Today’s Horse Facts: The Cleveland Bay – Welcomed at the Royal Palace

The Cleveland Bay horse has a special job. Most likely, you’ve seen him on TV when he’s working. But who does he work for?

The Cleveland Bay: Welcomed at the Royal Palace

A team of four bay (brown with black mane and tail) horses trotting along a cobblestone path with trees and fields in the background. They are pulling a green carriage in which several people ride.

Photo compliments of Wikipedia

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cleveland_Bay

“The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.”

(Romans 8:16-17a)

If a horse is named a “bay,” can you guess what color he is? Right! He’s a shade of brown with a black mane, black tail, and black stockings. He could be a golden chestnut or as dark as milk chocolate, but he’d still have those black trimmings. And that’s exactly what we’ve got with the Cleveland Bay!

The Cleveland Bay is the oldest breed from England, believed to date back to the 17th Century. He’s named after his consistent bay colors and the Cleveland district in Yorkshire. Although this horse is always labeled “bay,” a few light hairs are sometimes found in the mane and tail of some. Breeders prefer bays with a more reddish tint than other shades. However, if any white markings appear on a colt, except for a small star on the forehead, he’s not able to be registered in the stud book. The shades of bay are important when creating matching driving  pairs because drivers want their teams to look almost identical.

The earliest breeding of the Bay was done mostly by church members and priests in monasteries in the Middle Ages. They needed pack horses to carry trade goods between abbeys and monasteries in northeast England. Those pack horses were eventually crossbred with Andalusians and Barbs and later with Arabians and Thoroughbreds to create the lighter-in-weight Cleveland Bay of today.

Over the next few hundred years, interest in the Bay waned, mostly because of the invention of the automobile. In the early and mid-20th Century, breeders started using Bays as hunters. Unfortunately, breeders soon lost interest in them, and by 1962, only four stallions were left in England. But then Queen Elizabeth II, knowing the breed was used to drive royal carriages since the1920s, took a personal interest in the Bay and saved it by purchasing Mulgrave Supreme, a stallion that was about to be sold to a U.S. buyer. The queen and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburg, did all they could to preserve the breed, and within 15 years there were 36 purebred stallions in the United Kingdom.  Because the prince used the breed in international driving competitions in the late 1960s and 1970s, horse lovers became more interested then wanted part-bred Cleveland Bays for riding horses, hunters, and jumpers. In 1964, a Cleveland Bay/ Thoroughbred even competed in show jumping in the Tokyo Olympics!

Since 1977, Elizabeth II has been a patron of the British Cleveland Bay Horse Society and has worked tirelessly to preserve this special horse. Yet, despite her efforts, the UK Rare Breeds Survival Trust considers the Bay’s numbers to be critical with less than 300 mares registered. At last count, it’s been reported only about 550 Cleveland Bays exist worldwide.

Cleveland Bays have a sweet, calm temperament and stand between 16 and 16.2 hands. They have a muscular body and strong legs that seem a little too short for the stout body. They’re versatile, performing well at driving, show jumping, and farm work. But best of all, Bays have been fortunate enough to be chosen by the British Royal Family for almost a century and are still used to pull carriages in royal processions today.

As you think about the Cleveland Bay being part of the queen’s royal palace, do you realize if you’ve asked Jesus Christ to be your Savior, you’re included in the royal family of the God of the Universe? The Bible says if we’ve accepted Jesus, God has adopted us into His royal eternal family, and we are heirs of His kingdom. Every Christian is considered a child of the King. The Bible also tells us we are sons of God, and one day we’ll inherit all that God has, including beautiful homes in heaven.

Of course, you’re already part of your human family here on earth whether you’re naturally born into that family or adopted. Your family members love you and have given you all the rights and privileges available as part of that family. How cool is that?

Since you’re a member of your human family, do you represent the family well? Do you act responsibly as a young Christian? Perhaps a parent has said this: “Act like you’re part of our family. Make me proud of you.”

Do you know God our Heavenly Father also wants His children to make Him proud?

As a member of God’s family, do you try to please Him and make Him proud? Maybe you never realized you are a child of the King. If you face every new day with the desire to obey not only your parents but God as well, then you’ll make all of them proud.

