Everthing I need to know (about faith) I learned from my horse.

by Kevin on October 6, 2010

Today’s post comes from a woman dear to my heart. She is my nag and I’m not going to get in trouble for saying that. I needed someone to be sure that I was getting things done at the church. Heather volunteered. She said that one of her gifts was nagging, and like any good preacher would do, I found a place for her to serve. Her message will touch you if you will let it. Thanks Heather!!

By Heather Summerville

Many years ago, we took our horses over to graze a friend’s pasture.  Their driveway was a long and winding, switchback, down the side of the mountain. It was gravel on dirt.

We got the horses unloaded and set up, and took off for the week. Then we came back to pick them up. Nothing could be simpler, right?

Wrong. My horse would not load into the trailer. No matter what we did he refused. My Mom and older sister and I tried loading Ibn, (old faithful) up. And for the first and last time, he wouldn’t load. After a frustration few hours, we gave up, and arranged to come back with my Dad that Saturday.

And we did.

The horses loaded up with no trouble, and we laughed at the oddities of Arabian horses.

But that truck wouldn’t make it up the first big hill. So, with wheels spinning in the dirt, my dad put it in reverse, and backed down and around the curve about a mile. He stopped the rig, and we unloaded the horses, leading them out of the way.

My dad got back in, and took the truck and trailer up, roaring off into the woods. My sister and I looked at each other, and she said “I am not walking up that.”

So, she gave me a leg up, and then mounted Ibn in a ditch. With halters and lead ropes (on one side) we proceed up the side of the mountain bareback. All was going well until she cued Ibn to canter.

As I mentioned, Ibn was old faithful. He was a beautiful half-Arab, but had the heart of a grandpa. He was dependable and faithful. He was a great horse.

I was not on Ibn, I was on Shahr. Shahr was an idiot. In hindsight, perhaps it was not the wisest thing to be riding him up a cliff with no bit. But if I did, at least I wasn’t doing it at a dead run, nope it was a nice controlled canter, until we got up the hill.

Lisa pulled Ibn to a stop a respectable space from the trailer, and turned to look for me. I crested the hill, and pulled Shahr to a stop. But he kept going.

I wasn’t worried until my Dad stood in the road with his arms out and Shahr almost trampled him. That’s when I got scared.

Even at 14, I had been riding long enough to know that the worst thing you can do is panic. So I didn’t. I calmly dug my heels in (to empty air) firmly planted my bum into his withers, and pulled on that lead with both hands until his head was facing me.

But a lead is not a rein, and a halter is not a bridle. Most people with any sense are too smart to go riding with nothing between them and the horse, and no way of really controlling the horse.

Yet I have never been ‘most people’.

So there I was thundering down this road, with a minute or two to stop an out of control horse. If I didn’t get him stopped, I would be making a surprise appearance on one of the busiest and most deadly road in our area.

And that is when I knew I was going to die.

Having done everything else, I decided I had better make it right with God, since I was going to be depending on his hospitality in a short period of time.

“Well, this is it God. Sorry I wasn’t a better person, but thanks for loving me anyway.” It was definitely not my most eloquent prayer. And definitely not my longest; but I didn’t even ask to be saved, because I figured there wasn’t enough time for that.

I closed my eyes, and waited for death. And hoped it wouldn’t hurt.

But once again, I was wrong. As soon as I let loose that prayer, God slowed that horse. It wasn’t instantaneous (that would have thrown me off), but it was immediate. I stood there panting, listening to the beat of my heart, and thanking God in every way and language I knew.

As my breathing slowed and the frantic thundering of my heart began to fade, I begin to hear another sound. It took me a minute to identify it, because I wasn’t used to hearing it in the middle of a pine tree forest. It was the sound of traffic. I had been even closer to the highway than I had thought.

God gives us what we need.

Often, in my life, it feels like everything is moving so fast. As if I am once again on that runaway horse, barreling towards certain doom.

But when ever I pray, things slow down, and I am able to recover my balance. God saved me then, and he has saved me ever since.

Heather Summerville

Fort Stockton, Texas

October 4, 2010

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  • Great testimony Heather, thanks for sharing it Kevin.

  • Nice story~Actually amazing what God did then and still does now. We just need to stop and pray. I like that. Thanks for sharing, Heather.


  • Mike McMurry

    Horses can put you in praying situations more often than most pursuits…been there, too. I could tell you a good one about falling into a flooding creek during a blue norther in January(wearing waders) trying to rescue a little spaniel with a duck in her mouth. Yes ,I was praying when the Lord put my feet on a cow trail next to the steep cutbank and I WALKED out of the torrent with dog AND duck.
    Dear Lord,
    How many wrecks have You saved me from that I never even saw, much less saw coming !
    Thank You for watching over us. Help us to know and serve Your purpose.
    In Jesus’ Name,

    • Kevin


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