Wednesday, July 25, 2012


Author Stephen Bly with horse Sundance
Stephen Bly with Sundance
Stephen Bly

I never laid any claim to being a roper, although I do enjoy tossing a loop now and then. One thing you learn right away. . .there are different types of throws to lasso a critter. One of the slickest is what old timers call the houlihan. Most often used when the cowboy worked from the ground, it was a favorite throw on cattle drives for roping the next horse out of the remuda. A quick, accurate throw that doesn’t spook the other horses because they’ll be the next in line to be caught.

Cowboy roper with honda and houlihan
Here’s how to do it. Carry your loop in your hand. When you get close enough to the horse, swing one brisk rotation around in front of him toward the right. Then pull the loop over his head. When done right, it falls on the horse’s head flat and open, then drops straight down with the honda sliding down the rope, taking up slack as it moves. This avoids the whirling around the head of more standard roping procedure. The other horses don’t know what’s happening. Those cowboys in an outfit adept at tossing houlihans got the task of roping everyone’s horse out of the string.

Quick. Fast. Sneaky. No one else knows what’s happening. Like the secret stalk of temptation that plays on your mind. No pre-warning to you or to others close by who could also get caught in the trap.

Cowboy ropes with honda
The Bible cautions us to be prepared “that Satan might not outwit us…for we are not unaware of his schemes” (2 Corinthians 2:11).

Your enemy and mine ropes us in with subtle attacks more often than outright assaults. We can get grabbed while we’re on the way to do something else, just minding our business. That’s why we need to be alert at all times. The very best advice: shake free of that loop, at the first sign, as soon as you sense the shadowy presence nearby and over you. Then, continue on your journey.

You can’t prevent temptations. We all face them. But you can watch out so you aren’t  caught in a spiritual houlihan. 
Cowboy silhouette with horse and rope

Have you ever tried roping anything? How'd you do?


For His Glory said...

such an encouraging post for me. as stated, we often may not realize we were even targeted until after we were "caught". thank God for setting us free.

Janet Chester Bly said...

Thanks much for the note. Blessings to you, Janet