Running free

62I wasn’t all white, but more white than most horses I knew, and fortunately, in the most important places. Most of my face was white, and the white of my right front leg ran up to my shoulder so that if I stood at an angle … with my good leg out … and my head slightly cocked … all you could see was white.

Being more concerned with how we appear than who we are can make us do some pretty silly things.

I remember one horse that had a beautiful white rump and tail and one white streak between his eyes. His unfortunate fate was always having to present himself backwards – not to mention the strain on his neck from twisting over his shoulder so that the white on his head could be seen.

At the White Horse Ranch, it was all about the pose. There were no real relationships, just a stage with lights, and a way to present oneself in a manner that made you look all white.

I loved the White Horse Shows where we got to see real white horses and I dreamed that one day, I would be all white like them.

“Have you ever seen a white horse?”

The nicker came from behind me, during one of those shows, from a horse that didn’t belong there – a wild dark horse from off the plains. He smelled. He’d never been groomed. I could hardly see him in the night were it not for his bright, shining eyes.

“Have you ever seen a white horse?” he repeated softly, and the ranch horses around us were getting restless.

“I see the white horses that come in the show,” I said. “And some of us here at the ranch are almost all white.”

“Have you ever walked completely around a white horse?”

Now he had me. No, I hadn’t. They never let us get close to the white horses in the shows. They whisk them off in the darkness as soon as we have marveled at their beauty. Suddenly I realized the light only shines on the pose, not the real horse. These “white horses” were no different than we were! They were posing too. We were all posing! I wasn’t going to get any whiter by being at this ranch – only more clever at appearing white!

“Do you mean to tell me … there are no white horses?”

“No,” he replied. “There is one.”

“You mean the White One?”

“Of course. He is the only white horse there ever was or ever will be.”

“Aren’t we to be like the White One?” It was another ranch horse listening in.

“Yes,” said the strange dark horse. “But whiteness is not on the outside. It is in the heart. White isn’t what you look like, it’s what you do when you follow the will of the White One. You cannot change a hair on your body, but he can change your heart and shine his light in your eyes.

“Look … there are thousands of horses out there who have never heard of the White One, and there is an enemy afoot – crouching at the door – while you waste your time comparing your useless whiteness.”

At that he reared back, and his cry was a mighty thing. “If you would follow the White One, then follow me!”

Just like that, he was gone – vaulting two fences and galloping hard toward the open plains.

I watched him and my legs felt like they were filled with lead, but my heart was leaping inside. A new freedom had presented itself. Free to be who we are. Free from appearances. Free from pretense. Free from trying to be something we are not.

And could this wild dark horse, whose flying hoofs had just kicked up dirt in my face, be really following the White One like he says?

I looked back toward the stage and there was no small commotion going on. Four trainer horses were headed our way. I would surely get in trouble for fraternizing with a wild horse. I looked at two of my companions and thought I saw something flickering in their eyes. We looked out at the dark horse fading into the silvery moonlight, and lunging together, we bolted into the night. And with each hoofbeat, my heavy legs got lighter.

Running free in the Spirit, looking for the next adventure. Will you run with us?

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