Though Todd Pierce is used to breaking horses as he preaches sermons, he didn’t have to fight too hard with this one.
Pierce, along with his company Riding High Ministries, was in Umatilla on Tuesday, at Two Rivers Correctional Institution.
Pierce travels around Oregon and Idaho and give sermons, using the exercise of breaking an unbroken horse as a metaphor for how people can change their own conduct.
Each time he does a sermon, he uses a new horse, one that’s never been saddled or ridden. Vixen, a horse now owned by a family in Hermiston, was rescued from a kill pen two years ago.
Vixen showed a little hesitation at first, but quickly grew comfortable with Pierce, and allowed him to ride her.
Pierce said he was surprised by the outcome — in most cases, he said, he gets bucked off several times.
But he said it didn’t take away from the lesson.
“Two years ago this horse was starving, abandoned, had no future,” he said. “Someone came along and said, that one’s mine. Today, someone’s coming and saying to you, ‘you’re mine, I’m going to love you,’” Pierce said.
Pierce likened the struggle from the horse, and from the rider, to the things people have to struggle with as they try to improve.
“I see so many people that just do what they can to stay comfortable,” he said.
All the inmates, he said, are capable of being more than what they are now.
“You’re being asked to do things normal men can’t do,” he said. “There’s men who go back out into the world and survive. I believe you guys will go back out and be world changers.”