Today’s Horse Facts: The Friesian – Majestic!

When a black Friesian prances by in a parade, you can’t help but admire how “majestic” he is. But what is a Friesian?

The Friesian: Majestic!

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

“His glory is great in Your salvation; honor and majesty You have placed upon him.”

(Psalm 21:5 NKJV)

Have you’ve noticed how many horses are named after places where they were first found? Friesians, sometimes called “Belgian Blacks,” fit into this category. Considered one of the oldest breeds in Europe, the Friesian originated in Friesland, a province in northwest Netherlands. Although he has the strong build of a draft horse and looks like he’d only be used for pulling a plow, he’s graceful and nimble. When he prances by in a parade, people can’t help but admire how majestic he is.

As majestic as the Friesian appears to be now, it’s believed that during the Middle Ages (the 5th to the 15th Centuries), his ancestors were used as war horses. The Friesians’ husky size and strength enabled them to carry knights in heavy armor. During the 16th and 17th Centuries heavy war horses were no longer needed, so Andalusians were crossbred with Friesians to produce a lighter horse for driving carriages.

Over the next 300 years, interest in the breed dropped, and Friesians nearly became extinct. Sadly, at the turn of the 20th Century, there were only three purebred stallions left. The breed struggled to survive, and then, contrary to so many other horses that declined during World War II, the Friesians made a strong comeback. Dutch farmers used them for transportation and farming due to fuel shortages.

Despite the Friesian’s shaky roots, he’s growing in numbers and popularity and performs in all kinds of harness and under saddle competition. Most recently, he’s also making a strong showing in dressage events.

The most unusual fact about the Friesians is they must be black to be registered. However, their colors can also be black/bay, dark brown, and chestnut is sometimes allowed for mares and geldings. If there’s any white at all on a Friesian, it can only be a small star on his forehead.

The Friesian stands at 14.2 to 17 hands. He has a beautiful arched neck and a muscular body with strong, sloping hindquarters. He has a long, thick mane and tail, which are often wavy, and his feet are feathered. He’s known for a brisk, high-stepping trot. Although he’s very energetic, he’s also gentle and trains well.

Friesians come with two different body types—baroque (bah·roke), which has the more solid build of the first Friesians, and the finer-boned sport horse. Although both types are common, the sport horse has become more popular in the show ring.

Because of their gorgeous black coat, flowing mane and tail, arched neck, and high step, Friesians appear in many movies and TV shows, especially in fantasies. They remain calm and perform beautifully when being filmed, and they are stunning in their appearance. A Friesian tends to have great presence and to carry himself with royal elegance. Whether he’s driving a fancy carriage or prancing under saddle, he can only be defined as majestic.

Anyone or anything that is “majestic” has a quality of dignity, beauty, and grandeur. The word “majesty” refers to someone who has great power or a high position. Have you ever heard someone call a king or queen “your majesty”?

The Bible tells us that Jesus is the Supreme Authority of the entire universe and heavens, and we should worship Him as the most powerful ruler of all. Someday King Jesus is coming back to earth on a white horse, and every Christian will have the privilege of bowing in person before Him and addressing Him as “Your Majesty.” I can’t wait for that time to come.

How about you? Is the Majestic God of the Universe the King of your life?

PRAYER: Dear God, I want You to be the ruler of my life. I pray I’ll be a loyal servant, willing to do whatever You ask of me.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

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

Read Revelation 19:11-16 and find four titles of royalty Jesus Christ is called in those verses:

Take your ride: (Do you know?)   Some Friesian events feature the horse driving a sjee, a cart with only two, but very large, wheels.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?) “To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen” (Jude 1:25).

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Today’s Horse Fact: The Furioso-North Star: Fearless!

Have you ever heard of a Furioso horse? The Furioso-North Star is a warm-blooded breed named after two stallions that started the line over 200 years ago. 

The Furioso-North Star: Fearless!

Furioso1-250x221.jpg

(Photo compliments Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Furioso-North_Star)

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear.”

