“Whoa,” I nodded approval as the bay gelding slid to a dusty halt.
“Come on,” I encouraged next, as I touched him lightly on his near flank with the buggy whip.
The gelding regarded me with gentle eyes and took a few steps forward. He circled to the left for several rounds, and I tapped him lightly again, giving the command to move into the next gait.
Without warning, he yarded back on the longe line, drawing it tight. He swung his hindquarters away from me and stood stock still. I reached forward, intending to touch him lightly on the shoulder and force him back into a broadside position.
Why are you pulling away from Me, child?
Tossing his head, the gelding drew back. He swished his tail and snorted.
I straightened him out, then backed away, the buggy whip at the ready should he need reminding. Centered again, I gave him a smart rap and said firmly, “Come on!”
He took a reluctant step, eyeing me, and then took a few more steps. Again, he snorted, turned his back end and wheeled about, straining on the rope.
Have I asked you to do something that is too difficult?
“Whoa.” The gelding continued to pull on the rope. retreating until he was against the corral rails. I let the line go slack. He dropped his head and watched me warily. I led him back to position.
He shook his head, ears twitching. He dragged a hoof through the dust and then braced himself.
You are very stubborn, child. Why do you resist the plans I have for you? Do you not trust Me?
“Come ON!” I snapped the whip. The gelding rolled his eyes and jerked on the longe line. I gave a responding tug and flicked the whip again. He lunged away, and I stumbled behind him.
Do you even know what you want? You claim to love Me, want to live for Me, and then you ignore Me, disobey Me, and run the other way.
The gelding abruptly turned to face me. forcing air through his flaring nostrils. He pawed the ground, dust whirling around his feet. His muscles rippled in the sun, his satiny coat slicked with sweat, and I marvelled at his beauty, even as he challenged me.
Do you not understand that you are My workmanship? When I look on you, I see My beloved child, the work of My hands, created to do good.
I breathed in the bitter smell of my own sweat and frustration. I tapped the whip against the ground, contemplating my next move. The gelding pinned back his ears, and backed up, pulling the longe line taut. I coiled it, once, twice around my hand.
I touched the whip to his shoulder, and he bunched. With sudden explosiveness, he reared up, plunged down, and reared again. The rope burned as it slid through my hand.
I cracked the whip. The whites of his eyes flashed and he squealed.
Chastening is an expression of My love for you. My desire is to shatter the brittleness of Your heart, so that you will heed My voice. I want to break your stubborn will, but I will not break your spirit.
For a long moment, the horse and I stared at each other, he in apparent defiance of my authority, and I, in an attempt to understand his sudden recalcitrance. The taste of grit was dry in my mouth.
I dropped the whip and held out my hand.
He blew, shook his head and blew again.
I took a step.
Draw near to Me, and I will come near to you.
I stood quietly and waited.
Tentatively, the gelding came closer.
He stretched out his nuzzle, and I looked into his liquid gaze.
He lipped my fingers and exhaled his warm, sweet breath across my hand.
Your name is engraved on My palm.
The gelding took another step and, whickering softly, tucked his velvety nuzzle into the crook of my arm.
Together, we heaved a sigh, both of us broken, but each reconciled to his own Master.
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