Today’s Horse Facts: The Azteca – Full of Grace!

Do you know what an Azteca horse is? Check out this beautiful breed.

The Azteca: Full of Grace

AztecaHorse.jpg

(Photo compliments of Wikipedia)

“For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

(Ephesians 2:8-9)

If you live in Mexico, you know what an Azteca (Azz-TECH-ah) horse is. Since the country of Mexico is only a little over 200 years old, you’d think the Azteca has been around for hundreds of years, as well. But this beautiful breed only appeared on the scene in 1972 when Mexican charros (cowboys) began to breed horses with great skill and lots of “cow sense” to work on their cattle ranches. The charros crossed Andalusians with their Quarter Horses and the little-known Criollo mares with amazing results.  This new breed, officially recognized by the Mexican Department of Agriculture in 1982, now had speed, strength, a sweet disposition with the desire to learn, and equine “grace.”  The Azteca became so popular, he’s now known as The National Horse of Mexico.

You might think a horse with all these excellent traits would be a huge brute, but the Azteca only averages from 14.2 to 16 hands.  He can be any color or combination of colors accepted in the American Quarter Horse Association and the American Paint Horse Association.  His head is a medium size with a broad forehead, alert eyes, and medium ears which are always twitching.  His muscular neck arches slightly, and this little beauty often has a long flowing mane and just as spectacular a tail.  Despite his “average” height, his free shoulders and hips allow him to be incredibly athletic and smooth to ride.

Whether you like English or Western style riding or whether you need a graceful dancer or cow horse, the Azteca might be just for you. How about if you enjoy jumping, dressage, driving, cutting, penning, or reining?  Or would you just love a wonderful companion for trail riding?  Take a good look at the Azteca.  He can do it all and do it well.  All of these skills create a horse full of grace that anyone would be proud to own.

There’s someone else who is full of grace too—the Lord Jesus Christ. In fact, He has more grace than anyone ever had or ever will have. He has so much grace, He willingly shares it with us!

Do you know what the word “grace” means? One of the definitions describes grace as having mercy or forgiveness, and that’s exactly what Jesus did on the cross for us. He knew we could never be good enough to be allowed in heaven, so He died, rose from the dead, and is willing to save anyone by His grace. But there’s another important meaning of the word grace.

Grace also means thoughtfulness toward others. If someone has grace in his life, he shows kindness and generosity toward his family and friends, even when he doesn’t feel like it. As a Christian, when you show grace to others, your actions will show God how much you love Him and want to model your life after His. Then others might consider you as someone full of grace.

PRAYER: Dear God, I’m thankful Jesus shed His blood so I can go to heaven someday. As hard as I try, I know I can never be good enough to be ready for heaven. Now I know what grace really means, and I want to give to others with your help. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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

Think of the names of a few people who have shown grace to you and analyze in your heart how they did it. _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Take your ride: (Do you know?)  When Mexican breeders brought the Azteca to the United States, they crossbred him with American Paints to make a stunning, splashy horse called the American Azteca.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?) “But grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen” (2 Peter 3: 18).

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Join foster kid Skye and her show horse, Champ, on exciting adventures in the Keystone Stables Series!

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Today’s Horse Facts: The American Warmblood

The American Warmblood: Not a Cold Spot in his Heart

WPT2013-CDI4-Brühe Christian-Cinco de Mayo-3.JPG

(Photo compliments of Wikipedia)

Here’s another American original with his roots as late as the 1980s!  The American Warmblood is usually between 15 and 17 hands high, weighs 1,350 pounds, which is 325 pounds heavier than the average horse breed, and may come in any color, though the solid colors are the most common. All kinds of horses can be registered as American Warmbloods as long as they are of a sport horse or warmblood type. No pure hotbloods or coldbloods can be included in this exclusive club. So what’s a “warmblood type?” And how about a hotblood and a coldblood?

If you go shopping for an American Warmblood, you’d look for a horse that has the registry standards of draft horses (coldbloods), Arabians, and Thoroughbreds (both hotbloods). In other words, the Warmblood is a combination of the three.

