The Hickory Handle Cure

by Kevin on June 16, 2010

I would like to thank an old friend of mine for putting me through misery for about the last four or five weeks. Thanks a lot Craig Archer. He suggested today’s topic, but it has taken me this long to remember the horse’s name. I thought long and hard. It bugged me and bugged me, but I finally came up with it. The horse’s name was Chino.

Chino was somewhere between a sorrel and a chestnut in color. He was one of the prettiest horses we had at the Lynaugh Unit in Fort Stockton. I was a field boss (officer on horse back) and part of my duties was to ride the horses that other officers couldn’t get along with.

Chino was perfect until it was time to quit for the day. He would start walking towards the back gate where he knew he would be relieved of his rider and be able to lounge with the other horses. But Chino didn’t want to wait on everyone else. When he thought it was time to go in, he just went.

If you tried to slow him up by pulling on the reins, this horse would turn into the most dangerous horse a cowboy can ride. He would rare straight up and fall on top of you. When my turn finally came to ride Chino, he had already sent two officers to the hospital.

Seeing as how dangerous this horse could be (he didn’t do this every time, which made it even scarier), I told them I would ride him as long as it was my way. The administration agreed to ask no questions and I agreed to ride.

To make a short story long, I had the inmate tractor driver cut me off part of a hoe handle that was about three foot long. He drilled a hole in one end and put a piece of leather through it. This would go around my wrist to ensure that I didn’t drop it on accident.

When “hat time” came and we started for the back gate, Chino was more than anxious. He started bobbing his head up and down real fast and kind of hopping on his front feet. I was ready for him. When he finally came all the way up, my club came all the way down. I won’t lie, a horse that intentionally rares up and falls backwards on purpose is trying to hurt you. Heck, it could easily kill a rider. So I make no apologies for my actions.

I tried to kill that horse with one swing of the club. I brought the club down as hard as I could right between his ears. Unfortunately my aim was a little off and it wasn’t as solid of a hit as I had imagined. But it got him good enough.

Instead of coming over on top of me and possibly driving the saddle horn through my chest, the force of my strike drove Chino to his knees–literally. I hit him so hard that he fell to his knees and just stayed there for a second quivering. He wasn’t the only one.

Finally, he got to his feet and we started walking again. He started the same thing again, but as I cocked my weapon over my shoulder for another swing, Chino ducked his head and went to quivering again.

I am happy to say that when I left that prison unit, Chino had never tried it again.

Chino was what we call barn soured. When he had enough work for that day, he just went berserk and didn’t care who he hurt in the process.

We’ve all got a little barn sour in us. We all tend to “rear up” on occassion and hurt those that are closest to us. God doesn’t punish us for our fits. All of our punishment was expended on Jesus while he was on the cross.

But just once. Just once. I wish God would carry a three foot long hickory handle and hit me right between the ears when I went to acting foolish. Maybe then I’d learn.

Is there a certain time or certain situation when you tend to rare up and throw a fit?

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  • Um, Daily? lol.

    Seriously though there are so many times when I’m just so tired and I know that the Lord has “just one more task” before the end of the day. Days like that I know I act like a little child having a temper tantrum. “But I’ve already done XYZ for you!” But it’s always rewarding when I listen. It’s so hard for me to remember that Most of the time these are things for my benefit and growth as much as it is for anyone else especially at the end of the day.

    • Kevin

      Temper Tantrums used to be my specialty. Now they are just a daily nuisance.

  • Kevin, I am so glad that God doesn’t punish us for our fits (our sins) because Jesus took all our punishment for us. But God does discipline me at times. Like Chino, that discipline is not meant to destroy me, but to train me. As Hebrews says, “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.”

    Of course I would much rather God just give me a stern talkin’ to rather than a hickory handle. but God loves me too much to let me continue to do things that are harmful to myself and others. “God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness” (Hebrews 12:10). And He does it “because the Lord disciplines those he loves” (Heb. 12:6).

    Just my thoughts on hickory handles. –Richard

    • Kevin

      Great points Richard, but I sometimes feel that God does give me a stern talking to, but I just don’t listen. Now I sure don’t really want a hickory handle swung by God to hit me in the head, but maybe that would unclog my ears a little bit.

      Thanks for the addition of the scriptures.

  • First Hot Shots and now Hickory Handles. I don’t think I am cut out to live my faith the Cowboy way. I’m too soft for that.

    • Kevin

      We gonna get you in cowboy boot camp and toughen you up for the fight ahead.

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