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I, Tara, have a wonderful balance of quiet nature while feeding, riding and training horses as well as the socializing and teaching, communicating with people who stop in daily for lessons, etc. This page is where I will share significant moments with you.

Wednesday December 18, 2013 - Reflections of the past year

While sweeping my barn this morning I thought I would allow myself a short break and make myself some apple cider. While sipping it, sitting in my classroom/viewing room in the barn, I looked at my wall full of trophies, awards, pictures and memory books. I reminisced of memorable show moments while seeing trophies from Roseau River horse shows of many years ago and this years CWHA year end awards. I wondered if I had changed as a person over the years, 32 of my 37 in the show ring. I hoped not.

I wondered what was truly significant to me after all these accomplishments. I quickly made my list of the 3 most important things in my life, which I am VERY thankful for. 1. Salvation through Christ Jesus and the Peace of knowing I will go to heaven one day 2. My health. As many accidents and illnesses that I have had, I am still able to drive myself around and can do chores. Soon I will be back riding too! 3. Loved ones. A husband who is my perfect partner and who loves me A LOT, friends and family.

The rest is all insignificant in the grand scheme of things. At the end of our lives, just like a board game, we go back in the box. It doesn't matter what our accomplishments were or how much stuff we have, each one of us ends up in the box. The legacy I leave behind, encouraging and enriching the lives of those around me, is what's important.

Monday May 20, 2013 - Catching in pouring rain

Horses teach us patience because they are not on a clock like we are. I was reminded of that the Monday of May long weekend when I went out to catch yet another 2 year old horse here for training. It was pouring rain and the wind was real strong, strong enough to get past any type of protective rain gear and make a person wet to the bone. I had a busy day planned with everything scheduled just right. I went out in my slicker to catch the gelding who Derek had already had in a small catch pen about 50' x 60. I hoped to quickly catch the horse and then tack and ride indoors, away from the driving rain and wind.

Two hours later I finally caught the horse. I went out to catch this gelding who had already been here in training for 2 months. I had not had trouble catching him but today was different. After a week of this weather he finally settled down and now leerily allows me to catch him. That morning however, is deserving of a story.

The horse, in the wind and rain, had no thoughts of standing still and quickly moved away from me as I spoke gently trying to reason with him. When a horse turns his tail to you and moves away, he is telling you off. The proper response is for me to quickly chase him away as if it was my idea, making him move out at a trot until I think he is ready to be caught. Usually that is within a minute or two, not two hours! So each time he "turned tail" I made sure I was out of kicking range, just in case, and used the end of my lead rope to chase him around the pen.

Reading his body language I could tell he had no thoughts of stopping and letting me get near. Several times he put his chin over the panels thinking that going over the panels was better than being caught by me. Thank goodness for safe and sturdy HiQual panels! I did try a few times to get "join up" which is where when I stop chasing, the horse turns towards and walks to me, submitting himself. After hour 1 my arm was exhausted from swinging the rope to chase him so I reluctantly left the pen for a lunge whip. I was not excited to give him a breather and a chance to drink water, effectively "fueling up" for more running.

During our 2nd hour together in the "battle of the wills" pen, I was physically exhausted, somewhat mentally tired from trying to figure out why this was happening today, and therefore emotionally exhausted as I rotated between frustration, anger, stubborness, critical thinking and non-chalance. Not to mention that I continually was mentally rescheduling my day as nothing productive was getting done. I was not leaving the pen again without the horse at the end of my lead!

Submission. That is what I thought about during the two hours. Again, using the analogy of the horse as man and me the trainer as God, what would it take for the horse to submit to me? To relate this to our Christian life, simply replace those identities horse-man and trainer/me - God. The horse knew me and trusted me, assumedly learning by now that I was not going to hurt him. I was his teacher, he provider of food and I loved him by brushing, petting and spending time with him.

On that windy, rainy day the horse became distracted by something else that was out of my control, causing him to wrongfully mistrust and fear me. Although I felt all the earlier emotions, I maintained my composure and consistently drove the horse away occasionally giving him the opportunity to come to me. Several times, out of his own sheer exhaustion, he did stop and turn to me. But he refused to walk to me. He was thankful for the rest but would not submit to me. So I cheated and took a few steps to him, very slowly one at a time. Eventually that made him uncomfortable and he took off away from me again. On and on this went. Until finally the horse realized that he would not get a break until he allowed me to catch him.

Daily we are distracted and think that we do not need or want God. We run, ignoring God, trying to find other ways out of our daily problems. If we attempt to 'jump out' of the situation on our own, the consequences are often painful. And when we are tired, that is when we seek God to help us, yet on our own terms. We don't want to fully submit, we just want enough peace to give us a break to continue on, our way. Only when we submit fully to God, and yes that means that work is involved just as the horse did get ridden, do we have true security, safety and rest. God knows best and wants us to submit to Him. He never leaves our pen so He is always there pursuing us. When we kick back or 'turn tail' He steps back, but not out. Let's quit looking 'over the panel' to the outside for a solution and stop, look and turn to the inside where God is. Inside our heart and soul, the center of our being. That is where true peace is found.

Monday April 8, 2013 - Line Driving

While line driving a 2 year old horse that came in for training last week, it occurred to me that the relationship developing between the horse and I was similar to that of myself and God.

At first the horse was confused and would not walk out on her own without my guidance. After encouraging her to move forward, she moved every which way she could to get away from me. Then she would settle and walk forward again for a few minutes. Then she would jump straight up and buck, defying my request to go where I asked her. I remained calm, allowing her to act out, and then gently asked her to move on again, which she did with attitude!

As the horse was learning to trust and submit to my line pressure, she would relax by licking her lips, dropping her head and softening her eye. After a few days, she began to trust my leadership so she submitted and moved freely where I asked her to.

I couldn't help but think of how God does the same with us. No matter what we do or how we react, resist, buck, lose focus, etc. He is the same. He is patient and waiting for us to come back to Him. Then, He gives us the freedom to move forward. God knows the plans/pathway for us and so He guides us, by asking/suggesting/using circumstances to make us move, in the direction He sees best for us.

Being a Christian doesn't mean we can't move, see the world or have any freedom BUT it does mean we have a Father God who loves us unconditionally and wants the best for us, who, when we stop fighting, will direct our path. And just like a good horse trainer, God doesn't say there won't be puddles or tarps to walk over and through, but He will keep us safe when we trust in the Holy Spirit to guide us!

This is Lexi (Chipped N Rich) last fall, not the horse I wrote about above.