The Preacher and The Paint
The mare was a gift ( From a gentleman whose wife had to give up riding due to a medical condition). A beautiful sorrel. Appendix bred of 19 years of age. "You try to get a colt out of her," he said. Upon looking at her performance pedigree he gave me I saw such names as "Win or Lose" "Jack Straw" " King P 234" "Leo" " Three Bars" " Flying Bob", etc. Wow I thought, Iíll breed her to this black and white APHA grandson of "Blue Max "that was at my barn at the time. Maybe Iíll get a pretty paint and have names on itís papers like legendary " Win or Lose " and "Jack Straw Jr."
Oh youíll never get a paint off her said everyone who knew her, she has only thrown sorrel no matter she has been bred to. Well, I believe GOD is in control of what kind of babies we have. Having already picked out a registered name " Win Lose or Straw," by the time he was born,( Who by the way was a beautiful white and bay tobiano) I could not get the name Preacher out of my mind, so there was his barn name. Preacher hooked with me right from the start. Yes, every imagination you could have about a foal was there, he truly loved me. I am keeping this one, heíll be my gelding. Seems all my personal mounts turn out to be mares. At six months of age my vet started all his vaccines and continued them according to schedule insuring him a healthy life. Preacher seemed to understand every thing we asked of him even the farrier was no threat to him.
November fifth 2006, 18 months of age on a Sunday morning, I looked out the window to see our herd of horses, there was Lightning a half Mustang half pony mix who was running all over the paddock, as usual trying to see who he could get to play with him. But just then my eyes found Preacher he was lying down, head up though " somethingís wrong with Preacher" I said as I was going out to check on him. I sat down with him for a while, that is until Lightning decided he would try to get me to play with him for awhile . As I stood up Preacher stood up with me ah I said autumn getting you down boy. He did however look a little sad, but no sign of colic, which of course was my first concern. He walked with me to the gate, though rather slowly. I petted him there for a while, then went back inside. Soon I looked outside again there was my wife in the paddock kneeling down and talking to preacher, "something is surely wrong with him " I said. I went back outside to where my wife and Preacher were, I listened to him breath , put my ear to his stomach, then I called my Vet who turned out to be out of town. Quickly I called the University of Tennessee large animal hospital, made all the arrangements for them to be ready for his arrival. I hooked the trailer and off we went. Of course I was there several hours while test were done, blood was drawn, I.V.ís started etc.. Then the dreaded word, We donít know but we think Itís Potomac fever. Of course we had to leave him in intensive care at you.T. We knew that if he would survive it would be at least 5 days of intensive treatment.
My best friend called me the next day to check on Preacher and when I told him about all the Docís had said on Sunday and Monday morning he said "Mike" Iíll pray for your horse, I believe in doing that. I said so do I. I feel they have got to be GODís favorite animal. They are mentioned so many times in the Bible and in Revelation 19 It sayís Jesus will return on a white horse and all the armies of heaven will be on white horseís. Maybe Iíll get to ride Preacher, Heís mostly white but he has some dark spots. Just then It hit me like a lead brick I said to Jamie you know when I gave my life to Jesus he came in and made my heart pure and we use white as a color to symbolize that. But along lifeís journey Iíve messed up a lot, Iíve taken the pure heart and allowed sin to put dark spots on my heart. But because of the redeeming work of Christ Jesus GOD can look past all the spots and see a clean heart. Weíll we set into a long conversation about how we both needed revival in our lives and we confessed and ministered to one another that day.
Then another thought hit me Jamie I said " I guess were all just paint horseís" Preacher did not win his battle with Potomac, he did not become the great gelding I had such plans for ,but perhaps he had a stronger purpose ,his life certainly was meaningful in a way I had no idea. I chose not to bury Preacher in the small horse cemetery on our farm, but found a corner off my barn that I would see every day, to be reminded of the sermon that he did preach. We all have dark spots on our hearts but if we have confessed Jesus as our savior we are pure indeed, for GOD looks past the dark spots through the blood of His son and see us as clean. Perhaps by being reminded of his sermon Iíll somehow become a better man. I showed the mare a little while she was first in foal, for she was a great western pleasure mare. Even people at the events who knew her said " youíll never get a paint out of her". I stated at the beginning of this article that the mare was a gift, indeed she was, but the greater gift was " The Preacher" and the realization that Iím " The Paint".
Michael W Branch