Let’s take a time-out and make sure we understand the difference between coldbloods and hotbloods.

Coldbloods are your power horses, those big guys who pull really heavy loads like tree trunks for loggers, plow fields, or plod with a stagecoach behind them in a parade. “The Big Four of the Draft World,” Belgians, Percherons, Shires, and Clydesdales, have the reputation of not only strength but also a laid-back, gentle disposition.

Hotbloods like the Arabians and Thoroughbreds are the complete opposite. They jump at the chance to run fast, have a high-spirited temperament, and, although they’re loyal, can be spooked easily. Hotbloods set their sights on the finish line and chafe at the bit to get there.

Now, back to our Warmblood. He has no major health issues and is usually alert, calm yet energetic, obedient, and eager to please. In other words, he’s just a nice guy. He’s also a multi-tasker. You might buy this breed to ride in dressage, general riding, jumping, or mounted athletics activities; yet, the breed is a very popular draft horse, seen in harness in parades and show competitions.

Wow, a horse so trustworthy, you can sit in a wagon and let him pull you around the countryside or down a noisy street in a parade? There’s a reason he’s called a Warmblood. He’s tender, and he aims to please the folks who love him. In other words, he doesn’t have a cold spot anywhere in his heart.

How about you? Would your friends and family consider you “warm-blooded?” Are you kind and gentle to those around you, or are you a complainer? Do you try your best to please others like the American Warmblood, or do you lose your temper when you don’t get your own way?

This horse has a “warm” servant’s heart and wants to do the best job he can. Maybe you never thought about the condition of your heart before. If it’s “warm,” you’ll try hard to please your family and friends … with a good attitude. However, if there’s a cold spot in your heart, big or small, perhaps it’s time to ask God to help you get rid of anything in your heart that would cause you to disappoint Him and others. The best way to start is to read and study God’s Word. Then God can change you from the inside out.

“May my heart be blameless toward your decrees, that I may not be put to shame.”

(Psalm 119:80 NIV)

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to have a “warm” heart toward others. Help me to love my family and friends and put their interests ahead of mine. Thank you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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

List some things you could do for your family and friends to show them and God you have a “warm” heart. _______________________________________________________________

___________________________________________________________________________

Take your ride: (Do you know?) Hot blooded horses have lighter bodies and a passion to run more than other breeds, which makes them ideal race horses. But they’re often high strung or fiery tempered. Thoroughbreds and Arabians are the only recognized hot blooded breeds. Cold bloods are large, gentle horses and are descendants of the ancient European breeds used for farming, hauling and other types of heavy work. Draft horses, Friesians, and Haflingers are members of the cold blooded family.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?) “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalms 139:23-24).

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How about a good horse book to help you pass the time?

 

Today’s Horse Fact: The American Quarter Horse

The American Quarter Horse can reach speeds of up to 55 miles per hour for short distances like a quarter of a mile.

STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSE’S MOUTH

The American Quarter Horse – Fast as Lightning

(The 5th devotional from my latest project seeking a publisher)

This little equine isn’t a quarter of a horse. He’s all horse, and he’s an All-American!

Way, way back in the late 1700s, the colonists in Virginia met a new kind of a horse, as fast as lightning. The stocky, muscular horse was a cross between Mustangs, which Native Americans rode, and the English horses brought to the New World in earlier years. The small sturdy horse in any color or combination of colors, quick, smart, and eager to work, captivated the hearts of the colonists. But working hard didn’t attract the horse’s fancy as much as racing.

How did he get his name? In early colonial days, race tracks didn’t exist, so the colonists made their own “track,” clearing out a straight, flat stretch of land about a quarter of a mile long. The new horse on the block amazed everyone by achieving speeds of up to 55 miles per hour over that short stint. Beyond that distance, the Thoroughbred always won. But because of the little horse’s dominance of the quarter mile track, he became known as the Quarter Horse.