PRAYER: Dear God, I realize you are my heavenly Father, and I’m your child. I pray I can live every day to please you. Please help me do that. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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

Think of some things you can do to make God and your family proud.

Take your ride: (Do you know?)  Today Cleveland Bays make up the majority of the bay horses in the Royal Mews, the British royal stables, where they receive intense training to pull royal carriages.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?)  “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26).

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Today’s Horse Facts: The Chincoteague – Redeemed!

Do you know what a Chincoteague Pony is? Every year, as many as 50,000 horse lovers from all over the world gather the last Wednesday and Thursday of July to watch “Saltwater Cowboys” swim a pony herd from Assateague Island to Chincoteague Island on the Maryland/Virginia border. Find out more at today’s Horse Facts blog.

The Chincoteague Pony: Redeemed!

(Photo compliments of Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chincoteague_Pony)

“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand

at the latter day upon the earth.”

(Job 19: 25)

Every year, as many as 50,000 horse lovers from all over the world gather the last Wednesday and Thursday of July to watch “Saltwater Cowboys” swim a pony herd from Assateague Island to Chincoteague Island on the Maryland/Virginia border. The Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Company in Virginia owns and manages the herd of about 300, with 150 adult ponies making the five-to-ten-minute swim. Both the cowboys and the observers are on hand to assist horses, especially foals, which may have a hard time crossing.

Wild ponies have lived on Assateague Island for hundreds of years. Some believe these special equines can trace their origin to early settlers releasing the horses to forage on the island. However, most people believe the ponies are the descendants of the survivors of a Spanish galleon that wrecked off the coast of Assateague hundreds of years ago. The large number of shipwrecks on record along with the fact that it was common for ships to transport ponies to the colonies of South America make it likely that the ponies originally got to Assateague from a shipwreck.

Because the Assateague Island is a harsh environment for any animal, the ponies’ diet is limited, so they’ve had to adapt. Quite unusual is their main food of saltwater-saturated cord grass in the marshes on Assateague Island. They eat almost all day long just to get enough nutrition to sustain themselves.

The wild ponies congregate in small groups called “bands.” (We usually call large groups of horses “herds.”) Each band has one dominant stallion with a nice group of mares that have foals by him. About 70 foals are born every spring on the Virginia side of Assateague Island. Also, an average of 75 percent of the adult mares have foals every year, a high foaling rate for wild horses.

In 1994 to make sure the special ponies would be recognized, the Chincoteague Pony became an official registered breed. His average height is between 12 and 13 hands (Any “horse” that stands less than 14 hands is considered a pony). He’s stocky with short legs, thick mane, and a large, round belly. You’ll find Chincoteagues in any solid colors, but most of them are pinto.

A very interesting fact about the sale of Chincoteague Ponies concerns the preservation of the breed. Just so the ponies don’t dwindle into extinction, a few select foals in excellent shape are designated as “buybacks” at the annual sale. A buyback pony is auctioned with the stipulation that the person who buys the pony will donate him back to the fire company and return him to Assateague Island to help replenish the herd. The winner of a buyback pony gets a certificate from the fire company and gets to name the pony before it’s returned to Assateague Island.

Buyback or “redeemed” ponies are very popular and have actually become some of the highest priced foals sold at the auction. As of 2015, the highest price paid for a pony was $25,000 and the lowest price was $500.  If you ever go to the Chincoteague Pony roundup, do you think you’d like to bid on a pony to redeem it?

Do you know if you’re a Christian, you’ve also been redeemed? The words “redeemed” and “redeemer” are mentioned in over 120 verses in the Bible. They tell us that Jesus created us. In other words, He “owned” us, but our sin separated us from Him. We were “lost.” But because Jesus loves us so much, He came to earth to die on the cross so we could have our sins forgiven. That’s how He redeemed us. We became “buybacks.” The Bible tells us Jesus became our Redeemer so those who believe in Him can go to heaven someday.

If you’ve asked Jesus to be your Savior, then you’ve been redeemed!

PRAYER: Dear God, thank you for being my Savior and Redeemer. Thank you for “buying me back” when you died on the cross for my sins. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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

Can you explain what “redeem” means to your friends by using this example: “My dog that I just bought at the pet store was lost for over a month. But then ….

Take your ride: (Do you know?)  To compensate for all the salt in the cord grass the ponies eat, they drink twice as much water as a normal horse. That’s why their bellies always look bloated.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?)  “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law,  to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons” (Galatians 4:4-5).

