Training a Green Colt
Today I want to talk about how I have learned about the way that God works in my life personally and how I can better respond to the way that He works in my life.
Breaking Colts isn't the easiest thing that you'll ever do, but it is one of the most rewarding things that I have ever done in my life. I feel like this is how God feels when He deals with us and tries to help us become what He wants us to become and what He sees that we can be.
When you first get a young colt you begin to look at it and at it's pedigree to get a rough idea of what this young colt can become and then you will get an even better idea when you actually see this colt in person and start being around it. This will go right along with God saying in Jeremiah that He knew us before he formed us in the belly, and he knew what we could become. I know that you can tell a lot about a horse by the blood that runs through its veins and the ancestry that it has, but I know that when it comes down to it, it's when we are working with the horse that we truly begin to realize the potential it has.
The first day you get the colt in a small pen and you try to calm him down enough so that you can even be able to touch him and possibly get a halter on him. This isn't easy, and all of them aren't the same. Some of them are brown nosers and try and run over you like that annoying pet no one wants and others are as far away from you as they can be at all times. This is a lot like the people on the earth today and the variations in our lives to how closely we are to living God's gospel. Either way, with time the colt begins to realize that you are there to be a friend and to try and help him out. Once in a while you have to rope them and they learn the hard way a couple of times that we are their friends and some other times they begin to respect your personal space and treat you how you need to be treated. This is one of my favorite things in the process of breaking a colt. I like to see them take that initial step to BECOMING what they can be. This is the same feeling that I get every day as I share the gospel with people and I see them begin to believe that Jesus Christ is their Savior and Redeemer.
After a couple of days with this young colt out in a round pen you begin to build a bond and you come and give it some grain every day and you take some time to get close to him every day and build trust with him. Some of the things that built that ultimate trust are rubbing every single bit of their body until they flinch no more, flapping a plastic bag all around them until it effects them no more or little at that, one other thing that you can do is to run a rope around their legs and their body which will make them feel trapped. All three of these things closely relate to some things that God does with us in our lives. He begins to show himself in every part of our daily lives and we soon realize that He has meant everything that He has ever promised to us. Other times he allows us to have trials in our lives and get tangled up in a mess, so that we can learn that He is there to help us out of every situation that we get in. It's cool to see a horse the first time that you toss a rope around it's feet and how the buck and jump like crazy to when you can rope them and pull tight and they just stand there and stay calm. This is a lot like when we begin to learn that we can always trust in God no matter how tight or scary the situation begins to become.
Now we have built a good trust with the colt and we are going to start expecting something of him. We are going to take our time and put a saddle on him little bit by little bit. First we might put the blanket on him and walk away and then come back and take it off and then rub him down. We then repeat in this process with the saddle on the blanket as well until the colt doesn't blow up and go hog wild when you begin to tighten the cinch up. I know that this is a lot like when we begin to gain responsibility in our lives to Do God's work. We get a calling and we are nervous, but just when we are about to not be able to handle it anymore we get released or get some extra help and God reassures us that things are ok. But for some reason, the expectation and responsibility level just continues to go up. These might be simple things in our lives like being examples to those around us or raising kids in a God loving and God fearing home. This also could be needing to stand up for what we believe in no matter who is around us and what the circumstances are.
Not long after this process we put a bit in the colts mouth and run some long lines on him. This is like one lone set of reins. The one end clips to one side of the bit and then runs through the stirrup on the same side of the horse and runs around the back end of the horse. It then runs back around the other side of the horse and through the stirrups and clipped to the bit on the other side. The reason that we do this is so that the horse has a general knowledge of what is going to happen when you get on his back to that you are in control up there and not him. I believe that at this point in the training process is related to the point in our lives when we begin to have positions of leadership. We are called to leadership which is the bit in the mouth, we don't really like it at first but as we chomp on it a little while, we begin to like the feel of it in our mouths. Now when the reigns are put on we start having some specific roles that are just small to see if we will be able to handle something bigger. With time we start to learn how to bend our body and turn and stop and even when to go. This is an amazing process to watch happen and I love being a part of this particular step. This is when I think you can really tell if the colt is going to turn out great. Some of the colts fight you on every corner, and others react so fast that it is shocking. I love the fast reactors just as I'm sure God does.
Now we have built some trust with the horse and give it some things to cope with and give it some things to adapt to. He has handled it well and so we are going to really put him to the test. Once we have done all of these things it is time to hop into the saddle and see what he can do. There are a couple of options here. One, you can just bail on and ride the buck out if it happens and two, you can get on and off until he is calm enough to not buck when you set on his back for a long time, and third, you can have another person on a well trained horse snub you which is just to tie you your colt to his horse so that yours can't get to out of control.
This is when it really gets exciting! Now you truly get to see what the horse can do and how you can best use the horse to do the different jobs that you have to do on the ranch. We begin by taking the horse out and moving cows with him and then another day we try and put a pack saddle on him and shoot a gun by him. You also might put a bunch of fencing material on him and see if he can handle it, or try and rope a big old range bull on him. Or you might one day trust him enough to put your 5 year old little kid on his back to ride him around all by himself. Just like our callings in life, none of these jobs for a horse on the ranch are more important than the other one. They all are of great importance and are needed for the ranch to run smoothly. Each and every calling that we have in our lives is important for the operation of God's Kingdom on the earth today. Some seem to have more importance than others and some seem to not be important at all. Coming from a background of breaking horses and working with many ranches, I know that each job a horse can perform is important. Some of the horses get the glory as they are taken to ropings and the ranchers win money with them and others are the hard workers in the background like the six teams that sit in the coral and wait to pull the sled to feed the cows at 4:00 in the morning when it is - 40 below outside.
From these experiences in my life and from memorizing a chunk of scripture about leadership and callings of responsibility, I have come to learn that everyone is pulling on the same yoke and working at the same job and that the level you seem to be on never matters. Only how hard you pull where you are matters! I love working with horses, although at times it is frustrating and can be painful as well. I enjoy working with a good horse that wants to work right there hand in hand with me! So I want to encourage each of us to look at the job we have to do and realize that in God's eyes what we are doing is important and that we just need to continue on in faith so that at the end of the day we can get to live with Him again just as at the end of a long days work for the colt we just broke they get turned in to a pasture with belly deep grass and a slow moving mountain stream to rest for the night. I know that all of the trials in our lives can be faced with God at our back. He loves us! And we better all love him! Please Look ahead and Believe!