Bronc Saddle

Written by Linda Alexander
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Get your bronc saddle ready! Saddle bronc riding is the classic rodeo event, where cowboys ride wild, bucking broncos and try to break them into tame cow horses. The sport evolved naturally out of ranch work and has changed little, except with rodeo equipment used.

Features of the Bronc Saddle

The bronc saddle is lightweight and made without a saddle horn. Cowboys also hold in one hand a long, thick, braided rein, called a hack rein, which is attached to the horse's halter. The cowboy must constantly lift on the hack rein to stay on the bronc saddle. Excellent balance is required to stay on the horse, but cowboys make it look effortless.

As with other rodeo events, half the score is based on the cowboy's skill and half on the horse. Saddle broncs are judged on their bucking ability, including control and spur motion. Unlike other events like bull riding, bronc riding relies more on timing and skill than on strength. Riders are disqualified for being bucked off. That is not the only danger--getting a foot caught in the stirrup as the cowboy is thrown is also quite risky.

Saddles must meet strict association requirements. They must be in good riding condition and well cared for. The special saddle used in saddle bronc riding is designed so the cowboy can move his feet in an arc, keeping in time with the horse's bucking action.

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