My horse, Harley is aptly named. Even at the ripe old age of 23, the “Arab” blood in my “Morab” comes to the surface frequently. He is zealous and energetic! In fact, really? He is my dream horse, being solicitous and cute and interactive with me…but he is also quite the stern task master. God uses my horses all the time to move me forward in my walk with Him, in the way I relate to people, believe it or not! (This is Harley and me on the trail yesterday…photo taken by hubby. :-))

In January, I got up on Harley when I knew better…I had a rough experience with someone who did an emotional “one-two” punch to my spirit and emotions. I was very wounded and agitated — wound up emotionally. When I try to be with Harley in that frame of mind, I know it is likely to be a wild ride. He won’t stand for it. On that day, he showed me (again…) in no uncertain terms that I must come to him a whole person, ok in my own skin.

I have had a “love affair” with this horse for six years. It has been rocky at times…because, frankly, life doesn’t always lend itself to me feeling “ok in my own skin.”

Many people love horse time because they feel like it is like a therapy session. Harley is NOT an equine therapist. While my experiences with my horses *can* be restorative and rejuvenating, with Harley, I better not come NEEDY to time with him. If I am in a “needy” place, I better ride Breezy instead or stay OFF a horse’s back all together!

Back in January, my rides on Harley before that emotional day and immediately following that day were wonderful. He affirmed again that, yup…it was all about the emotional baggage (or lack of) that I brought with me to our time together. “Leave it at the gate, woman!”

*That* day, however, when I brought my baggage with me (it was a fresh wound…what can I say?) was a rocket ride, ending with me bailing and, amazingly (and fortunately enough) landing on my feet and him coming to a halt, my hands on his mane…as if we had planned it together–some sort of “trick riding” and “flashy dismount.” HA!

Yesterday dawned, and, during my quiet time, I found myself very emotional–wounded–about some things I have been trying to process. A week ago, my husband set aside the morning in his Blackberry so that he could ride with me. This would be the first time in three
months that Bob had ridden with me. Years ago, he would take time one day each week to go in late for work so we could have an early morning ride in addition to our Saturday morning ride. Life has been very hectic for him with lots of travel…we haven’t been able to do this. So this was SPECIAL! I had in mind showing Bob a great trail that Breezy and I had scouted out together. (I usually explore new trails with Breezy, who can handle my uncertainty as well as my emotional melt downs! LOL!)

As I went and hooked up the trailer to the truck, I was STILL wound up emotionally. Not only that, but my deep sadness…my mourning expressed with prayerful tears to God during my quiet time…had moved to ANGER. (It is a nice way of not feeling pain, I guess. :-/)I was wound up emotionally, all right–probably worse, even, than that day back in January! In fact, when my husband came out to the corral, I gave him a piece of my mind that I couldn’t afford to lose!

There I was, an emotional basket case…I really wanted to go on this ride with my husband, but KNEW I couldn’t ride Harley with the way I was feeling. He would be likely to give me a “western moment” or twelve…or he might push the ejection seat button… “Woman, you are NOT helping my life be peaceful and calm…GOOD BYE!” with a nice LAUNCH.

Clear as anything I knew that, if I was going to have a safe ride, I had to CHOOSE to let all that stuff go…I didn’t go into denial. Harley sees through that. As we drove from the house to the trailhead, I pondered the song “The More I Seek You” and the line that says “I melt in Your peace…” I asked God to help me to melt in His peace. He answered powerfully….He supernaturally enabled me to let the stuff go and to choose to forgive, to release the agitation.

Even writing it, it seems amazing. It was a supernatural shift in perspective. The issues were (and are) still there, but somehow they aren’t all consuming.

I am so glad I took care of this during our travel to the staging area. Harley knew the difference. *I* knew the difference. And Breezy and Bob were able to experience a much less stressful time than they would have if I had been astride Harley with all that baggage!

I had one of the greatest rides ever on him. In spite of it being a new trail, he was great for it. We even enjoyed a wonderful controlled little canter up a slight grade…(another amazing thing!) Hubby had a good time. 🙂 *I* did, I think Harley did, too! (And of course, Breezy did! 🙂

It struck me as we got back to the trailer how *good* I felt compared to how I felt as we left home…

My horse makes me a better person. With Harley, I have to be “on” with the Lord. I have to allow the Holy Spirit to be in charge–not my flesh. I can’t fake it.

What if I did this releasing thing, this “melting into God’s peace,” even when I am not riding? Maybe that is the point! 🙂 God wants me to learn to journey through life, releasing these things to him…honestly facing into them, but allowing HIM to carry the load.

Last night, I got to discover that all those burdens I was carrying? Well, I didn’t have the full story to much of it…the heart of it was missing from my understanding. God gave me a gift of seeing that all that junk I carried in the morning wasn’t mine to carry. Letting it go was precisely what he wanted…Now I am not only not nursing a sore bum from a flying dismount from my horse :-), but my heart is being healed by His Spirit with a more accurate understanding of things that God has allowed in my life.

Without Harley “demanding” so much of me, yesterday would have been MUCH different. Thanks, Lord, for using my horse to make me a better person…more like what You want me to be.