The Hoof Print
Horse News. Christian Living. Equine Education
The Christian Equestrian's Literary "Stamp" in Type
When I agreed to provide food and lodging for a 5 year old Miniature Dachshund named Dezi who was dissatisfied with his city life—little did I expect having a new horse tale to tell.
Before we go further—first envision the credentialed scientist that is no stranger to sorting out the complexity of the mysterious language of the genome. You would probably never envision such a man astride a horse, right?
Well, that's because you don't know Jeffrey "Jeff" Tomkins, Ph.D. Geneticist
eQuest For Truth/The Holt Family was honored to provide this brother-in-Christ an opportunity to nearly freeze in the saddle astride a horse. It was a miserably cold day and he decidedly braved the frozen trail with commendable determination and good humor. From the riding instructor viewpoint, it may be reported that Jeff demonstrated a balanced neutral position in the saddle with good alignment and the ability to skillfully control, steer and enjoy his horse!
Jeff Tomkins currently serves as a Research Associate at the Institute of Creation Research. His work is frequently published on the topics surrounding human and chimpanzee genetic differences. Through recent studies of comparing the entire human and chimpanzee genomes, Dr. Tomkins' scientific contribution helps set the record straight in exposing commonly accepted inaccurate reports of humans sharing 97-99% genetic similarities with chimps. According to his research, the human and chimpanzee genomes are only about 70% similar. The Y chromosome of chimpanzee, only shows a 50% similarity overall to the human Y chromosome.
Jeff shares that "the Y chromosome is definitely the least similar of all chromosomes between humans and chimpanzees. The other chromosomes, including the X chromosome, are between 69 and 78% similar, depending on the chromosome."
A link to his research paper describing this data can be found here (http://legacy-cdn-assets.answersingenesis.org/contents/379/arj/v6/chimpanzee_human_chromosomes.pdf)
It seems fitting that some of Christendom's champions, armed with the Truth of God's Word, are still riding horses!
Side Note: Dezi was offered with the description of being extremely good natured and barking with a southern accent. Well, what farm is complete without at least three dogs? And I love Dachshunds! Dezi seems to be delighted with his new life as top short farm dog having already starred in his first home video, A Wiener Western. So far, Dezi's favorite farm "duty" is finding a cow patty and making up for lost time by rolling in it to his little heart's content. After all, according to Jeff, Dezi always wanted to grow up to be a farm dog. Part of that dream must have included being "Stinky Pete."
January 28 is a day I will never forget! That's the date when my first horse, "Acey" was delivered and from my viewpoint at that time--my life began!
As the farmer's daughter, I grew up around and loving animals for as long as can be remembered. Cats and dogs were my first love. A Border Collie puppy named Cookie captivated my first interest in training animals when I was only 7. Yet, through my parents, I learned volumes about the other animals around the farm. Bottle calves, hand-milking Jersey cows, the chickens, goats, and even a donkey named Jethro all left a hoof/foot print in my life’s animal experiences. Yet, to own my own horse seemed the optimum. It wasn’t just a matter of having a horse. Sure, we had borrowed horses. But to own one’s own horse was a mark of achievement—at least in the thoughts of a wide eyed dreamer.
Around the age of 9, I had it all worked out. I first wanted a mule. Then I wanted to raise a mule as a baby. But then, that didn’t work out (despite my parents making arrangements to accommodate that desire—a friend’s mare wouldn’t come into season, our county ended up with a quarantine that restricted our transporting the mare to the jack, etc., etc., etc.). Weary of waiting and praying for this desire, at the end of 1995, I then my sights on owning my own horse. Even at that tender age, I had a criteria: 1) Sorrel with blazed face and stockings, 2) young so I could train her myself, 3) a filly because I wanted to raise foals out of her. In my times of waiting, I had been studying the stallions I planned to take my filly to. One was Shining Spark—who at the time was a budding “unknown” champion. Even as a young girl, it seemed I had good taste in horse flesh, for Shining Spark became a multi-million dollar stallion/performer/producer and the last time he was offered at stud—the fee was $10,000.00! Incidentally, years later, on my 25th birthday, I traveled to “meet” Shining Spark (see pic with Palomino below).
