To Lift Or Not To Lift…That Is The Question

by Kevin on February 7, 2012

I started riding saddle bronc horses when I was sixteen years old.  I didn’t know a thing about it, but it just so happened that about 20 miles down the road lived an old bronc rider who had a son who also competed in high school rodeo and was the same age as me.

This man took me under his wing and gave me all kinds of advice…about riding broncs and everything else in life.  Some of that advice is appropriate to share with you and some of it ain’t…what do you expect from an old bronc rider?  One of the things that he told me was when I first started gettin’ on buckin’ horses.  He said, “Self preservation will make you wanna pull…but self control will make you lift.”  He was talking about handling my bronc rein.

For those of ya that don’t know, when a horse bucks underneath you, your natural reaction is to pull on the reins (or bronc rein in this case).  The problem with pulling on your bronc rein is that all that’ll do is pull your body forward and eventually get you bucked off, usually right over the front of the horse.  Again, for those of you that don’t know, this is called being “yard darted”…and I have been mistaken for a yard dart more than once in my life.

To be a good bronc rider, one of the fundamental things you’ve got to learn is to ignore what your flesh is telling you to do (pull) and practice self control (lift).  It doesn’t feel natural, because it’s not…but once you learn to do it, the rest of the mechanics of bronc riding start to come together.  The funny thing is, without ignoring your flesh and practicing self control by lifting instead of pulling, you’ll never learn how to do everything else in bronc riding…because you’ll be too busy chewing on arena dirt and blowing dirt boogers out of your nose.

The bible talks about self control a lot…and I’m no biblical scholar, but when it’s in the bible a lot I figure that means it’s important.

5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is nearsighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. 2 Peter 1:5-9

Peter knew that self control was something we all need to have as Christians.  Just like in bronc riding, it doesn’t come natural….but once you learn to do it everything else will start to fall into place.


Thanks to Jake Hershey again for today’s story. This devotion and others like it will be included in our upcoming 365 day cowboy devotional book.

Have you ever had an instance where you went against your natural instincts and just lifted (self-control) instead of pulled (living by the flesh)?

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  • Paul Weatherby

    Lift up, grab horn, wish for night latch, hobbled stirrups, shoulda fixed back cinch hobble, busted rivet on left rein, rotten leather on curb strap, quick change on stirrups quickly changed on one side, and dried -up off latigo goes – oh well – lift up your heart and prayers to the lord – while your lifting your —-off the ground. Think about it, get it all straight, and ride with the Lord.
    Stay after it Son – Proud of ya

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