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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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 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).



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

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

The Andalusian: Fit for a King

Image result for andalusian horse

(Photo compliments of Wikipedia)

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

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

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

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

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

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

How about you? Are you fit for a king?

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

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

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

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

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

(Psalm 5:2 NIV)

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

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

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

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

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

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