Javelina, the Pitchin’ Prison Pony

by Kevin on August 31, 2010

When I worked as a field boss at a prison in Fort Stockton, there was a horse that I had been assigned because she bucked every single morning. I wasn’t the best bronc rider out there, but I was the best and youngest rider they had.

This horse was a mare named Javelina. We all called her Lina for short. She would buck so hard that I ended up makin’ a buckin’ roll for my saddle so that she would have a harder time buckin’ me off. For all of the townie readers, a buckin’ roll is a thin saddle blanket that is rolled up and tied right behind the saddle horn. This creates a kind of “cowboy seatbelt” for the saddle.

One morning, I got a call from the Warden askin’ me if I had got on my horse yet. I told him that I hadn’t got on yet and he told me to wait. In just a minute, the Warden came around the corner of the prison in his car and told me over the radio to get on. He wanted to show the regional director what kind of cowboys his unit had. He wanted her to see the rodeo.

I asked Big Ed and Pancho to get on either side of me and try to help me keep from gettin’ bucked off in front of the big bosses. They could smell a wreck comin’ and were glad to have front row seats. I swung up into the saddle and like always, Lina gave me ample opportunity to get ready.

I screwed my hat down tight and asked my two pick-up men if they were ready. They gave me the go-ahead and I thought to myself, “If they want to see a dance, then let’s make it a jitterbug.” With a deep breath, I gouged her with my spurs and she responded like a lightnin’ strike.

We both gave our best, but in the end, I won. It was a heck of a ride and I have to give Lina credit, she put on a heck of a show.

Lina bucked for months. She kind of slowed down a little bit and only chose to buck two or three times a week. It was after this slow down that I got another call from the Warden. My Dad made Captain on the unit and this meant that I was to be transferred to the other prison is Stockton. Within twenty minutes of Dad’s promotion, I was off the unit. I would never ride Lina again.

When I left, another good cowboy got her. He could ride (nearly) as good as I could and that’s why they gave her to him. On one of his first rides, she tried him. He hung on and didn’t even come close to gettin’ bucked off. This told me she was just playin’ around because this mare could buck real hard.

But that was the last time she ever pitched. For two months following this last ride, all I heard was how Todd had broke the mare that I couldn’t break. They all knew that it was the fact that Lina, despite all her attempts, had never thrown one of the cowboys out there. Two good cowboys had been real good to her and never let her buck them off. She realized that it was too much trouble to keep buckin’ all the time and she was just hurtin’ herself.

Todd and I never gave up on that mare and one day she quit her fight and became the great horse we had all seen–despite her pitchin’ fits. We need to take that same approach with the lost. We must never give up on them. They will still do stupid stuff and sometimes even try to hurt those who are tryin’ to care for them, but in the end, hopefully they will come around like Lina did.

Don’t be a sissy and just invite the tame lost to Christ. Let’s go out there and get the rank ones. Let’s work together and stay with them and love them no matter what they are doin’ in their lives. Just remember, the church is like Pancho and Big Ed. They are right there beside you, ready to help if you have need, but they can’t ride the horse for you.

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  • Man I could not stop laughing. There’s a girl I know called Lina (short for Carolina).

    Laughter aside, thanks for sharing this. It follows up with a lot of the discussion we were having on your other post from yesterday but also reminds us all of a basic spiritual principle that we don’t always like to remember: Others may reap where we have sown. Your work with Javelina paved the way for Todd to reap the benefits of that, benefits he would not have been able to take if you hadn’t first sown into the animal the way you did. Working with the lost can be the same in that we may work and work and work and sow and sow and sow into a person and never see the result where someone else gives them just that little extra to bring them in.

    • Kevin

      You nailed it right on the head. Just because we don’t see the harvest doesn’t mean that our works aren’t fruitful and beneficial.

  • What a great analogy for the church. I was one of those that was rough around the edges before finally surrendering to Jesus. I am eternally grateful for people that prayed and committed to friendship even though I wasn’t a Christian and my behavior at times was horrid. When I think back and remember the person that I used to be it fuels me with grace and compassion for those that still walk in those shoes.

    My heart is especially drawn to young boys that are wild and unruly. The one’s that cause most people to want to take shelter.

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