Horsemanship and healing
I find it amazing how God’s love is always present, always surrounding and protecting us. This summer, I went to a camp for Christian Scientists, where I got to ride a horse named Remington. He was a sweetheart on rides—that is, unless we were going back home to the corral.
The first time Remington acted up was when we were exiting an arena and heading back. He started crow-hopping and lunging, trying to run home. I pulled on the reins, but it was no use. He repeatedly tried to bolt, until at last he stopped when we hit the trail.
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After that, I was extremely nervous on him when headed home. I would always tense up, lean forward, and shorten the reins. That’s when negative thoughts would come to me, like, “He’s going to take off again,” or, “He’s such a bad horse!” or even, “Just get off him and quit the horsemanship program.” Because I was not ready to fall off, hate my horse, or quit horsemanship, I had to resolve these conflicts.
The healing took some time, but the result was complete and worthwhile. It started on the first-session camp-out as we were riding to our campsite. We were traveling along a trail, but little did I know there was an access trail leading back to the corral. We were crossing a stream, when Remington, wanting to go home, bolted ahead of another horse, only stopping when I used the reins. And when we started up again, Remington bolted. Again I used the reins, and he stopped. The counselors then asked me to dismount and lead him on foot.
At this point, it was very hard to reject negative thoughts. Just then, a verse from a hymn with words by Mary Baker Eddy came to me. It was:
Aye, darkling sense, arise, go hence!
Our God is good.
False fears are foes—truth tatters those,
(Christian Science Hymnal, No. 160)
I translated “darkling sense” to “dark thoughts” so for me, the hymn said: “Hey, dark thoughts, get out of here! God didn’t create you. Fears aren’t real and can’t help us, so truth destroys them when you understand what truth actually is.”
I prayed with that a lot, and every time a fear would come, I would replace it with a right thought, like “Remington is an idea of Love. You, error, are not! So just go away.”
We tried remounting several times, but Remington would always take off before my feet were in the stirrups. At first this discouraged me, but I kept praying, and after some help from one of the counselors, Remington’s behavior improved.
I was assigned to Remington for the next session, too, which I loved, since we had bonded by that time. But again, sometimes he would get antsy when we’d go home. I did a pretty good job of handling fear. The challenge would be on the three-day trip we were about to take.
Beforehand, I did a lot of praying with the help of the Christian Science practitioner at camp (and my friends and counselors also shared helpful ideas with me). It felt right to do this to protect the upcoming trip. Before the trip started, I prayed for inspiration to carry with me while in the saddle, and I found many ideas that really helped.
Once we were on the trip, we were again on the trail leading to the stream where Remington had bolted before. Whenever negative thoughts came, I would think of what many people had told me: “Error can suggest something, but it can’t make it real.” I love that!
When we approached the stream, Remington lunged across, but I quickly responded by turning him in a circle. We kept traveling on the trail, and Remington was as docile as he could be. He did not bolt, crow-hop, lunge, or anything, and for that I was grateful.
In the mornings, all I had to do were some turns with Remington, and he was fine. He obeyed all my cues, and it was a very harmonious trip. He didn’t try to bolt with me again, and because of this healing, I am now a more confident rider.
I saw that we were two ideas of God, and that the pure, supreme Mind, which governs all, was communicating to both of us. Over the summer, we performed well in two rodeos, but I don’t care as much about that. I care about the fact that I loved Remington so much, and I felt that he loved me back. For many reasons, it was the best summer ever.