Items

Forums
Rodeo Horses
 By Winniefield Park   •   25th Jul 2018   •   630 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
Montreal Carriage Rides End
26th Jan 2020   |   Shows and Events   |   Winniefield Park
After years of controversy the city of Montreal, Quebec, caleches, the quaint carriage rides through the historic city are banned as of January 1, 2020. The tourist districts will no longer hear the familiar clip clop of hooves as ...
Australian Horse Racing Industry Abuse Response
25th Jan 2020   |   Shows and Events   |   Winniefield Park
Last fall we posted a story about a news documentary exploring the route from race track to slaughter house in Australia. Jockeys, trainers, owners and others in the industry were shocked by the revelations of cruelty and the ulti ...
Amish Boys Get DUI on Horse and Buggy
23rd Jan 2020   |   Shows and Events   |   Winniefield Park
four underage Amish men charged with felony obstruction of justice, disorderly conduct and given civil infractions for being minors in possession of alcohol. Witnesses saw the young men tossing beer cans from the buggy. The heavil ...
Top PonyBox Stables To Start 2020
21st Jan 2020   |   Shows and Events   |   Winniefield Park
2020, and a new decade is only a few weeks old. The winter days seem to drag, it certainly doesn’t seem like the Roaring Twenties, but game play continues with changing stats and rankings. Here’s a look at some of the top barns on ...
Rejected Show Horse Saves Owner from Fire in Australia
19th Jan 2020   |   Shows and Events   |   Winniefield Park
As her family fled the fire, leaving behind possessions and favorite farm animals, a horse named Charmer, once rejected as a show horse, carried her owner to safety though blinding smoke to safety. Her rider, disoriented by the sm ...
PonyBox Top Fives and Prospects
18th Jan 2020   |   Shows and Events   |   Winniefield Park
Who has been at the coveted number one ranking recently? Here is a look at some of the horses that have reached the number one spot and a few that are poised to grab top spot very soon. ...
Tiniest Dwarf Horse Learns To Walk
13th Jan 2020   |   Shows and Events   |   Winniefield Park
Chanel the tiny horse is a dwarf. She had a hard start in life when her mother rejected her. Her poorly formed legs made it difficult to learn to walk and she had to be bottle fed every two hours. Her breeder reached out to the Pe ...
One hundred Horses Rescued In Police Sting Operation
12th Jan 2020   |   Shows and Events   |   Winniefield Park
A team of volunteers is responsible for rescuing over one hundred horses in King County near Enumclaw. The horses, some in foal and with foals by their sides, were being kept in unsanitary conditions by a women well known to be a ...
  View All News by Winniefield Park
 
©2002 - 2020   PonyBox LLC Create Account Terms & Conditions Privacy Contact Us
434 Members Online 258,827 Registered Members 2,657 News Articles 11,272,315 Unique News Article Views 266,721,766 Website Views