Each horse is unique and has his or her own story. Our 2 horses are Jakita, a gentle and patient 18-year-old bay Arabian; and Shadd-O, an 8-year-old feisty, jet-black Morgan. Prince is our 19-year-old super cute and lovable tan pony who is a companion for Princess, our 10-year-old black and white pony—she is the lone female who is determined to be in charge of the boys.

So what does a God encounter with horses look like? It looks different for each individual. At the beginning of the session we pray, consecrate the time to the Lord, and ask what’s on His Heart for them. We invite them to choose a horse or pony and often, unknowingly, their life stories have some similarities with each other. A facilitator and an intercessor lead the session but ultimately, we hand over the “reins” allowing the Holy Spirit to move and speak.

It’s amazing how the horses move “on queue” to reinforce whatever the Lord is saying in the moment. Only the Lord can take credit for orchestrating that. One of my favorite examples of this was during an encounter where the receiving individual sat in a pen with Shadd-O, who was free to go where he pleased. Shadd-O kept his distance for over 30 minutes as if he knew it wasn’t safe to come over. In the process of waiting for him to come, the Lord revealed some issues related to fear and an invisible safety fence that was put up to keep anyone from getting “too close”. With the Lord’s help we dealt with the fear and dismantled the fence. The moment the fence came down Shadd-O walked over and touched her with his nose!

Something as simple as feeling a horse’s breath, hugging their neck, or sitting on their back can unlock places that have been shut down because of pain. Once the door is unlocked the Holy Spirit begins to communicate Truth about Himself through the horses.

Many times when wounded people don’t feel safe around humans, they feel safe with a horse and are able to learn how to give and receive safe touch and affection. They begin to express their deepest feelings without the fear of rejection, feeling misunderstood, or hurt. Recently, a child who was visiting from a war-torn country spent some time with Princess—our endearing but somewhat impatient pony. For a really long time, Princess allowed her to lean into her and hug her. It was remarkable to see the interaction between them. Even without words being exchanged, you could see the way the Lord was ministering to her through this special pony. Afterward, she said, “When I sat on Princess, it was like something inside felt calm”. The Lord knew she needed to feel safe so that she could feel His peace; Princess helped the Lord communicate that truth. Just as Jesus has called us to be his hands and feet, these horses are his hands and “hooves”. It is a beautiful thing to watch the Lord partner with His horses to heal a wounded heart.