Saddle Bronc Riding
Rodeos most technical event
riding is rodeos classic event, both a complement and contrast to
the wilder spectacles of bareback and bull riding.
The event requires strength, but it is as much about style as anything:
grace and precise timing are mandatory.
Saddle bronc riding evolved from the task of breaking and training horses
to work the cattle ranches of the old West.
Many cowboys claim riding saddle broncs is the toughest rodeo event to
learn because of the technical skills necessary to master it.
Every move the bronc rider makes must be synchronized with the movement
of the horse. The cowboys objective is a fluid ride, as opposed
to the wilder and less-controlled ride of bareback riders.
Among the similarities shared by saddle bronc riding and bareback riding
is the rule that riders must mark out their horses on the first jump from
To properly mark out his horse, the saddle bronc rider must have both
heels on the animals shoulders when it makes the first jump from
the chute. If the rider misses his mark, he receives no score.
While a bareback rider has a rigging to hold onto, the saddle bronc rider
has only a thick rein attached to his horses 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 horses bucking action, the cowboys control
of the horse and the cowboys spurring action. While striving to
keep his toes turned outward, the rider spurs from the points of the horses
shoulders to the back of the saddle. 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 one.
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