This morning, I began listening to a teaching from Dr. Hollisa Alewine, a fellow horse lover, past competitor and the founder of “The Creation Gospel” ministry. The topic was “Spirit Filled Family;” specifically an intro the “Husbands” portion. I wasn’t ten minutes into the teaching and already proclaiming: “YES! AMEN!” in my truck on the way to work. And as usual, I soon found myself relating it to riding.
Dr. Alewine read from 1 Peter 3:1, which is speaking to wives, but I believe applies to anyone. Peter puts quite simply that we can have the most impact to others by our conduct more so than our words.
“Likewise, wives, be submitted to your own husbands so that—even if some do not obey the message—by the wives’ conduct, without a word they may be won over”1 Peter 3:1, TLV
Dr. Alewine followed up to Scripture reading by saying, “Now women seem to be a bit – well, alot more verbal than men.” And she goes on to explain that because of that, most folks would question and ask: How we are supposed to win someone over without a word and just by behavior? The point that struck me so deeply was her response:
“Typically your words are crutches, we’ll use those instead of good behavior.”Dr. Hollisa Alewine, Spirit Filled Family, Part 1: Husbands
Rich words that can be applied to all areas of our lives, including our riding (being careful not to forget the specific context that Scripture puts it in). The point isn’t that words are useless; it’s that if we put too much emphasis on them without behavior – well, they end up being useless.
As I have been teaching more students privately the past year, I have learned from their struggles through each lesson. One of these revelations is our reliance on the reins. We doing everything with our hands: we eat, type on our computers, drive, introduce eachother, etc. We have learned to become very dependant on them. I’m not suggesting that this is a particularly bad thing, it’s how we are designed. However, just like anything, if taken out of proper context, it can hold us back from growing.
This is why I began starting all of my students off without saddles or reins, regardless of their riding level. To the beginner or the pro, by taking away all possible “crutches,” they get to truly feel a horse, understand what an important role their whole body makes, find true balance (from which, comes strength and stability), which allows our use of reins in the future as a wonderful supplement to our communication to our horses, rather than using them instead of proper riding behaviors through our bodies.
“Correct with your body, Praise with your Words.”
There’s yet another angle to approach this lesson at. I have a wonderful young student who is a talented analyst and desires so greatly to grasp the relation of everything we are learning. She also is one who enjoys using her words to help her in this process. I often have to remind her to “correct with your body, praise with your words,” while she is riding. This too, I believe is an important factor when thinking about how we communicate to our horses our desires. Just as Peter says in relation to our spouses: our behavior means much more to our horses, than our words do. And if our actions are not asking the horse to do something, our frustrated words certainly won’t either.
In this Lesson Video with Valerie, I go more into depth of what this may look like. We are always growing, always learning, always refining. Each situation is different and therefore, may require a different approach. Listen to your horse. Honor him/her as intriquetly designed creatures made by our God (Elohim) for a specific purpose. And remember, they are always listening to you; make sure you know what you’re saying.
Blessings & Shalom (peace)!