LESSONS LEARNED

Disengagement

Over the past four years as a volunteer and riding student at Stormwalker Ranch, I have been blessed by many things.  I have been provided with many opportunities to grow in both horsemanship and in my faith in Jesus Christ, my Lord.  One of the most recent opportunities for growth in both was the Horsemanship Clinic with Fran Hancock.  Fran is an Instructor with the Dennis Reis Universal Horsemanship Program.  Stormwalker uses this program to train both staff and horses, and I have been blessed to have been given the opportunity to attend two of Fran’s clinics.

One of the basics of the program is “disengagement”.  The ability to disengage a horse’s hindquarters is critical for control and as a safety feature.  Think of your horse’s hindquarters as his motor.  Bolting, rearing, bucking and all movement comes from the power in this “motor”.  A horse that has been taught to disengage on cue becomes more relaxed, submissive and yielding.  Disengagement gets the horse in a proper frame of mind and body to learn.  The horse surrenders his “fight or flight” abilities to our request and puts his trust in us.

Working on disengagement made me think of my relationship with God.  When I surrender my will – disengage myself from worldly things – and put my trust in God, I put myself in the proper frame to do God’s will and receive his blessings.  Just as disengagement provides safety for the horse, it provides safety and refuge for us. 

“But whoever listens to me will live in safety and be at ease, without fear of harm.” – Proverbs1:33

Horses know by instinct that disengagement opens them to predators, and it requires great trust on their part to yield to our request.  In the same way, it isn’t always easy for us to accept uncertainty, disengage from the world, and fully surrender to the Holy Spirit.  It may take time to reach that “perfect frame” of disengagement where we can fully surrender our wants and “necessities” and simply trust that Christ –through the Holy Spirit will provide for everything.  When I am in that perfect frame of disengagement, I can put my complete trust in the Lord to guide my steps.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”  Proverbs 3:5-6