Christmas Events Showcase Spirit, Achievement

Horses and riders from Asbury's Police Mount training program participated as Roman soldiers in the Christmas in the Country program.
Horses and riders from Asbury's Police Mount training program participated as Roman soldiers in the Christmas in the Country program.

WILMORE, Ky. — As horses lined up at the Asbury University Equine Center over the weekend and advanced toward a murmuring group of people clustered at one end of the arena, they were putting into practice their education in the one-of-a-kind Police Mount training program offered at Asbury. At the same time, their riders were pretending to be Roman soldiers. Both were taking part in a key element of the Equine Program: ministry.

Asbury’s “Christmas in the Country,” an annual retelling of the Nativity story produced by students in the Horsemanship Ministry class, involves both human and equine students in an event that combines skill and heart. Children from the community joined dozens of students to illustrate theories and principles of horsemanship through involving the animals the presentation. For example, the Magi arrived in Bethlehem after a Hunt Seat demonstration, complete with flowing robes and jumps, and the angelic announcement of Christ’s birth was performed by the vaulting team. A few horses pitched in by donning the white coats and wooly headgear of their shorter — and warmer — stable mates.

Asbury vaulters enacted the angelic announcement of Christ's birth.
Asbury vaulters enacted the angelic announcement of Christ's birth.

“We do ride here, and riding is important, but what a horse does, how it is used and how a person is changed is more important to me than how you ride,” said Professor Harold Rainwater, director of the Equine Center. “We’re blessed to use horses to changes lives.”

“Christmas in the Country” helped kick off a weekend of celebration that included “Songs of the Season,” a musical and literary tribute to Christmas, as well as a petting zoo and craft station at Kinlaw Library during Wilmore’s Old-Fashioned Christmas event. The petting zoo — which included goats, a donkey and a feisty camel — and crafts were hosted by the sophomore class at Asbury.

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