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Today’s Horse Fact: The Caspian – Runs the Race to Win!

If you like Arabians, you’ll probably like Caspians. Caspians have the beauty and endurance of the Arabian and the build of a miniature Thoroughbred.

The Caspian: Runs the Race to Win!

Caspian Stallion (caspians are considered horses, not ponies).jpg

(Photo compliments of Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caspian_horse)

“Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize?

So run, that ye may obtain.”

(1 Corinthians 9:24)

If you like Arabians, you’ll probably like Caspians. Caspians have the beauty and endurance of the Arabian and the build of a miniature Thoroughbred.

The Caspian originated in northern Iran. Horse enthusiasts believe this breed is one of the most ancient equines, possibly going back over 4000 years. Archaeological remains found in northern Iran of a little horse with a light frame, refined head with large eyes, short ears, and small muzzle seem to support that theory. Even though his height ranges only between nine and 11.2 hands, he’s classified a horse rather than a pony because of his body shape, different gaits, and gentle nature.

So, how did the equine world first learn of this fantastic little horse?

For many years, Caspians were thought to have been extinct. But in 1965, Louise Firouz, a horse-loving American known as “the Lady of Horses,” discovered a small horse in the Elborz Mountains of northern Iran while searching for ponies for American children. She thought she had found a chestnut bay pony pulling a cart. However, on closer inspection, she realized the stallion had the body of a horse. She purchased him, positive he had Caspian blood. When blood and DNA samples were tested, sure enough, archeo-zoologists proved the breed had come from a miniature Mesopotamian horse. These horses had managed to survive in small numbers because they lived between a mountain chain and the Caspian Sea with no outside influence.

Louise kept her spunky two-year-old stallion at her farm near Teheran for a year and trained him to take a rider and to drive different carts. She then brought him to America on a long flight, including five different layovers and six days of quarantine in New York. Though all of that ordeal, the little horse remained calm yet curious, both strong traits of Caspians.

He finally arrived at his new home in Virginia where he spent the rest of his life participating in exhibitions and shows. Although there were no Caspian mares in the U.S., he sired quite a few part-bred foals before his death in 1993.

Fortunately, the Caspian breed did not disappear from the scenes at that time. Caspian horse lovers determined to increase the breed’s numbers and status in the equine world. From 1994 until the present, dozens of Caspian studs and mares came to America, thus increasing horse enthusiasts’ knowledge of the rare breed.

In 2008, the Caspians still numbered only about 1600. At last count, the U.S. claims to have over 500 of the special horses. The good news is they’re no longer in danger of becoming extinct. That shouldn’t happen with horse lovers like the Caspian Horse Society of the Americas Official Registry and Mrs. Firouz’s children, who work endlessly to preserve the breed.

If you want to find Caspians, you’ll have to attend horse shows where you might find this little equine in different events. One of his favorites is scurry driving, where he races his little heart out to win. In fast-paced Double Harness Scurry Driving, two ponies, or horses like the Caspians, pull a carriage around a course of cones in fast time without knocking down the cones. Competitions take place in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, and northern Europe, including England.

If you’re not sure you’re looking at a Caspian, remember the difference between him and a pony. The Caspian’s coat is shiny and solid, including solid gray tones that might look white, and he has a deep girth with well-developed hindquarters. If you’re close enough to see his hooves, they’re oval-shaped and are rarely shod, even under extreme conditions. But one thing is certain about the Caspian. He runs every race with one goal in mind: to cross the finish line first.

Do you run races with the passion like the little Caspian does?

I’m not only talking about races you might run with your friends during field days or just fun in the backyard.

The Bible tells us that as Christians, we’re to serve God as though we’re running a race. That means we should strive to please Him to the best of our ability. The Bible tells us we will earn rewards, or “prizes,” like gorgeous crowns in heaven if we serve God faithfully now and do it with smiles on our faces.

Do you get up every morning with the determination to please the Lord? If you do, then you are “running your race to win!”

PRAYER: Dear God, I want to “run a strong race” for you in everything I do. Please give me the desire and courage so I don’t quit when things get hard. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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

Can you think what God might have you do to “run the race” better?  Could it be obeying at home? Spending more time reading your Bible? Just being thankful more instead of complaining?

