated that I had found these comparisons through the back door, so to speak (the servants’ entrance). In this installment, I will do a simple summary on the 10 Commandments, showing application in horsemanship and real life. I will offer to the reader which commandment I feel is the most important and why.

In the future, Horse Sense will focus on topics relating to horsemanship, always trying to acknowledge the 10 Commandments and the original author while staying down to earth in a Jesus Christ type of way.

I obtained the 10 Commandments in nature from Pat Parelli, who decided to spell out what it would take to be really good with horses. Through much information and analysis, he narrowed it down to 10 basic dimensions or qualities. He reasoned that these qualities cross over to all other endeavors, and admits he was not looking at the Bible when brainstorming. The only thing he was focusing on was excellent horse/human relations.

It is remarkable how we can find these 10 Commandments by studying God’s creation. But we should not be surprised; Romans 1:20 tells us, “for since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.”

Mike Daniels

Mike Daniels

The first three Commandments get the brain thinking and giving credit, rather than reacting and being paranoid. The game “Simon says” is a good way to illustrate this. In Commandment I, this game helps us to focus on the leader (only one God), No. 2 helps us balance the “nothings” by ignoring false signals (no false gods), and No. 3 helps us move on an authentic call (no misuse of God’s name).

The next three Commandments “reflect” on the thinking process and determine how it could be made better, trying to detect any flaws, prejudices, blind spots, or hypocrisies. I feel the church should be able to do this better than anyone when humility is in place. Commandment IV has us ask, is the observe-remember-and-compare process in place (observe Sabbath)? No. V has us ask, am I tapping into others’ personal experiences (honor father and mother) so I might live longer?  And No. VI brings up the question as humility drives the prior two, are we keeping the “good teacher” attitude at the forefront so as to avoid frustration, panic, or anger that leads to brokenness (no murder)?

The next four Commandments show the most important skills we need to be valuable to the people around us, and of most use to ourselves and the world. No. VII deals with responsibility (no adultery). No. VIII covers respect and sensitivity to the needs of others (no stealing). No. IX is about crystal clear communication (no lies). And No. X deals with flexibility (no coveting).

I feel the third commandment is the most important, because this is the one that gives credit to the true author. It also cuts all the frills and gets right down to the meat (movement, action). We live in a world where we are easily deceived, and therefore the most important thing we can do is be detectives for true authenticity and be willing to be open to it with the intensity of a gazelle. The directive to not misuse God’s name challenges us to find our creator’s truths and put his name on them specifically so we can praise God in living color, rather than in a fuzzy, gray way. Remember that the Third Commandment in horsemanship looks at the three ways we move a horse, pressure, rhythmic pressure, and the two combined. Just like plumb, level, square in carpentry, God gets the credit because no human can “own” these basics.

This theme also has us acknowledge others whom God has used to communicate his truths to us.

The Bible communicates to us that one of the worst sins is pride, and one way of interpreting this is to say we would rather have the credit rather than give it to God, or our fellow brothers, and sisters. Remember, when we misuse God’s name, we steal his lumber and put our name on it. We do the same thing when we take credit when we need to attribute it to someone else. We know that the opposite of pride is humility, and it stands to reason that humility not only grows us better down here, but also determines true religion. The clear gospel in true humility gives 100-percent credit to Jesus Christ for our only payment for eternal salvation. I would challenge anyone to find a more humble stance than that. Pride is by far the biggest reason we would not accept this hat-in-our-hand approach to the one who did it all.

We should all recognize that we can learn from anyone, knowing that we all have a tendency to think we are better than we are by seeing hypocrisy in others before we see it in ourselves. By far the biggest obstacle to growth in horsemanship as well as real life is this (besides justifying laziness). So lets not misuse God’s name by being ashamed to give God credit where credit is due as well as people he works through to build our eternal character!

This quote by Ray Kroc (founder of McDonald’s) is always worth repeating: “If we are green we are growing, if we are ripe we are rotting.”

Mike Daniels is a horsemanship trainer and barefoot hoof-trimming specialist from Raymondville, Mo.  Email: