Today’s Horse Facts: The Azerbaijan

Have you ever heard of an Azerbaijan (AZ-ər-by-JAHN)? Not many people have. In fact, if you’d ask the average person, he might say he thinks an Azerbaijan is a type of insect or some disease!

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The Azerbaijan: A Burden Lifter

Qarabaq ati.jpg

(Photo compliments of Wikipedia)

“Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

(Galatians 6:2)

Have you ever heard of an Azerbaijan (AZ-ər-by-JAHN)? Not many people have. In fact, if you’d ask the average person, he might say he thinks an Azerbaijan is a type of insect or some disease!

The Azerbaijan horse, (once called a Kazakh), is as unknown as the country of Azerbaijan itself. This small republic lies just northwest of Iran in Asia. Although Azerbaijan is small, its people have great respect and pride for a powerful little horse that owes his roots to that part of the world. The little-known breed is a mountain-steppe racing and riding horse. These tough horses are known for living long lives and having great endurance. They do very well growing up in herds on mountainsides, and they’re strong with lots of spunk.

If you’d like to look at a handsome horse, the Azerbaijan will fit the bill. He usually comes in the solid colors of chestnut, bay, or gray.  He has a short head with a broad forehead and narrow nose, a really thick neck, and a strong body, and he runs fast with a pacing (rather fast steady) gait. He runs so fast the Azerbaijan folks often hold races. This little equine powder keg has been clocked at almost a mile in about three minutes!

Azerbaijans are also known for strength and stamina, working as pack horses to lighten heavy loads for the people who love them so much. The breed has unique characteristics that have made him a reliable burden bearer. Although he’s only about 11 to 12 hands, he can carry heavy loads on mountain trails and over the countryside with no problem. While carrying all that weight, he can go about 25 to 30 miles in one day!

Wow! The Azerbaijan certainly has the reputation of being a burden lifter. How about you? Do you help others and lift their burdens?

You might think, how can I lift burdens and heavy things? I’m just a kid.

Do you know the Bible teaches us to be burden lifters to our family and friends? Lifting burdens doesn’t always mean picking up heavy things as you would do to help someone move into a new house or maybe just to clean out a garage. When you’re a burden lifter, you’re an encourager. You’re someone who says kind words and does kind deeds to make others feel better.  To do this, you should be alert to your family’s and friends’ needs.

If someone is disappointed about something, do you ever offer kind words? Do you listen if your friend wants to tell you his troubles? These are ways even children can be burden lifters like the perky Azerbaijan.

Perhaps you don’t think about how others are feeling because you think about yourself too much. Or maybe you have too many of your own problems. Well, the Bible tells us that we’re to give our worries to the Lord Jesus, and He’ll help us. When we pray, ask for His strength, and give our burdens to Him, He’s ready to take them. God then gives us strength so we’re ready and able to lift burdens for those we love.

PRAYER: Dear God, help me to not focus on myself all the time. Help me to be sensitive to the burdens of others, so I can offer to help. In Jesus’ name, amen.

SADDLE UP!   (What would God have you do now?)

Think of some family or friends who have burdens and how you can offer to help.

Take your ride: (Do you know?) The Azerbaijan has a peculiar lengthwise fold on his tongue, making it look like a forked (divided) tongue.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?) “Come to me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).



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Today’s Horse Facts: The Austrian Warmblood

The Austrian Warmblood comes from Austria, a country in Europe, long known for its outstanding horses

The Austrian Warmblood: A Loyal “Soldier”

Image result for austrian warmblood for sale

(Photo compliments of pinterest.com)

“You therefore must endure hardship as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”

(2 Timothy 2:3)

The Austrian Warmblood comes from Austria, a country in Europe, long known for its outstanding horses. Like other Warmbloods, this stunning steed was developed as a super riding and competition horse. He has his roots in old Austrian cavalry (war) horses combined with the delicate Arabian and Warmblood sport horses, namely the Nonius and Furioso, both from Hungary.

In the mid-19th Century, the war horse/sport horse combination was crossed with Thoroughbreds and more Arabians to further refine the breed. And what a beauty emerged! From those came a horse suitable for classy dressage and show jumping as well as for trail riding.