Buying Acey was a storybook horse tale. In small town Overton, Texas—Dad talked with some of his friends, who told us to go see Jack Evans. Before Dad and I even walked into Mr. Evans downtown insurance office, word had come that Ed Holt’s little girl was ready to buy a horse of her own.
Mr. Evans fascinated me. He was an older gentleman that time and toil had only tenderized. He owned the largest herd of registered Quarter Horses in the area and that in itself was enough to win my favor. I was very determined that he would not think of me as a little girl nearly 11—but the serious, studious horse buyer I was with my own money sitting in the small town bank across the road. As I sat in his dingy insurance office, with the dated dark wood paneling, I admired his horse portraits on the wall. He had a remarkably kind manner that set my shyness at ease. And he had an old-timey typewriter that I had always wanted for writing stories on. After our horse deal, Mr. Evans and I became good friends. For a few years until his death, I would occasionally go visit him, riding my bike to his office and read through his horse magazines, absorbing all I could.
My parents and I traveled out to look at two prospects that Mr. Evans had recommended for me. He expressed there was a yearling filly with a “baby doll head” and a “flaxen mane and tail”. She was out of one of his best studs who had been struck by lightning. We arrived to the muddy pen and spotted the gelding and filly. The gelding had the blaze, but with a filly, I could raise a foal!
On January 26, 1996, my Dad and I walked into the bank, withdrew $450.00 dollars from my tidy savings and walked across the asphalt to pay Mr. Evans for a little mud splashed American Quarter Horse filly named Aces Jilly. Though a granddaughter of Doc Wilson by Doc Bar, I had little understanding that this was well-bred filly from a cutting horse bloodline.
I hated her registered name and thankfully Dad came up with the nickname “Acey” that just fit. Looking back, the two days waiting for Acey’s delivery seemed about 2 weeks long. I spent that time grooming her pen—to the point all the dirt was raked with even little grooves! And I even etched her name in the wooden gate.
January 28th Acey arrived and really, in a way, my world did begin. We learned together—two youngsters that became a team. Up to my time of riding Acey, I had been a fearful, unbalanced rider—the most unlikely candidate for being a horse enthusiast or riding instructor. With my Dad’s help, I trained Acey to ride and my confidence grew. I finally learned how to ride a lope and gallop without flopping. To my loyal infatuation, Acey was the best, most beautiful, the most correctly made horse ever formed. Then I grew up and began to see Acey was base narrow, refined boned and flat footed, conformational flaws that contributed to her demise. Yet, for years Acey served me well as companion, teacher, pet and comrade for teaching other young riders about horses. When I began teaching riding lessons—Acey was the main lesson horse—everybody’s favorite. She could sense the needs of the rider and was a pleasure to ride.
Acey’s faulty conformation did lead to her injury and chronic lameness in 2007 and finally the heart ache of having to humanely euthanize her in 2008. With Acey’s burial—part of my life seemed to go with her. Yet, looking back, I thank the Lord for giving mankind such gifts in the animal kingdom to enhance our lives. Memories remain: Climbing from her back into a Mimosa tree on a warm Summer day, breezing across a pasture with the wind, galloping down a highway in quest of a runaway horse and giving instructions to my first riding students as Acey gently carried them on her back. These are all priceless tributes to an awkward, clumsy, shy girl’s dream that was fulfilled and that some horses really do contribute to benefitting people.
