May 1, 2022
If I am being completely transparent, I do not have all the answers.
In fact, as things tend to go, the longer I live the more I realize the less I know.
In case I ever thought I had something going for me on my own, I was given a gift that would always serve as a reminder of the wonder and mystery of creation and our imagined control over it as humans.
Her name is Wyoming.
I wrote that description a little tongue in cheek but as I reflect on it, the weight of the truth of it sits too close to my heart to ignore. I have thought she is a gift to me many times, but I am coming to KNOW it. The kind of knowing that goes deeper than the mind and no matter the circumstances in the fullness of time, it can not be shaken.
Wyoming is one of my greatest teachers. And today as I reflected on the outside help I have gotten, or hoped to get that would somehow be “the answer” I was looking for, the thing to make clear what has been unclear over time… the “shortcut” to the long term relationship… the thing that would flip the switch from sketchy to solid… the mindset, the technique, the piece I seem to be missing that would take this wild thing and allow her to be able to choose to trust me all the way. The detail I need to see that would allow her to put her life in my hands and work together without flee or fight constantly cycling through the process… come to work on the same page as mine.
A year ago I came to accept that if she doesn’t make the decision herself, it will not come. She will not be forced like most horses eventually are. There is something deep in her spirit that will not let go of her perceived thread of freedom. She has a wildness in her heart that will not be tamed, but maybe someday will be rechanneled into something beautiful and not destructive.
In fact. Maybe she’s a lot like me.
From my journal, Sunday morning, May 1, 2022
I lift up my eyes to the mountain- where does my help come from?My help comes from the Lord, the maker of heaven and earth.Psalm 121:1-2
I look to my surroundings and wonder… who will help me?
I know that alone I am insufficient for the task at hand. I have a wild horse I cannot seem to get on the same page with. You see, everything has to be her own idea or she isn’t interested. It’s always about her own hopes and dreams. She refuses to accept that my plans truly are better.
Take for instance yesterday when she had two ticks crawling around the tip of her nose. I asked her to hold still so I could remove them before they embedded somewhere, and everytime I got close to the tick, gently moving my hand with low energy and rubbing her head working down her nose so she would see I was trying to help her… at the last second she would jerk away and we would have to begin again. Eventually I gave up the losing endeavor but found an opportunity later where she was distracted enough that I was able to grab them without her being as aware. The back door approach since she is always suspicious of the front door.
Also, her feet need more attention that I can do in the small amounts lately she has the patience for. She would be better off if she trusted me to do what I know to do to help her.
She hates being left alone, and yet she refuses to carry a rider or ride on the trailer, and so she is always the one left behind.
Her limited vision of what freedom looks like, the value of her independence, her own hopes and dreams, these are not only limiting but the have the potential to cause her physical and emotional pain.
We are currently guests on a beautiful farm, but someday we will have a home of our own, and if she still will not accept what looks like “death” (getting on the trailer… into the tomb) she won’t experience the real life of moving into her own home with her herd. She could potentially be left behind without her family. Yet her limited equine vision cannot imagine anything good coming out of giving up her freedom to go into the death box.
Some suggest what would have been best would be left alone to a true wild horse life. If only she could be released back to the plains of Wyoming- or never removed. That would be ideal, so now she is stuck in this human realm of captivity. The romance of the wild horse running free. The pictures look amazing, and the video is stunning.
In the “garden of Eden version” this would make sense. The perfect world that was intended in creation, but we don’t live in a perfect world, we live in a broken world where the harsh realities of nature are not the romance we want to see.
The truth is these horses are fighting for resources, not only among the cattle ranches (and I’m sure no one who loves wild horses also likes to eat beef…) but even in ranges without fights for grazing rights, the resources of the west are at a premium. The people charged with monitoring and managing these resources see starvation in the harsh winters and dehydration in the dry summers. They see animals running other species off from treasured water sources, they see predators also trying to stay alive eating the weaker of family groups of all animals. There are man made highways at times with high speed trucks and traffic to contend with. And the deaths that come from eating inedible plants before starvation poisoning or painfully killing the horse with brambles and sharp dry plant matter in the intestines are deeply sad to imagine.
My wild horse had a microscopic chance of living the romantic life of freedom running beautiful green plains of wild grasses in all seasons and plenty of water – especially since the wild horse numbers alone grow every year well past sustainability in every management area- forget about elk, eagles, rabbits, wolves, and cattle.
No. Her options are a shortened life in harsh conditions, living in heightened alert and fear and/or lack, but basically free OR a life in a containment facility, an orphan spirit in captivity with basic needs met as best they can with the problem they are facing to manage these herds. An impossible problem.
Yet, this wild mare was chosen. She is not an orphan anymore. She has been removed from the system where there were few good outcomes and put into my kingdom (I wrote about that Kindgom in March) where she is part of the royal herd of Khaleesi… She has been set apart from the thousands of others who will face a tough life. She is cared for, has a stable healthy herd, 100% pasture turn out on many acres, medical care when required, always adequate water and forage, and someone who sees her as immensely valued regardless of her performance.
When will she stop fighting? When will she step more fully into her purpose and destiny?
The truth is- I’m not even certain yet what that looks like for her, but God knows. God created this mare for a purpose, and while today she is already walking in that purpose in part as my teacher, there is more. I am convinced of that.
I am also convinced that horses are special. Horses thrive when honored and given honest work. Work they are capable of and can excell at. Retirement comes at a point and can be good, but a horse who doesn’t and has never have some job and purpose does not thrive the same as one who is in appropriate work.
I don’t yet know what her work will be as we learn together what her creator had in mind, but I do believe it will come. In the fullness of time, it will come.
And as I reflected on this, I thought about how often we humans are set apart, and called into a purpose to work together on God’s hopes and dreams on planet earth. For some it may look like raising a family, for some providing medical care in Africa, for some writing books that entertain or help, for others it’s politics and bringing better policies to school boards and government bodies, maybe it’s playing music, or stewarding the wilderness, forests and waterways… but God does have hopes and dreams to bring redemption to this planet, the people and the systems he loves, and they are always bigger than our own.
Have I stopped fighting or fleeing his ideas yet? Am I willing to step into the “death box” and see what kind of abundant life might be after the trailer ride? Do I trust him?
In my journal I asked who will help me? And I have come to see that “alone” I don’t have what it takes, but the good news is I am not alone. I have partnered to share in God’s hopes and dreams, and I do trust him. So I can be assured that I have every resource I need exactly when I need it to accomplish exactly the purpose at hand. So I look around and ask “where does my help come from” well, it comes from the one who made me, and made these creatures, and has all the answers to every problem. So now I get to walk out the blueprint that was set in front of me at the foundations of time and enjoy the process and the relationships, with people, with the horses, and with the creator King as well.
And as I finish this blog, I pause. I am again reminded of the grief of the wild horse impossible problem, I take a moment to ask: Is this one of God’s hopes? That his precious creatures the wild horses will someday not suffer this way? Who is willing to ask him for the impossible answers and walk out the path that might lead to abundant life for those thousands of horses suffering today?