Purpose is good for our horses as well as us to help us live meaningful lives.
For eternity’s sake “Only one life will soon be passed, only what is done for Christ will last” (a quote from missionary- C.T. Studd). Jesus wants us to point others to him so we can practice caring about others rather than just our own inner circles. This is the strongest and best purpose to leave our comfort zones. To grow with horses, we need to leave our comfort zones quite regular. When we apply meaningful purpose to our horsemanship, we thank God for things horses and humans can accomplish together. There are at least three dimensions of purpose in horsemanship: Chores and working together, exercising our minds and bodies together and practicing and learning so we can help others do the same.
In today’s mechanical world, it is pure gold when we can find work for our horses and us to do together.
This past winter has been a good one for my two horses Buddy and Holly to help me out. Buddy rose to the occasion out maneuvering my smart-aleck bull “Sherman” when I was trying to get him back in the trailer from a vacation at a friend’s place. I used both horses to skid small bales of hay to my cows in the first snowstorm (I could not move my tractor because water in the transmission froze). I have used the horses to go to the ponds to break ice for the cows, and absentee neighbors’ horses (two different neighbors), and let cows into paddocks with hay. I also use them quite regularly to run errands to the mobile homes we have set up for rentals, about a half-mile from our home, in two different directions.
Thank God for all the trees in Missouri that I can use for hitching rails. The ones I use for my horses are well fertilized. Sometimes I will turn them loose in the yards while I am working on a project there and they will cut the grass and fertilize at the same time. I just give the road apples a good kick and they are spread out so they will do some good just like the money example in my prior column.
This past week, my horses (in training as well as my own) found purpose bringing supplies to an older downed cow. I have some 10-foot poly tubs that used to be cattle feeders that I use to drag supplies whenever possible out on my place. I have a rope attached to them so I can dally to my saddle horn and go. I use simple nylon saddlebags that are light and quickly attached for smaller hauls. In this particular instance, vehicles would have rutted up the muddy ground. I used the drag to bring tarp, blanket, hay, and water to the cow at different times. I used the saddlebags to bring grain, medicine, and tools at different times also. I used my horses on weekends, and the horses in training during the week. One of the horses I was training was brought to me partially because she was afraid of cattle.
This was a great purpose for her as she was learning to relax around cattle. I was able to use her to chase off other cows that were nosing in on “Old Red’s” feed also. We did end up losing the cow, but it was a great way to involve the horses in helping this old cow in her last hours. I had a feeling she would not make it because of her age, but I felt that the least I could do for a cow that served me well for many years was to have my wife April and I to team up with the horses to make her as comfortable as possible.
I got to thinking that this is really the most genuine attitude to serve God. The more we acknowledge what he has done for us now and especially for eternity, we can not help but to think of more ways we can volunteer our time and effort to serve him and his creation better. Many of these things we do can have great purpose in growing all of those involved. People of God have a history of useful endeavors that no one else seemed to have the time or gumption for.
Next time I will focus on exercising our minds and bodies together.
Mike Daniels is a horsemanship trainer and barefoot trimming specialist from Raymondville. Email: email@example.com.