Saddle bronc riding requires
the balance of a gymnast, the timing of a springboard diver and
the grace of a dancer- all aboard a 1,200 pound pitching,
Considered rodeo's "classic"
event, saddle bronc riding evolved from ranch work of breaking
and training horses. Many cowboys say bronc riding is the most
difficult rough stock event to master because of its technical
requirements. Spurring action must be synchronized with the
horse's movements. If a rider is able to "keep in time" with the
horse, the ride will be fluid and graceful- not wild and
A saddle bronc rider's feet
must touch the horse's shoulders on the first jump out of the
chute. This is called a "markout," and a contestant who fails to
have his feet in place at the beginning of the ride is said to
have "missed his mark" and is disqualified. He will receive a
"no score" for the round.
The rider, gripping a thick
rein attached to the horse's halter as his only means of
securing himself to the animal, attempts to place his feet over
the horse's shoulders a split second before the animal's front
feet strike the ground.
As the horse bucks, the rider
bends his knees and finishes his spurring stroke with his spurs
near the "cantle," the back of the saddle, then snaps his feet
back to the horse's shoulders as the animal's front feet hit the
ground. The rider strives to keep his toes turned out during the
entire ride. A saddle bronc rider is judged on his spurring
action, his control of the horse, and the degree to which his
toes are turned out. The horse's bucking efforts also contribute
to the score. An 8 second ride is required.