Whoa in Your Go, and Go in Your Whoa!
When I lived in Atlanta I had the privilege of being an exercise rider at home for a wonderful grand prix show jumper named Ironclad. Around the barn he was called Chad. And when it was time for Chad to retire, I was given the amazing gift from his owners, the Tinney Family, of being his retirement home. He became a wonderful schoolmaster for one of my clients and enjoyed a life of trail riding and pampering. He was an absolute joy to ride! What made Chad so enjoyable? Attentiveness.
Riding Chad I felt that any transition or movement I wanted was available to me at any moment. He was aware, yet totally relaxed. He knew what the aids were and was confident and able to perform whatever was asked of him. He was completely attentive yet there was never any anxiousness, never any anticipation, and never any hesitation either. He was completely tuned in to me and completely relaxed at the same time. There was always the quality of “whoa” in his “go”, and the quality of “go” in his “whoa”.
Chad wasn’t born this way, of course, nor did he become this way overnight. Through quality training over time he learned and developed both the mental understanding and the physical ability to perform what was asked of him. And even more, he had the blessing of being owned, handled, and ridden by people that understood and practiced the art of kind partnership which developed the trust necessary for any horse to become his best.
I’ve learned a wonderful exercise for developing the quality of having whoa in your go, and go in your whoa, from studying Jane Savoie’s Happy Horse and Happy Horse Solutions programs. Jane suggests an exercise she calls “frequent transitions, skipping a gait” - going from trot to halt and halt to trot with no “dribbly walk steps in between” as Jane would say! By doing these transitions frequently, only a few strides of trot and just a few seconds standing still in halt, as well as skipping the gait in between the trot and halt so there is a clear and distinct change from whoa to go and go to whoa, we create in our horse attentiveness and responsiveness to our aids.
How does YHWH do this in our lives? Have you ever felt like He’s doing frequent transitions with you, skipping a gait?! I have! Sometimes it feels like I just get going and the next thing I know, He’s prompting me to stop. Or I’ve just stopped and the next thing I know, He’s asking me to go again! He’s not crazy:) Just like Jane Savoie’s exercise, YHWH is teaching us to be engaged. When we ask a horse to engage his hind end it it is because that allows him to have the quality of whoa in his go and the quality of go in his whoa. Just like a horse, when we’re engaged with YHWH - attentive, with neither anticipation nor hesitation - we find a wonderful, dance-like relationship with Our Father developing!
How tuned in to YHWH are you? How attentive are you to His aids? His commands? The questions He asks you in your circumstances throughout the day? Are you ready to go when He says, “go”, and are you ready to whoa when He says, “whoa”? Or are you in autopilot mode, much like a green horse who’s more attentive to everything around him than he is to his rider?
How can we be more like Chad in our life? Let us tune into the Father today, allowing Him to develop the qualities of attentively submitting and listening, being ready to make any transition or movement at the featherlight feeling of His aids, and becoming like our faithful horse partners who have some whoa in their go, and some go in their whoa!