A man made national news recently when he rode his horse from Oklahoma to Washington State. Mark Ryan, a Long Rider, made the 2,000 mile journey in about five months.
Certainly a trip of this length and time commitment had a deeply inspiring reason. Was it to cure cancer, help the environment, work for world peace?
"There's nothing like traveling 2 miles an hour," responded Ryan when asked the obvious question.
Oookaaay.....he took five months off of "real life," left behind conveniences (he took no cell phone, GPS, or computer), and journeyed at a snails pace through the elements to find......an unbelievably sore rear end??!
Ryan's reply makes a little more sense if you enjoy horses. To quote an unknown author: In riding a horse we borrow freedom.
Freedom. The search for a feeling of freedom gnaws at the soul of every human being. It finds many outlets--the adrenalin rush of a sky dive, a fast car, a pornographic website, the rush after a needle injection. Life is complicated and full of unbelievable pressure. Pressure to perform, be somebody, acquire possessions to keep up with the Joneses (why is their name Jones, by the way? Why not Rockefeller?) Sometimes I have to get away from expectations and responsibility; from the clumsiness of my own unwieldy physical body. At those times I crave the freedom of traveling at 2 miles per hour (okay, I prefer to go a bit faster than that). A friend calls this Equine Therapy. Forget the ridiculously high cost of hay; it's worth it.
Second Corinthians says, "Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit is there is liberty." I find it fascinating that the horse--loaner of freedom to earth bound misfits (to quote Pink Floyd)--is a favorite of the One who offers lasting liberty.
With the exception of sheep, equines are mentioned more than any other animal in scripture. References to horses, tack, and horsemanship are sprinkled throughout the Bible and equines are portrayed as both servants (Zechariah), and messengers (Balaam's donkey; Revelation). Additionally Christ is the ultimate cowboy when he instantly tames a colt to ride through Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. He is returning not on a quad (my son's choice) but on a magnificent white horse with a slew of horseback riding saints--the Giver of freedom astride its symbol. I always get excited at that part of the Bible. I must add that I know what breed of horse He will return on....Arabians may be the most ancient and Quarter Horses the most popular but Christ will certainly return on a white Andalusian. No doubt in my mind.
I like to tease my non-riding husband that he needs to prepare for the Second Coming. Nothing worse than having the "trail ride" begin and you're waiting for a leg up. No doubt in that moment we'll instantly acquire super natural horsemanship skill that makes our attempts here on earth look disgraceful. But I'm not taking any chances. Gettin' all the practice I can in now.