Today’s Horse Facts: The Nez Perce (Nez Perz) – The Horse with an Attitude

The Nez Perce Horse is another breed with deep roots in the United States. This fascinating horse originated with the American native tribe of the Nez Perce.

The Nez Perce (Nez Perz): The Horse with an Attitude

To see a photo of this horse breed, go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nez_Perce_Horse

“Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

(Philippians 4:8)

The Nez Perce Horse is another breed with deep roots in the United States. This fascinating horse originated with the American native tribe of the Nez Perce, who lived in Idaho and are still recognized by the federal government as authentic Native Americans living in the Pacific Northwest today.

In 1805, when Lewis and Clark made their way through the Bitterroot Mountains into Nez Perce territory in eastern Idaho, they noticed the natives riding strong, magnificent horses. At that time the breed of horse was called the Cordoba, which resembled a breed imported from Spain. The natives rode the Cordobas into battle because the breed had exceptional war skills.

Over almost the next two hundred years, many native tribes and their horses disappeared in America. But not so with the Nez Perce. Surviving through time, those natives took special pride in their horses. In 1938, they started to breed their horses with the Appaloosa, and a beautiful spotted or blanketed horse emerged. In 1995, the Nez Perce Horse Registry (NPHR) program began in Lapwai, Idaho, cross-breeding their Appaloosas with the Akhal-Teke, the stunning “shiny” horse from Central Asia. The United States Department of Health and Human Services financed the program and worked with the Nez Perce tribe and a nonprofit group called the First Nations Development Institute, which promotes such businesses.

Thus, a new breed of horse now roams the Nez Perce reservation. Today’s Nez Perce breed is tall and muscular with the amazing colors of black, golden, metallic, and palomino. He can also be buckskin and dark bay with a spotted blanket or patchy coat. This new crossbreed resembles the magnificent equines the Nez Perce warriors rode in the past, and the Native Americans couldn’t be prouder!

It’s been reported that the Nez Perce say their horse has an “attitude.” But the attitude refers more to the excellence of the breed than the way the horse behaves. The Native Americans have done their best to follow the lead of their ancestors and to carry on tribe’s tradition and legacy. Their horse’s conformation is longer and leaner than other stock horses in the western U.S., with narrower shoulders, a longer back, and narrow hindquarters. They’re often gaited, with a fast and smooth running walk, and they’re great for endurance races, long trail rides, and jumping.

With such excellent characteristics, you might say the Nez Perce Horse has a very good attitude! How about you?

Has anyone ever said that you have an attitude?  Attitudes can be good or bad. An attitude can help shape your personality. People might say you are either pleasant or grumpy all the time. What should a Christian young person’s attitude be?

The Bible tells us that Christians should always be cheerful and thankful for Jesus. If you love the Lord and want to please Him, then you have the best attitude you could have. If you sometimes have a sour attitude, then ask God to help you be kind and considerate, and He will.

PRAYER: Dear God, I want to have the best attitude so I’ll be a good testimony for you in front of others. Please help me to be pleasant and helpful. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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

Think of a few things that might cause you to have a bad attitude. Then write on a piece of paper what you might do to change that attitude.

Take your ride: (Do you know?)  In 1995, the Nez Perce natives acquired four Akhal-Teke stallions and two mares from the country of Turkmenistan to start the Nez Perce Horse Registry and crossbreed with their Appaloosa-type horses.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?)  “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5 NIRV).

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Today’s Horse Facts: The New Forest Pony – An Unusual Mark

If you cross the Atlantic Ocean and travel to the area of New Forest in Hampshire, southern England, you’ll find where the New Forest Ponies originated and still live today.

The New Forest Pony: An Unusual Mark

(Go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Forest_pony to see a picture of this equine)

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

Against such there is no law.”

(Galatians 5:22-23)

If you cross the Atlantic Ocean and travel to the area of New Forest in Hampshire, southern England, you’ll find where the New Forest Ponies originated and still live today. For several thousand years, they’ve been known as one of the most recognized mountain and native equines in the British Isles. As with many pony breeds, New Forest Ponies started their careers as “pit ponies” in mines. Fortunately because of their gentle nature, intelligence, and versatility, they soon became a favorite pet outside the mines. Today the New Forest Pony and similar crossbreeds are still the folks of that region’s favorite choice for getting a hard job done.