Like many breeds in the mid-20th Century, the rise of machines, especially the automobile, caused the numbers of Warmbloods to decline. However to save the breed, Warmblood enthusiasts in Austria founded an organization in 1964 called the Association for Warmblood Breeding to promote the horse. Even so, the breed is still “battling” for recognition. It’s estimated only about 800 Austrian Warmbloods exist today.

This handsome horse has a height from 15.2 to 16.2 hands. Although solid colors of chestnut, grey, bay, and black are most desirable, a pinto studbook has been approved. (A studbook is a list of approved stallions available for breeding.)Whatever his color, the Austrian Warmblood has the reputation of having a pleasant character and a balanced temperament. If you see a Warmblood in action today, you’d never think this splashy mount could have been a warrior in battle hundreds of years ago, but that’s a fact.

The Warmblood has a history of being a good “soldier,” starting out in the Austrian cavalry. He had the reputation of being very loyal to his rider. Loyalty to the leader defines a good soldier.

How about you? Would you consider yourself a good soldier?

“I’m not in any army,” you might say. “How can I be a soldier?”

The Bible talks about Christians being good soldiers of Jesus Christ. If you love the Lord with all your heart, you’ll strive to be a good soldier by obeying God’s Word and doing the best you can every day. If you live to please God, then you are a good soldier. As you work hard to that end, remember to get your marching orders from the Bible, and you’ll be a loyal and faithful Christian, ready for the “battle” at hand.

PRAYER: Dear God, help me to be a good soldier of Christ. I want to obey you and be a loyal follower. Give me the courage to tell others about Jesus and His love for them. In Jesus’ name, amen.

SADDLE UP!   (What would God have you do now?)

Have you ever thought of yourself as a soldier? Think of two things you can do to show others you are a good soldier of Jesus Christ.

Take your ride: (Do you know?) The best way to recognize an Austrian Warmblood is by a brand, the letter “A,” placed on the left hip of foals.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?) “Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11).

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Today’s Horse Facts: The Australian Brumby

What the Mustang is to the United States, the Brumby is to Australia.

The Australian Brumby: Free as the Wind

A small group of dark-colored horses standing near a dirt road

(Photo compliments of Wikipedia)

“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.”

 (Romans 8:2)

What the Mustang is to the United States, the Brumby is to Australia.

The Brumby is a free-roaming feral horse in The Land Down Under. The word “feral” refers to animals that live in the wild after having been domesticated by humans. The best-known Brumbies are found in the southeast Australian Alps, although herds of them are found in many areas of the country. Most of them roam freely in the Northern Territory in one of the largest herds in Queensland.

Although we would say a group of horses is a “herd,” a group of Brumbies is known as a “mob” or “band.” Brumbies are the descendants of escaped or lost horses, probably dating back to the late1700s. They crossbred with steeds of European settlers, horses from South Africa, Timor Ponies from Indonesia, British ponies and draught (draft) horses, and a large number of Thoroughbreds and Arabians. With all that cross-breeding, today the Brumby just looks like your “average horse,” usually solid colored and stocky.

The first report of an escaped horse in Australia was in 1804. But by the 1840s, it was common knowledge the horses were escaping from settled regions. Perhaps fences were not properly installed, if fences existed at all! Actually, it’s believed that most Australian horses became feral because they were released into the wild and left to fend for themselves. That might have happened when some ranchers abandoned their settlements due to extremely dry conditions and harsh lands, making farming too difficult.

It’s estimated that at least 400,000 horses roam Australia. Wow! That’s a lot of wild horses! Feral horses are considered a moderate pest because they sometimes wander on ranches where they damage vegetation and cause erosion. During drought conditions, they eat the already threatened and limited vegetation and chew the bark off trees. Therefore, trying to manage the large herds has become a complicated issue between ranchers and the government. Unfortunately, being free to run doesn’t offer the best situation for the Brumbies.

Today thousands of Brumbies live in designated national parks in Australia. Sadly over the years, because there were so many wild horses, the government shot thousands until the public outcry convinced agents to use other means to control the herds.  Adoption centers have been established. Occasionally the Brumbies are rounded up and domesticated for use as camp drafters, stock horses on farms, trail horses, show horses, Pony Club mounts, and pleasure horses. High-risk youth (children who have gotten into some kind of trouble with the law) benefit by attending training camps where they work with Brumbies, training them to become safe trail horses.