(1 John 4:18a)

The Furioso-North Star is a warm-blooded breed named after two stallions that started the line over 200 years ago.  There’s ongoing discussion whether the breed originated in Hungary or Romania, countries in Europe. Unfortunately, today The Furioso-North Star is endangered with only small numbers in those two countries and Slovakia. Those countries, involved in raising this rare horse for centuries, still have small herds grazing on their grasslands today. Because a few of these horses are only privately owned, the Furioso-North Star is considered a very valuable breed.

So, where did this horse get his start?

A beautiful English Thoroughbred named Furioso was foaled in 1836 at a stud farm in Hungary.  Four years later, he was crossbred with Hungarian mares, which started the line of Furiosos.  At about the same time, another Thoroughbred stallion, North Star, came from England and crossed with Hungarian mares. Those foals became known as the Furioso-North Star driving horses. North Star also sired foals of Norfolk Trotters and with Hungarian Nonius mares. By the end of the 19th Century, the two lines merged and were called Furioso-North Stars.  North Stars produced great harness racehorses, and Furiosos produced excellent heavyweight riding horses.

The Furioso-North Star makes a noble appearance with a strong body. He has the reputation of having a calm temperament and learns quickly. He’s a medium-heavy horse with a large frame that stands at 15.2 to 16.3 hands.  He’s mostly bay but can be chestnut or black. He’s done light farm work, has performed in competition, and has been used in harness.

The Furioso is known as a good quality riding horse especially for one type of rider, the Csikos (CHI-kosh) from Hungary. They would say the Furioso faces any rider’s challenge with a good attitude. The Furioso’s shoulders and legs are muscular and strong enough to hold tremendous weights, even off-balanced ones like the trick-riding Csikos. And the horse does it with no fear!

Why would a horse fear any rider or anything the rider would do? We’re not just talking about any rider.

The Csikos, mounted horse-herdsmen of Hungary, famous all over the world for their trick riding skills, often use the Furioso for their performances. What’s unusual is how highly trained their horses are.

If you know anything about horses, then you know how “skittish” or overcautious most foals are. Many are afraid of loud noises, water in hoses, fire, or any fast movement around their bodies. Even as they mature, horses can fear the saddle or any weight on their backs as well as the bit in their mouth.  We’ll have to admit they’re often big scaredy cats!

However, when trained properly from little up, especially for Csikos trick riders, Furiosos have no fear of anything the riders do. Some riders stand on their heads on the back of the horse, hang off the side of the horse, crawl under the horse’s belly and come up the other side, carry flaming torches, or stand backwards on the saddle, and all of the tricks are done while the horse is galloping around an arena!  The Furioso-North Stars are truly fearless!

Can you say you’re fearless like the Furioso-North Star, or are you afraid of things? How about the dark? Spiders? Snakes? The bully in your school or neighborhood? Were you bitten by a dog once and now you’re afraid of all dogs?

Most people have some fears about all kinds of things, and they might say it’s just part of being human. However, do you know the Bible talks a lot about how we should handle our fears? God wants us to give all our fears and concerns to Him.

You might wonder how to do that. The Bible says to pray and ask God to give you courage then trust in the Lord for peace in your heart that only He can give. If you ask God to take the fears from you, He will. That doesn’t mean the dangers are gone, but you’ll be able to face them with a different attitude. God loves you, and love always takes away fears. With God on your side, you can conquer any fear you face.

PRAYER: Dear God, I know You love me, and I can trust in You to take my fears away. Please help me to always remember that.  In Jesus’ name, amen.

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

Think of some of your fears and ask God to take the fear from you. It might be a good time to discuss your fears with a parent.

Take your ride: (Do you know?)  In 1784, the Hungarian Emperor Josef II founded the stud farm, Mezohegyes, which became one of Europe’s great horse breeding centers.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?)  “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1)

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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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Today’s Horse Facts: The Camarillo Horse – Not a Fake!

Have you ever heard of the Camarillo horse breed? Is this a pure white horse?

The Camarillo: Not a Fake!

Whitecamarillo.JPG

(Photo compliments of Wikipedia)

Have you ever watched the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California, on TV on New Year’s Day? If so, then you’ve probably oohed and aahed at every horse marching down the street. One of the breeds featured has been the Camarillo. Do you know your horse breeds well enough to recognize a Camarillo?