Although their height is only about 12 to 14.2 hands, they’re strong, surefooted, hard workers and great for trail riding. Many of these equines are so strong, adults as well as children can ride the taller ones. The ponies also can be driven in harness competition and sometimes even win against larger horses. New Forest ponies also are used today for dressage, gymkhanas, show jumping, cross-country, dressage, and eventing (considered the most demanding of races for both horse and rider. It originated with well-trained cavalry horses, which had to cover rough terrain and obstacles while running at full speed.)

New Forest Ponies are usually bay, chestnut, or gray. They can’t be piebald, skewbald, nor blue-eyed cream, and only geldings and mares can be registered if they are palomino or very light chestnut. They may have white markings on their head and lower legs, but they can’t have white behind the head, above the hock on either hind leg, or above the knee in either one of the front legs.

What’s so interesting about these ponies is they graze freely on the New Forest territory and are owned collectively by New Forest commoners. Those people, under the direction of five agisters (managers or caretakers), have specific rights to a certain section of the Hampshire pastures. However, the people must pay a fee to turn out their ponies to graze. In this “semi-feral” condition, thousands of New Forest Pony mares and a few geldings run loose most of the year. The stallions must be registered to keep the line pure and are turned out only for a limited period in the spring and summer during breeding season.

The success of this program is due to the agisters, who take responsibility for the ponies. Every year, they have a round-up and check each pony’s health. Then they worm and “tail-mark” each one. Tail-marking is the cutting of the pony’s tail in a specific pattern unique to each agister. The tails are cut either in three jagged steps to the left or the right, in cuts on both sides half way up the tail, or with a cut half way up the tail to the right. By looking at any pony’s tail, you can immediately identify the agister who cared for that equine and his region of New Forest. If you’d see any of these ponies, you might chuckle at the way the tails are cut.

The New Forest Pony Breeding and Cattle Society has been publishing the stud book since 1960. New Forest ponies have been exported all over the world, including to Canada, the U.S., Europe, and Australia. Many other countries have their own New Forest Breed societies and stud books. As of 2011, there were 4,604 ponies grazing on the New Forest. In 2014, the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) conservation group listed the New Forest pony as a minority breed because less than 3,000 breeding females were documented.

Regardless of the numbers of New Forest Ponies in the world today, they can be immediately identified by their tail markings. Those unique tails tell everyone the agister who marked them and from what part of New Forest they came. That mark or strange way of identification lets everyone know these proud ponies are from Hampshire, southern England.

Speaking of marks or identifications, can others tell you are a Christian by the “marks of the Lord Jesus” on your life?

If you’re a Christian, you should have the marks that identify a Christian. Those marks are called the “fruits of the spirit”: love, joy, peace, patience, and kindness are some of those marks. The Holy Spirit helps you develop those excellent character traits when you’re willing to follow His commands.

As you grow in your Christian faith, those around you will notice the “new you,” and will identify you as a young person with the marks of a true Christian.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me be willing to obey so that I can have the fruits of the Holy Spirit and have the marks of a Christian on my life. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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

Think of three fruits of the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) and how you can display those “marks” to those around you. (Example: Love – I can write my mother or teacher a note, thanking them for loving and helping me):

Take your ride: (Do you know?)  If a pony fits all the qualifications of a New Forest, but he has blue eyes, he can’t be registered.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?)  “And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.” (Colossians 3:17 NKJV).

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Today’s Horse Facts: The Mustang –

“Mustang” refers to the wild horses that roam the ranges of the western United States. The name comes from the Spanish word mesteña, which means “wild” or “stray.”

The Mustang: A Tongue Bridled and Tamed

To see a photo of a Mustang, please go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mustang

“…We put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. 

 Even so the tongue is a little member and boasts great things.

See how great a forest a little fire kindles!

(James 3:3, 5 NKJV)

“Mustang” refers to the wild horses that roam the ranges of the western United States. The name comes from the Spanish word mesteña, which means “wild” or “stray.”

If you want to know what a Mustang looks like, that’s hard to describe because the breed has no overall characteristics. The reason? Many different breeds of horses over the centuries have contributed to the Mustang’s development. Some Mustangs are large and plump; others are smaller and delicate. The amount of available forage in different ranges also contributes to the horses’ different body shapes and sizes.

