A Leader Knows Who They Are
I have to be honest. Writing on these topics is intimidating for me. I have such a reverential honor and respect for God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the Word of God that it makes me think twice before I share on these topics.
Yet what’s interesting is that my relationship with God and time with God, is not filled with caution, fear, or holding back… it’s close, comfortable and I talk to Him like a friend. He knows what I’m thinking all the time… so there isn’t much of a reason to not speak my heart and mind with Him.
This is how I used to be with my horses… fully myself. In some ways I still am.
My mustangs are who brought this awareness to me, that something wasn’t right. Working with them and starting their development has challenged me in ways, that I knew would be there (that’s why I adopted them in the first place). But discovering the why behind the struggle has been surprising to me to say the least.
I thought at first it was my lack of leadership… that I wasn’t being dominant enough. I wasn’t being assertive enough to be effective. That’s where I was certain my background and experience with training horses would come to the rescue. I’ve trained other people’s horses for them in the past… so I just needed to do what I had done with those horses.
That’s where I am now… unpacking why I’m stuck.
What is it about my leadership that’s lacking?
Where can I turn besides another trainer, to get the answers I need…
How Jesus is Leadership in Your Horsemanship
Jesus is the Son of God, our Lord and Savior that came to live as one of us, in human flesh. He died on the cross and was resurrected, bringing forgiveness and a right standing for us with God through Him. (John 3:16)
But today I want to share what the life and example of Jesus means to me in relation to my horses.
You see, while living on earth Jesus was a perfect example of leadership. He led and lived with humility, through servant leadership. Spirit led and guided, self-controlled, and focused.
Our horses seek leadership. Depending on what trainer you listen to, you can get a wide array of ideas what leadership with your horse should look like.
The styles of training range from dominant, assertive, direct, indirect, passive… there are so many “ways” to be with horses.
In fact, I have studied under many trainers in hopes of fine tuning my skills and becoming a better horsewomen… and yet with the adoption of my mustangs, working and being with them it seems everything I’ve been taught is not leading me to the connection and bond I desire.
This is a strange feeling for me, because as a child, I felt so natural and in flow with my horses. Now I have a list in my head… I’m ready to do what I “should” do and I know how I “should” respond to my horses.
That sounds like clarity and leadership doesn’t it?
When they do this, I do that, to get “X” result.
I suppose if “getting” a horse to do something was my only intention, I would be happy with my results. But it’s not.
Not for me…
As I read in the Bible about who Jesus is and how He lived out His life here on earth, what stands out to me most of all is how He believed and how rock solid He was in His identity.
The Root of Disconnection
When I feel disconnected from my horse, this is the crucial piece that is missing.
I question who I am… or if I’m doing the “right” thing.
As a young girl with my horse, I never cared what anyone thought about how I did things. Heck I didn’t care about what my horse and I could do.
Yet, I successfully trained my personal horses and even worked alongside professional trainers. Maintaining connection, building trust, establishing rapport, and earning respect. It all came naturally as we worked to together.
So, what happened? Where did it all go wrong?
Looking back, I can see where it all shifted for me… and what has helped me to spot the disconnect has been my faith and relationship with God. Because unlike the gap I’ve felt in my personal horsemanship, my relationship with God is close and still comes naturally for me.
So, I began to search out people who don’t have this closeness with God, people who would like to… but struggle to experience anything but discontent, confusion, or distance in their faith.
What I began to see was it came from a place of effort and lack of flow stemming from not having their belief and their identity clear and rock solid.
To be good with horses you must understand their character, their nature as a prey animal, your nature as a predator, and develop skills to safely be with horses.
Likewise, with your faith you must spend time reading the Bible and praying… deepening your connection with God.
One thing that I personally overlooked, and I now clearly see… is the importance of taking time to get to know yourself. To strengthen your belief and your identity.
I encourage you, if you’re not where you want to be in your horsemanship or in your faith, take some time to explore who you think you are.
What identity are living from with your horse? Is it who you want to be? Do you constantly question yourself while your working with your horse?
I can train my horses with the tactics and skills I have acquired. But if I’m not authentically being myself when I’m training them, I won’t like the results even if they appear to others like they are successful.
It has been a challenge and journey for me to develop these mustangs in a way that aligns with me and feels right. Anytime it feels wrong, I can see that I’m in my head and not connecting from my heart. I’m questioning myself and not doing what I feel in the moment is right… I override those feelings with what I’ve been taught to do.
I’m not being my authentic self and my horses’ are reflecting that back at me. So even when they accept the saddle, load in the trailer, complete the pattern or task I ask. They’ve disconnected. They’re not being their authentic self.
The first two chapters of Ephesians are great for helping you explore who you are in Christ. I’ve been spending time each day to reflect and take in who I am in God’s eyes. I’ve found that it’s been healing and comforting to me. Because without realizing it, I’ve spent many years trying to “teach” or “learn” myself into being someone else.
Moving forward, as I work with my horses, I will intentionally keep a raised awareness of whom I am. I’m a leader that has their best interest at heart. From that place, I can trust, my in the moment guidance and remain true to myself.
My hope and intention for you from this message is that you seek out your true identity. Explore and discover who your Creator is and how He sees you. From that place shine out to the world and go be with your horse… things are bound to be amazing from that space and form of leadership.