by: Jessica Wright
Jesus said, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Luke 6:45b). If you habitually think it, you will eventually say it. Do you know how much can be discerned about your mental state by the words you choose to speak? Words have creative power. Remember that old childhood rhyme, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me?” Well, it’s not true. Words can be sharper than a thousand knives. They can leave wounds on your soul. Bones break, yes, but they heal. The cuts from words may never heal, because they aren’t acknowledged. Instead, we dismiss the pain, saying “Words will never hurt me.” How much are the words you speak hurting you? How much do they hurt your performance on your horse? What are you saying about yourself, either out loud or in your head, as you attempt to learn and grow in your horsemanship? Do you remember to speak and think positive, or do you allow yourself to be carried away on a tidal wave of negativity? Are you caught up in offense? Does it come out of your mouth?
This isn’t some secret manifestation trick. It’s plain cowboy logic. Your words show your focus. If you are constantly complaining about others at the horse show, or comparing yourself to them, or gossiping about them, or criticizing their horses, tack, outfits, riding skills, etc., what does that say about your focus? You aren’t focused on winning that show, or communicating with your horse. You have allowed fear to work its insidious way into your heart and cause you to focus on everything but your performance. If you get bowed up and agitated at your trainer, or your herd help, or the other people in the warm up pen, why not take a moment, relax, and observe what you are saying to yourself in your head. Ask the Lord, what is my real motivation here? What is the real issue? What is my focus? You may be surprised what He reveals.
Look around at those who have achieved or are achieving the success you want. Pay attention to what they say, and what they don’t say! Where is their focus? Are they walking around critical and gossipy? Are they annoyed and irritable? We all know these attitudes don’t mix well with horses. This world sometimes seems crazy, filled with angry and offended people who think it is okay to say anything they want over social media, or even face to face. People fling accusatory words around without ever thinking of the impact. Here’s the truth, the hard truth: offense like this is poison. It poisons you and everyone around you. If you walk in offense, you will not ever be truly successful with your horsemanship, or anything else. Holding offense takes an enormous amount of energy, so it leaves very little energy left over for learning and growth.
Every single person reading this, and me myself, all of us have been gossiped about, lied to, betrayed, hurt, wounded- something. There isn’t one person on the planet that hasn’t been hurt by others, either intentionally or otherwise. I don’t know who I’m talking to, but perhaps it’s you. If you are stuck in your progress with your horse or horsemanship, it may profit you to take a step back and let go of whatever offenses you are carrying. It’s simple. It may not be easy, but it is simple. Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you any areas of unforgiveness in your heart. The hurt you are holding onto may be legitimate. Forgiving that person doesn’t mean what they did or are doing is okay. However, if you want to get your focus off the negative, it profits you to let it go. State your intention out loud to forgive, to let go of the offense. Let it be okay that life isn’t perfect and doesn’t always work out the way you want. Make a resolution in your heart to focus on gratitude, on the positive.
I like to do it this way. I say, “Father God, give me the grace to forgive and release (insert name), through your Holy Spirit. I choose to forgive them and I choose to bless them and not curse them. I pray your blessing over them in Jesus name. I declare I hold no grudge against them. I ask you Lord to help me with my words. Help me to stop rehashing the wrongs done me. Help me to focus on my learning and growth. Amen.”
All of us are different, and so you may have a different way of asking. However, I promise you, if you make a conscious choice to let go of offense, those thousand cuts in your soul from words, your words, and others’ words, will start to heal. Your focus can then go to where it belongs- on your horse, on the show, on the joy and blessing of being able to ride! God bless and happy riding!
Jessica Wright, wife of cutting and cowhorse trainer Don Wright, is an AACC Certified Life Coach, author, and performance horse rider. She can be reached at