A recurring challenge at Coyote Hill is addressing a child’s flawed perspective.
Over a year ago, a young lady arrived in her junior year of high school. As she showed up to work in the arena, I’d hear her says things like, “I’m too stupid to graduate,” and “I can’t make it, I don’t even know why I go to school.”
While work at the barn is not as hard as a real life job, it isn’t easy. I started re-assuring her, “Honey, there is no way you could do this work with me and not be smart enough to finish high school. You are much smarter than you think!” That particular young lady is now scheduled to graduate in just two months.
Another child frequently used the argument that she was too scared to ride horses. I would reassure her, then point out a very important fact. “You know, it’s actually good that you’re a little scared, as that’s the first step to being brave! I’m not scared to make a pot of tea; so it takes no bravery. Healthy fear challenges us and requires bravery – so let’s go be brave!”
Sometimes, however, our kids’ perspective is perfect. For instance, we have a number of aged horses who have put most of their lives into serving our children. Cody is one such horse. He’s a chestnut colored thoroughbred with many touches of gray around his temples, eyes, and face to mark his age. Most people would find little value in a horse that is so far past his prime. My children are not most people, however.
My older kids see Cody as a safe and steady mount that will take them over their first low cross rails in the safety of his expertise. The smaller children see a friend who comes to them out in the field and puts his head down low so they don’t have to reach up to put a halter on; a friend that walks slowly next to them, so their tiny steps can keep up with his big horse strides. They see a horse that will let five of them stand on buckets all around him as they brush him, and then let them take turns riding bareback as he gently carries them around the indoor arena.
When the kids look at Cody, they see what they think is one of the best horses in the world. They see their best friend.
In a similar fashion, that’s how God looks at us. While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8) We were not only past our prime; we never had a prime. But now because of our saving faith in Christ, God looks at us and sees a new creation; His child, worthy of His love and devotion.
We just need to see ourselves and others as God does. It’s truly all about perspective.
Equine Program Manager