Today’s Horse Facts: The Arabian – “The China Doll of the Horse Kingdom”

The beautiful Arabian horse is known as “the China Doll of the Horse Kingdom.”

The Arabian: “The China Doll of the Horse Kingdom”

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(Photo compliments of Wikipedia)

“Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.”
(1 Corinthians 4:2)

There’s not a horse lover anywhere who doesn’t drool when gazing at one of the most perfect creatures in the Animal Kingdom. Sometimes called “The China Doll of the Horse Kingdom,” the Arabian is known as an absolutely stunning horse because of his delicate features.

Researchers have long believed this breed is the oldest and purest. It’s not known for sure if it originated in Arabia, but evidence found in archaeological digs dates the Arabian back 4,500 years. Bible scholars believe the first horse God created in the Garden of Eden must have had the traits of strength and beauty seen in the Arabian today. It’s also a rarely debated fact that all other horse breeds descended from this gorgeous breed that also has stamina, courage, and intelligence.

A purebred Arabian is small in stature, only 14 or 15 hands. But don’t let his size fool you. He has strong endurance to tough circumstances and is extremely loyal to his rider. Other features that catch the eye of horse lovers include a delicate “dish” face with a broad forehead and tiny muzzle, two alert ears that point in, and large eyes that often have rings of black. He also has a graceful, arched neck and a high carriage in his tail. The breed can come in practically any color, including dappled and some paint, but you can know for sure if the horse is of Arabian blood if you run your finger against the grain of his coat and see an underlying bed of black skin. If that’s the case, then even an Arabian who might appear to be white is called a “gray.”

If you think you’d like to own an Arabian, it’s recommended that you have riding experience. Arabians, as gorgeous and loyal as they are, have a reputation of being high-spirited even after they’re well-trained and ridden for years. Your Arabian might take you on a ride you’ll never forget!

Many horse lovers think the combination of loyalty and high-spiritedness is a tremendous asset in any breed of horse. But are they two traits a Christian young person also should have in his or her life?

How about you? Do you consider yourself loyal to anything? To anyone?

Another word for loyal is “faithful.” A faithful Christian wants to please God by attending church, reading his Bible, and praying. A faithful young person will also stand up for God at school or with friends. Do you stand up for God or are you ashamed you are a Christian?

Do you consider yourself high-spirited?

One definition of “high-spirited” is to be lively and full of fun. If you’re full of fun and pleasant when others are around, you’re the best kind of high-spirited person. Everyone loves someone who has joy in his or her heart and wants to do right, no matter the circumstances.

So, if you want to be like the classy Arabian, determine to be faithful to God. Work hard to develop an excitement deep in your soul to do right and make up your mind to smile while you’re doing it.

PRAYER:

Dear God, please help me to be faithful and joyful in my church attendance, Bible reading, and prayer.

I want to please you in everything I do. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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

Are there any chores you must do that make it hard for you to be faithful when doing them? Do you do them with a joyful spirit?

Think about your chores and how you can improve.

(SIDEBAR 1:)
Take your ride: (Do you know?)

The Arabian is classified as a hot-blooded breed, a category that includes delicate, spirited horses bred for speed.

(SIDEBAR 2:)
Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?)

“And my soul shall be joyful in the Lord: it shall rejoice in his salvation” (Psalm 35:9).

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Today’s Horse Facts: The Appaloosa – a Blanket of Brilliance

The Appaloosa horse is usually covered with beautiful spots, but he’s not to be confused with pintos.

TODAY’S HORSE FACTS

The Appaloosa: A Blanket of Brilliance

A dark brown horse with a white and brown spotted rump running in a field.

(Photo compliments of Wikipedia)

“Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered.”

(Psalm 32:1)

The splashy Appaloosa is one of the most popular breeds in the United States, so popular it was even named the official state horse of Idaho in 1975. The breed as we know it today is believed to have originated in the northwestern Native American tribe called the Nez Perce way back in the 17th Century. But did this horse get its earliest start in other parts of the world?

Some French cave paintings thousands of years old show “spotted” horses like Appaloosas. In China, the ancient peoples called this horse “heavenly,” and Persians have called him “sacred.”  But here in the westward expansion of our American territory, the colonists first noticed the beautiful breed as the favorite horse of a unique people, who lived near the Palouse River (which runs from north central Idaho to the Snake River in southeast Washington State.) The Nez Perce Indians rode stunning equines—red and blue roans, with spots all over their rumps. The pioneers had never seen anything like this breed of horse that stood between 14 and 16 hands. They started calling him “palousey,” which means “the stream of the green meadows.” Eventually, the name changed to “Appaloosa.”

People who don’t know much about horses often confuse Appaloosas with Pintos, thinking they are the same, but they certainly aren’t. Although “Apps” are known for the blankets on their rumps, there are ten different patterns of spots found on Appaloosas. They can have spots all over their dark or light-colored bodies. But an App must also have some characteristics quite unique to be registered as an official pureblood Appaloosa: striped hooves, spotted skin around his eyes and lips, and a white outer coat called a sclera encircling his brown or blue eyes.

If you want to buy a gorgeous Appaloosa mare and her foal, you might be surprised to see the foal with a solid coat. Therefore, it’s not always easy to predict a grown App’s color at birth. Spot patterns emerge over time but sometimes change over the course of the horse’s life. Apps with a varnish roan or snowflake pattern are two that become more visible as they grow. Some horses, like those with the blanket or leopard patterns, tend to stay the same once their spots start to emerge. But one thing is certain. The blanket or “covering” of the Appaloosa makes this husky stock horse a head turner whether he’s competing in western horse shows, strolling down the street in a parade, or ambling on a woodsy trail.

