I know that in my last post I did not speak very highly of horses (except for Bea). So lest you horse lovers hate me, let me give you my brief horse history. At a young age, my sister was horse crazy! She had china horses, plastic horses, horse pictures, stuffed horses...horses, horses, horses. When we played together we played horses. (She always got the best one, of course!) When we played Barbies, Barbie and Ken had to go horseback riding. She had a whole collection of those Breyer horses. It was the first counter we ran to at the hardware store. So one summer my Dad decided to take us on a trail ride at one of the MD state parks. I was not that big, but I was big enough to have my own horse. Keep in mind that this was my very first riding experience. Everything was going fine until the horse behind me decided to break protocol and get in front of my horse. This must have been a very big no-no in the horse world at this particular park because my horse got indignant and decided to pass the horse that had just passed him, on the right no less! Problem was the horse that had just gotten the lead didn't want to lose his new found position and refused to allow my horse by. So my horse veered into the woods at an all out run with me hanging on for dear life to the saddle horn. Fortunately the guide came to my rescue and caught my horse and straightened the whole mess out. I cried the whole rest of the ride and was still shaking like a leaf 45 minutes later when I finally got off that blasted animal.
My next experience with horses was with the neighbor's horses who always stayed in the back 40 of their pasture which happened to border my friend's backyard. We would often take them carrots and apples to eat. One day we didn't have anything to give them so we pulled up some grass (because everyone knows the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence) and held up our hands so the horses could nibble it off our hands. My hand wasn't flat enough and the nice little horsey nibbled the grass and a piece of my hand as well. By now I'm beginning to think that horses just don't like me much.
Then, as a teenager, I went home with a friend after church and lo and behold she had a horse. And we decided to ride. The horse was great while she was riding it. But both times (yes, I have always believed that if you fall off a horse you should just get right back on), the darn horse bucked me off-YES, BUCKED me off! What an attitude!
I pretty much swore off horses after that until a man from our congregation offered to take my husband and I on a trail ride in the mountains where he lived. We decided to go. Now my hubby has a lot of common sense but he has no horse sense. You see, he was a dairy farmer in the early years and didn't have any animals on the farm that didn't earn their keep. So horses were out. We got on the horses and began our ride. We went down a steep bank and coming up the other side the horse's head came back and beaned me right between the eyes and almost broke my nose. I managed to quietly endure the pain until it subsided. Upon entering an open field, our guide's horse began to gallop through the alfalfa field, so I gave my horse a little kick and he did too. Unfortunately, once again the pecking order had been violated. My husband's horse, who is supposed to be second on these mountain trail rides, took off like someone shot him out of a cannon to try to get ahead of my horse, who was supposed to bring up the rear. All I saw as the love of my life passed me was two legs and an arm up in the air as he tried to hold on. His feet had lost the stirrups and he had totally lost the reins. About 20 feet ahead of me he finally just fell off. How he held on that long I do not know. Now, you would think that I would have some sympathy for him considering my sordid history with horses but it was the funniest thing I had ever seen and I was laughing so hard that I fell off my horse about 5 feet from where he had fallen. All the while our illustrious guide has no idea that two of his horses were now heading for home and the Pastor and his wife were laying in some horse's lunch laughing like a pack of hyenas.
I guess my last experience with horses wasn't directly "with" horses but it left an indelible mark on my memory. My husband and I lived on a farm when we got married. I had moved there 9 months before the wedding and we were raising heifer calves there as a start to our dairy herd. My husband's grandparents lived 10 minutes away. They never came to visit until the morning after we got married. We stayed at our home because we got married in the evening, planning to leave on our honeymoon the next day. It had been a late night-7pm ceremony, the reception, opening presents at my parent's house and then home. At 7:30 am the next morning we heard a knock at our door and I heard his grandmother's voice yelling "we came to see the cows!" (I'm sure you're just as stunned as I was!) I hid under the covers until I heard the door shut as my husband took his clueless grandparents to the barn. Upon looking out our living room picture window that overlooked the pasture I observed my brand new husband scooping up horse dung for his grandmother to use when planting her cucumber plants. I guess by then it was too late to have cold feet but honestly the thought of what kind of family I had married into sent a chill all the way through me.
That being said, just let me say that I like horses. I like their strength, their grace and their beauty. They are magnificent animals. I like that they are loyal friends after they get to know you. I love horse movies and videos of horses running through the open range with the golden sunlight shining off their rippling muscles. I've even loved Mr. Ed all my life! I just don't like me on the backs of those horses!
So I hope that you can understand my trepidation about getting on a horse with a loaded gun, even if it's just loaded with black powder. And I hope you can understand why I just keep my feet firmly planted on the ground.
However, I do realize that my horse riding days are not over. Of all the animals Jesus could have chosen to return the earth on, He chose horses. It could have been cute little donkeys or camels or elephants or even emus, but no, it had to be horses. But I'm thinking that heaven's horses will be humble and not care about pecking order or horse protocol. I doubt that any of them would have the audacity to pass Jesus on the right and get ahead of Him either. In fact, I'm hoping that they are all like Mr. Ed!