Ministry is the Connection Between Instructor and Student
About a year ago, a wonderful 85-year-old grandmother entered my life. She approached us with the interest of taking riding lessons after many years of being out of the saddle. Inez grew up with horses and even raised a horse from a foal to his last day on earth. Her daughter was involved in a local Pony Club and Inez had ridden until her kids moved on to adulthood. She deeply missed riding and the bond that comes with riding a horse. Moreover, she was unsure as to whether she could physically ride due to her age.
It was love at first sight when Inez walked into the arena to meet Peppy—a dark bay quarter horse mare in the Warm Beach Horsemanship herd. Inez rode her perfectly as if she had never stopped riding. I was blown away by how well she was riding—especially at 85! Inez soon joined my Adaptive Riding class on Mondays and soon I realized I gained more than another riding student.
What I love about working in ministry is the connection between Instructor and student, cultivated in a deep way. Inez sought out riding and coupled it with a connection with me by pouring into me with mentorship. Her participation in our program benefits her physically (increased movement), emotionally (relationally), and spiritually (ministering).
I look up to her, not only because I want to be riding at her age, but also because she does not let her faith be shaken. She encourages others to continue their growth and continues to see others as valuable and worth investing in. I feel uplifted by her compassion to love the next generation well. She yearns to let those she is surrounded by know they are not alone in this unpredictable world. She affirms they are beautiful just the way God created them, they are heard, they have someone in their corner cheering them on! Inez does this for me; and I aspire to follow her example.
-Natalie Steilling, Therapeutic Riding Instructor/Program Assistant
Warm Beach Horsemanship