I think that having 'faith' and 'religion' can be done outside of church. I know a lot of people that go to church every Sunday, but were pregnant when they turned 15 with a guy they met at a party, or turned to drugs, or whatever else. With that being said, there are a lot of people that go to Church and really strive to continue the lessons they learned there all week long. My favorite saying is that 'going to church makes you a christian just as much as standing in a garage makes you a car'. My point is that faith and 'acting christian (or any religion)' can happen anywhere, not just in church.
I have been thinking about it a lot lately, and I can say with all honesty, that Horsemanship is my religion.
That might sound silly, but I bet a whole bunch of you will agree with me. I think that it started mostly with Pony. She is the sweetest thing in the world, and very mustang. She has always had a 'fear' of people. They are foreign to her. She now trusts people, but she always has a guard up. If I do something as small as smacking her on the butt, she gets big eyes and looks like she would cry from confusion/fear.
Other horses have of course, had this same effect on me, but with Pony I am able to put a finger on it.
She makes me a better person.
Does anyone else ever find themselves trying to be better for your horse? They are so sweet. They have simple lives. They get to play with eachother, wait for food, look out for potential danger, and their humans come love on them. This is their purpose in life. They go where we go, they do what we tell them to, they are careful around us, they protect us (sometimes) and they listen to us.
And I really find myself trying to do good things, so that my horse sees me as a good person. I think sometimes if I have a choice to make I think 'what would pony do?' if the answer is 'turn around and double barrel them' I don't necessarily take that advice, but a lot of times I think of her sweet face, and I find that maybe I shouldn't think badly of the bitchy skank that just walked into the party, I bet somewhere along the road she had a bad life.
Right after high school, all of my friends went off to college, and I felt like I was left alone in my hometown with a cruddy job and stupid college courses (our community college is LITERALLY across the street from my high school...doesn't feel like growing up at all!). Right after my friends left though, I found my awesome bubby. I then didn't feel the need to go and find new friends (uhm, its really hard to 'find friends' when your 19... you talk to people in classes and such but its super tough to transition from study buddy to friend ahah). Then, about six months into our relationship, his parents picked up and moved to a town about 40 miles north. So I still got to see him on weekends, etc, but it meant weekdays with no friends to hang out with.
About six months after he moved, we went through a rough patch (you try being 19, broke, and living 40 miles away from your also broke and jobless boyfriend, it was tough!) and we broke up for a few weeks. This is when I started riding horses. We went through a good 6 or 7 month period where we were 'together' but we rarely saw eachother (maaaybe once a month, maybe less) and fought a lot.
I honestly think that I would be somewhere different in my life if it wasn't for horses.
I honestly think that horses have changed me for the better, and I am not the same person I was before I started riding.
I think that I have much more self esteem, and I have really found something that I enjoy. The biggest thing that has changed (and in turn changed my relationship with the boyfriend) is that I am happy with me, and for me. I am happy without someone to lean on, I am happy with the person I am. And I honestly think that I would not have reached this point in my life and understanding about life until much later, if I didn't have horses around.
I realized it when I hung out with an old flame from high school. I hadn't seen him in years, and he seemed the same. He told me that I seemed like a whole different person. I tried to explain to him that I no longer need someone else to make me happy, and he did not understand it at all. That really showed me how much horses have made me mature.
What I'm trying to say, is basically that horses make us different. They give us a sense of meaning, a sense of purpose. They show us how simple life can be. They let us know that how we treat others is exactly how we will get treated back. (You want to spur me for no reason? Let me dump you in the mud and see how you feel then...) They make us be mature, put our own expenses, wants, or needs aside for their wellbeing first. They give us something to believe in other than ourselves, and show us how good life can be. After all, isn't that the main point of religion? To provide you with something you can have faith in, and that makes you be the best person you can be?
Faith is intangible. It is for us to use when we believe in it, and when we need it, wherever we can find it. I just so happen to think that I have found it in the eyes of a honest, sweet, hardworking, understanding pony.