Starting a Horse Under Saddle Isn't Rodeo

01/27/2015

 If you go to a rodeo and ride a bucking horse for eight seconds, you could be in the money. Eight seconds is all it takes and that’s not very long. Count it out and see.

Rodeo horses only have to work for eight seconds, once or twice a week. A rodeo horse is allowed to buck for eight seconds for the simple reason that eight seconds of explosive power is all most horses have. Rodeo horses aren’t chased around until they’re exhausted. There’d be an outcry if they were.


My Grandfather, Edgar Davies, judging at a rodeo at Jindabyne in the Snowy Mountains, in the 1950's.

I enjoy watching a good rodeo with good buckjumping horses. What I don’t enjoy watching are the horse trainers who saddle young horses for the first time and chase them around while they buck. These ‘horse gurus’ keep chasing and chasing for minutes at a time and eventually the young horse has no energy left to keep bucking.

I don’t enjoy hearing the audience clap when these young horses are so physically exhausted that they can no longer buck. The ‘horse guru’ tells everyone that the horse has ‘submitted’ and can now be ridden. A rider is legged up and the poor horse is chased some more. The horse doesn’t have enough energy left to do anything much. He may kick up a few times or give a few humps, but he has no energy left to buck.

Then we’re told that the horse is ‘broken in’. Don’t be fooled.
When I was young, our family had a few horses that had been ‘broken in’ the hard way. Saddled up and let go to buck. Years later, these horses still bucked every time they were saddled.  And if they didn’t buck, I was told to chase them around until they did. The idea was that once the horse bucked, he wouldn’t do it again that day. I can assure you, from personal experience, that this story isn’t true. Whenever something went wrong, the first thing these horses did was put their head down and buck.

There is a better way. Every horse can be started without being bucked out and chased and terrified. If you want to ride your horse every day for the next fifteen or twenty years, eight seconds of bucking every morning will feel like a very long time.

Next time you watch your favourite ‘horse guru’ chase a young horse while it bucks, remember this: Bucking is a last line of defence for a young horse. A young horse bucks because he’s frightened and can see no other way. Some horses never get over this terrifying experience.

I know there's a better way. It's time for change. 

Read more on this subject here: www.fearfreehorsetraining.com/blog/there-s-never-a-need-to-chase-any-horse-in-a-round-pen

 

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