by Diane Odell
Cast your cares upon Him because He cares for you — 1 Peter 5:7
As I pondered and prayed about writing something for our yearly newsletter and I gazed back at the busy year here at the ranch, it became increasingly obvious to me how different this year was. It seemed to me that a shadow was removed this year and many of life’s distractions, empty activities and superficial time consumers were revealed for just what they were. Real hard life issues and questions rose to the surface and begged for truth in a straightforward more desperate way. Stress and anxiety often showed themselves as unwanted daily companions. I was reminded how God often uses horses to teach us much about life.
This past year we received a call from a woman who knew she needed to find a new home for her horse that she had loved for nearly 13 years. Her riding partner’s horse had passed away, she had been injured and for the last 3 years her mare had the run of the home acreage but lacked the relationship and daily care she was used to.
Daisy arrived at the ranch like a horse that had been hauled to many new locations, interested but not fearful. But it soon became evident that although she appeared calm on the outside there was a very anxious horse on the inside. As is our practice when a new horse arrives, they are placed in a solitary paddock until we receive the results of a hair analysis to determine their health needs. As we awaited these results we spent time grooming and showing Daisy around the ranch and we noticed Daisy was much more interested in leading us than being led. She also revealed an impatience or stress response, which showed up in a raised front leg as if she were begging. The results of the hair analysis let us know Daisy would need to stay in isolation until parasites had been cleaned up and that she had an ulcer. To help treat the ulcer we were to give her a small amount of pellets along with her free feeding of hay. Daisy however saw things differently. Every morning and evening her continuous nickering and impatient raised leg let me know she expected her pellets NOW and that they were much more important to her than her basic diet of hay. Over the next couple of weeks Daisy became so obsessed with her small amount of pellets that she ate less and less of her life sustaining hay. She focused more and more on the small amount of pellets and of course she began to lose weight.
This was both good and bad. Her stress and anxiety were loudly exposed. Truth and wise choices needed to be applied to Daisy’s life situation. In order to sustain her life she would need to eat life-sustaining feed in amounts to maintain her weight (truth). She would also need to choose to deal with her anxiety and stress. We decided to try a different type hay and remove the pellets entirely. Daisy chose life and began to eat her hay and she began to gain weight. Dealing with her anxiety and stress has taken some time but she is learning to follow a leader and trust they can take care of her thus relaxing in their care.
Oh how I pray that we would all learn the lessons our horses teach us. We have a Heavenly Leader who knows all truth and has the answers to our most difficult life issues and questions. Our part is to humbly desire His relationship, trust His leadership and faithfully seek His answers. I am so profoundly grateful for His gracious love and leadership, His patience and perfect timing and His all- knowing truth for each situation. Lord please help me to continue to surrender all to you.