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October 13, 2010


Ever since I first wrote about watching a horse whisperer in The Beautiful Ache, something about that mysterious dynamic has stayed with me. The simple beauty of call and response, of compelling and connection, keeps inviting me back again and again.


Last week I found the notes I took in a tiny battered Moleskine the second time I watched a cowboy who knew his stuff work with a skittish horse, and the four years that have passed since I wrote them fell away as I read:


"The more you get the emotional part of your horse, the less technique you need."


"Confidence is knowledge challenged and found to be good."


 "Courage is being scared and doing it anyway."


"Put your heart in your hand when you touch your horse."


And this: "The real, true measure of a horse is not what it gives you when you ask--it's what it gives you for free. It's the free stuff you want, but you've got to allow it, and receive it."


I talked for a good while with this Wyoming cowboy, listening to his unconventional training philosophy well aware it wasn't just about horses. Not for me anyway. I have no idea what the man believes or doesn't believe about God, or if he could begin to see the parallels between the horsemanship knowledge he was sharing, and the ways of God with his children. But I could.


God put his whole heart in His hand when He reached out to me. It was the purest, fullest, most uncomplicated overture I've ever known. Since then I've tested Him over and over and found Him to be unbelievably good. And the stuff he calls out of me isn't demanded by force of power, instead its His love that compells me to give Him the best I've got. Knowing He loves me makes me brave in ways I've never been brave before.


There was one stray word scribbled at the bottom of my last page of notes: true. The trainer's fiance confided to me that the two of them chose a single word to describe each person who attended his clinics, and the word they'd both agreed on for me was true. It might have been the nicest compliment I've ever received. After all, the One who loves me is truer-than-true, and because I'm His, that's what I long to be, too.


"And I saw heaven opened; and behold, a white horse, and He who sat upon it is called Faithful and True...." (Rev. 19:11)



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 "Speak what you feel, not what you ought to say."

İLeigh McLeroy, 2010