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

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

The Azteca: Full of Grace

AztecaHorse.jpg

(Photo compliments of Wikipedia)

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

(Ephesians 2:8-9)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Today’s Horse Facts: The 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