Items

Forums
Rodeo Horses
 By Winniefield Park   •   25th Jul 2018   •   747 views   •   0 comments


The Calgary Stampede has just ended as I write this, and although its promoters claim it is the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth”, the controversies around the rights of the animals performing always swirl. Those controversies haven’t seemed to dampen the spirits of the people who attended that Stampede. This year’s event attracted 1,271,241, attendees, up more than 56,000 from 2017’s show, and exceeded only by the centennial Stampede held in 2012.

But not everyone is so enthusiastic. One Canadian humane society called the Stampede ‘a spectacle of animal abuse’. Most of the outcry has been against competitions like calf roping and other chasing and roping sports, and chuck-wagon racing continues to be a controversial sport, often with multiple horse deaths in all but one Stampede since 1986.

Unlike horse shows or racing, the individual animals in rodeo seem to take second billing to the human competitors. Few of us will remember the names of famous bucking or cutting horses the way we will Seabiscuit, Secretariat, Big Ben or Stroller. But of course, it wouldn’t be much of a show without them, however controversial their participation may be. Just what sort of horses are used for things like bronc riding and chuck-wagon races?

Chuck-wagons, the rolling kitchens of the cowboy era, used to be pulled by mules, oxen or horses. Chuck, of course was a slang for food. The wagon would be loaded up with long-lasting foods like sourdough and flour, dried beans, potatoes, salted meats, coffee beans, and preserved fruit and tinned milk that might be supplemented with fresh game, eggs or vegetables found out on the range. Also on board would be all the pots and pans, utensils even wood or buffalo or cattle manure for burning, all needed to cook up a simple, but hearty meal.

By comparison, today’s chuck-wagons are pared down and built for speed. And today’s chuck-wagon horses are a far cry from the slower, heavier, smaller horses used back then. Instead, Thoroughbreds, often retired race horses, provide the power to get the chuck-wagons around the course with speed and agility. Therein, says Temple Grandin, might be why there are so many injuries and deaths in these competitions. An overemphasis on breeding solely for speed, with large muscles and fine bones means TB’s legs are simply more prone to injury. It’s an interesting opinion, but unless someone is willing to run something other than a TB, it will be hard to prove. And of course not all horses are breaking down. Some chuck-wagon race horses are still racing into their late teens and early twenties.

And where do bucking horses come from? Bucking a horse out used to be the normal way to ‘break’ a horse for riding and ranch work. So what started out as job became a sport as cowboys challenged each other to stick on as long as they could. Today some bucking horses might come from the riding horse world. They might be former race horses, show horses or trail horses that have learned to launch a rider. And many bucking horses will be bred to buck. One source states that 60% of the horses used in bronc riding are from breeding programs that strive to produce top bucking horses. Many will be Draft crosses, Quarter Horses or QH crosses. Saddle broncs tend to be heavier, taller horses. Bareback broncs tend to be smaller and lighter.

Bucking horses are kept just like any other performance horse, with an eye towards their health, fitness and attitude. It isn’t unusual for horses to have a long and illustrious career until they are in their twenties. And really, having a job of getting ticked off for nine seconds every now and then doesn’t sound like such a bad deal if you are otherwise treated well.
Horse News More PB Articles About:  Rodeo,
Horse News More In This Category:  Shows and Events      Horse News More From This Author:  Winniefield Park
 Related Horse News
What is the Difference Between Bulls and Broncs
29th Sep 2014   |   Shows and Events   |   Winniefield Park
Back in 2011, my daughter and I attended an evening of the National Rodeo Finals in Las Vegas, Nevada. I’m not a big rodeo fan, but local rodeos are a small affair and the opportunities to see a big event are rare. I’m also not a ...
Four Horses Killed in 2015 Chuckwagon Races
26th Jul 2015   |   Shows and Events   |   Winniefield Park
As I write this the Calgary Stampede is in full swing. A few days after it began, a horse was killed during a chuckwagon race. It was an unfortunate occurrence but the injury was not something unusual for race horses. Chuckwagon ...
Rodeo Horses
25th Jul 2018   |   Shows and Events   |   Winniefield Park
The Calgary Stampede has just ended as I write this, and the controversies around the rights of the animals performing always swirl. Those controversies haven’t seemed to dampen the spirits of the people who attended that Stampede ...
Chuckwagon Racing Under Review
2nd Aug 2019   |   Shows and Events   |   Winniefield Park
After six horses died during chuckwagon racing at this year’s Calgary Stampede the sport is under scrutiny. July 14, three horses on the same team were euthanized after sustaining irreparable injuries. After one horse broke a hind ...
  View More PonyBox Related Horse Articles
 More News by Winniefield Park
Gaza Riders Back in the Saddle After COVID Lockdown
11th Jul 2020   |   Shows and Events   |   Winniefield Park
The COVID19 lockdown meant many of us weren’t able to ride, or were not able to ride as we normally would. Like many organizations around the world, the Palestine Equestrian Federation placed restrictions on the types of activitie ...
Kentucky Derby Horse Drugging Probe Ongoing
10th Jul 2020   |   Shows and Events   |   Winniefield Park
Bob Baffert, trainer of five Kentucky Derby winning horses is going for a sixth win. But, his efforts are shadowed by reports of horses in his care are again testing positive for performance enhancing drugs. Details are sparse as ...
RavenSide Stud TBS Home of Multiple Top Ranked Horses
5th Jul 2020   |   Shows and Events   |   Winniefield Park
RSS Break Even and RSS Identity Thief are both top ranked horses belonging to the same stables. RavenSide Stud TBS was established in 2017 and is ranked at 113 with 49,459,023 PB in earnings. Currently, there are three stallions s ...
Horse Dismounts Police in Protest Turned Ugly
4th Jul 2020   |   Shows and Events   |   Winniefield Park
During a peaceful protest that turned ugly in London, UK a police horse bolted after being pelted with debris by violent demonstrators. Flares, bottles and sticks flew as the crowd was pushed back by mounted police officers. One o ...
Horse That Survived Kentucky Horse Shooting Foals Healthy Pinto
3rd Jul 2020   |   Shows and Events   |   Winniefield Park
You might remember a story from early last winter about twenty horses in Eastern Kentucky that were shot and killed. The few survivors were taken to Kentucky Humane Society’s Willow Hope Farm to regain their health and eventually ...
Stop Petting Wild Horses
29th Jun 2020   |   Shows and Events   |   Winniefield Park
Beach-goers to the Outer Banks are being asked to stay clear of the wild horses that live there after a photo of a woman appearing to pat a wild horse has surfaced. This is not an isolated incident as tourists visit the well known ...
Funny Horse Fruit Taste Test
28th Jun 2020   |   Shows and Events   |   Winniefield Park
Some horses eat anything and will eat everything from anchovies to zucchini. And some are extremely picky and act like you’ve poisoned them if you put anything but hay and grain in front of their noses. Have you ever tried a taste ...
Jim Gaffigan Horse Comedy
27th Jun 2020   |   Shows and Events   |   Winniefield Park
Jim Gaffigan pokes fun at the Triple Crown, from the costumes and pageantry, to owners, jockeys and trainers. He then takes a humorous trek through the horse world, exploring horse breeds, horse people, horseshoes, riding and the ...
  View All News by Winniefield Park
 
©2002 - 2020   PonyBox LLC Create Account Advertise Terms Privacy Contact Us
182 Members Online 267,580 Registered Members 2,737 News Articles 11,633,990 Unique News Article Views 276,830,639 Website Views