Saddle Fit

by Jake Hershey on August 5, 2012

How your saddle fits your horse is important.  I’ve got a horse that’s a good son of a gun, but he’s built kind of funny.  Actually, he’s built a lot like horses used to be back before everyone started breeding for certain characteristics in certain disciplines.  He’s built sorta “old timey”.  Those of you that know horses know what I mean.  Anyway, since he’s built a little different than most horses are today, it’s been tough to find a good saddle to fit him right.  I could get one made, but he’s not so good of a sucker that he’s worth gettin’ a saddle made that will only fit him.  So, I’ve experimented with different pad combinations and have come up with a configuration that works pretty good.  As long as I’m not using him hard.  If you’re a horse person, you know what that means too.  If you’re not, what that means is that I can rope a few steers a few times a week and he does fine.  I can’t day work 12 hours a day for 5 days straight or he’ll get sore.

Some buddies and myself entered a ranch rodeo this weekend.  It had 4 events-sorting, mugging, doctoring and wild cow milking.  The guys I entered with are all top hands and it just so happened that after 3 events, I hadn’t even got the chance to throw my rope.  The last event was the wild cow milking.  The rules at this particular deal allowed 4 loops total per event.  In the case of the wild cow milking, that wasn’t a big deal because like I said, the guys on my team were all handy with a rope and it only takes one loop to catch a wild cow.

Well, they turned her out and the race was on.  All four of us chased her, knowing that she was gonna get caught and then we’d have to get her milked.  The first guy threw his loop and missed for the first time all day.  No big deal.  The next guy threw and missed, too.  We still had two loops left, not a big deal.  The third guy threw and missed.  Now it’s a big deal.  Just as he missed, she turned around and I had her lined out.  I heard one of my buddy’s yell somethin’ to the effect of, “Stick it on her, Jake!”  Me and my pony were goin’ full speed as I reached out and threw a pretty little loop right around her neck.  About that time, a few things were happening at once.  First, I was pulling my slack.  Second, my horse started veering to the left like we were team roping (which is my fault, that’s all the roping I’ve done on him in awhile).  Third, the full grown, mad momma cow was still running away from us at full speed.

At the same time, I was reacting to all this by spurring my horse on the left side, getting a dally and trying to kick my horse up instead of going left.  While this was happening, I got a dally.  But not a good one.  The cow hit the end of the rope, which gave my pony a pretty good jerk.  A good enough jerk to where the ill fitting saddle came into play.  At the same time the cow hit the end of the rope, my horse felt the jerk and started to hump up.  That along with a poor dally by me resulted in my loss of the entire dally.  Now, the rope is zinging through my hands and I know my horse is wanting to buck.  So, I kicked him up so I wouldn’t lose the rope.  Bad idea.  He went to bucking…in the opposite direction the cow was going…and I lost my rope.

As disappointing as this all was, it was nobody’s fault but my own.  If I would have been riding a saddle that didn’t pinch my horse when he took the hard jerk, he wouldn’t have reacted like he did.

The same can be said for our walk as Christians.  How many things do you have in your life that you know need fixed, or improved, but you won’t get around to doing it?  Sometimes it’s just easier to ignore a problem, pretend it doesn’t exist, or lie to ourselves by thinking it’s not a big deal.  I know alot of guys who have or have had a problem with booze.  They lie to themselves that it’s not a big deal until something happens that makes them wish they would have taken care of the problem a long time ago.  Usually, it’s lot worse than a horse humping up a little bit at a ranch rodeo.  It’s more like the collapse of a marriage, numerous negative effects on their children, the loss of a job, wrecking a vehicle, or even taking an innocent person’s life with a vehicle.  And it’s not just booze.  It can be anything that we know God doesn’t want us doing, but we still do it.  Pick your sin-overeating, drug abuse, pornography, greed, adultery, etc., etc., etc.

Ignoring a problem won’t make it go away.  Most of the time, ignoring it just allows it to get worse.  Even if it doesn’t get worse, it’s still a problem.  I knew for a fact that a hard jerk on that saddle with that horse was gonna pinch him.  But I lied to myself and thought, “Ah, heck… it’ll be alright.  What are the odds I end up roping something that big anyway?”  Turns out the odds were pretty dang good.  And I’ve got no one to blame but myself.

What are the problems in your life you’ve been ignoring?  How big of a wreck is it gonna take for you to fix’em?  Speaking from experience, it’s a heck of a lot smarter to fix them before the wreck happens.  And, I’m blessed that it wasn’t any worse.  My pony could have really broke in two, yard darted me in the ground, broke my neck and paralyzed me.  Sometimes if we ignore the problem until the wreck happens, it’s too late.

Don’t wait for the wreck.  Today is God’s gift to you.  Why not use it to start fixin’ what needs fixin’?  If ya haven’t already, start by fixing your eyes on Jesus Christ.  He’ll give you what ya need to fix everything else.

…Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith…  Hebrews 12:1-2


Jake Hershey 8/5/12

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  • PaulH

    Blessing to you sir and thanks to God for your blog here. I have been reading for about a month now and have been blessed, fed, and convisted alittle too. Like today’s thoughts, it is just what I needed to hear. I have let thing come into my life. I am not sure what it is but Io was prayin’ just this morning that I need His help. I am not sure what it is. A combination of selfishness, hatred, bitterness, and complete dislike of people altogether. It needs fixin’ immediately. I want to be know for His love in me for others. Not a grumpy, mean sob. I ask for your prayers too

    Thank you sir

    Paul H.

    • Thanks for the comments, Paul. I’m glad you found the campfire. Prayers are sent. I know a few people, including the person writing this, who could use some help as well with not being a grumpy, mean sucker every once in awhile!

  • A wonderful post and a wonderful reminder that it’s never alright to let those things that we know are entirely wrong but “alright for now” go any further. Thank you for giving us this little nudge in the right direction for the week (and life.) There are a couple of pinching, rubbing saddles I might need to re-fit or replace in my own life…

    • Thanks Jerry. I have several sadddle sores as well….we could all use some improvement in different areas of life.

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