Lesson from a nine year old bronc rider

by Kevin on November 17, 2011

I heard the noise. Every cowboy knows the sound. If a radio station ever plays it as the secret sound, a cowboy will win. I think it goes deeper than just hearing. It is heard with ears that cannot be told of the sound, only experienced. The sound I heard was the sound of hooves striking the earth from a buckin’ horse.

There was no gruntin’ or fartin’ from the horse. It just bogged its head and was buckin’…and my nine year old son was ridin’ him.

I wheeled my horse around and yelled for him to hang on. I heard the first jump and watched the next three. Time seemed to slow down as the horse I was ridin’ tried to get out of the way and I tried to get him in the way. If I could get my horse in front, I knew I could keep Griffin from getting bucked off…if he lasted long enough.

In what seemed like an eternity, I finally got there after the fourth jump. I wheeled in front of the pitchin’ horse and got him shut down with Griffin still in the saddle with both boots still in the stirrups. Wide eyes looked up from the saddle horn and found me, and then filled with tears.

“I want to get off!” Griffin said through a lump in his throat.

“I’m sorry son. You can’t.”

Those words stung me as I said them. I know what it’s like to be scared. I know how it feels when a horse pitches with you. It hurts even if you don’t get bucked off.

“Why not?” said a quiverin’ voice. “I didn’t fall off.”

“Griffin, I know you’re not goin’ to understand this, but if you get off now, you’ll always be afraid. You’ll teach this horse that all he has to do is pitch a couple of jumps and then you’ll get off. It will haunt you that you gave in to your fear. You have to stay on, but I promise you, I won’t leave your side…I promise.”

“You promise, Dad?”

“Yes…I do.”

As we rode along, I tried to encourage him and told him that I was 19 years old before I rode a buckin’ horse that rank and didn’t fall off. Griffin seemed lost and hardly listened as I knew he was strugglin’ to keep the tears back and the fear in.

I made a couple of jokes and finally Griffin said, “Dad, I’ve been thinkin’. I don’t think we should tell Mom about this. You know she’ll get real scared and make a big deal out of it.”

“If you don’t want to tell Mom, then we won’t.”

No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. –Hebrews 12:11

I walked in the house and was takin’ off my boots when I heard Griffin recountin’ the story to his mother. She inserted all the correct exclamations and made a big deal about how tough and brave he was. Cowboy moms are good at that.

The final words he said had a deep spiritual lesson for me.

“I wanted to get off, but Dad made me stay on. He said he wouldn’t let anything else happen and that he’d be right there with me……And you know what Mom?”

“What, Honey?”

“I’m glad he did.”

The Nine Year Old Bronc Rider

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  • Don Coyote

    Yeah, me too.

  • Paul Weatherby

    Amen Son (and Griffin, and Mom). The same treatment and respect works for all ages, even with this event.

  • Caprice

    Tears rollin’down my face as I’m typin’ this…What a beautiful & powerful message!! Thank you for your inspirational stories….Blessings

  • Joss

    I had a ride like that once about 30 years ago. I have had dozens more since – none of them as scary as that one. If my mom hadn’t made me stay on I would have missed a lifetime of richness on the back of a horse in all kinds of beautiful places. I would have missed thousands of conversations with God. I would not have the courage to face the many hardships that life has sent my way because I would have stopped riding altogether. What gift Griffin was given! 🙂

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