Abby and Cherokee. What a team! Their bond was tight. There was a knowing between these two that brought joy to them both and amazement to me. They shared sweet times of bonding that spanned eight wonderful years while grooming, riding, learning, showing, playing chase, and “sitting” (on the ground) together curled up in the sun “discussing” Abby’s innermost secrets. For the most part, Cherokee was gentle with her in a way that was rather unusual for such a big animal. She loved him. He loved her and was vocal about it when she came into view.
The two worked together in a 4-H setting to compete at the yearly 4-H horse show at the county fair. They always achieved top honors. Abby leased Cherokee for 4-H, but knew the time would come when she would age out of 4-H and head off to college. Now, the time had come. This eight year friendship stared change square in the eye. Abby’s tender heart broke to think of leaving her friend and him not knowing why. How could she let him know her absence wasn’t dissatisfaction or disinterest?
As God would have it, Anna Twinney, horse whisperer and founder of Reach Out to Horses, accepted the perfectly timed invitation to present the 4-H group with a short demonstration of how to communicate with horses. The information and demonstration she shared was mind-boggling. Most of those attending sat spellbound…with dropped jaws and shaking heads.
At one point, Abby tearfully asked Ms. Twinney to communicate to Cherokee that she, Abby, would be leaving soon for college, that she deeply loved him, and that she hated to leave. Ms. Twinney gave Cherokee the “floor” to express himself. He communicated that he knew Abby loved him and that he loved the “hand grazing” she offered him. He also loved getting away with some behaviors that he knew he shouldn’t be doing. He made it evident that he had had previous riders and that Abby should come to visit.Now, I don’t know if you believe this type of transfer of thought is possible; I am not even sure what I think about it, but I know that one heart-broken young girl was given the peace of mind and heart that allowed her to go to college with a clear conscience. She trusted that her “best friend” knew she was not writing him off her list of important relationships. (Matthew 19:26) A load of care was lifted off her young shoulders that day. God knew what she needed and He made a way. (First Peter 5:7) Was it a Holy Spirit thing? Was it something else completely? I will be asking that question when I see Jesus face to face. Until then, I am a mother who is so very grateful for a God who understands the needs of His children. He assured Abby that her treasured friend knew her love was strong and lasting – even if that friend was a horse.
Photo credit: Sarah Urtz