Monday, 17 October 2011

Colour Within the Lines: Self Carriage

When a horse has established consistency in his pace, straightness and outline/frame without me holding him in place, he’s established self carriage. He’s discovered, by trial and error, the perimeters of the box, encountering my aids (leg, hand, voice and seat) when he makes an unauthorized change. He finds release, or negative reinforcement, within the box.

The fun part comes when we can add “colour” within the lines. It’s expression and energy and suspension (that “bounce to the ounce”) that changes an ordinary performance to brilliant.

But without self carriage, an awareness of the boundaries, a rider’s attempt to create brilliance results in a quick stride as a horse rushes forward out of rhythm. Or a sour expression as he’s held in place by his rider’s strong hands. Or dull as he sits on the back of the box, nagged along by a rider’s constant leg.

In Jesus’ day, He was saddened by the “religious” crowd. The sour and joyless rule followers. They were so focused on obedience to the rules that they forgot who’s rules they were following and why the rules were there in the first place. Jesus spoke of a relationship more than rules. If it’s true as He said, that a relationship with the loving God who made us is really possible, than following His guidelines would overflow from a heart that wants the freedom and peace staying within His “box”. That would add colour and energy to anyone’s life!

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