One especially memorable day we set out across the pasture at a lope with my horse trying to catch up to the powerful and impressive quarter horse gelding. Fortunately I was far enough back to not become involved with the unfortunate result of the breaking of a rotten front cinch on Mike’s roping saddle. The breast collar wasn’t snugged up sufficient enough to keep the saddle and its back cinch from slipping back, and the rear cinch quickly became, before my eyes, a fully functioning flank strap.

What began to ensue was a landmark saddle bronc ride of epic proportion. I should say rather, a landmark saddle and bronc rider landing of epic proportions. As the gelding added increasing exuberance to his actions, while providing background music of snort and grunts, (and other sounds I won't articulate on) the front part of the saddle would rise as if it was desperate to leave the horse, only to be jerked back down when it hit the end of the breast collar straps.

Each time this would happen it appeared that Mike was about to be translated to heaven a little earlier in life than he probably had expected. After a number of vicious rolling bucks, other straps began to make snap, crackle and pop sounds like a loud bowl of Rice Krispies when you pour the milk over it.

Just when it was starting to get pretty, Mike, still in the saddle, was propelled from the raging bronc in a really cool, arc-like release from the horse, eventually skidding along on the sod in an almost perfect landing, and coming to rest with his feet still in the stirrups.

He just settled there for what seemed like a long time – his feet stretched out before him.  Both of his hands were wrapped around the saddle horn with a death grip that made me thankful that it wasn’t my neck they were wrapped around.

I have to say, to his credit, that it was a pretty good ride - especially the part where he and the saddle left the horse and made the trip to ground zero.

This reminds me of Paul's instruction to the Christians in Ephesus on putting on the full armor of God, and brings to mind several questions for us to consider.

How important is it to put on the full armor and to do it properly without missing one part? Let’s say that you put on the helmet of salvation, the breast plate of righteousness, have your shield of faith and the sword of the spirit, and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, but……..your loins are not fully girded in truth.

That's similar to having your  breastcollar a little loose, your rear cinch set correctly, but your front cinch is a little rotten. You  are riding along now but it is only a matter of time when.....

Jesus Christ is the truth, and lives inside of us empowering us to walk in Him.  If we compromise our life in Christ and are not walking in the fullness of the integrity of Jesus Christ, our armor grows flawed or rotten.

Is the rest of the armor going to keep us going forward in our ride with God, or do we need to check our cinch of truth and tighten up our breascollar of righteousness?

Maybe some other part of our armor is rotten. God through his Word and by the Holy Spirit working in us is able to empower, and equip, and renew what has become rotten, so we can have a good ride in life and withstand in the evil day.

Check the soundness of your tack regularly. It might be a little less eventfull but a lot more enjoyable.

Doug Hobelman  11/10/2012

Ephesians 6:10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— 19 and for me, that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.


I grew up north of Big Springs, Nebraska. The neighbor that lived a mile north of us had a son my age. Mike and I used to ride our ponies all over the country. During this time there wasn’t a bandit, horse thief, or outlaw that we didn’t flush out and bring to a righteous end, in our territory.

For several years we both had ponies. Then Mike’s older brother decided to pass his quarter horse gelding down to him along with all his roping gear, including a fully rigged Porter Roping Saddle. I have to admit that he looked pretty impressive with his big horse, all geared up. One thing that we hadn’t yet developed in our youth was concern about worn or sweat-rotted tack. Unless you have ever had a problem with rotten cinches and aged leather straps there has never been a reason to develop a suspicion about them.