My grandgirl Maddy is 8. This morning I took her to a horseback riding lesson with my friend Missy. I love doing this—I love riding horses, I enjoy watching Maddy learn, and it brings back lots of memories from when I used to teach riding.
Horseback riding has quite a few rules, and there’s a reason for each one, such as:
1. You keep the ball of the foot on the stirrup—the broadest and strongest part of your foot—and you keep your heels down—so if the horse stops suddenly you will have a “brake” and won’t go over the horse’s head.
2. In western riding, you usually hold the reins in the left hand because the cowboys needed their right hand free to rope or shoot. Maddy is left-handed, so she holds the reins in her right hand.
3. You need to keep the reins slack enough that the horse has the ability to keep balance and doesn’t feel constrained, but tight enough that you still keep control.
A (good) horse is amazingly sensitive to every move of your body. Missy was teaching Maddy how to use her body to get Wildfire to walk or trot, to turn right or left, stop—whatever she needed her to do. Yes, a little tap with the heels helped her move ahead, and a little tug on the reins made her slow or stop. But so did looking the way she wanted her to go, leaning forward, sitting back, pressing slightly with her leg.
There is so much more—especially for show and dressage. Horse and rider become practically as one.
Which is what God desires in His relationship with us.
He has given us a few rules—and each one has a reason. They aren’t to confine us or take all the fun out of our lives. They are to keep us safe and to help us succeed in living the life He has for us. He gives us enough slack to make our own choices, but He keeps the reins tight enough to guide us well.
And oh how He desires for us to become so sensitive to His touch, His Word that we respond immediately to His instructions. All it should take is a gentle whisper in our ear, a word of admonishment as we read Scripture, a little pressure in the right direction.
He wants us to become—to think and act and live our lives—as one with Him.