Take your ride: (Do you know?)  The Caspian is different from all other breeds in a really strange way. He has an extra molar in his upper jaw.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?)  “Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.  Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith …” (Hebrews 12:1-2a NKJV).

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Would you like to read about more horse breeds?

Do you know there are well over 100 different breeds?

Learn about 60 of them in my latest book, 

 

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Today’s Horse Facts: The Canadian Horse – “Little Iron Horse”

Have you ever heard of a Canadian Horse? Do you know what he looks like?

The Canadian Horse: “Little Iron Horse”

(Photo compliments of Wikipedia)

“Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for men,

for he breaks down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron.” 

(Psalm 107: 15-16 NIRV)

In the late 1600s, King Louis XIV of France sent two different breeds of horses, the Breton and Norman, to a region we now call Quebec, Canada. Those two breeds are believed to be the ancestors of the modern Canadian Horse. Today the Canadian Horse possesses traits similar to the Arabian, Andalusian, and Barb that the Breton and Norman horses had so very long ago—rugged, strong, dashing, and quick.

The Breton and Norman multiplied with little interference for hundreds of years, resulting in a beautiful yet tough little equine, the Canadian Horse or Cheval Canadien. The limited number of those first horses in the newly-founded Canadian colony meant they were highly valued, and since they were so isolated from the rest of the known world, the breed remained pure. Thus, the horse became a versatile helper to the new colonists even through harsh weather and sparse food supplies. His jobs included farm work, driving stagecoaches, riding, and racing. Because this equine trooper excelled at any task he was asked to do, he earned the nickname “Little Iron Horse.”

Because the Canadian Horse had such strong traits, in the mid-1800s he became popular in the United States as well as in Canada where he was crossbred to improve the strength of other breeds. The Morgan, Tennessee Walking Horse, Standardbred, and American Saddlebred can all thank the Canadian Horse for their stamina and determination.

Soon the Canadian Horses earned such a reputation, many were exported to southern Africa to work on sugar plantations in the West Indies and to pull wagons and cannons in the U.S. Civil War where many were killed. With so many horses leaving Canada, the war, and the invention of farm machines and automobiles, the Canadian Horse nearly became extinct.

But that’s when Canadian Horse lovers saved the breed in 1886, starting the first studbook. Nine years later the Canadian Horse Breeders Association was formed to further preserve the horse. However, today the breed is still listed as critical by the American Livestock Conservancy with only an estimated 2,000 Canadian Horses on record. Yet, the future of the breed is looking brighter as horse lovers in Canada work endlessly to preserve this special horse.

The Canadian Horse stands 14 to 16 hands, weighs 900-1000 pounds, and is usually black or bay with a long flowing mane and tail. He has lots of well-developed muscles and has a handsome arched neck. This overachiever is energetic without being nervous and has great strength to fulfill the tasks asked of him. Is it any wonder he’s called the “Little Iron Horse?”

The word “iron” always indicates strength and power. Do you know there are verses in the Bible that tell us that God is so powerful, He can bend iron?  Our Wonderful Lord has the strength and might to do anything He wants. He’s so strong and mighty, He created the universe and the heavens in just six days. If we worship a God who is so powerful, don’t you think He’s able to help us with our troubles?

God can, and will, help us. All we need to do is ask. The next time you have a problem that seems to overwhelm you, take it to the Lord in prayer. If God can bend iron, He certainly can give you the wisdom and strength you need.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank you for being such a strong God, strong enough to cut through bars of iron. I know I can depend on you for my strength to solve problems in my life. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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

Think about how God displays his power and strength in your life or in the world around you. Write some of the things you’ve observed.

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Take your ride: (Do you know?)  A few chestnut-colored Canadian Horses have been found occasionally with flaxen manes and tails, and the cream gene appears rarely as the result of interbreeding with just one cream-colored stallion.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?)  “Iron he treats like straw and bronze like rotten wood” (Job 41:27 NIRV).

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COMING SOON!

STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSE’S MOUTH: A 60-DAY DEVOTIONAL FOR KIDS

LEARN ABOUT 60 BREEDS OF HORSES WHILE YOU’RE LEARNING MORE ABOUT OUR WONDERFUL GOD

AND HOW YOU CAN BE A BETTER CHRISTIAN YOUNG PERSON!

