Saturday, January 17, 2015
Lynn Baber, Author and Equestrian Professional
After careers as both a business and equine professional, Christian writer and Equine Clinician Lynn Baber retired as a National and World Champion horse breeder and trainer. From horses to “contending for the faith” every message is based on God’s Word.
Life is simple when you follow a worthy leader. Peace, joy, contentment, and security are found with proper focus and commitment. Lynn shares messages in print and in person to help folks find blessed simplicity as Christians, horse lovers, and citizens, in a world where complexity and confusion presently reign.
When was your first encounter with a horse?
Brownie, a tall gentle and appropriately named full-size gelding carried me around a family friends’ barnyard bareback in the late 1950’s. I am not the poster child for superior balance or the ability to remember anything that happened more than 20 minutes ago, but Brownie and his barnyard are forever etched in my memory. Poor Brownie stepped on me when I slipped off and crumpled under his feet. No tears! A passion for all things equine was born the instant Brownie’s hoof tiptoed across my belly.
What horses do you currently stable?
Six horses share the barn with my husband and me. Four are quarter horses and two Appaloosas. Two grays, one snow cap blanketed bay roan, one black, a coppery dun, and a dark chestnut. Two are vision-impaired and two others could be considered special-needs horses. God brought each one to me for a reason. Without the two grays there wouldn’t have been a first book. Without the two Appaloosas there wouldn’t have been a second. Our horses continue to teach and bless me on a daily basis.
Three are products of our breeding program, the others I bought as 2-year olds to show or sell. The two Appaloosas were sold as babies and returned to us nine years later. All but one gray are sired by World or National Champions and all would catalog as the champions they could have been. They now range in age from 9-15. I don’t expect I will ever buy another horse and our six will remain with us until death us do part.
As a trainer, what training methods do you prefer?
During my training career I tried to put the horse’s needs first. Today I do the same thing in ministry as well as horse relationships. The process is so simple most folks fail to grasp it. I’m all about no drama and no dust. As my horses learn to perform more complex maneuvers I never sacrifice confidence, boldness, or building faith.
Over the years I trained most disciplines except cattle events. I judged cattle classes, but never competed or trained. We moved and played with our own cattle at home, but it was always purposeful or just plain fun.
My methods produced multiple World or National Champions, so they must have been somewhat successful. And the horses always left me sound, sane, and productive. Today these same methods accomplish goals and achieve success, with both horse and humans better grounded and more confident. My methods aren’t original, just eternally simple and successful.
More than 25 years after Brownie stepped on me I entered into the horse business. In the quarter-century since, I have learned something from each one of the hundreds (thousand?) of horses I have been honored to work with. From breeding, training, and judging, to consulting, appraising and doctoring – it has been a blessed journey. My hope is to share that journey with others.
Before the horse business I was a consultant and motivational speaker. I believe I was successful competitively and financially in the horse business just so I could do what I do now – Christian ministry with an equine emphasis. Before you can teach it you have to DO it. The messages I shared then are the same I share today, except now I know where they are found in the Bible and how they relate to horses.
What is your favorite clinic that you offer?
Leadership and Obstacles is a popular clinic and fun to teach. We have a series of obstacles here designed to prepare riders for Tire Mountain. No matter the specifics of any goal, each one is attained the same way - one step at a time. I teach people how to relate, lead, and build faith in relationships, whether with God, horses, or one another.
Every clinic begins with a challenge. If folks think they already know the answers or can do what is asked, why would they pay attention to me? The trick is to offer challenges people believe they can master but cannot.
The details of clinics, programs, and seminars differ, but the message and lessons are the same. All are founded on unchanging, timeless, and simple gospel principles.
What books have you written?
The Promise: AmazingGrays, Amazing Grace – Pursuing relationship with God, horses, and one another
Proving the Promise istrue: He Came Looking for Me – A true story of hope and redemption
The next title isn’t a horse title, but a challenge to readers to know why they believe as they do.
What are you currently writing?
Multiple manuscripts are in various stages of completion at any given time. Last year I had a book on practical leadership and problem solving complete and ready to go to the editor. It seems that was not the book I was supposed to publish and began another that debuted 9 months later. That unpublished book is still on my hard drive as is one on discipleship, another on 1859, the strange pivotal year in human history, and one that explains in simple terms why Radical Islam is more popular than any other system of belief (including Christianity.)
For a number of years I’ve been working on a book that answers the question, “Do animals have souls and will they be in heaven with us?” I’m still working on it.
Do you have a favorite horse anecdote to share from one of your clinics or your own personal journey with horses?
That’s like asking a parent to pick his or her fondest memory after raising a family of 100 beloved children. Every lesson learned has a story to go with it. Some of the most valuable lessons I learned came from difficult or exasperating horses. Each book is packed with stories and anecdotes from my training days and clinic experiences. I’ll leave readers or clinic participants to choose their own favorites.
What characteristics do you look for when buying a horse?
Buying a horse either solves a problem or fulfills a need. People must know what kind of horse they need before buying one. Selecting the right horse is a process of finding one both able to do what you need and willing to work with you. I am far more interested in the heart and desire of a horse than natural attributes. More talented horses often lose to horses with more heart and a greater desire to do as they are asked.
Today I work with problem horses, troubled horses, people who love their horses enough to seek help when they hit a snag in relationship with their equine partner or trainers/ministries hoping to offer more resources to those they serve. Everything I do is part of a non-profit ministry and offered without a fee.
Do you have advice for novice riders?
There are three basics all prospective horse owners or riders need to consider:
1. Know precisely why you are getting involved with horses. Get a horse that meets your needs, not just one that looks the part or is free to a good home.
2. Recognize that horses are not hobbies; they are flesh and blood bodies with spirits, souls, feelings, and needs. You can have a life with horses or you can have a life apart from them. No one can do both well.
3. Find people who think about horses the same way you do, as pets or as tools. Stick with the like-minded folks and give everyone else religious freedom. Do not bounce from trainer to trainer, clinician to clinician, and method to method. You will confuse your horse and prove that you are a poor leader and undeserving of its trust.
What does horsemanship mean to you?
Horsemanship is nothing more than relationship. Some folks are rotten friends or co-workers and a bunch of people who have horses are no better. I consider “Horsemanship” the term for excellence in relationship with horses. It is considerate, intentional, founded in knowledge, and is the perfect balance of authority, humility, and accountability.
Horsemanship offers, it does not demand.
Connect with Lynn…