RODEO 101 - SADDLE BRONC RIDING

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Saddle bronc riding evolved from breaking and training horses to work cattle ranches. Many cowboys claim riding saddle broncs is the toughest rodeo event to master because of the technical skills necessary for success. Every move the bronc rider makes must be synchronized with the movement of the horse. The rider must mark out their horses on the first jump from the chute. To properly mark out a horse, the rider must have both heels touching the animal above the point of its shoulders when it makes its first jump from the chute. If the rider misses the mark, no score is received. The bronc rider holds onto a thick rein attached to the horse’s halter. Using one hand, the cowboy tries to stay securely seated in his saddle. If he touches any part of the horse or his own body with his free hand, he is disqualified. Judges score the horse’s bucking action, the cowboy’s control throughout the ride, the length of his spurring stroke and how hard the horse bucks. While striving to keep his toes turned outward, the rider spurs from the points of the horse’s shoulders then sweeping to the back of the saddle as the horse bucks. The rider then snaps his feet back to the horse’s neck a split second before the animal’s front feet hit the ground. To score well, the rider must maintain that action throughout the eight-second ride. While the bucking ability of the horse is quite naturally built into the scoring system, a smooth, rhythmic ride is sure to score better than a wild, uncontrolled effort. Disqualification can also results if either foot slips out of a stirrup or if he drops the bronc rein.

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