TURLOCK -- When Jesus comes back, he'll be riding a white horse, some Christians believe. In a field along East Hawkeye Avenue Sunday evening, worshippers at Northside Assembly of God saw a real-life version of that Bible prophecy.
The church hosted a performance by the Glory Riders, a precision horseriding team that spreads the word of God on horseback. The team, based in Prather, near Clovis, performs at Bible camps, rodeos, even the Cherry Blossom Festival parade in Washington, D.C.
Depending on the size of the arena, up to 14 riders perform choreographed routines, said rider Sandy Roller before Sunday's show. The aim, Roller said, isn't to "hit people over the head with the Bible."
"We want (people) to feel the presence of the Lord, when they see the white horses, that they can imagine the horses are dancing for the Lord," said Roller, a retired correctional officer who rides a horse named Emmy.
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Like the other riders, Roller was outfitted in white -- from hat to boots -- with a red, white and blue sequined vest that glittered in the evening sun. Riders hold shiny red flags with messages in gold lettering, such as "King of Kings."
The showstopper, which Glory Riders didn't perform in Turlock, is an eight-minute routine called "Battle Cry," Roller said. It represents the fight between good and evil, with a white horse facing off against a red horse representing Satan. The white horse forces the red horse to back out of the arena.
In Turlock on Sunday evening, eight riders lined up their horses in a row, then rotated in a tight circle as onlookers whistled and whooped.
Some in the audience were members of Northside Assembly of God, others said they came because they like horses.
The show was a hit with 4-year-old Abby Sims. "The horses are best," she said.
But church leaders said the Glory Riders achieved higher goals.
"I love it!" said Janice Bradshaw, Northside Assembly of God secretary-treasurer, halfway through the show. "It's giving a great message, and look at all these people we blessed."
She waved her hand at the audience of about 200 people. Many were on their feet, clapping and bouncing along to "Look What The Lord Has Done," as the band sang, "Look what the Lord has done ... He touched my mind."
Bee staff writer Leslie Albrecht can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2378.