Items

Forums
Rodeo Horses
 By Winniefield Park   •   25th Jul 2018   •   382 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 ...
  View More PonyBox Related Horse Articles
 More News by Winniefield Park
Horse Side Vet Guide App
16th Jul 2019   |   Shows and Events   |   Winniefield Park
Horse Side Vet Guide was created so that you’d have important information at your fingertips no matter where you are - whether you have cell signal or wifi or not. Much of the content, concerning situations that are most likely to ...
The Columbus Mounted Police Unit
14th Jul 2019   |   Shows and Events   |   Winniefield Park
If you’ve ever wondered how mounted police units desensitize their horses to working around crowds in stressful situations, the Columbus Mounted Police unit provides a glimpse into their training process. ...
Horse Manure Turned Into Beer
13th Jul 2019   |   Shows and Events   |   Winniefield Park
At a meeting in Germany, scientists are looking for ways to monetize carbon dioxide emissions. And horse manure has been part of the discussion. Dried manure has been used as a fuel for centuries. And methane gas made from manure ...
Horse Health Tracker
6th Jul 2019   |   Shows and Events   |   Winniefield Park
There are many equine health apps out there and it’s hard to choose one that will suit your particular situation. Horse Health Tracker from the folks at Equine Guelph is an app for Android or iPhone that helps you keep records of ...
Tampa Bay Beach Horse Ride Mess
5th Jul 2019   |   Shows and Events   |   Winniefield Park
Manure is also in the news along beaches in Florida. Horseback riders in the Tampa Bay area are being accused of fouling the water and destroying the natural beach habitat. Both private horse owners and tourist operations offering ...
Horse Farriers in Ethiopia
4th Jul 2019   |   Shows and Events   |   Winniefield Park
Car tires, wood nails, knives and mallets. These are the tools used by farriers in Ethiopia for shoeing the horses and donkeys that are essential to their owners’ livelihoods. ...
Horse Band Member with Andrew Haung
30th Jun 2019   |   Shows and Events   |   Winniefield Park
Does your horse play the guitar, drums or flute? Andrew Haung might be interested in hearing it play. Haung is a musician and Youtube video producer who loves to find music in unexpected places. He is internet famous for his music ...
Equine Autism and Depression Therapy
23rd Jun 2019   |   Shows and Events   |   Winniefield Park
With an awareness of what it takes to stay mentally health and recover from mental issues comes many, what seem like, novel approaches to treatments. One treatment is equine therapy designed to help those dealing with mental healt ...
  View All News by Winniefield Park
 
©2002 - 2019   PonyBox LLC Create Account Terms & Conditions Privacy Contact Us
431 Members Online 248,113 Registered Members 2,590 News Articles 10,894,578 Unique News Article Views 251,911,493 Website Views