I see God as a people gentler. He’s all-powerful, and he could make us come to him, then force us to do whatever he says. God could easily crush us and punish us every time we step out of line. Instead, he loves us.
By Dandi Daley Mackall, author of the Winnie the Horse Gentler series
When I was a child, there was no such thing as a horse gentler—at least, not by that name. The majority of horse trainers believed in “breaking” a horse by breaking his spirit. They wanted to show the horse who’s boss by dominating with force. Whips and chains hung in most tack rooms. . . but not all.
My friends and I loved horses, all horses, before we owned one. We talked horses, dreamed horses, imagined ourselves on the backs of those beautiful animals. That’s the basis and the spirit of horse gentling: love.
When word of a new foal got out, I’d walk a mile or two to see it. Then I’d stay to watch how the other horses interacted with the newest member of their herd.
My big sister got a horse when I was two, and I cried until I got to sit on the mare and be led around the pen. Then, of course, I cried when I had to slide off.
When I inherited her horse because she got a new one, it was the greatest gift imaginable. I rode bareback because I liked to feel what the mare was going to do before she did it. I got to know her better by brushing her (from a step-stool), cleaning her hooves, and hanging with her in the barn or pasture, telling her my troubles. We gentled each other.
Today there are several great methods of horse gentling, but the spirit is the same: Start with love. Trainers who use force want to assert themselves as the horse’s boss. Horse gentlers need to end up a horse’s boss too, but they want that relationship to be the horse’s choice. The goal is to work with a horse until he agrees that he’s safest and happiest with you as his leader. Once that happens, teamwork can accomplish just about anything.
I see God as a people gentler. He’s all-powerful, and he could make us come to him, then force us to do whatever he says. God could easily crush us and punish us every time we step out of line. Instead, he loves us. And that love draws us to him. Even then, God lets us choose whether or not we want him as our Savior and Lord. He works with us, in us, and through us, showing us how to live, patiently waiting for us to understand, and forgiving us when we mess up. God yearns for us to communicate with him, to bond with him. We’re offered friendship with God through Christ, who leads us and guides us and is gentle with us.
Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls, Matthew 11.29.
Winnie the Horse Gentler Barn Boxed Set by Dandi Daley Mackall
Round up all eight bestselling Winnie the Horse Gentler books in this fun barn-shaped boxed set!
Twelve-year-old Winnie Willis has a way with horses. She can gentle the wildest mare, but other parts of her life don’t always come as easily. Along with her dad and sister, Lizzy, Winnie is learning how to live without her mom, who was also a natural horse gentler. As Winnie teaches her horses about unconditional love and blind trust, God shows Winnie that he can be trusted too. Readers will be hooked on the series’ vivid characters, whose quirky personalities fill Winnie’s life with friendship and adventure.
Join Winnie and her friends—both human and animal—on their adventures through paddock and pasture as they learn about caring for others, trusting God, and growing up.
#1: Wild Thing
#2: Eager Star
#3: Bold Beauty
#4: Midnight Mystery
#5: Unhappy Appy
#6: Gift Horse
#7: Friendly Foal
#8: Buckskin Bandit