Although Mustangs are considered wild, the proper term is “feral” because they descended from domesticated horses. Mustangs are a breed known for their sure-footedness, toughness, and intelligence. They range from 13 to 16 hands, weigh from 600 to 1000 pounds, and are well suited for the rugged land. Mustangs come in any color or combination of colors.

Although Mustangs are often referred to as an “Indian ponies” or “paint ponies,” they’re not ponies but horses. Strangely, Native Americans were not the first to own Mustangs. In the 16th Century, Spanish conquistadors arrived in America with their equines that had Barb and Iberian roots. When the Native Americans realized how useful horses could be, they embraced them and made them an important part of their culture. Over time, large bands of wild horses formed in the West from those abandoned or those that escaped and ran free from the Native Americans, Spanish explorers, ranchers, soldiers, and miners.  From those horses came Mustangs numbering between two and four million in the mid-17th Century.  However, over the next three hundred years, the numbers reduced drastically from either natural causes or ranchers shooting the Mustangs to protect grazing lands. It took until near the end of the 20th Century for anything to be done to keep the Mustangs from going extinct.

Finally, Mustang enthusiasts and horse lovers in general decided to protect the magnificent Mustangs that are a symbol of America’s pioneer spirit of the Wild West.  In 1971, Congress passed the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act. With that bill, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) became responsible for preserving and managing the wild Mustangs and keeping an eye on the ecological balance between wild horse herds, wildlife, and domestic animals grazing on western public lands. Today the number of wild Mustangs is believed to be at least 50,000.

Although Mustang enthusiasts believe all Mustangs should roam free, an alternative plan developed to save the herds from dying off or being killed. To help control the overpopulation of Mustangs, cowboys rounded up some of the horses and placed them in temporary holding areas or offered them to be adopted by horse lovers. This plan is still in effect today. But the one thing Mustang advocates are dead set against is selling the horses for their meat to dog food suppliers.

The BLM determines where and how many Mustangs will be kept as free-roaming animals. More than half of all Mustangs in North America are in Nevada (which features the horses on its state quarter coin). Other very large herds are found in California, Oregon, Utah, Montana, and Wyoming. Yet, another 34,000 horses are in government-run holding facilities.

The National Mustang Association (NMA), established in 1965, works closely with the Bureau of Land Management. They help place Mustangs in good homes of horse-loving people. Thousands of Mustangs have been adopted by patient owners, who have gentled and trained them for trail riding.

Training a wild Mustang requires lots of time and patience. After the horse learns to trust his owner, one of the first steps is getting the horse to respond to the bit in his mouth. Once he knows the bridle is to help him not hurt him, the Mustang learns to control his whole body depending on which way his rider reins the bit. Although the bit is only a few inches long, it can make a powerful, spunky horse obey!

The Bible tells us that our mouths need to be controlled just like the Mustangs’ mouths. Our words can get us into a lot of trouble.

Have you ever said something that was just plain mean or nasty? Do you lose your temper and lose control of your tongue?  God wants us to know if we learn to control our tongues, we’ll be better able to control our whole bodies. A sign of wisdom and obedience to God is learning to control our tongues.

So how is such a hard thing possible? The Bible says to think before you speak and always look for encouraging words to say. If you pray for God’s help and focus on being positive, you’ll learn to control your tongue and become a kind young Christian.

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me control the words I say. I want to be kind to others. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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

What should you do if you say something unkind to a family member or friend?

Take your ride: (Do you know?)  The NMA has an Adopt-a-Horse-For-A-Year program.  The Mustangs in this program roam freely at the Barclay, Nevada ranch owned by the NMA.  This special place is a sanctuary for Mustangs and other wildlife.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?)  “Do not be like the horse or like the mule, which have no understanding, which must be harnessed with bit and bridle, else they will not come near you” (Psalm 32:9).

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Today’s Horse Facts: The Morgan – A Firm Foundation

 Justin Morgan Had a Horse. Have you ever read Marguerite Henry’s book with that title about the man whose horse started the Morgan breed?

The Morgan: A Firm Foundation

“For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.”