With its eager yet gentle nature, the Quarter Horse has become one of the most popular riding horses in America. Early Americans discovered the breed worked well on the farm and seemed to have a natural instinct for working around cattle. So, in the 1800s when the settlers began migrating to the West, the Quarter Horse became the choice of the early cowboys for ranching and cattle roundups. Before long, rodeos emerged as a popular pastime, and cowboys soon realized the little Quarter Horse excelled at events like calf roping and barrel racing. The horse became so predominant, a group of horsemen and ranchers formed the American Quarter Horse Association in 1940 and made the special equine its own breed.

Today, the Quarter Horse has won the hearts of horse lovers all over the world. With about five million registered in America alone, it’s no wonder the American Quarter Horse is the number one breed in the United States. Who wouldn’t want to own a stocky, little horse with a gentle nature but fast as lightning?

Speaking of lightning, there are at least a dozen verses in the Bible about lightning. One of the most encouraging verses is found in the book of Matthew that tells us Jesus is going to come back to earth some day for everyone who believes in Him as Savior. He’ll come as fast as lightning and call all Christians to meet him in the air and go with him to Heaven. The Bible tells us to always be ready to meet Jesus and to keep looking for His return.

What about you? Do you know Jesus is coming back again for everyone who believes in Him? Are you anxious to see Jesus face to face?

There’s one way to be ready. If you’re a Christian, keep looking up and watch for Jesus to come as fast as lightning!

“For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be”.

 (Matthew 24:27)

PRAYER: Dear God, please forgive me when I sin and give in to temptation. I want to be ready to meet you when you come for us Christians. Thank you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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

Is there any sin or wrong doing that seems to trouble you and you find hard to give up? More than one? Maybe it’s time to ask God to forgive you and help you fight the temptation.

Take your ride: (Do you know?)  Although Quarter Horses can come in any color or combination of colors, the most prominent color is sorrel (reddish brown) or chestnut.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?) “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

Today’s Horse Facts: The American Paint Horse

Are Paint horses and Pintos the same breeds?

The American Paint Horse: A Horse of a Different Color

(Photo compliments of Wikipedia)

Overo Paint

The American Paint Horse is a splashy equine that turns heads in his direction. When a Paint prances by, whether the onlookers are horse lovers or not, they will stand in awe because of the horse’s stunning colors.

You might think, Oh, I know all about Pintos. They’re spotted horses. That idea is a common error because Paints and Pintos are two separate breeds.

The American Paint Horse is a western stock horse that stands between 14.2 and 16.2 hands with spots or “patches” of white and dark colors and must have either Quarter Horse or Thoroughbred parents. Also, because that horse must have a specific body shape and size to be registered, the American Paint Horse is a “horse” breed as well as a color breed. It’s not surprising that Paints are one of the most popular horses in the United States.

So, where did Paints get their start?

The first known record of any “two-colored” horses in America happened in 1519, when the Spanish explorer Hernando Cortes brought two horses described as having pinto markings on his voyage. Somehow over time, probably by trading, the flashy horses became favorites of American Indians, in particular the Comanche tribe. (Paint horses have been found in drawings sketched or sewn on buffalo robes.) By the early 1800s, horses with Paint coloring were well-populated throughout the West.

Throughout the 1800s and into the mid-1900s the two-or-three-toned horses were called pinto, paint, skewbald and piebald. Then in the early 1960s, interest grew in preserving and promoting horses with paint coloring and stock horse builds, so in 1965 the American Paint Horse Association formed. Today, you’ll find the American Paint Horse in practically every traditional stock-horse western event as well as a variety of other riding disciplines.

Most Paints are a splashy combination of either black and white or different shades of brown and white. Over the years, so many different combinations of colors have been bred that the American Paint Horse Association divided Paints into two different categories: overo and tobiano. The best way to remember the difference is that overos look like white horse that have been “painted” with brown spots. Tobianos look like dark horses with white patches painted on their coats. Whether marching in a parade or just jogging down a wooded trail, this spotted horse with its dashing variety of colors always draws smiles from so many fans. He’s certainly a horse of a different color!

(Photo compliments of Wikipedia)

Tobiano Paint

If you’re a Christian who’s not ashamed to tell others about Jesus, do your friends think you’re really “different?”  Do you agree to do good deeds and help others? Do you say no when someone suggests you do something against what God would want you to do?  If you’ve made up your mind to stand for Christ and live for him, then you can be just like the American Paint Horse and be a “horse of a different color.”

