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Horse in the Pond!!

When I was a kid, my dad would sometimes get me involved in some of his “projects” and most of those projects were ok, but sometimes he stretched me a bit on helping him.  My dad was a cattle auctioneer and cattle buyer, and on occasion he would find a good deal on some livestock and turn them for 

profit.  From time to time he would try to turn a profit on horses and that  profit involved him buying unbroken horses, bringing them home for me to break and then selling them as broken horses.  Of course, a trained horse is worth a lot more money than one that is wild and untamed, so with that thought in mind I proceed to the next part of this story.  One night dad got in real late.  He had taken a trip to Louisiana to look at some “brush mares” or horses that were raised in the swamps of the delta.  He had found 12 mares with colts and he and a group of wranglers got them penned up and he brought them home for me to break for riding.  When the truck pulled up I was excited to see dad had bought some horses and proceeded to help them get the horses out.  I could hear the little colts whinny a frightened whinny every now and then and thought, “Awe, they are scared from the long ride.”  That wasn’t the half of it though.  When the horses came down the shoot and ran out into the holding pen I could tell they were majorly wild and that these animals hadn’t really seen humans before.  They were scared to death.  I also thought, “How am I going to break these crazy horses?”  I went to bed with plans in my head about what I was going to do the next day to get these horses tame.  

I awoke the next morning and quickly ate a fantastic breakfast prepared by my mom and went out to the holding pen.  To my surprise, my sister’s husband Ralph had already gotten out there and was trying to catch one of the horses.  Ralph had ridden horses extensively, but had never attempted to break a wild horse, so he wasn’t having too much luck.  The horse were running around him and ducking the rope as he attempted to lasso them and pretty soon he gave up and said, “These horses are crazy!”  To which I replied, “For now.”  

I went to the barn adjacent to the holding pen and made a three stage catch pen and got my bullwhip and went to the back side of the holding pen and started herding the horses into the first stage pen.  When they all got inside, Ralph and I closed the gate and I went to the next staging area and opened the gate letting 4 mares go into that pen and closed the gate.  After that I went to the third stage pen and opened the gate and separated one mare by herself.  That was the mare I would start with.  Ralph helped me get a saddle on the mare and with her eyes bugging out I put a bozzle on her head for control while riding her and opened the gate from that stage pen and went outside.  When she saw daylight, she started bucking and rearing up and I wasn’t even on her yet.  We got her settled down and while Ralph held her I got on and he let go and there we went.  She ran for a few steps and then bucked for a few.  Then she decided she was going to roll and when she hit the ground I jumped off and let her roll and then jumped back on and she got up and bucked some more.  We went through this time after time, but soon she got winded and gave up.  Mission accomplished!!  She was what we called “green broke.” I didn’t even attempt at that point to put a “big” in her mouth.  A bit is a  piece of tack that is put into a horses mouth to control the horse, whether it be turning left or right or stopping, the bit   helps the rider keep the animal under control. 

  There would be much more done in later days, inlcuding the use of a bit, but the hard part was over.  Ralph was impressed and decided he would break the next one and had already separated the mare into the stage 3 pen and had her saddled up.  I let my mare go out to the main pasture and ran back up to help him.  He looked a little nervous and I said,”Are you sure about this?  I can ride this one too if you want.”  Ralph said, “No, I’ve got it.”  We took this mare out and she was super wild and Ralph timidly got on and said, “let her go.”  I did and he didn’t last one minute, as she rolled him off immediately and ran away without a rider whinnying as she went.  It seemed like her whinny was more like a laugh, as I helped Ralph get to his feet.  He was hurting for sure and decided he had ridden all the wild horses he wanted.  I told him there was another way to break the mare and he said he was listening.  I told him we can catch her and put her in the pond up to her neck and then he can get on her and ride her around in the water.  He laughed and agreed to the experiment, so we caught the mare and led her as deep in the water as she could stand and then Ralph got on.  She tried to buck, but the water wouldn’t let her without going under and Ralph rode her until she couldn’t fight anymore.  My mom was watching from the house and when she saw Ralph on the horse in the pond, she ran out screaming “Horse in the pond, horse in the pond!”  She didn’t know that we had put the horse in the pond for a reason and after explaining it to her, she settled down.  I will never forget that day or the ones following with my brother in law, Ralph, as we continued to tame one horse after another.

In the book of James 3:3 he writes, “A bit in the mouth of a horse controls the whole horse.”  As I mentioned before,  I was going to use a bit on the horse we broke when they got under control a little more, because the bit was something foreign to their mouth that they would have to first accept before it could be used properly.   Which brings to mind the progression of a newly saved person to the next step in their life.  A person who is without Christ is what the Bible calls a sinner.  A sinner is like the wild horse.  They are running from God and His ways and the moment they surrender to God they are changed.  2 Cor. 5:17 says, “Now we look inside, and what we see is that anyone united with the Messiah gets a fresh start, is created new.  The old life is gone; a new life begins.  Look at it!”  The wild horse has been tamed through repentance and is in a position of learning and growing.  The next step is to put the bit in their mouth, so God can control and continue to teach them how to live under their new circumstances.  The next step of getting those horses more tame is to develop the relationship between horse and rider.   I really loved on those horses after that initial breaking.   I would bring them sugar cubes and apples and just pet all over them to familiarize them with me and the fact that I was their friend.  I was in control!  But, I was their friend.  I fed them, watered them, and talked to them.  I got so close to them that they would whinny at me when I walked up to the pen.  They liked me.  So when I rode them and asked them to stop, they stopped.  When I wanted them to go left, the responded.  I was their master.  They were still a horse, but a horse with a master.

When we accept Jesus, we are still human beings, but we now have a master.   One who supplies our needs,  speaks to us through His Word, and protects us.  And when He calls us to do something, we do it.   He is in control.  The newness in each of us is a newness that involvess knowing our Master, listening for our Master, and trusting our Master through the rigors of life.  As believers, our heart must be one that yields to the wants of our Master, and trusts Him for everything in our life, listening to His call and following that call, as He is in control.  If you aren’t allowing God to control your life, how can He control your tongue, relating back to the James verse.  He must be in control of your core and then everything else falls into place.  How to live, where to serve, what to serve, and the total package are revealed through that “core” relationship with Jesus Christ.  When He is in your heart, he must have your heart and that means yielding to Him in every area our life.  Have you yielded?  Is God in control of every part of your life?  If not, it’s time to let Him have it all and give up like the mare in the pond, because you are fighting a losing battle.  As Christians we sometime don’t understand when we see God working a work in a person’s life and almost want to intervene when God is doing the breaking, but we must not.  We might be like my mom and say, “horse in the pond, horse in the pond!”  When in reality God is just continuing to break away more of the wild nature in a person and we need to just step back and let it happen.  When others see your life is under the control of the Master, they start to understand more who that Master is. The following story illustrates that very thing:

Neil Marten, a member of the British Parliament, was once giving a group of his constituents a guided tour of the Houses of Parliament. During the course of the visit, the group happened to meet Lord Hailsham, then lord chancellor, wearing all the regalia of his office. Hailsham recognized Marten among the group and cried, “Neil!” Not daring to question or disobey the “command,” the entire band of visitors promptly fell to their knees! 

Do you still fall to your knees at the command of our Lord and Savior,  Jesus Christ?  Don’t you think it’s time? God is in control.  Let Him control your life and you will find true joy.

The Pilgrimage continues…

David Warren

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