I would like to share something a very special young lady wrote about one of Praise Hallelujah’s offspring. Shelby leased Redeemed With Praise when he was a young horse and finished his training. She was only around 11 as I remember and Redeemed was 3. The young colt had a growth problem and grew to be narrow with long legs. He was ridable, but as he got older he began stumbling more and more and also when he lay down to rest, couldn’t get back up, necessitating aid. Eventually we had to make the painful decession to let him go to Green Pastures.

Remembering Redeemed, this is what Shelby wrote:

To all of my friends, horse people and other:
Most – if not all – of you will remember I once leased a horse named Redeem. My first horse, he was incredibly special to me. I learned a lot from him and he changed my life. Sadly, after two and a half years together, physical ailments led to the time when he had to be put to rest. I was thirteen then. But even now, over six years later, he is still a part of me; because what he taught me will remain with me forever. The following short story is a tribute to Redeem and the time and love we shared. Though we could not speak to one another, we understood each other on a remarkably deep level. We spoke with our hearts. Now this story brings to life that connection in a way I can share with everyone.

REMINISCING

The sky was painted crimson gold overhead as the large, round sun began disappearing on the horizon. Clouds dotted the sky, their color now solid violet in the diminishing light. The silhouettes of the trees in the distance danced in the evening’s gentle breeze. The atmosphere was calm and peaceful. Everything felt right.
I sat cross-legged on the green grass, propped up on my hands as I leaned back and watched the sunset. My lips were pulled up at the corners into a contented smile. Happy thoughts played in my head and I couldn’t help but think about how truly wonderful life really could be.
“Do you remember when we watched the sunset at the barn like this?” I asked, looking up to the large horse standing beside me.
His deep, brown eyes stared down at me from under a disarrayed forelock, making me smile wider. His golden coat gleamed in the light and the thin blaze running down his slender face seemed pure white. His ears were pricked forward in my direction, which made him look all the more handsome.
Of course, he said with a beautiful and soft voice.
“It was so tranquil… So peaceful,” I said, turning back to the fiery sky. “It’s funny. Those were always the times that I would feel like God was right there with me. But I used to not think about God at all. I never prayed or anything. And yet out here, I just felt Him. It wasn’t long before I started feeling God everywhere… But sitting out here was always special.”
I could hear the contentment in Redeem’s voice as he answered. Yes, those were wonderful times. And God is watching over you, whether you pray or not. He enjoys your happiness just as much as I do.
“Thanks,” I said. “I’m glad I mean as much to you as you do to me. You’re the best I could ever ask for. And not just because it’s every girl’s dream to have a horse of her own to love,” I added.
Redeem snorted cheerfully. I laughed.
“Yeah, and we’ve had so many great experiences together, haven’t we?”
He bobbed his head once, his dark, round eyes staring directly into mine. We have indeed.
I laughed to myself then. “Remember that time I spent the night at the barn?” I asked him. “It was so cold.”
Yes, you stowed away in the tack room across from my stall, didn’t you? I remember in the middle of the night you came out and turned on the light.
“Oh, yeah! I heard this banging and I thought it was you in your stall. I came out to check on you but you were just staring at me half-asleep. That one horse had been rolling around on the floor kicking the walls in the stall next to you!”
I heard him give a low laugh. How about the time we were riding and an ear of corn suddenly fell from the tree next to us? That was startling.
“Ah-hah, I know!”
Squirrels are funny creatures, aren’t they? Bringing corn up into the tree to eat.
“I gotta wonder if he was dropping it because he was done eating or if he was aiming,” I smirked. “But we’ve sure seen a lot of other animals out on the trails, huh?”
Yes, we have.
“Deer, hawks, snakes, coyotes…”
…Cranes, groundhogs. Even a skunk.
I chuckled. “Yep! We turned around when we saw that skunk.”
Better safe than sorry, he added.
“Definitely,” I agreed.
The blazing sun inched a bit lower in the sky. The clouds overhead drifted lazily. I wasn’t paying much attention to them anymore though, as my mind was wondering now.
“I still remember the first time we met, too,” I said, dreaming about the memory. “I had two horses to pick from. I thought it was the most exciting decision I had ever had to make. But you know, I hardly remember the other horse. The way you looked at me, there was no doubt I would choose you. I just knew you were special. The decision turned out to be surprisingly easy. The only thing was, I had always been riding small horses that didn’t go very fast. You were so big!”
And you were so small, he countered playfully. We both laughed.
“Well, I’m not now, am I?”
No, he answered. You have grown beautifully.
“Yeah… you and I together – I’ve grown up a lot. I’ve learned so much. And yet you still seem big to me. Maybe it’s just because of the size of your heart. Even with mature eyes, you’re still the most beautiful horse I have ever seen, inside and out.” I paused, and then laughed quietly. “I do still sound like a little love-struck girl when I’m talking about you though, don’t I?” I said, looking up at him.
It’s a part of who you are. You will always hold that young and carefree child in your heart. Even with age you still maintain that spirit.
“And even now, you haven’t changed either. You’re just as sweet as you were when we first met. Just as loving… It’s funny, how the whole world changes every day and yet love always remains the same.”
You’re right. Love always remains.
It was silent for several moments besides the occasional chirp of a bird or rustle of leaves in the breeze. I might have considered thanking Redeem then for everything he had given me over time, for all that he had done. But when I thought about it, I had given him just as much in return: all the love he could ever hope for. A thank you wasn’t necessary for either of us; we understood this already.
“I feel so different than how I was before I met you,” I noted absentmindedly, looking out at the expanse of land before us. “I feel like a whole different person…”
I don’t believe you are any different. I believe you only discovered who you truly are.
“Everything seems to have changed… but maybe you’re right… Maybe deep down, I’ve been the same all along. Maybe I just never knew who I really was…” The breeze blew on my face and I inhaled the sweet scents it carried. My voice was quiet when I spoke again. “You showed me, you know. You showed me how to be the person I was meant to be. I am who I am because of you.”
I watched a cloud with wispy ends float over us high up above. “You taught me how to find my own happiness,” I said. “You taught me… to be free. That’s something I will take with me for the rest of my life. I’m glad God chose such a special horse for me,” I smiled up at Redeem.
He lowered his head closer to me. And I am glad He gave such an incredible young girl to me. We belong to each other. In our hearts, we are one. It will be this way always. As you said, love will never change and our bond will never weaken. Love lasts forever.
“Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control,” I recited. “And the greatest of these is love. The love God has for us and the love we share with each other. Forever and always.”
Forever and always.
The evening drew nearer to an end as the sun sank even lower. Its glow was softer than ever now as it faded, yet its color had become the most intense. It was the color of fire, pure red. The stars would be coming out soon, too, dotting the open space above. The darker it became, the brighter their light would shine. Nowadays I loved the nighttime just as much as the day.
“It’s beautiful, isn’t it?” I asked. “The sunset I mean. I love the way the sky changes colors.”
It is beautiful, he agreed.
“Yeah…” I sighed. “I wish we could just sit here like this forever.” The breeze swirled around us, soft and cool.
Yes. The sun must set though, Redeem said gently.
“I know.” I knew very well perfect moments couldn’t last forever.
However, Redeem began. I looked up into his eyes staring back down at me. They were full of affection and contentment. Although the sun sets, there is always tomorrow.
“…I know that,” I smiled warmly. “You taught me that, too.”
Redeem nuzzled me softly and I stroked his velvet nose once before giving him a kiss. Then we both turned back and watched the sun disappear below the tree line beneath a crimson sky together.

~Shelby Burge

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