(1 Corinthians 3:11)

(Check the website https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morgan_horse to see a picture of the Morgan)

             Justin Morgan Had a Horse. Have you ever read Marguerite Henry’s book with that title about the man whose horse started the Morgan breed?

Here’s another horse breed named after a person. The Morgan is one of the earliest breeds developed in the United States. It’s believed that Figure, the name of the very first Morgan horse, was owned by school teacher Justin Morgan, who lived in West Springfield, Massachusetts in the late 1700s. Someone gave the beautiful, little stallion to Justin for payment of a debt.

When Justin decided to enter Figure in a race, the man soon discovered his new horse could beat all others in any race. Justin had no idea what breeds comprised the lineage of Figure, but some folks assumed the horse had Dutch Friesian, Arabian, and Thoroughbred in him.

The importance of the Morgan horse in the history and development of many other breeds in America cannot be overemphasized. When Justin started to breed Figure, a line of excellent carriage horses, plow horses, and Pony Express mounts developed. All through the 1800s, Morgans also served as coach horses, for harness racing, and for trail riding. They also served as cavalry horses for the North and the South during the American Civil War, as mounts for pioneers going west, and for miners in the Gold Rush in California in the mid-1800s.

If you study the lineage of other major American breeds including the American Quarter Horse, Standardbred, The Missouri Fox Trotter, and Tennessee Walking Horse, you’ll find that the Morgan played a major role. In the 19th and 20th Centuries, Morgans found their way into other countries, including England, where a Morgan stallion became one of the foundation sires of the Hackney.

The Morgan is a handsome yet strong and muscular horse with a gorgeous thick, arched neck. He stands between 14.1 and 15.2 hands and comes in most colors including palomino and even some pinto, although multi-colored ones are rare. His popularity over the last two centuries centers on the strong foundation the first Morgan built, which led to a breed with many skills. Today he’s shown in all kinds of English and western shows, including western pleasure, dressage, show jumping, and endurance riding. He can be seen in driving competitions, including combined driving, carriage driving, and trail riding.

But there’s more! Because of their gentle nature and steady gaits, Morgans are often safe mounts for kids in 4-H and Pony Clubs.  They’re also safe therapeutic animals due to their calm disposition and easy strides. Morgans are certainly versatile…and popular. They’re so popular that two states, Vermont and Massachusetts, have made the Morgan their state animal.

Although Figure had a reputation as an excellent breeding stallion, there are records for only six of his male offspring, and only three of those were known as foundation sires for the breed. However, the breed is so popular, Morgan-only shows are held throughout the U.S. In 1973, the first annual Grand National and World Championship Morgan Horse Show opened in Detroit, Michigan. In 1975 that national show moved to its present home in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Over 1,000 horses compete in that show every year!

You might have noticed the word “foundation” reoccurring as we learned about the Morgan breed. A foundation is a solid base or structure on which other things are built.

Figure became the “foundation sire” for an entire breed. Thousands of other horses have their roots in that amazing horse. But do you know we as humans have a firm foundation in someone? That someone is the Lord Jesus Christ, the foundation of our faith.

When Jesus came to earth and died on the cross for our sins, He made it clear He was the foundation of our Christian faith. Without His sacrifice of blood on the cross and His resurrection, we wouldn’t have anything to base our beliefs on.

Sadly, many people around the world base their faith on false gods made of wood and stone that can’t hear, speak, or answer prayer. But we have a living God, who answers prayer and gives us peace in our hearts that we’ll have a home in heaven with Him someday.

If you believe in Jesus as your Savior, you have the best foundation you could ever have. With the Bible as your “behavior guide” and God’s promise of heaven someday, there’s no reason to ever doubt the salvation Jesus has given to you.

PRAYER: Dear God, I thank Jesus for being my Savior and being the foundation of my faith. I can always trust in Him and His Word, the Bible. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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

Have you ever asked Jesus to become the foundation in your life? Just ask him to save you and He will!

Take your ride: (Do you know?)  Figure lived until 1821 when, sadly, he was kicked by another horse and later died from his injuries. He was buried in Tunbridge, Vermont.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?)  “Of old hast thou laid the foundation of the earth: and the heavens are the work of thy hands” (Psalm 102: 25).

