Posted by: tonyalatorre | July 10, 2014

I have TWO teachers of humility.

At one point in my day I am solving complex international mission situations at the same time I counsel a teen about finding the right toilet paper at the grocery store. A boy with cracks in his voice tries in vain to manipulate me towards his agenda. That’s cute and futile. I can haul a horse trailer an hour away and load an unwilling horse into his confinement there all by myself. There is a fiery girl who sings and shouts with all her might at all waking times in our home. She just put a booger in the guacamole Kevin is making. Her teacher has informed me through the brother messenger that she is disruptive in class and would I ask her to please stop. Have I been doing nothing to manage her mac truck personality? She is taking ALL I’ve got to keep her half wild.


kira at the soda counter in Fort Davis Texas

kira at the soda counter in Fort Davis Texas

My dog tries to rescue me when I get in the pool. I’m the only one she gets frantic about when I take the plunge. If she is a sinker I must be too and in her mind she needs me more than anyone else. Poor girl. I cause her so much stress. She lives her days hoping for a ride in the front seat of my jeep wrangler. Nothing is cuter than the two of us heading down the road with the soft top removed, her ears flying and my red hair in the wind.


I have a cat that is really a dog wearing a cat suit. I decided this for sure today when I watched him chew through a bag of popcorn on the floor of the pantry and then proceed to eat it. Our sweet bulldog has never ever eaten through the packaging of food in this home. She’s never taken food that wasn’t offered to her. I could leave a steak on the counter all day and she wouldn’t touch it. That’s not to say she won’t beg if you are eating it. (guests give her reason to do that) But to steal in front of me as Jones did today? Never.

innocent Jones alseep in the tote bag at my feet in my office

innocent Jones alseep in the tote bag at my feet in my office


While my horse recovers from his ligament injury this summer I’ve been riding many different horses. Jack’s pony might someday become my horse because Jack will grow too tall for him. I understand this but I haven’t accepted it. He is a fancy dressage pony but so naughty. Biggie loves working for Jack and they have fun, but Biggie sees me as something to reject. I’ve been working on figuring out his buttons this summer. He’s the polar opposite from my horse, Bear. It is a good education for me to figure out how to ride Biggie. But. He has this naughty pony thing he does with me. The moment I give him the open door he takes it and gallops away with me. I don’t realize I’m giving it to him til it’s done. What’s my greatest concern with riding a horse? Not being bucked. Not falling. I don’t want a horse to run away with me. It’s unnerving. He’s done it now about six times. Today I had a lesson in the field with Erin, his former owner and trainer. As soon as I got him into the canter what did he do? He dipped a shoulder, twisted the opposite direction and sped towards the barn in a determined canter. He tried to buck me off. I sat back and said “not today”. I rode it til he calmed down and stopped. That’s at least one point for me.


This is Jack and Erin with Biggie the day we bought him from her.

This is Jack and Erin with Biggie the day we bought him from her.

My first question was, “what did I do to allow him to do this?” I knew it was my fault. Horses aren’t evil. They react. After my horror ride I took him back to work. I’ll ride him again this weekend. We’ll sort out this mess. But really? At 46 years old do I want this humiliation from a pony? I have to be honest and say yes. Who else in this physical world is going to hold up a mirror to ME? Jesus rides back on a white horse. Horses matter to him. Personally, I sit up and take note of that, or use it as a good reason to learn to ride on this side of heaven in case I get to ride up there. I happen to believe long ago everyone had a horseman education to be functional in life. Maybe we outsmarted ourselves from the use of horses by creating cars, but we’ve also cheated ourselves of a necessary education. I’m learning late in life what a horse has to teach us about life. I’m quite sure a horse education would put our president in the right place.(not to get political  but it is something I would love to see)


Oh I love this guy. I especially love the light brown above his nose and his awesome manly mohawk.

Oh I love this guy. I especially love the light brown above his nose and his awesome manly mohawk.

I have enough riding skill that I can handle a messy situation. What I resent is his premeditation. Biggie’s naughty is not honest. My Bear has spooked with good reason and bolted a few yards. But a quick whoa and he takes care of me. I understand a horse will react to an unexpected and sudden noise. I have to learn to be the kind of leader and rider so Biggie understands he can’t take advantage of me. That’s my challenge. That’s where I won’t back off. Who else in my life is going to humble me like this but a horse that does everything for my son? Seriously? It’s the ultimate humiliation.


Biggie was dressed up for Kira's fourth birthday.

Biggie was dressed up for Kira’s fourth birthday.

What is my favorite trait of Jesus? Humility. Next is gentleness. I also like it that he’s a great teacher using stories that require our thinking not the help of a three point sermon using alliteration on a power point exhibition. He didn’t need imax screens to show his outline. He showed up at the well. He drew a line in the sand. He overturned a table. He knelt alone. He walked on water. He rode through town on a donkey not his own. He has the power of God and yet he came to earth with the limitations of a human to show his ability to live a sinless life. Something not one of us will ever be able to do. He led thousands with gentleness and wisdom. He patiently endured the retarded learning of his chosen twelve. He loved me enough to die in my place for sins that should disqualify my admittance to heaven. My debt was paid by him. If I had a neighbor who owed $100,000.00 would I pay it off without a conversation? Would you? Jesus did more than that.


Who keeps me grounded and humble and remembering a Savior who suffered more than I ever will? A short paint pony with one blue eye and one brown eye, an incredible loft in his trot and a nasty twist and run. Also a generous 19-year-old thoroughbred, former race horse, former eventer, present dressage teacher who gives me more than I deserve. He’s lame, he’s got glaucoma and will one day be blind, but he is teaching me to ride and lead in a partnership only possible between horse and rider.


Am I going to give up?

Did Jesus give up on me?

What do I have to gain?


…perseverance…patience…forgiveness…leadership…determination…humility…and a daily opportunity to overcome my fears.


What do I hope for Miss Kira? That child needs more time on the back of a horse. Then her teacher won’t tell me to fix her naughty ways. The horse will do that. (Some day Kira will tell Biggie what’s what. And I will chuckle remembering this day when that stinker ran away with me.)

Kira and the first pony she rode, Applebutt

Kira and the first pony she rode, Applebutt

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  1. Kira is cute as hell and Applebutt is the perfect name for a horse. I, myself, regularly exclaim “Horsie Buns!” whenever I see a fine equine behind, which is never often enough.

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