Besides appearing in the Rose Parade, the Carmarillo has become famous, mostly in California, for their performances in all kinds of parades and events. They have such a reputation on the West Coast that several famous people have owned or ridden them, including former President Ronald Reagan.

But what’s so unusual about the Camarillo?

Most horses classified as “white” are not true white. They’re often born with a dark coat, which turns lighter with age and looks like it might be white, but the horses are really gray because of their dark skin.

However, the Camarillo is not a fake. He’s known for his pure white color, which includes pink skin under his dazzling white coat. This amazing horse is white from birth and remains so his entire life.

The Camarillo is not only a color breed. He has other distinctive characteristics, including a refined body shape. He has beautiful large eyes, an arching neck, and strong legs.

Where did this head-turning beauty get his start?

Around 1912, a pure white Mustang colt with brown eyes came on the scene.  As he frolicked in the pasture, no one ever thought he’d become the foundation stallion for the Camarillo White Horse. Over the next 95 years, he founded a new horse breed, carried the Camarillo name, and gained a reputation as an equine legend.

So, how did all this happen?

In 1921, Adolfo Camarillo bought a dazzling white stallion (yep, the little white colt born nine years ago) named “Sultan” at the California State Fair in Sacramento. Mr. Camarillo loved the horse so much, he called him “a stallion of a dream.” He and Sultan worked as a team in many competitions and became well-known for all their victories throughout California.

Knowing he had a special white horse, Mr. Camarillo bred Sultan to Morgan mares at the Camarillo Ranch, developing a line owned only by the Camarillo family for the next 65 years. When Mr. Camarillo died in 1958, his daughter Carmen continued breeding Camarillos. She also continued to show the horses at parades and events until her death in 1987, when, at her wish, the horses were sold at public auction, ending the exclusive ownership of the breed by the Camarillo family.

In 1989, five Camarillo lovers decided to regroup the horses for public performances. But by 1991, only eleven horses remained, and the breed was in danger of dying out. Thus, the Camarillo White Horse Association began the following year.

Today, several owners continue to breed and parade the Camarillo White Horses to maintain the lineage and keep the story of the special white horse alive. (As of 2010 there were only 20 known Camarillos: three stallions, five mares, three geldings, two two-year-old colts and seven foals.)

The Camarillo White Horse has become part of an international study to determine what genes are responsible for making a truly white horse. With several populations of white horses as part of the study, it was discovered that the Camarillo White Horse carries a unique mutation of a certain gene partially responsible for the coat color found only in that breed. It can now be determined if a white horse that someone believes may be a Camarillo White Horse is truly such, or whether he’s a fake.

Exactly what is a fake?  A fake is someone who tries to make something seem real that isn’t. A fake deceives others.

Did anyone ever think you are a fake?

If I asked your friends if they think you’re a Christian, what would they say?  Would they say, “I don’t think he’s a Christian. He’s never said he is. Sometimes he doesn’t act like it either.”

If you’re a believer in Jesus, are you faking it? Are you pretending you’re not a Christian when you’re with your friends because you’re ashamed of God? Maybe you’d like to be a brave witness for the Lord Jesus Christ, but sometimes you’re not sure what to say.

The best thing to do is pray and ask God for the right words. As you read your Bible and go to church regularly, you’ll learn how to share the gospel with your friends. As you do that, they’ll soon respect you for your beliefs and will never consider you a fake at all.

PRAYER: Dear God, help me not to be a “fake” in front of my friends. I always want to be honest and be brave enough to tell them I’m a Christian and that Jesus is the Savior. In Jesus’ name, amen.

“I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone

who believes: first for the Jew, then for the Gentile.”                                  

(Romans 1:16 NIRV)

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

Are there any of your friends who don’t know you’re a Christian because you’ve not been honest with them? List their names here, and ask God to give you the courage to stand up for your faith in Christ. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Take your ride: (Do you know?)  The Camarillo White Horse is the official horse of the city of Camarillo, California.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?)  “Providing for honest things, not only in the sight of the Lord, but also in the sight of men” (2 Corinthians 8:21).

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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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Today’s Horse Facts: The Barb – The Great Influencer

The Barb, or Berber horse, is a hardy breed from northern African.

The Barb: The Great Influencer

(To see photos of the Barb, click here)

“Everyone helped his neighbor, and said to his brother, ‘Be of good courage.’”