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Today’s Horse Facts: The Missouri Fox Trotter – Dependable

Today the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse is known as everyone’s pleasure horse because of his gentle disposition and dependable, comfortable ride

The Missouri Fox Trotter: Dependable

(To see a picture of this horse, go to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missouri_Fox_Trotter )

“Thy word is true from the beginning.”

(Psalm 119:160a)

When farmers, plantation owners, and ranchers started settling our newly formed United States, they looked for a hardy, muscular horse that could do ranch work yet take the family members on a dependable trail ride. So in the early 1800s, the settlers of the Ozarks in Missouri developed a sure-footed horse that could perform work including working cattle, plowing fields, and hauling logs. But that same horse had to serve as the family’s fancy buggy and riding horse in the evening’s activities.

The Missouri Fox Trotter, developed from horses from Kentucky, Tennessee, and Virginia, filled that need to the “T.”  Crossbreeding with Arabians, Tennessee Walking Horses, Morgans, American Saddlebreds, and Standardbreds made the Trotter smoother and stronger. This versatile equine, able to travel great distances at a comfortable five- to-eight miles an hour, made the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse a favorite of the country doctor, sheriff, traveling preacher, and rancher. In just a short time, the gaited Trotter gained notoriety for his stamina and smooth gaits.

In 1948, Trotter enthusiasts founded the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse Breed Association (MFTHBA) in Ava, Missouri with an open stud book that registered all horses with the fox trot gait and other specified physical characteristics describing the horse. Interest around the world grew, and the first Fox Trotters were exported to Europe in the 1950s when the Queen of England imported several palomino Trotters. The breed’s popularity increased to the point that Missouri Fox Trotters are now seen throughout the United States, as well as in Canada and several European countries. As of 2012 the MFTHBA had registered over 97,000 horses with over 8,000 members. It’s no surprise that the state of Missouri thinks highly of this unique equine. He’s so special that in 2002, the state honored the Missouri Fox Trotter by naming him the official state horse of Missouri.

Missouri Fox Trotters come in all colors, including spotted and buckskin. You’ll often see them with white facial and leg markings. They’re muscular and have sloped shoulders, a short back, and sturdy legs. They stand at 14 to 16 hands and weigh between 900 and 1,200 pounds.

Today the Missouri Fox Trotting Horse is known as everyone’s pleasure horse because of his gentle disposition and dependable, comfortable ride. He’s most known today for his ambling gait, the “fox trot,” a four-beat smooth gait in which the front foot of the diagonal pair lands before the hind pair. He’s in demand for use in all kinds of show classes including pleasure, trail riding, endurance, and cross country. Because of his surefootedness and endurance in rough countryside, he’s used by hunters and National Forestry Service rangers. You can often spot him in movies because of his gentle nature and willingness to work. Handicapped riding programs also use him because his smooth gait has proven to be beneficial for riders with minor physical disabilities. Wow! Would you agree “dependable” describes the Missouri Fox Trotter better than any other word?

Are you “dependable” like the Missouri Fox Trotter? If you’re dependable, you can be trusted to complete tasks you’re asked to do. Would your parent or teacher say you are dependable, or do you forget to do jobs you’re asked to do? A Christian should be dependable because the God we love and serve is dependable.

The Bible tells us that we can depend on Jesus to be our Savior. He shed His blood and died on the cross to save anyone who believes in Him. The Bible is also dependable. Every word of it is true, which tells us about our wonderful God and the home in heaven we’ll have one day. We have a God on whom we can depend.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank you for being the God I can depend on. I also thank you for the Bible that tells me that believing in Jesus as my Savior makes me ready for heaven. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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

Think of some responsibilities your parent or teacher might want you to do. Then decide to be dependable and finish the tasks on time.

Take your ride: (Do you know?)  Fox Trotters were the first horses to carry riders down the north rim of the Grand Canyon.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?)  “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5 NKJV).

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Today’s Horse Facts: The Miniature Horse – He’s for Real!

Here’s a beautiful little equine that, although he’s tiny, is the exact replica of the larger horse breeds.

The Miniature Horse: No Doubt He’s for Real!

(To see a picture of a Miniature Horse, go to Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miniature_horse)

“I’m writing these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God. I’m writing so you will know that you have eternal life.”