An exciting time for Brumbies is a catch-and-handle event in stockman’s challenge competitions held throughout the year. Riders on horseback must catch a running Brumby within a time limit of a few minutes. Points are awarded for the cowboys’ care and skill in catching the Brumby and their ability to teach them to lead. The most famous event is probably the “Man from Snowy River Challenge” in Corryong, Victoria, because of the popularity of two movies, The Man from Snowy River and The Man from Snowy River II.

Australians are proud of “their” horse breed’s heritage of running wild. Horse enthusiasts work hard to keep the Brumbie bands free. If you had the opportunity to ask a Brumby what he’d like, I’m sure he’d say the same thing: “I love running free as the wind.”

When you think of Brumbies running free across the mountains and plains of Australia, do you wish you could be one of those horses and run wild and free? Well, there is a way that every boy and girl can be “free,” much more than even the Brumbies.

The Bible tells us that every person since the beginning of time has had the ability, and often the desire, to sin. Those sins make us feel ashamed. But when we accept Christ as our Savior, the bad feelings and guilt of doing those wrong things are wiped away, and we can feel free as the wind in our souls. Even after we become Christians, we can mess up, but that’s the time to ask Christ to forgive us. We then can feel free to start living for Him again and trying to please him every day. All it takes is our sincere prayer, admitting the things we’ve done wrong.

Do you want to be free as those Brumbies? Be determined to do right in every situation and pray for forgiveness. God is willing to forgive and set you free again.

PRAYER: Dear God, sometimes I don’t feel free at all when sin nags me and keeps me tied down. Please help me to forsake the sin, so I can feel free as the wind. In Jesus’ name, amen.

SADDLE UP!   (What would God have you do now?)

Think of any sin that holds you back from feeling free. Then pray for God to help you rid it from your life. _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

(SIDEBAR 1:)

Take your ride: (Do you know?) The Brumby was adopted as an emblem in 1996 by a rugby union team called the ACT Brumbies from Canberra, Australia.

(SIDEBAR 2:)

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?) “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1 NIRV).

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Today’s Horse Facts: The Arabian – “The China Doll of the Horse Kingdom”

The beautiful Arabian horse is known as “the China Doll of the Horse Kingdom.”

The Arabian: “The China Doll of the Horse Kingdom”

Halterstandingshotarabianone.jpg

(Photo compliments of Wikipedia)

“Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.”
(1 Corinthians 4:2)

There’s not a horse lover anywhere who doesn’t drool when gazing at one of the most perfect creatures in the Animal Kingdom. Sometimes called “The China Doll of the Horse Kingdom,” the Arabian is known as an absolutely stunning horse because of his delicate features.

Researchers have long believed this breed is the oldest and purest. It’s not known for sure if it originated in Arabia, but evidence found in archaeological digs dates the Arabian back 4,500 years. Bible scholars believe the first horse God created in the Garden of Eden must have had the traits of strength and beauty seen in the Arabian today. It’s also a rarely debated fact that all other horse breeds descended from this gorgeous breed that also has stamina, courage, and intelligence.

A purebred Arabian is small in stature, only 14 or 15 hands. But don’t let his size fool you. He has strong endurance to tough circumstances and is extremely loyal to his rider. Other features that catch the eye of horse lovers include a delicate “dish” face with a broad forehead and tiny muzzle, two alert ears that point in, and large eyes that often have rings of black. He also has a graceful, arched neck and a high carriage in his tail. The breed can come in practically any color, including dappled and some paint, but you can know for sure if the horse is of Arabian blood if you run your finger against the grain of his coat and see an underlying bed of black skin. If that’s the case, then even an Arabian who might appear to be white is called a “gray.”

If you think you’d like to own an Arabian, it’s recommended that you have riding experience. Arabians, as gorgeous and loyal as they are, have a reputation of being high-spirited even after they’re well-trained and ridden for years. Your Arabian might take you on a ride you’ll never forget!

Many horse lovers think the combination of loyalty and high-spiritedness is a tremendous asset in any breed of horse. But are they two traits a Christian young person also should have in his or her life?

How about you? Do you consider yourself loyal to anything? To anyone?

Another word for loyal is “faithful.” A faithful Christian wants to please God by attending church, reading his Bible, and praying. A faithful young person will also stand up for God at school or with friends. Do you stand up for God or are you ashamed you are a Christian?

Do you consider yourself high-spirited?