I did get to raise one foal by Acey. No, he wasn’t sired by Shining Spark, but a handsome homozygous Tobiano American Paint Horse named DJS Caus Ima Rebel. I even witnessed that foaling and was thrilled to find I finally got my first horse with a blaze! And then I sold him as a yearling due to just being swamped with ponies to train and not enough time to focus on Victory’s training—some sentiment, huh?! After not having seen Victory since a yearling—in 2013, I received a picture from his owners. Now a 13 year old, Victory has surpassed both his sire’s height (15.2 h.h.) and dam’s height (14.1 h.h.) by growing to 16.2 h.h.
To this day, January 28th remains a day to remember when the Lord truly did grant a personal, "specific-to-Rebekah" desire of the heart according to Ps. 37:4-5 Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, And He shall bring it to pass.
Saddle Up for an African Adventure!
Many of you may be familiar with Firn Hyde's fascinating article contributions to Equus Ex Nihilo and eQuest For Truth. Starting in 2012, Firn began a series on South African horse breeds. Her article "God's Lipizzaners," captivated our attention with the unique overview and history of South Africa's Lipizzaner Riding School. This article has rapidly grown to be one of the Top 5 most visited articles on eQuest For Truth (hey, only two of my articles made it up there!). Firn's other articles featured in Equus Ex Nihilo, include:"The Patient War Horse" (One of the world's most rare horse breeds: the Nooitgedachter), "One Spark: The Story of Wolraad Woltemade", "Joie de Vivre: How Foals Survive" and her most recent article, "In the Right Hand: Horses of Medieval Europe."
Apart from Firn Hyde's undeniable God given gift for writing, she offers a unique perspective, qualified horse experience and more importantly, a sincere love for the Lord.
By American standards, this 17 year old Christian homeschooler is truly a real "cow girl"--despite riding in an English saddle. With her parents and sister, Firn raises a beautiful herd of Jerseys and works on the family dairy, Hydeaway Farm, in Gauteng, South Africa, tending to over 500 animals. Firn's personal herd consists of Joyful Jerseys--indeed, a happy lot of cows (What a fun name! Ironically, I grew up hand-milking a Jersey--the "Arabian" of bovine breeds!).
Firn's interest in horses stems straight from the core. Her experience includes riding, showing and schooling American, European and indigenous African breeds--something few riders have an opportunity to share! With an aptitude in Dressage and Jumping--Firn works as an Assistant Rider for a horse farm in SA and also provides instruction for young riders. A prolific writer, Firn also finds time to manage her own website and blog, Clothed With Thunder.
In 2014, we're set with plans for expanding the Discover Equus website (soon to be linked directly to www.discoverequus.com) for an educational discovery of the incredible equus! Firn is taking the lead with her continuation on African equids (including the Zebra). Together, we will be posting on The Hoof Print.
In many ways, Firn's work with eQuest For Truth ministries is one of the Lord's fulfillments of what I had hoped eQuest For Truth would grow to be--a ministry for young people to be involved with. There's room for more--please, if you'd like to join the eQuest For Truth equestrian team--we'll find a task for you!
How Children Have Enriched My Life Featured
The Lord knows just what we need. And for my life, He knew I needed the enrichment of the next generation in family life and beyond. When thinking of my encounters with freckles, missing teeth, raspy voices or pig tails, I can only exclaim: What a joyful, rich life I have lived with so many little ones about me!! Their trust, adoration, affection, and needs have been effective means of inspiration, encouragement and motivation! And their struggles, fears and—well—even selfishness, have required growth in my walk with the Lord to respond appropriately or find better methods of teaching to guide them as I should. On a whole, young people have been some of the Lord’s instruments to give me purpose, direction, joy, encouragement, and a reason to increase my knowledge and skill development from day to day.
Even eQuest For Truth had its start in working with children and youth. Nearly twelve years ago, I started advertising for riding students. And before long, I had a little troop of “starry eyed” horse lovers arriving each week. Some of my students came from wonderful homes. And quite a few didn’t.
