The horse is prepared for the day of battle but the victory rests in the Lord.
—Proverbs 21:31 (paraphrased)
It all seemed so simple. All I had to do was pull the red bull “off the cows” (out of the pasture) and load him in the trailer.
It’s being done all over the West and I’ve done it myself. Usually it just takes a little effort; the bull will make a few moves and then head towards the trailer. If he’s going in the right direction, leave him alone. If he’s going the wrong way, make it difficult. When his head is even looking into the trailer, leave him alone. Once he walks in, shut the door and you’re done.
Sounds simple, but if you go to pull the bull and there’s a cow that’s cycling it’s a little tougher to get the bull thinking about the trailer. Add in a compressed amount of open ground and three border collies of various skills—and a green horse—it becomes a bit of a challenge. Top it off with a lack of sleep and a strong male opinion that you can make it work… then you have my Friday.
In the end I had a tired horse, a mad bull who knew his way into the brush and bog even if it meant going through my horse and/or dogs and an empty trailer.
Fast forward to Sunday; it’s our anniversary so what better things to do than haul some cull cows to town, have some supper and pick up the bull on the way home. (Yes, we’re still married and speaking.)
I took along the same colt, no dogs and ran the bull up into the neighbour’s corral. By the time I’d brought the bull up the mile he’d had enough and with some judicious handling of rocks and English I worked him into the trailer and brought him home.
Jump ahead a week and I had to pull another bull from this pasture. He’d taken a liking to the neighbour’s heifers. Same plan minus one dog; it worked slick and the bull found himself safely in the trailer and then on to the corral awaiting some electric fence to curtail his amorous forays. It went just like I said it would.
So what does this have to do with Proverbs 21:31? Last issue I wrote about taming the tongue. Let’s go a little farther and add in some cowboy wisdom: “Never Pass Up a Good Opportunity to Shut Up.” I’d told the guy I was going to pull his red bull on Friday and wouldn’t need any help. I had done all the preparation but in the end, was the victory mine?
James 4 speaks of submitting to God. Verses 13-5 tells us not to say, “Tomorrow we’ll do such and such,” God says you’re just blowing smoke (making political promises). Instead say: if that’s what God wants, it will happen. (My words.)
Let’s tie it down. Maybe the wisest wisdom is this: “Never Pass Up a Good Opportunity to Look Up.” So saddle your colt, call out your dogs and head out for the bull, don’t proclaim it. Recognize that your victory is in God’s hands — and you should be too.
Bryn Thiessen is a rancher, poet, cowboy and preacher at Cowboy Trail Church in Cochrane. Bryn and his wife Bonny market grass-fattened beef from their Helmer Creek Ranch southwest of Sundre, Alta.
Photos courtesy of Istockphoto