(1 John 5:13 NIRV)

Here’s a beautiful little equine that, although he’s tiny, is the exact replica of the larger horse breeds. In fact, he’s so much like the big guys, if you’d see a Miniature Horse standing in a pasture somewhere, you might think he’s just a statue of a larger horse.

The Miniature Horse is just that—a horse, not a pony. We can trace his history back to the 17th Century in Europe when kings and nobles admired such different horses and sought to raise them. But many other Miniature Horses, or “Minis,” who weren’t fortunate enough to live in a king’s barn worked as “pit ponies” inside mines. Sometimes those poor little horses lived inside the mines and never saw the light of day. The English began using ponies in their mines after the Mines and Collieries Act of 1842 prohibited the use of young children.

The first small horses in the United States date back to 1861, when a tiny-horse enthusiast, John Rarey, brought four Shetland Ponies, one only 24 inches tall, to our country. Throughout the late 1800s and into mid-1900, more Minis came from English and Dutch mines to work in coal mines in the U.S. Then in the 1960s, horse lovers as well as the general public developed a real interest in Miniature Horses, which, fortunately, brought the Minis out of the mines and into sport and show competition.

Over the years as more interest grew in the Minis, they were crossbred with other breeds such as the Hackney for a more handsome look and more nimble footwork. Although almost all Minis can’t be ridden even by children, they’re still very popular and are used in all kinds of competition such as driving, obstacle courses, and halter. Because they’re so small, easy to keep, and interact well with humans, many Minis have important jobs. They’re often kept as family pets, (although the Minis still have “horse” traits), and they also can be trained as service animals, doing the same things that dogs do who work for folks with special needs.

So how tiny is tiny? Take a yardstick and stand it on end. That’s about the height of a Miniature Horse. Because they’re so small, they’re measured in inches not in hands. Any color or combination of colors is acceptable, so Minis come in a large variety of splashy colors, including palomino, pinto, and even a cross between a pinto and an Appaloosa called a “Pintaloosa.”

You can find two registries in the United States for Miniature Horses, the American Miniature Horse Association (AMHA) and the American Miniature Horse Registry (AMHR). Founded in 1978, the AMHA started establishing the Miniature Horse as a distinct breed. Today there are dozens of miniature horse registries all over the world. Some of the registries want the breeding of Minis to keep horse characteristics, while other associations want their Minis to have pony characteristics. Along with all these different general Miniature Horse associations, there are also registries for specific types of Minis, such as the Falabella and the South African Miniature Horse.

Minis are healthy animals, often living longer than some full-sized horses. The average life span of Miniature Horses is from 25 to 35 years. Minis have become so popular all around the world that their associations have more than 12,000 enthusiasts in over 30 countries.  For those Mini lovers, there’s no doubt the little equine is a horse in every sense of the word.

Doubt. In our lives, doubt can surface at any time. Have you ever doubted it would stop raining for the family picnic? Or have you doubted whether you’d like the new broccoli casserole or not? Maybe you’ve doubted if you’d ever finish your tons of homework in one evening. Or maybe you’ve doubted if you’ll ever get that puppy or pair of sneakers you want so badly. But there’s one thing you should never doubt.

The Bible tells us when we accept Jesus as our Savior we should never doubt our salvation. When we become Christians, that doesn’t mean we’ll never sin or make mistakes again. It also doesn’t mean we aren’t Christians anymore. All God wants us to do is ask for forgiveness, and He does forgive. God’s Word says we only ever have to ask Christ into our lives one time, and from that moment on, we never have to doubt that we are Christians ever again.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank you for giving me eternal life that can never be taken away from me.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

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

Think of  anything that might cause you to doubt whether you’re a Christian or not. Ask God to forgive you, and He will. Remember, once a Christian, always a Christian.

Take your ride: (Do you know?)  The AMHA has nearly 230,000 registered Miniatures.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?)  “But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus” ( 2 Timothy 3: 14-15 NIRV).

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Today’s Horse Facts: The Lusitano – Same Horse, Different Name

Although cave paintings in the Iberian Peninsula (Portugal and Spain) have revealed the presence of horses there for thousands of years, the Lusitano from Portugal is one of the breeds “officially created” in recent time.

The Lusitano: Same Horse, Different Name

(to see a picture of a Lusitano, please go to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lusitano)

“…And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.”