(Isaiah 41:6)

 

The Barb, or Berber horse, is a hardy breed from northern African. It’s a mystery where the Barb developed, and it seems to be in competition with the Arabian as the oldest breed alive. No one knows whether the Barb and Arabian horses share a common ancestor, or if the Arabian came before the Barb. Some believe the Barb originated in northern Africa during the 8th Century when Muslim invaders reached the region. Others believe the Barb’s roots include the Arabian horse, the Akhal-Teke, and the Caspian horse. When imported to Europe, the Barbs were sometimes mistaken for Arabians, although they have very different physical characteristics. Regardless of the Barb’s beginnings, the breed has a long history.

Standing only 14.2 to 15.2 hands, the Barb’s a “light” riding horse noted for his stamina and fiery temperament combined with a gentle nature. Small stature doesn’t stop this little guy from having a powerful front end, high withers (shoulders), short back, and a low tail. Although he isn’t known for his gaits, he takes off quickly and gallops like a sprinter. The Barb thrives on meager rations, surefootedness, and speed over short distances. He also has perfect posture for carrying weight and loves to learn from his master. Because of these characteristics, beginning in the 16th Century, they were also trained for dressage in European capitals.

The Barb is now bred primarily in Morocco, Algeria, Spain, and southern France. Due to difficult economic times in North Africa, the number of purebred Barbs is decreasing. The World Organization of the Barb Horse, founded in Algeria in 1987, was formed to preserve the breed.

This spunky equine has had more of a profound effect on racing breeds throughout the world than any other horse except the Arabian. Berber invaders from North Africa took their Barbs to Europe from the early 8th Century on. Once established on the Iberian Peninsula (Spain and Portugal), the Barb bred with Spanish stock for 300 years to develop the Andalusian and the Lusitano. The Andalusian, a gorgeous and highly prized steed, became a key player in horse breeding all over the world, which included racing breeds such as the Thoroughbred, American Quarter Horse, and Standardbred.

You can notice the influence of the Barb in the Criollo from Argentina, the Paso Fino, and many other Western Hemisphere breeds including the Mustang and the Appaloosa. European noble families also valued the Barb, using the sturdy breed to establish large racing stables. Believe it or not, the Barb also found its way to the Bahamas as well.

Known as the Abaco Barb because it settled on Great Abaco Island in the Bahamas, this equine descended from horses that were shipwrecked during the Spanish colonization of the Americas and the Caribbean. The wild Barbs that ran free on Great Abaco once numbered over 200 horses. But this strain of the Barb breed was found in colors that were different from those of the European/African Barb, including pinto, roan, chestnut, black, and other colors. Unfortunately over the years, the horses died out and no longer roam the Bahamas.

Despite his declining numbers, the Barb, even though small in stature, may have been one of the most important horses in the start of numerous other breeds over the years, more than any other.  What an influence this little horse has had on the equine world!

Speaking of influence, young people can have an influence on those around them. The word “influence” means to have the ability to affect others by the way we behave. Do you know you can have a good influence or a bad influence on others? Which would you like to be?

The Bible tells us that Christians are to have a positive influence on others. A positive influence means helping, encouraging, and giving. Do you willingly help your friends and family? Do you ever say a kind word to family members, or do you complain about the food on the table and the chores you’re to do? And how about giving? If you get an allowance or earn money from your chores, do you give a tithe (10%) back to God?

If you feel God wants you to have more of a positive influence on others, pray and ask Him to help you. God will give you the desire and the ability to do so. Once you practice being a good influencer, you’ll be happier than you’ve ever been before.

PRAYER: Dear God, I want to be a positive influence on others. Help me to always be willing to help others and be ready to encourage and to give. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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

Think of a few ways you can be a good influencer and whom you’ll influence.

Take your ride: (Do you know?)  An Abaco Barb stallion, Capella, was the model for a 2005 Breyer horse. That model became part of a publicity campaign to support the Barb’s preservation.

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?)  “Be of good courage, and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord” (Psalm 31:24).

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TAKE A RIDE ON EXCITING ADVENTURES WITH FOSTER KID SKYE AND HER HORSE CHAMP!

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