“Thy word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against thee.”

(Ps.119:11)

 

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to be different for you when I’m around those who want to do wrong. Give me the courage to say yes to what’s right and no to what’s wrong. Thank you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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

Are there some activities you know God would not want you to do with your friends? Ask God to help you say no.

Take your ride: (Do you know?) Paint horses with black spots are called “piebalds.” Paints with any other colored spots are called “skewbalds.”

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?) “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference” (Romans 3:22 NIV).

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Ride with Skye Nicholson and her blue ribbon show horse Champ

in their exciting adventures

THE KEYSTONE STABLES SERIES

Book One

A HORSE TO LOVE

Today’s Horse Facts: The Akhal-teke – Shines like the Stars

The Akhal-Teke is one of the most beautiful breeds of horses in the world.

The Akhal-teke: Shines like the Stars

(Photo compliments of Wikipedia)

 If you’ve heard of the Akhal-Teke (AH-kuhl TEH-kee), then you are a true horse lover who’s interested in learning all about equines. Most folks, even horse enthusiasts, have never heard of this breed.

 The Akhal-Teke is one of the most stunning horses God ever created. If you’ve ever seen one in person or even in a photo, you might have thought someone had sprayed this amazing animal with metallic paint, no matter what the horse’s color. How did it get its spectacular appearance? Our creative God gave this horse’s coat a gorgeous metallic sheen that almost glitters.

To say the Akhal-Teke is a rare breed is an understatement. It’s believed to be one of the oldest and purest breeds, originating from Russia and Turkmenistan, where most are found today. At last count, there were only about 6,500 of these beauties world-wide with about 500 in North America.

When you look at an Akhal-Teke, you might think it’s so delicate, it can’t do anything but stand around and look pretty. But that’s not the case. This horse has proven itself not only in dressage but also in “tough” competition like fox hunting and extreme trail riding. But what catches everyone’s eye is not the horse’s performance. It’s the shiny coat.

Akhal-Tekes can have any solid color of undercoat, but the natural metallic sheen shows best in lighter colors like cremello. In fact, palomino and buckskin Akhal-Tekes are so beautiful, they’re nicknamed “Golden Horses.” In the sun, they shine almost as bright as the stars on a crystal, clear night. Whether an Akhal-Teke is performing in a circus or prancing in a parade, all heads turn toward the horse with the sparkling coat.

If you are a Christian, do you ever wonder how you could “shine for Jesus?” Maybe when you were little, you sang “I’ll be a Sunbeam for Jesus.” What do you think that means?

Shining for Jesus is something any Christian can do. You might think you’re still too young to do anything that would make you “shine,” but that’s not the case. Even at your age, you can please God by having a good attitude. That’s being wise. You can also help your parents around the house and listen to your Sunday school teacher and pastor in church. Being a good example is the best way to “shine like the stars.” Ask God to help youkissy-smiley-face to be a good example to others and give you the courage to talk to your friends about Jesus. Some day in Heaven, you’ll shine as bright as the stars!

Jesus, the Bright and Morning Star, will help you every step of the way.

“Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever” ( Daniel 12:3).

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to be wise and have the courage to talk to my friends about you. I want them to know Jesus as their Savior. And I would love to shine like the stars when I meet you face to face. Thank you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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

It’s a good idea to have an attitude check every day.

Have you ever told any of your friends about Jesus? Think of some friends you’d like to tell about Jesus.

Things to Think About:

Take your ride: (Do you know?)

Because the Akhal-Teke has been crossbred so much with the Thoroughbred to create a fast, long-distance racehorse, all Akhal-Tekes have a Thoroughbred ancestry.

Dismount and cool down your horse(Do you know?)

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

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SNOW, PHANTOM STALLION OF THE POCONOS

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Dallis Parker doesn’t let kids bullying her at school stop her from finding the wild white Mustang stallion that most people say doesn’t even exist.