(Acts 11:26b)

Although cave paintings in the Iberian Peninsula (Portugal and Spain) have revealed the presence of horses there for thousands of years, the Lusitano from Portugal is one of the breeds “officially created” in recent time. The registry name of this breed is Puro Sangue Lusitano (Pure´oh   San´gwee  Lou sah tan´ oh), the Latin name for Portugal. But he’s also known as the Portuguese, Peninsular, National, or Betico-lusitano horse. What’s quite strange about the Lusitano is he originated as an Andalusian. A Portuguese Andalusian.

The Andalusians have their roots back to 711 A.D. when the Muslim Moors invaded the Iberian Peninsula and brought Barb horses with them. The Moors crossbred their steeds with the native horses and developed an equine useful for war, bull fighting, and even dressage. This new horse became a favorite of the Conquistadors, who introduced him in the Americas between the 16th to the 18th Centuries. Known as “the Iberian war horse,” that ancestor of the Lusitano served in battle as well as at important riding academies throughout Europe.

The Portuguese Andalusian and the Spanish Andalusian have had very similar characteristics for hundreds of years. However, in 1966, the Portuguese breeders wanted to develop their own horse, an even more nimble yet strong equine with the ability to move quickly around a charging bull in the bullfighting ring. (In Portuguese bullfighting, the bull is not killed.)  Thus, the breeders split the Portuguese and Spanish stud books of the Andalusians, and the Portuguese one became known as the Lusitano, after the word “Lusitania,” the ancient Roman name for Portugal.

The Lusitano horses’ heights range from 15 to 15.3 hands.  They can be any solid color including black, dun, and palomino but are usually gray, chestnut, or bay. They have a Roman nose, which is stouter than a more refined “dish face” you see on breeds like the Arabian. Because of the heavy work they’re called to do, the Lusitanos have great muscle strength and agility; yet, they’re intelligent and very willing to please.

Today’s Lusitanos are very versatile. They’ve built quite a reputation for dressage, winning medals in several Olympics and World Equestrian Games over the last few years as part of Portuguese and Spanish dressage teams. They also have done well in driving competitions with a Belgian team of Lusitanos winning many international awards.

The breed is still used in bloodless bullfighting today, where it is expected that neither horse nor bull will be injured. Horses bred for this sport must be agile and calm, and when confronted by the bull, they must “keep their head.” Much of the horse’s and rider’s safety depends on the skill of the horse and his ability to avoid the charging bull. In fact, it’s considered a disgrace to the rider if the horse is injured in any way.

Today Lusitanos are found mostly in Portugal and Brazil, but they can be found in many other countries including Australia, Great Britain, South Africa, some European countries, and the U.S. Between 1980 and 1987, Lusitanos were even used for breeding Colorado Ranger horses, but today those crosses are no longer allowed by the breed registry.

With the popularity of this breed worldwide just in recent years, we should not forget his roots. Andalusian. Thanks to Portuguese horse enthusiasts, the Portuguese Andalusian breed, now called the Lusitano, became stronger and more nimble. What we now have is the same but improved horse with a different name!

Do you realize that people sometimes change their names for different reasons? God also has a special name for those who decide to love and serve Him. The Bible says that, although we might appear to be the same on the outside, when we accept Jesus as our Savior, we become “improved” on the inside, and we are then called Christians. Being improved means we now have the Holy Spirit living inside us, and He helps us to do what’s right and to say no to sin.

Have you asked Jesus to save you and make you ready for heaven? If so, do your family and friends call you a Christian?  If you honor the Lord Jesus by your attitude and actions, then you’ll be known as a Christ follower or a Christian.

PRAYER: Dear God, help me to have the right attitude and actions so that my family and friends will have no trouble calling me a Christian. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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

Besides the name “Christian,” think of a few other names you’d like to be called (Example: “kind,” “friendly”). Do your attitude and actions merit those names?

Take your ride: (Do you know?)  The bond between early Iberian people and their horses was so strong, it’s believed the original fables about the centaur (half man/half horse creature) originated in the Iberian Peninsula.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?)  “The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity” (2 Timothy 2:19b).

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Christmas is right around the corner. Buy some horse books now for that horse crazy person in your life.

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