The conversation starts innocently. Two women of one mind and passion discussing their favorite topic--horses.
"Tango looks good."
Horse people can spend hours discussing the particulars of equine husbandry, in details that exhaust the naive bystander. Sorta like a couple of guys lingering over a car engine. Got an Edelbrock, 4 barrel carbuerator in 'er. Expensive but worth it. Tuned her up yesterday and running good. Sweet.
In this instance we were discussing feed. Time to drop the A word.
"I think he does," I say. "Feeding him a bit of alfalfa."
My friend raises her eyebrows.
"Just until this cold breaks." I have to stifle the urge to speak loud and slow, as if she is hard of hearing.
"They don't need it you know. Alfalfa is not a natural feed choice for horses."
I sigh. This is a conversation we've had before.
I try to keep my sense of humor when it comes to horse keeping practices. Horse people are maddeningly opinionated, myself included. In case you are wondering, I know the best breed--Arabians; the best type of halter--rope and it must be yachting grade; and the best supplement for the coat--flax seed. I am open to supply answers to other horse related questions--saddles, trailers, hay, training methods. Really anything.
The fact is, many different methods can and do work with horses whether its training or general health and maintenance issues. Horses are individuals. What works for one, may not work for another. A good horseman is sensitive to his particular beast, open minded to new things when challenges arise. It is possible the way I understand something, the way I am comfortable with, the particular camp I squat in, horsemanship-wise, will not work for a new animal.
It is amazing how intolerant Christians can be toward different pastors, ministries, methods of worship and expression. I don't understand it/am moved by it so it must be inferior. This is a subtle and destructive attitude. Last I checked God is infinitely creative. So creative He never does the same thing twice. Unlike human beings, repeating the same thing over and over, sometimes simply because it is familiar.
I became aware of this attitutude in myself when hearing the testimony of a friend. A tough, "man's man," he did not become a Christian until later in life. This man told me, with tears in his eyes, about the day he picked up a Bible and read the beatitudes. The scriptures seemed to come alive and minister to him personally. He was broken, moved to accept the Lord that very day. Huh? The beatitudes? Was all I could think at the time. Don't get me wrong, they're poetic and all but able to move someone to a saving faith? Not for me. And not what I would have predicted to work on this tough guy.
Guess it's not my job to convert everybody to alfalfa.