It broke my heart to hear 6-12 year olds share how their Mom was in jail and their Dad was in prison. They were “wise” in “facts of life” that shouldn’t burden the tenderness of their age. It became obvious that the barn, a few horses and wide open spaces provided the setting to introduce Life’s Solution—Jesus Christ—to tomorrow’s men and women. But—I had to “get over” the fact of not feeling comfortable in stepping beyond what I thought was a “professional” boundary. I share the Lord’s work there, in my articles, But Lord I'm a Nobody! and Skillful Weaving - A Testimony.
Children and youth came to me with their questions as we saddled up. "Is a chestnut really a vestigial toe?” “What do you think about homosexuality?” “What do you think about evolution?” “Did horses really evolve?” “What do you think about Human and Chimp DNA similarity?” I was often amazed what ministry opportunities presented themselves while we were grooming a horse!
As I continued to teach riding lessons, I became increasingly aware that there were not any Christian educational horse websites available that were grounded in Biblical literacy (at least from extensive search). The evolutionists had beautiful horse websites filled with “life like” artistic license and sugar coated deceptive drawings of how a little bone could be fleshed out to look like an animal no one ever saw. Most of the horse books for children all taught Darwin’s fallacious theory of eohippus evolving miraculously into equus. I could not warrant misleading them.
God used young people as the inspiration of starting eQuest For Truth. Hopefully, this website will only grow in years to come to be a one-stop-shop for horse education with the six “Fs”—Fantastically Fun Facts Free From Fallacy!
When you hold a delicate treasure you wish to protect it. Considering the gift of children in my life—I can only wish to defend them.
We are surrounded in a culture that increasingly works to remove itself from God’s worth of human life. Every day, in media, in the work place, in the grocery stores—people mock the idea of Biblical family and the dedication and fidelity between a husband and a wife. Children are often shoved aside as inconvenient intruders on career and personal agenda.
As Christians, we need to get God’s view and cherish what He considers a gift. Children are an heritage of the Lord: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. Ps. 127:3 (Mark 10:15-16; Ps. 127:3-5; Ps. 139:13-17). We need to value the gift of the womb and protect it. Yet, we also need to stop and think of the lives we encounter each day. Children living today grow into tomorrow’s men and women.
As Christians, we have a duty—regardless if we’re parents or not—to point the next generation to Christ and help them learn of the Lord. None of us are “non-influencers”. We leave an impact by what we say and do and by what we don’t say or do. Silence and indifference also carries a voice and leaves a lingering impression. Yes, the next generation requires training, help getting education and establishment in life—but more than any other priority—the next generation needs to be grounded in Christ in mind, soul and body. Without a relationship with Jesus Christ—all those other “apps” available for "download" to life count for but loss.
America’s 41st anniversary of Roe vs. Wade is approaching on January 22, 2014. It has been said that one out of four children are missing due to America's legalized abortion-on-demand. That is a tragedy. Take a minute and pray for our nation that Pro-life efforts will be strengthened and more lives saved in 2014. Think of the ways you can support parents to teach their children the ways of the Lord. How about supporting an organization like ICR, or Texas Right to Life or Life Decisions International who work to uphold the sanctity of human life? How about investing in some Christian resources to give to young families? Pray for opportunities to get involved--and better yet, do it! Be active!
Support life—because every life is worth celebrating.
(click above to download!)
Excerpt: Feet Shod with the Preparation of the Gospel—Rebekah L. Holt
We're Still Kickin'—A Personal Note from the Editor
More Than Conquerors: 5 Keys to Gaining Confidence in Living Out Our Christianity—Rebekah L. Holt
In the Right Hand: Horses of Medieval Europe—Firn Hyde
The Bible Stands—Rebekah L. Holt
Excerpt: Helmet of Salvation—Rebekah L. Holt
Galloping Toward the English Bible: God's Providence Traced to a Fateful Equestrian Accident—Dr. James J.S. Johnson
Excerpt: Breastplate of Righteousness—Rebekah L. Holt