Bareback Riding

bareback ridingIt’s man against horse in this competition! Cowboys load up on horses that are specifically used for bareback riding, meaning they are leaner, quicker and more agile. One of the major differences between bareback and saddle bronc riding is the gear used. Bareback riders use a rigging made of leather, resembling a suitcase handle on a strap. This strap is placed atop the horse's withers and secured with a cinch. The goal, as in many rodeo events, is to stay on and not get disqualified.

Bareback riding has been compared to riding a jackhammer with one hand. As the bronc and rider burst from the chute, he must have both spurs touching the horse's shoulders until the horse's feet hit the ground after after coming from the chute. This is called "marking out." If the cowboy fails to do this, he is disqualified.

Having a qualified ride and earning a money-winning score requires more than just brute strength. The rider is judged on his control, spurring technique and the rider's "exposure" to the strength of the horse. As in all roughstock events, the horse's performance accounts for half the potential score. It's a tough way to make a living, but, it's the cowboy way.