For those of you of the right vintage, you might recognize this headline from the 1983 song of the same name by Dan Seals. It’s one of my favourite cowboy songs of all time.
It came to mind when trying to think what to write for my Christmas message in this issue.
About 25 years ago, a friend once described his faith journey as a paved road with a ditch on each side. For every mile of asphalt, there are two miles of ditch.
When he felt spiritually connected, life was pretty good on that road; not that everything came up roses but life seemed to make sense to him. Invariably though, he would wander off the road and spend time in the ditch.
That metaphor has sure stuck with me. And for those of you that know me well, you know I’ve had my share of “ditch riding.”
Our faith journey seems to have similar traits to working with horses. Invariably we are going to have challenging rides… maybe even get bucked off. But we keep getting up, and keep getting back in the saddle. Why is that?
I think it’s because we are always looking for that good ride, where everything comes together. We’ve experienced it before, and desire to have it again. Maybe you’re a show jumper… or a reiner…or dressage rider. Possibly a mounted shooter… a trainer… a penner… or maybe you just love trail riding. There is something there that keeps drawing us back to the saddle, no matter how good or bad the last ride was.
This can also be said of our faith… there is an inner desire that draws us back to the road, especially during times spent in the ditch. We long for something or someone to help make sense of this world we live in.
I’ve met a lot of folks this past year as editor of Horses All magazine. And many of them have an underlying faith foundation.
They don’t come across too churchy. I’ve shared a cold beer with some of them, and I’ve heard the odd cuss word on the trail or in the round pen.
There is this quietness and gentleness about their faith. It wasn’t so much what they said, but how they conducted themselves.
The ones I respect are great with their horses…outstanding actually. It’s through that inner confidence and gentleness that they gain the trust and respect from their horses. Those attributes are recognizable in their human relationships as well.
Many of the people we have profiled in Horses All this past year have a strong faith, and some through extremely challenging times. I’ve been inspired by their stories.
The Good Book talks about faith, hope, and love. Folks in the horse and western lifestyle have great faith in their horses, and the people around them. The risks can be high so faith is a big part of climbing into the saddle.
Not many complainers in our industry… most folks have a sincere hope for better things to come — for themselves, family, and friends. I find the horse industry is generally pretty optimistic (often when they don’t have good reason to be).
And love… well, you can’t read our magazine without seeing how people love their horses… and love others. There is not a month goes by that our industry isn’t trying to raise money for others who have fallen on harder times. Not many are getting rich in this industry but I still find it to be very generous.
So could God have been a cowboy? I’ll let Dan Seals lyrics have the last word:
And I think God must be a cowboy at heart
He made wide-open spaces from the start
He made grass and trees and mountains
and a horse to be a friend
And trails to lead old cowboys home again.