RODEO 101 - BAREBACK

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Bareback riding consistently produces some of the wildest action in the sport. To stay aboard the horse, a bareback rider must grasp the rigging with only one hand. The rigging made of leather and cowhide resembles a suitcase handle on a strap. The rigging is placed atop the horse’s withers and secured with a cinch. As the bronc and rider burst from the chute, the rider must have both spurs touching the horse’s shoulders until the horse’s feet hit the ground on its first jump from the chute. This is called “marking out.” If the cowboy fails to mark out, he is disqualified. In bareback, the rider reaches forward with his legs toward the horse’s neck, and then pulls his legs back toward him as the horse leaps, swinging his legs wide and back toward the horse’s neck as the horse completes its jump. A bareback rider is judged on his spurring technique, the degree to which his toes remain turned out while he is spurring and the rider’s “exposure” to the strength of the horse. The horse’s performance accounts for half the total score. The rider is disqualified if he fails to mark his horse out, touches any part of the horse or his equipment with his free hand, or if he is bucked off before the completion of the 8-second ride.

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