One definition of “high-spirited” is to be lively and full of fun. If you’re full of fun and pleasant when others are around, you’re the best kind of high-spirited person. Everyone loves someone who has joy in his or her heart and wants to do right, no matter the circumstances.

So, if you want to be like the classy Arabian, determine to be faithful to God. Work hard to develop an excitement deep in your soul to do right and make up your mind to smile while you’re doing it.

PRAYER:

Dear God, please help me to be faithful and joyful in my church attendance, Bible reading, and prayer.

I want to please you in everything I do. In Jesus’ name, amen.

SADDLE UP! (What would God have you do now?)

Are there any chores you must do that make it hard for you to be faithful when doing them? Do you do them with a joyful spirit?

Think about your chores and how you can improve.

(SIDEBAR 1:)
Take your ride: (Do you know?)

The Arabian is classified as a hot-blooded breed, a category that includes delicate, spirited horses bred for speed.

(SIDEBAR 2:)
Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?)

“And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord: it shall rejoice in his salvation” (Psalm 35:9).

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Today’s Horse Facts: The Appaloosa – a Blanket of Brilliance

The Appaloosa horse is usually covered with beautiful spots, but he’s not to be confused with pintos.

TODAY’S HORSE FACTS

The Appaloosa: A Blanket of Brilliance

A dark brown horse with a white and brown spotted rump running in a field.

(Photo compliments of Wikipedia)

“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.”

(Psalm 32:1)

The splashy Appaloosa is one of the most popular breeds in the United States, so popular it was even named the official state horse of Idaho in 1975. The breed as we know it today is believed to have originated in the northwestern Native American tribe called the Nez Perce way back in the 17th Century. But did this horse get its earliest start in other parts of the world?

Some French cave paintings thousands of years old show “spotted” horses like Appaloosas. In China, the ancient peoples called this horse “heavenly,” and Persians have called him “sacred.”  But here in the westward expansion of our American territory, the colonists first noticed the beautiful breed as the favorite horse of a unique people, who lived near the Palouse River (which runs from north central Idaho to the Snake River in southeast Washington State.) The Nez Perce Indians rode stunning equines—red and blue roans, with spots all over their rumps. The pioneers had never seen anything like this breed of horse that stood between 14 and 16 hands. They started calling him “palousey,” which means “the stream of the green meadows.” Eventually, the name changed to “Appaloosa.”

People who don’t know much about horses often confuse Appaloosas with Pintos, thinking they are the same, but they certainly aren’t. Although “Apps” are known for the blankets on their rumps, there are ten different patterns of spots found on Appaloosas. They can have spots all over their dark or light-colored bodies. But an App must also have some characteristics quite unique to be registered as an official pureblood Appaloosa: striped hooves, spotted skin around his eyes and lips, and a white outer coat called a sclera encircling his brown or blue eyes.

If you want to buy a gorgeous Appaloosa mare and her foal, you might be surprised to see the foal with a solid coat. Therefore, it’s not always easy to predict a grown App’s color at birth. Spot patterns emerge over time but sometimes change over the course of the horse’s life. Apps with a varnish roan or snowflake pattern are two that become more visible as they grow. Some horses, like those with the blanket or leopard patterns, tend to stay the same once their spots start to emerge. But one thing is certain. The blanket or “covering” of the Appaloosa makes this husky stock horse a head turner whether he’s competing in western horse shows, strolling down the street in a parade, or ambling on a woodsy trail.

The covering of the Appaloosa makes him a special horse. Do you have a “covering” in your life that makes you special to God?

This covering we call “salvation” is the one God places over every person who accepts Jesus Christ as his or her Savior.  Like a blanket smothering the flames of a destructive fire, God places his covering of love over our sins and smothers them when Jesus comes into our lives and gives us the desire and power to do right.

Do you have God’s covering of love in your life? If you do, then when you struggle with anger, being nasty, or laziness and say you’re sorry, God’s ready to forgive you and cover you with His love.  And when you walk by, others will notice a “blanket of brilliance” that comes from your smiling face and servant’s heart.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank you for covering my sins and giving me a new way of thinking. Please help me to display my “blanket of brilliance” to others. In Jesus’ name, amen.

SADDLE UP!   (What would God have you do now?)

