Bustin’ Bronc’s

bucking bronco

Wyoming State Logo of a bucking bronco

In case you missed last week’s post, I am not a horseman.  I don’t want to misrepresent myself in writing posts about horses.  This is not a how-to post on training horses, because I lack the knowledge required to write such a post.

A few months ago, we took one of our horses to a trainer.  My observation of this training process is that it has two fundamental goals taking place roughly simultaneously, one step at a time.

The first goal is to train the horse to surrender his will to the rider.  While being ridden, the horse’s goal should not be to go where he wants to go or to do what he wants to do.  Rather, his goal should be to do what the rider wants and to go where the rider wants to go.  This is not a one-time training activity, but an ongoing process.  Even after the initial training, for much of his remaining life, the horse is likely to require a brief warm-up at the start of each ride.

The second goal is learning to understand the rider’s prompts.  The rider uses a combination of body language signals to direct the horse in what to do, and the horse must learn all the appropriate signals.

These two goals work hand-in-hand.  Without an understanding of the rider’s prompts, the horse would be unable to do what the rider wants, even if he wished to.  Similarly, it is through the process of learning riding prompts that the horse also learns to yield his will to the rider…to seek to do the rider’s will rather than his own…or, more accurately, for his will to be conformed to the rider’s will.

And we call this process breaking a horse…

Is it any wonder that it is in periods of brokeness that I draw closest to God, learning to seek His heart and listen to His prompts?

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

Your thoughts?


[Linked to Messy Marriage, Graceful, Wellspring ]


16 thoughts on “Bustin’ Bronc’s

    • Yes, definitely a life-long process!

      I sometimes get discouraged at having to relearn lessons I thought I had previously conquered. Then I remember that I can trust God to complete the good work He has begun in my life…He is the master trainer, and He knows what he’s doing!

      Thank you, Forrest!

  1. Ooh! I love that analogy, Joe! I’ve heard of “breaking a horse” but never heard it put in the context of how God can meet us best when we are broken! What an encouraging reminder because I do feel very broken in “many” ways lately, so it’s good to know that’s exactly where God wants me! Thanks for this great post, my friend!

    • Yes, you are going thru a period of brokeness, my friend!

      I’ve not traveled your path, but can tell you from my own experiences that God is, indeed, faithful. That He truly does walk with us every step of the journey. That the light of His truth truly does shine brightest during the darkest hours. And that He truly does use our brokeness for our own good and for His glory!

      I really do appreciate you, Beth, and am continuing to pray for you.

  2. That’s a big, ole YEP, Joe. In my darkest moments are when I saw His Light most brightly, and rode towards the Light ever more swiftly. And life is a process, one day at a time, of breaking us so that we might be put back together even stronger. For in our surrender is strength. And I am preaching at the choir this morning 🙂 And was praying about how I want my heart to be happy when God calls me to do something that I really don’t like. Thank you, Dad, for helping me grow up to be more and more like Christ…Thanks for sharing these words, Joe. Blessings…

    • “For in our surrender is strength.”

      I love how you phrased this, Shelia! Very true!

      Reminds me of Christ’s words to Paul, in 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”

      Thank you, for sharing that perspective!

  3. Good stuff here, Joe! None of us like the idea of being broken, but fewer of us want to be crushed. Better to seek Him and be broken before Him then any of the alternatives. Thanks for this!

    • Even more, I think, is the ability to be in fellowship with our Father, to be of benefit to His Kingdom, and to fulfill our preordained destiny.

      Before we took our horse to the trainer, he was just running wild in the back pasture. He had no fellowship with us and was of no benefit to our farm.

      Now that he has been broken, we can ride him, rope off of him, herd cattle with him, etc. He is now in fellowship with us, and he is now fulfilling his purpose and destiny on our farm.

  4. I have been broken a few times in my life. It always brings me closer to God. I think a horse only gets broken once in its life. Isn’t it interesting that we humans need to be broken over and over?

    • Same here, Janet!

      Turns out horses require continual training, too, though I’m still learning about this.

      There’s the “halter broke” stage where they learn to yield to having a halter put on and being led around. There’s the “saddle broke” stage where they accept a saddle and a rider. There’s the “green broke” stage where they basically know the primary riding cues, but have not been ridden enough to be trusted to generally do as asked. Then there’s “finish broke” where they’ve been worked with enough to be trusted to follow instructions and may have also been taught some specialty skills such as roping or barrel racing.

      Even after that, though, the horse must be regularly worked with to retain his brokeness, or he will start to act up. Even well trained horses often need a warm-up at the start of each ride, to sort of remind them of the process.

      Apparently, it’s not so terribly different with us humans…

      Thanks for joining the discussion!

  5. Dear Joe
    Your post today reminds me of the verses in Proverbs somewhere where our Lords tells us not to let our hearts be like a blind, stubborn horse who needs a bit and briddle to lead us on the right way! So, I think horses and us have much more in common than we think!
    Blessings XX

    • I hadn’t thought of that comparison in Psalm 32:9. Thank you for reminding me, Mia!

      Also, in James 3:3, it speaks of controlling our bodies by controlling the tongue, just as a horse is controlled by a bit.

      I’ll have to think on that some more…

      Thank you!

  6. You know how I love a good metaphor, Joe! I hadn’t thought about the process of breaking a horse before – or about the fact that it is a horse’s job to surrender to his master’s will. Like I said, an excellent metaphor.

    Please know, too, that I am thinking of you and your family as you walk the road of grief and mourn the loss of your father.

    • A love of metaphors is something you and I share, Michelle! Sometimes, profound truths are more clearly seen in metaphors. I think this is why Jesus so often spoke in parables, and why Solomon and David both so often used metaphors.

      Thank you, Michelle!

  7. Oh, this really speaks to me. Yes, I am very much in the “breaking” process. I have no idea how this is all going to end up or even where God is taking me (along with my family). It’s been years since I was particularly active in the horse world, but the familiarity I do have made this reach right out… because it is spot on.

    Thanks for sharing this… there is just something about knowing that others understand the journey (even if the specifics are different from person to person) that is comforting.

    • That breaking process is never easy, is it Elisabeth? But, in the end, it is always good…something we can look back on and say, “Okay, that was really hard and I really don’t want to go thru that again, but I would not have wanted to miss what I learned thru that process.”

      Blessings to you, today, and throughout your journey!

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