I like to tell people that God gives us his role to play with horses so we can get an idea of what he feels like dealing with us. This holds up a long as we are talking about a horse being an extension of our own bodies. When it comes to us always making wise choices, this model can completely fall apart.
Back when I graduated from college, I put together a small rental horse stable after I initially tried to lease a big horse stable. I was losing money big-time as we got into summer with college students leaving and no need for an indoor arena in warmer weather. God saved me from complete disaster by helping me get set up simple in a location along the Cache La Poudre River in Ft. Collins, Colo.

Mike Daniels

Mike Daniels

I leased the corner of this property cheap from some people I trained horses for. I learned to live as cheaply as possible as I dealt with an average income of $700 per month. I was still able to live on $350 monthly while saving $350 monthly to buy horses and saddles (double that money to put it in today’s terms, yet horses can be obtained now for the same price as back then). These horses were slowly replacing the ones I was leasing in order to produce income. Thank God I did not borrow money back then, although I tried at times.

My major in college was agricultural economics. All of us “future agriculturalists” were encouraged to “leverage” our money by borrowing to the hilt. My graduating class of 1980 was instrumental in helping to lose many farms and ranches to foreclosure from the modern advice of the time. I survived with that smaller horse stable for seven years before deciding to sell. I decided to disperse it just before I married my wife, April, in 1987. The new owner of the land I was on was getting real nervous that he was going to get sued from a horseback riding accident. He was asking me to buy insurance that I could not afford. Ironically, I was the only one paying him rather than asking for money.

He lost his place through bankruptcy a few years later. In those seven years I had survived getting all my saddles stolen, a fire and a “helper” emptying my bank account by stealing checks and writing them against my account. I had three accidents with people getting hurt (most of them were people who thought they knew how to ride). Thank God I was not negligent in those instances, and did not let any lawyers intimidate me, though some tried.
I had a real close call with a horse getting hurt, and by the grace of God it turned out all right. I had a grey mare that a renter got all four legs caught down in some railroad ties up on railroad bridge over a river bed. God helped orchestrate a vet, a logger, a farmer and a welder to help get that horse out of that predicament. The vet gave a shot to relax the horse for 20 minutes or so, while everyone else went to work. The logger cut the railroad ties next to the horse with his chainsaw. The farmer used his front end loader to move the horse, and the welder had the chain and belly band to lift the mare out of the railroad ties.

Her legs were scraped up a bit, otherwise no bones were broken or muscles injured. I always wondered how that horse was able to go so far across that bridge before falling through (she was almost across it). I was aware of a previous instance of a rider taking a horse across the same bridge that did not turn out so good. They had to put the horse down.

God’s record of Balaam’s donkey in the Old Testament of the Bible sure seems applicable here. There are times when a horse, mule or donkey says no, and they end up being right and we are wrong. Just another way to show how valuable true humility and godliness is.

We are listening to God when we realize he can talk to us through any body and anything, including a horse. But we are most close to God when we are teachable enough to realize that he is God and we are not, through the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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