Australian Champion Fred Osman riding Gill Bros 427 at Warwick Rodeo 2016. Photo: Kenyon Sports Photos
Australian Champion Fred Osman riding Gill Bros 427 at Warwick Rodeo 2016. Photo: Kenyon Sports Photos Kenyon Sports Photos

The excitement that is bareback bronco riding

IT CAN be the most spectacular event at the rodeo, even when a rider is thrown it still brings crowds to their feet.

Developed solely as a rodeo entertainment event, the bareback bronc ride is often referred to as being really 'western.'

The rider has only a hard leather handle, called a rigging, to hold onto during his eight-second ride but it's one which fits his gloved hand perfectly.

The gloved hand is squeezed into the rigging so tightly, the rider sometimes has difficulty getting free after the ride however, if his hand breaks loose during the ride, it is almost impossible to stay onboard.

His aim is to have his feet well in front of the horse's shoulder every time its feet hit the ground and then continue his spurring action right back to his hand on the horse's wither as it bucks away.

The wilder the ride, the more points on offer and judges like to see a rider in control but with his head right back and his feet high.

This event carries with it a specific injury - hyper-extension of the riding elbow or shoulder. To help counter this, riders strap their elbows and sometimes their shoulders extensively.

The other injury comes from having their neck snapped back as the horse bucks so most riders now wear a special neck brace.

Bareback bronc riding is usually the event with the lowest entry numbers, primarily because of the injury toll on riders.

The mark-out rule, that is, the rider's heels must be in front of the break of the shoulder when the bronc's front feet hit the ground on the first jump out of the chute, applies in this event and the rider can also be disqualified for touching any part of the horse or his body with his free hand.



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