The covering of the Appaloosa makes him a special horse. Do you have a “covering” in your life that makes you special to God?

This covering we call “salvation” is the one God places over every person who accepts Jesus Christ as his or her Savior.  Like a blanket smothering the flames of a destructive fire, God places his covering of love over our sins and smothers them when Jesus comes into our lives and gives us the desire and power to do right.

Do you have God’s covering of love in your life? If you do, then when you struggle with anger, being nasty, or laziness and say you’re sorry, God’s ready to forgive you and cover you with His love.  And when you walk by, others will notice a “blanket of brilliance” that comes from your smiling face and servant’s heart.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank you for covering my sins and giving me a new way of thinking. Please help me to display my “blanket of brilliance” to others. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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

Think of some bad habits God is helping you overcome since He’s covered your sins. _______________________________________________________________________________________________

(SIDEBAR 1:)

Take your ride: (Do you know?) Roan is a coat pattern with an even mixture of colored and white hairs on the horse with his head, lower legs, mane, and tail mostly solid colors. The silvering effect of mixed white and colored hairs often creates coats that look bluish or pinkish. Bluish roans are called “blue roans,” and pinkish roans are called “strawberry roans” or “red roans.”

(SIDEBAR 2:)

Dismount and cool down your horse! (Do you know?) “Hatred stirs up strife, but love covers all sins” (Proverbs 10:12).

 

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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

 

Today’s Horse Facts: The American Warmblood

The American Warmblood: Not a Cold Spot in his Heart

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(Photo compliments of Wikipedia)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Psalm 119:80 NIV)

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

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

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

___________________________________________________________________________

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

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

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

 

Today’s Horse Facts: The American Saddlebred – Pround as a Peacock!

The American Saddlebred is called the “peacock of the horse world.”

The American Saddlebred – Proud as a Peacock!

(Photo compliments of Wikipedia)

 If you want a flashy, high-stepping show horse and you have the money to buy one, then you want an American Saddlebred, also known as the Saddle Horse or Kentucky Saddler.  This horse has class!

By now, you’ve probably figured that the word “American” tagged to a horse’s official name means the horse had its origins in the United States. Such is true of the American Saddlebred. For a long time in its history, this breed was referred to as “the horse America made.” Starting with riding horses during the American Revolution, this breed has roots with the Morgan, Narragansett Pacer, Canadian Pacer, and Thoroughbred.

Throughout the 20th Century, the breed became popular in the United States, and since the formation of the US registry in 1891, almost 250,000 American Saddlebreds have been registered. Today the Saddlebred can be found in countries all around the world, and breed registries exist in Great Britain, Australia, Europe, and southern Africa.

The Saddlebred is a “taller” slim horse, averaging 15 to 16 hands (60 to 64 inches) in height. When this spunky equine prances into the show ring, he oozes a sense of presence and style. Although the Saddlebreds are very spirited, the breed is known for its gentle temperament. They may be of any color, including pinto patterns accepted since the late 1800s.

Something quite different about the Saddlebred is that’s it’s a “gaited” breed. Does that mean they have to be kept in fences with strong gates? Not so.

A “gait” is a step. Saddlebreds show in three-gaited or five-gaited classes, depending on the different speeds or steps each horse has. Saddlebreds are mainly known for their performance in the show ring, but they can enter hunter and driving classes, as well as just being a fantastic pleasure riding horse.

If you ever own an American Saddlebred, you might want to show him in one of five divisions: Five-Gaited, Three-Gaited, Fine Harness, Park, and Pleasure. In those divisions they are judged on performance, presence, quality, and conformation. But one thing is for sure. Whatever gait the horse is performing, he’s high-stepping it. No wonder he’s now called “the Peacock of the Horse World.”

Have you ever felt proud as a peacock about anything you’ve done or anything you might own? Do you brag about new stuff your parents buy you? Maybe you think your house is better than all your friends’ houses. Maybe you look in the mirror and think you’re the best-looking kid on the block.

“Is that a bad attitude?” you might ask.

The Bible says quite a bit about being proud of the wrong things. If you’re proud, thinking you’ve done something great or because of something you own or the way you look, God wants us to know that’s the wrong pride. He wants us to develop a humble, or respectful, attitude toward others, especially toward Him. A respectful person puts others first in his life and looks to serve them.

But I’m proud to be a Christian, you might be thinking. Is that wrong?

If you’re proud to be a Christian, it’s a good thing as long as you don’t gloat. To gloat means to feel smug or better than someone else. It’s important to let others know you are a Christian, but when you act like you’re better than others, they probablywon’t be interested when you want to tell them about Jesus. It’s much better to develop a sweet, helping attitude that others will love about you. Then they might want to know why you’re so different, and you can tell them all about your wonderful Savior.

“…God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.”

(James 4:6b)

PRAYER: Dear God, help me not to brag or be proud of the wrong things. Help me to have a humble, helpful attitude. Thank you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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

Can you think of any time you might have had the wrong kind of pride about something?  Ask God to forgive you and help you develop a humble attitude.

 

Take your ride: (Do you know?) 

Saddlebred horses that have won a lot of shows can cost $30,000 or more.

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

“When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom” (Proverbs 11:2).

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A HORSE TO LOVE

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Foster kid Skye hates everyone and everything until she meets Champ, a gorgeous show horse, and she comes to live at Keystone Stables, a foster home and special needs riding academy.

Today’s Horse Fact: The American Quarter Horse

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

STRAIGHT FROM THE HORSE’S MOUTH

The American Quarter Horse – Fast as Lightning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 (Matthew 24:27)

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

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

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

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

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