The Brandenburger horse has his roots way back in the 15th Century in Brandenburg, a state in northeast Germany.

The Brandenburger: Going for the Gold!

BrandenburgerFreddy.jpg

(Photo compliments of Wikipedia)

“…the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than fine gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than the honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them is the servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.”

(Psalm 19: 9b-11)

            The Brandenburger has his roots way back in the 15th Century in Brandenburg, a state in northeast Germany.  This breed developed out of the need for a good work horse in agriculture. Farmers soon discovered he had no problem thriving in Germany’s climate, whether facing hot summers or harsh winters. So for centuries, this strong horse served its owners mostly by plowing fields and pulling wagons.

In 1922, the Warmblood Breeding Society began to help align farming needs for the horse with proper breeding. Gradually, a stronger but gentle warmblood developed by crossing Hanoverian and Prussian breeds. Right after World War II, a stallion named Komet from Mecklenburg, East Germany, miraculously escaped a horrible enforced castration rule for unapproved stallions in that country. He later sired a series of successful show jumping champions. Eventually, this breed gained a reputation as a fantastic sport horse during the mid-20th Century by crossbreeding Trakehners (TRACK en ners), Hanoveranians, English Thoroughbreds, Oldenburgs, and Holsteiners.

By 1999, 1,927 broodmares and 76 sires had been registered. Germany has long been recognized for its warmblood horse breeding. This horse is a testament to that long tradition of valuable warm-blooded German horses that shine as excellent sport horses as well as farm workers.

The typical Brandenburg is about16.1 hands. He has a medium head, a well-set neck with a long and straight back, and muscled, strong legs. His common color is bay, usually with dark markings on the ankles and legs. Sometimes you might spot a white marking on his forehead, and his coat is often shiny, like a brand-new penny.

This snappy breed is a well-balanced horse with a lively temperament.  Yet, he’s easy going with the tendency to be nervous. He does well at dressage, endurance riding, general riding, and driving. As a warmblood, he’s a combination of the speed and agility of the hotbloods and the heavier build and gentlemanly manners of the coldbloods.

So what do we have today with this gorgeous Brandenburger? Remember, he started out as a lowly farm animal, pulling plows and wagons. But his determination and drive to go for the gold made him a popular breed found in all spheres of riding and driving sports as well as in dressage and show jumping. His ultimate achievement has been his arrival on the Olympic scene, where he’s won more than his share of gold medals.

How about you? Do you have goals in your life that might lead to “gold” someday? Do you know you can go for the gold right now at your age?

The Bible tells us that God’s Word is more precious than gold, and if we spend time reading it, we’ll gain wisdom and knowledge. A wise person makes decisions that bring success in his life. Who wouldn’t want to be successful in any venture he’d try? According to the Bible, those who take special heed to God’s “judgments,” or his Word, will earn great rewards.

So, when you read your Bible, remember that the wisdom you’re learning is more valuable than all the money in the world. You’ll be on the road to success in whatever you strive to do.  And you’ll on your way to winning the gold!

PRAYER: Dear God, I want to be the best at anything you ask me to do. Please give me the desire to please you. Help me to be in your Word every day so I can gain wisdom. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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

If you don’t have a regular time to read your Bible every day, now might be the time to decide to do that, which will help you “go for the gold.” When do you think would be the best time for you to have your daily devotional time?

Take your ride: (Do you know?)  Poetin, a Brandenburger mare and blue-ribbon dressage horse, sold for a record amount at a PSI (Performance Sales International) auction in 2003 for three-and-a-half million dollars.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?)  “But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold” (Job 23:10).

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SNOW, PHANTOM STALLION OF THE POCONOS

Dallis dreams of meeting Snow, a wild Mustang stallion, but everyone else believes the horse is just a figment of her imagination!

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Today’s Horse Facts: The Belgian – a Determined Hard Worker

It’s believed Belgians may have originated as warhorses that carried knights with their heavy armor in the Middle Ages, although no evidence has proven that to be true.

The Belgian: A Determined Hard Worker

Belgians.jpg

(Photo compliments of Wikipedia)

“Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.”

 (1 Corinthians 10:31)

 

Would you like to take a guess which country the Belgian Draft Horse came from?

