Sometimes I swear God puts me in certain situations, just so I can learn my lesson. Too bad I’m pretty stubborn, and usually end up frustrated when I can’t get things right. I’m gettin better at opening my ears, biting my tongue, and taking a deep breath (James 1:19). One of these days I’ll have to get the Doc to stitch my tongue back on. I’ll get the hang of it one of these days.
Here’s another post from Campfire Cowboy Ministries that has some good advice for life’s fun situations. Bear down, try hard, and never give up. — Tuff Hedeman
“She’s as gentle as maple syrup poured on hot pancakes.”
This thought kept replaying in my mind as the horse I had agreed to ride for a friend was trying with all her might to buck me off. She was bein’ real honest about it. She was honestly tryin’ to rip me in two like a wishbone at Thanksgivin’. I had her covered, there wasn’t any doubt about that, but she was sure makin’ things more than a tad bit uncomfortable.
This mare just wouldn’t quit pitchin’. I knew she couldn’t buck me off and I promise you she had come to the same conclusion. But me and her were both givin’ it all we had. About halfway through the ride, I started getting asthma. I never leave home without an inhaler and I seriously considered goin’ for it while she was buckin’. I would have, but about the time I didn’t know how much longer I could hold out, she gave it up.
When I trotted her back up to the pen, one guy asked me how in the world I was able to stay on her for that long. I thought about for a minute and then I passed on the same advice that I had been told.
Keep Calm – This is probably the hardest of all. When a horse goes to pitchin’, it tends to unravel your nerves a little. But the best thing you can possible do is to not freak out. Freakin’ out will get you bucked off and hurt more than anything else. Take a deep breath and keep calm.
Keep Pushin’ – Most people grab onto the saddle horn if a horse farts real loud. I’m not going to criticize anyone that does, but how you use that horn will likely determine your outcome. DO NOT ever pull yourself forward towards that saddle horn. You must learn to push yourself deep in the seat by placing your hand on the horn and pushin’ yourself away from it. If you pull yourself forward, you are just helpin’ the horse. Pushin’ on the horn keeps your butt in the seat, your feet forward, and your head up.
Keep Confident – You can ride any horse. If you start doubtin’ yourself, you will start lookin’ for a place to land. This is the quickest way to arrive head first like a pasture lawn dart from a height of about six feet. No matter what’s goin’ on, don’t ever doubt that you CAN and you WILL.
Keep Workin’ – In between heart beats and hoof beats, you will probably have to reposition yourself. This might be with your stirrups or maybe even your reins. Don’t be lazy and just sit there waiting for the ride to be over. If your boot starts slippin’ in the stirrup, get a better hold on the next jump. If the horse is pullin’ you forward, shuck a little rein. Don’t be a lazy, reactive rider. Be proactive and keep workin’.
Keep Squeezin’ – Most people ride right on their wrangler pockets. You have to ride a horse with more than the seat of your pants. You need to squeeze that horse with your toes, your calves, your legs, your thighs, your everything. You need to be hanging on to the horse like you’re a spider monkey.
Keep Goin’ – Despite how you feel, the ride will be over in about 5-15 seconds. This may seem like a long time when it’s happening, but all in all, pitchin’ fits don’t last all that long. If you keep goin’, it’ll be over before you know it.
Life tries to buck us off all the time.
The lesson here isn’t just about ridin’ buckin’ horses. It’s about dealin’ with the fits that life throws at us. When things go wrong, we tend to freak out, pull ourselves into the problem instead of pushin’ away from it, start worryin’, we get lazy, we stop hangin’ on with everything we have, and we think the problems will last forever.
When a horse (or a life problem) knows it can get the best of you, you are in for a fight until you get ‘em covered. If you get bucked off, get back on. Once you get ‘em covered, they will no longer be able to give you the same kind of fits. So whether you are a cowboy or not, take these lessons and learn ‘em.
We all got some sort of buckin’ stock that needs tendin’ to.
Ryan Goodman works in grassroots advocacy as a communications consultant with beef cattle farmers and ranchers across the United States. He is a proud alumnus of Oklahoma State University, with studies focusing on cattle reproduction and nutrition. Ryan's experience in the beef industry range from family farms and ranches in several states to large feedlots and non-profit policy organizations.
Ryan is an avid trail and ultrarunner, proudly showing how beef can be an important part of a healthy diet and active lifestyle. Find Ryan on social media as @BeefRunner.
View all posts by Ryan Goodman