 

 

 

 

 

Today’s Horse Facts: The Abtenauer

Do you know what an Abtenauer is? Check out my blog post today.

Abtenauer: Small But Mighty

abtenauer

(Photo compliments of Wikipedia)

If you’re a horse lover and live in the country of Austria, then you probably know what an Abtenauer horse is. An Abtenauer is a small stocky horse many folks think is just a pony. That’s because the breed’s average height is only 14 to 15 hands. (A “hand” measures about four inches.) This cute lineage breed comes from a special place in Austria, an isolated valley called the Abtenauer, tucked away in the beautiful Alps Mountains not far from Salzburg.
Abtenauers, known as “draft horses,” are extremely strong for their size, but they have a sweet temperament and enjoy working with humans. Therefore, their labor mostly involves pulling wagons like buckboards loaded with people or harvested crops. Some Abtenauers also work in the forest, pulling huge tree trunks for loggers.
An interesting fact is the foals are born with curly hair and are black, blue roan, brown, or chestnut. But when the foals shed their first coat, the curls disappear, and they have straight hair from then on.
Because this little breed is confined to such a small part of the world, their number has become low, maybe as few as a hundred or so. Yet, in the Abtenauer Valley, they are quite popular and are celebrated for their stamina.
How can such a small horse have such strength to pull a wagon full of people or heavy bags of grain? If you ask me, that takes a lot of determination!
God has given the Abtenauer an elegant build with a well-shaped head and strong legs full of muscle, which allow this little horse to power up and trot with an easy flow. He truly is mighty, not only for his conformation but for his “I can do this” attitude!
Do you ever feel badly because you’re body is small or you feel “small” with the way you struggle with your studies? Maybe you’re the tiniest one in your family or in your circle of friends. Does that mean you can’t do the same things other kids do or get good grades? Do you ever say, “I can’t do that. I’m too little?” Do you ever think it?
God tells us in His Bible the size of a person doesn’t matter to Him. In fact, God has made you the way you are. Of course, if you’re short, you’re not going to be able to win at basketball or a high jump event, but God has other plans for you. Whether you’re short or thin, God loves you, and you can be mighty in whatever tasks He asks you to do.
Are you too short to help your mother dust the furniture or dry the dishes? Are you too short to get an A in that math test? Are you too short to tell someone “I love you?” I think the answer should be “I can do this!”
In Luke chapter 19, the Bible tells us of a man named Zacchaeus, who wanted to meet Jesus. Zacchaeus was so short, he couldn’t see over the crowd. But he didn’t whimper like a lost puppy and go home. Instead, he said, “I can do this!” He climbed the nearest tree, met Jesus, and became a mighty witness for God. Zacchaeus didn’t use his puny height as an excuse not to serve God.
How about you? Whether you’re small in stature or maybe you feel small inside, you can be mighty for God. Take a step of faith and see if God gives you strength you never knew you had to do the job He’s asked you to do. There’s no better time than right now to make up your mind to be a mighty warrior for God. Ask Him to help you to always have an “I can do it” attitude, and you’ll be amazed at all you’ll achieve for the Lord Jesus Christ.
You might be small, but you can still be mighty!

“For the weapons of our warfare are not fleshly, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds” (2 Corinthians 10:4).

PRAYER: Dear God, Sometimes I feel so small and weak. I pray you will help me have an “I can do this” attitude for anything you ask me to do. I am willing. Please make me mighty with your power. Thank you. In Jesus’ name, amen.
SADDLE UP! (What would God have you do now?)
To learn more about our wonderful God, try to read your Bible every day. You could ask for a children’s Bible to help you understand it better.
Start reading in the book of John in the New Testament. Write a verse from the book of John that you really like.

Take your ride: (Do you know?) When the Abtenauers aren’t working, they’re grazing, sometimes with cows, in lush pastures embedded in the beautiful Abtenauer Valley.

Dismount and cool down your horse: (Do you know?) “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13).

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Have you read any of my Keystone Stables books? How about starting with book one:

A HORSE TO LOVE

Foster kid Skye Nicholson hates everyone until she meets a blue ribbon show horse, Champ.

keystone-stables-book-1