If you said Belgium, you are absolutely correct.

It’s believed Belgians may have originated as warhorses that carried knights with their heavy armor in the Middle Ages, although no evidence has proven that to be true. The Belgians are among the ancient breeds of Europe that contributed to the development of many other draft breeds. Whatever the case, their history goes back several hundreds of years.

After 1887, the breed found its way to America and became a very popular farm horse because of his size and strength. Until the 1940s, the Belgian and the Brabant, another big workhorse, were considered the same breed. But following World War II, the Brabant in Europe was bred to have a thicker, heavier body, while in the United States the Belgian breeders developed a somewhat taller horse with a lighter body. In fact, today the Belgian is the most numerous draft horse in the U.S.

The build of the Belgian shouts the word “power!” His head is square with either a straight or slightly concave profile. His short neck is muscular, and he has a wide back with a short body and deep girth. The strong legs are lean, allowing him to have a good gait. God made the Belgian perfect for lots of action and for draft work that uses every muscle in his gigantic frame.

The Belgian horse is considered by many horse enthusiasts to be the strongest and most powerful of all the draft horse breeds in the world. However, other equine lovers believe the Shire should hold that title. As of yet, no one has been able to make an “official” declaration because both breeds have very impressive statistics. So, the debate goes on.

But there’s no debate about the awe and majesty of the Belgian breed. Talk about a big beauty! This horse stands between 16.2 and 17 hands. Then there’s Big Jake, the tallest Belgian, born in 2000, that stands at 20.2 ¾ hands.  On average, the Belgian grows to weigh slightly over 2,000 pounds. Yet, the heaviest Belgian, named Brooklyn Supreme, weighed 3,200 pounds and stood at 19.2 hands! You’d need a ladder to get on these big fellas!

Most Belgians are a light chestnut, but they can be solid roan, chestnut, bay or black with a flaxen mane and tail and light to medium feathered (long, usually white hair) feet. Regardless of the color, they are a stunning presence when pulling a fancy wagon in a parade. But they’re probably best known for their participation in draft competitions, mostly at fairs, where a team of two muscular Belgians pull with all their might to drag tremendous weights.

It’s in the record books that at one of the National Western Stock Shows in Denver, Colorado, a team of two Belgians weighing only 4,800 pounds pulled 17,000 pounds a distance of 7 feet 2 inches.  And at an Iowa State fair, the heavyweight champs in the pulling contest pulled 14,600 pounds a distance of 15 feet. The team consisted of one Belgian and one Percheron weighing just 3,600 pounds together.

Despite Belgians’ amazing strength, they’re also well known for their kindness and easy-going manner. In fact, they take the bit and bridle as easy as though eating a juicy apple. They seem to have one goal while working so hard.  As determined as they are to win, they want to please even more.

How determined are you to work hard for the Lord Jesus? Do you strive to please Him in everything you do, or do you think you might have a lazy streak that tempts you to do the least amount of work you’re asked to do?

God’s Word has much to say about the way Christians should do their jobs, whether they are at home, at school, or helping others. The Bible says that everything we do, hard work or not, we’re to do it first for the Lord then for our parents or others who’ve asked us to do something for them.

So, when you’re asked to “pull a heavy load,” that means to do a job you think you can’t do (or don’t want to do), remember the determined Belgian, and work as hard you can for God, no matter what you’re asked to do. The Lord will be very pleased.

PRAYER: Dear God, help me to be a determined hard worker. I want to please you in everything I do. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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

Maybe you think your homework or the little jobs you do around the house aren’t very important. But any task you do is important if you do it for Him. Think of a few chores you’re asked to do regularly and how you might be able to do those jobs better.

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Take your ride: (Do you know?)  The “dynamometer” is a machine created to test the greatest pulling power of horse teams in pulling competitions at fairs and horse shows.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?)  “We work hard with our own hands…” (1 Corinthians 4:12a, NIRV).

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Take a ride with Skye and her beautiful horse, Champ, on exciting adventures

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   Summer Camp Adventure

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!

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).



BOOK FIVE: BLUE RIBBON CHAMP

Foster kid Skye has her hands full, trying to help Down syndrome Joey learn to ride. Joey adores Skye, but she can’t stand him.

How’s a Christian gal to treat someone she doesn’t like?

         Blue Ribbon Champ

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