Quarter Horse, Arabian
“The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into His harvest field.” (Luke 10:2, NIV)
“Dear God . . . uh . . . let us help this horse and bring her home to the ranch. Amen.”
The somewhat awkward prayer ended abruptly. Melody opened her eyes and beamed. She grinned shyly at the girls surrounding her, acknowledging her first public prayer.
The horse Melody prayed for came to our attention through another session child. We learned that the horse was living alone with compromised care and desperately needed a new home. When our SAGE (Seeking-After-God-Entirely) girls group met, Melody learned of the horse in need. Together, the group gathered to ask Jesus for guidance in helping a horse in need.
Sarah, the SAGE leader and equine manager, smiled. She had also been praying for God to send new horses to the Ranch. Unfortunately, she had also received several mixed messages about the mares behavior and wasn't sure this “rescue” would be a good fit for the kids’ program. A routine prayer of hers was for the “Lord of the Harvest to send workers—more horses—into His harvest field of ministry.” But Ranch horses that work with kids are required to be solid, kind and dependable . . . not a wildcard.
Prompted to at least meet the horse, Sarah scheduled an evaluation. Uncertain of what they might find, Kim, Sarah and two women staff members made the 30 minute drive to the address given. Pulling into the deeply rutted driveway, a man met them and directed the ranch truck to the back of the property.
After introductions were exchanged, the man described with casual humor how crazy and dangerous the horse was—especially around children. Knowing expressions silently circled the team. On high alert, the Ranch staff moved carefully through the broken wire fence. Once inside the corral, each took detailed notice of the equine hazards that filled the cluttered enclosure.
In the distance stood a nearly black bay mare. As the foursome approached, they stepped over exposed wire, piles of scrap metal, broken glass, old tires and various other scattered debris. The horse slowly turned to watch their approach—not with wild terror—but with quiet curiosity.
With muted sighs of relief, the team exchanged glances. They noted that despite living alone in a challenging environment—with hooves long overdue for a trim—the mare was otherwise in excellent body condition. The muscled conformation of her small stature paired with her refined and elegant frame, suggested she was of both Arabian and Quarter Horse bloodlines. This mare was most likely a Quarab—by breed alone—one of the finest children’s horses on the planet.
Kim quietly approached the mare at the shoulder, the safest position possible. She was not met with angry hooves or teeth, but a velvet muzzle slowly extending to greet her. With utmost caution, Sarah followed and gently attached a lead rope to the faded nylon halter molded into her face. It was apparent that the tattered halter had been strapped around her fine head for a very long time . . . possibly years.
Together, Kim and Sarah gently ran their hands over the mare. Her mute response conveyed that they could carefully try to pick up her feet. Once again, her response was to quietly stand and—one by one—allow her hooves to be lifted. Each element of the team’s evaluation was met with thoughtful willingness. The only area of non-compliance surfaced when they tenderly ran their hands over her mouth to examine her teeth. Without any sign of aggression, the bay simply avoided each attempt by tossing her head out of reach.
Satisfied that the horse wasn’t untouchably wild, Sarah gently asked her to perform simple maneuvers on the lead line. A flag was used to apply minute amounts of pressure, to which the mare responded with quiet efforts to decipher each request. As soon as she understood, the seemingly mild-natured mare would lower her head, lick her lips and follow Sarah’s requests in thoughtful submission.
During the drive back to the ranch, Kim and the girls discussed the evaluation. Although they didn’t know the extent of her training or experience, the sweet girl had demonstrated an immediate willingness to trust and learn. Each of them were drawn to her intelligent attitude and gentle compliance.
Sarah felt led to ask the Lord for confirmation if they were supposed to bring this horse to the ranch. Since almost every horse adopted by the ranch receives a new name, her “fleece” was a request for God to reveal the name He had chosen for this mare in her potential role at Crystal Peaks.
When no brilliant new names surfaced, Sarah felt prompted to look up the meaning of the mare’s original name, “Tess.” Sarah’s eyebrows lifted as she read:
“Derived from Greek, Tess means harvester.”
Sarah nearly laughed out loud, “Haven’t I been praying for God to send us ‘harvesters?"
Digging further, she also learned the root word for Tess’s name was used in the New Testament. In fact, in the Biblical passage where Jesus told His disciples to pray that “the Lord of the harvest would send out workers into His harvest field,” that word was used . . . not once . . . not twice . . . but three times!
“Wow, that couldn’t just be coincidence! This is the same verse I’ve used to pray for God to bring us the right horse!” Sarah confided.
In that beautiful moment, she knew God had provided her answer. His clear and powerful confirmation prompted her to move forward with the adoption. Soon, the Ranch team returned to the dilapidated property with a horse trailer in tow. Their combined prayer along the way was to simply ask Jesus to give the little mare a peace to come with them and to not be afraid. To everyone’s relief, Tess willingly stepped up into the trailer and in minutes was on her way to her new home and her new life.
A few days after Tess arrived, the SAGE girls returned for their weekly time together. Sarah quietly called Melody aside and asked, “Do you remember when you prayed that God would be able to help that horse?” The girl looked up at her leader’s face, her eyebrows crunched together and she nodded. “Well,” Sarah continued, “Would you like to go meet her? God heard—and answered—your prayer.”
Astonished joy spread across Melody’s face. “Really?!”
Sarah confirmed, “Yes! And don’t ever forget. Melody, keep praying. God loves to hear your heart.” In wonder, Sarah realized God had already used this new “Harvester” to draw one little girl closer to His heart.
Tess—no longer alone—seemed to melt into her new herd family. Shortly after her arrival and with her training underway, our new little mare began to join the SAGE girls. She was a four-legged answer to their prayers. The girls knew it was God’s grace and their love that saved her. And the small mare seemed to sense she was adored by them all.
Because of Jesus’ love extended to Tess through little hearts—in turn—she is becoming a mighty harvester of more little hearts at Crystal Peaks.
If we’re honest, we are each a bit like Tess. Mirroring this horse, God often chooses those who are cast aside, seemingly left alone in a junk heap the world has forgotten. He reaches through the broken glass of our shattered souls and wipes away the belief that we are unfit and unqualified to receive His healing redemption. Our God does not look at the outward appearance. Instead, He sees and welcomes a heart willing to trust Him . . . because this is a heart ready for the harvest of His love.
Like Tess, perhaps you are the one who’s been abandoned in a broken, lonely place. And like this little horse—is your heart willing to trust Jesus? Are you willing to follow Him out of your junkyard and into the redemption He offers? Today, He desires to show you His love. And today, you can take the hand of the One who loves you most and follow Him . . . the Lord of the harvest . . . into the adventure of receiving and sharing His love.
Back to Training Horses »