Think of some bad habits God is helping you overcome since He’s covered your sins. _______________________________________________________________________________________________

(SIDEBAR 1:)

Take your ride: (Do you know?) Roan is a coat pattern with an even mixture of colored and white hairs on the horse with his head, lower legs, mane, and tail mostly solid colors. The silvering effect of mixed white and colored hairs often creates coats that look bluish or pinkish. Bluish roans are called “blue roans,” and pinkish roans are called “strawberry roans” or “red roans.”

(SIDEBAR 2:)

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?) “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins” (Proverbs 10:12).

 

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Today’s Horse Facts: The Andalusian – Fit for a King

The Andalusian horse has always been known for its incredible athletic ability as a war horse. But how is he used today?

The Andalusian: Fit for a King

Image result for andalusian horse

(Photo compliments of Wikipedia)

The Andalusian horse is a real beauty, standing between 15 and 16.2 hands. This breed is most often gray or bay (a shade of brown with a black mane, black tail, and often black legs below the knee) in color, but once in a while you might see a white, black, or chestnut Andalusian prancing by. He’s well built with a finely sculptured head, alert ears, lively yet kind eyes, an elegant arched neck, and a long and often wavy mane and tail. This horse descended from the horses of Spain and Portugal and derives its name from Andalusia, a region in southern Spain, where its ancestors lived for thousands of years. He’s also known as the Pure Spanish Horse or P.R.E. (Pura Raza Española).

This magnificent breed has been recognized since the 15th Century, and its conformation has changed very little over the centuries. From the very beginning, Andalusians have been used for both riding and driving. Among the first horses used for dressage, they’re still making a mark in that international competition today.

The Andalusian has always been known for its incredible athletic ability as a war horse.   The Quarter Horse and other breeds noted for their “cow sense” inherited this ability from their Andalusian ancestors. (Horses with “cow sense” are good at anticipating the next move of cattle they are trying to corner or single out of a herd, particularly to cutting horses. They seem to understand cattle and can almost read their minds.)

Also, bull owners gave the Andalusian its reputation as the greatest athlete and stock-working animal in the equine world. In Spain, cowboys have long used them in handling the bulls, which can be quite ornery. Many other horse breeds run the opposite direction from these dangerous animals; yet, Andalusians seem to delight in confronting a nasty bull. With the incredible speed, they can maneuver stealthily, dodging in and out and barely missing the hooking horns when the bull charges.

Andalusian blood has had a strong influence on almost every breed in ancient times. But most interesting is the fact that Andalusians became a favorite for kings and knights, mostly because of the horse’s regal carriage and high step. Although the Andalusian has always been very expensive, a wealthy knight would never be found plodding along on a lazy, low-headed mount. The prancing Andalusian had to have an arched neck to be chosen to carry royalty.

It’s no surprise this horse is nicknamed “The Horse of Kings.” The breed was so respected, a quote spoken over 300 years ago by William Cavendish, Duke of Newcastle, has also stood the tests of time: “… the noblest horse in the world, the most beautiful that can be. He is of great spirit and of great courage and docile; hath the proudest trot and the best action in his trot, the loftiest gallop, and is the lovingest and gentlest horse, and fittest of all for a king in his day of triumph.” [1] The Andalusian truly is a horse fit for a king!

How about you? Are you fit for a king?

“Fit for a king?” you might say. “I’ve never even met a king or a president. How can I be fit for a king?”

I’m talking about the King of kings and Lord of lords, the Lord Jesus Christ. Are you “fit” for that King?

The Bible says when we accept Jesus as our Savior, He becomes the “King” of our lives. Subjects who love their king (or leader) try to please him with their good deeds and loyalty. If you’re a young Christian, your desire should be to please God with everything you do and say.

Are you sure that activity you want to do will please God? The best way to serve your King is to read His word, go to church, and pray. When you pray, ask God for His guidance, and He’ll help you every day.

 “Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for to you I pray.”

(Psalm 5:2 NIV)

PRAYER: Dear God, I want to please you and honor you as my King. Help me to always remember I serve the King of kings and Lord of lords and that I want to be a faithful follower of you. Thank you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

SADDLE UP!   (What would God have you do now?)

Write three things you could do that would show Jesus that He’s the King of your life. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Take your ride: (Do you know?) The Iberian and Celtiberian soldiers of the famous Carthaginian horse troops used magnificent Andalusians to carry the Roman army in its conquests throughout the ancient world.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?) “Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen” (1 Timothy 1: 17).

1 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andalusian_horse