Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Ear Him Down!

Back in the time when horses were broken rather than trained, the methods used probably would not have pleased the animal rights groups. The contest between the cowhand and the bronc usually became one of endurance and determination rather than a gentle "getting-to-know-each-other".

Usually the bronc was roped and snubbed (tied, for all you non-cowboy types) to a post. Then the "bronc buster" (cowboy) would have someone "ear the bronc down" while he put the saddle, blanket, and hackamore on the animal. This procedure could get pretty wild at times; hence, "earing him down". What this meant is that one of the cowboys would get close to the bronc, which sometimes was a life-endangering feat, and grab one of the animals ears and twist it. In fact, it was usually twisted and then bitten. While this was going on, another cowboy would put the saddle and blanket on and then the hackamore.

Once the animal was properly accoutered, the bronc buster would climb on his back, the rope would be slipped off, and then finally the one holding the ear would let go. That was when the fun began. From that point on, it was a test between the bronc that wanted to get rid of whatever was stuck on his back, and the bronc buster who intended that he stick there. It was purely a test of strength and will.

Now, the point of all of this is the ear. That ear was the key to the entire operation. By twisting and biting on it, the cowboy was able to distract the bronc long enough for the animal to be saddled and the bronc buster to take his seat. If it wasn't for that ear, the animal would have continued fighting with hoof and teeth and nothing would have been accomplished. The horse would never have been "broken", or trained.

We can all be like that bronc occasionally. Sometimes, something gets hold of us and we just go crazy. I'm not talking about fighting it out, I'm talking about going places in our mind and in our behavior that we wouldn't normally go if we were thinking straight. We need to be distracted from that wrong path to get back to where we need to be. It may take a friend or a spouse to accomplish the feat, but with a little attention and self-training, we can usually do it ourselves. When our mind engages the wrong things, we need to stop and re-focus our attention on the good. It will keep us out of trouble.

"Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is admirable -- if anything is excellent or praiseworthy -- think about such things." Phil. 4:8 NIV

No comments: