Good Horse – Bad Horse

I don’t think I’ve ever read a classified add about a horse for sale that says, “Be careful. This horse is a worthless animal that is intent on being the boss regardless what it takes.” The owner might say something like “spirited” and give it a temperament rating of 6 or 7.

I am well aware of my abilities and talents riding. I do well on Martini, my 8-year-old APHA sorrel gelding. We understand each other. We did reasonably well in English and Dressage competition considering our experience and training. We do fine trail riding. I know what makes him edgy and he knows what I expect. But I am not a championship reiner or high-level dressage competitor. You won’t find me going over 4′ fences or traveling through eventing fields.

Martini was a good addition to our family; not extremely expensive but not “a throwaway.” He also wasn’t a $25,000 futurity prospect ready to tear the world up. It might be great to have a horse like that. I don’t know. But I do know that if you put me on a $25,000 horse, or even a $250,000 horse, in about 10 minutes he (or she) will look about as good as a $2,500 horse.

I am a rider; confident, but not delusional. Just a $2,500 rider.

I work pretty hard when I am riding to get better. Lately I have been kept from the saddle by so many things so my boy is being used to welcome new riders to the world of “giddy up” and “whoa.” As soon as better weather shows up we will start working again on things that he and I both need to improve on.

And the reason is that I have a stewardship issue with this horse. It is my responsibility to see that he improves, has a job, and gets more out of life than just being a pasture ornament.

Sometimes grazing is all that our buddy can do because of age or infirmity. It isn’t his fault and now he deserves a peaceful life. The other side of the coin is the reality that we have a stewardship responsibility to our saddle partner. It is one of the greatest and rewarding responsibilities, next to parenting (or grand-parenting), that we can have.

When Noah left the houseboat that protected his family and the zoological world that accompanied him, God told him he would forever have a responsibility for the animals – even to the point of being accountable to The Father.

That is pretty important stuff and should cause us to pause next time we see a horse that needs rescue or cross the path of a poacher harvesting something out of season. What is our response? And to whom do we owe it?

It may be a good horse or it may be a bad horse, but it is His (The Father’s) horse and deserves the respect due for being something created by the Hand of God. We need to remember that and be ready when we see it is time to “Cowboy Up.”

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