Saddle Bronc Riding — Known as
rodeo’s classic event, saddle bronc riding is judged similarly to
bareback bronc riding but there are additional possibilities to being
disqualified; that is, losing a stirrup or dropping the thickly braided
rein that is attached to the horse’s halter. The cowboy sits on the
horse differently due to the saddle and rein, and the spurring motion
covers a different area of the horse. Saddle broncs are usually several
hundred pounds heavier than bareback horses and generally buck in a
EVENT DESCRIPTION - Saddle bronc riding is rodeo's
classic event, both a complement and contrast to the wilder spectacles of
bareback riding and bull riding. This event requires strength to be sure, but
the event also demands style, grace and precise timing.
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
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 cowboy's objective is a
fluid ride, somewhat in contrast to the wilder and less-controlled rides of
One of the similarities shared by
saddle bronc and bareback riding is the rule that riders in both events must
mark out their horses on the first jump from the chute. To properly mark out his
horse, the saddle bronc 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 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 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 of the horse and the cowboy's spurring action.
While striving to keep his toes turned outward, the rider spurs from the points
of the horse's 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 effort.