My mare’s feet where thundering on the turf of the cross country course. Pu-du-dum, Pu-du-dum. I could hear her breathing pick up as her nostrils flared. Her passion was cross country. She would swallow the jumps whole as she barreled in her approach. She was fearless and handy. But, she was also, at times, so zealous about her job that she would rely on her scope and athleticism instead of jumping with finesse and calculated effort. In learning how to ride her determined effort toward the fences, I began to employ half-halts. A half-halt, is a cue to the horse to slow down, but not to come to a complete stop. When we pull consistency against the horse’s mouth with the reins, one of two things will happen: 1) the horse will come to a complete stop 2) more than likely if a horse is confidently moving forward without a hint of slowing down, the horse will lean against your hands and keep plowing forward. Enter the half-halt. Employing the half-halt gives the horse just enough for them to check back with the rider and soften. It is as if the rider whispers, “I am about to tell you something important.”
As I was reflecting on this movement I couldn’t help but think of how God uses half-halts in our lives all the time. He uses bumps in our journey as an opportunity to say, “I am about to tell you something important.” I have a tendency to barrel forward in pursuit of my dreams, to-do list, and things that I deem important. I am like that mare that charged through her cross country course, looking at my jumps (my goals) with fervor and determination. And you better believe that sometimes God gives me half-halts. Sometimes he half-halts me with things people say, with confrontation, with rejection, with things that aren’t working out. I feel the momentary check of the reins and remember to soften and settle into the hands of God, remaining yielding and sensitive to His cues.