I think the heat of the discussion is stemmed from what's necessary versus what we can control for our horses.
On a working ranch, yes, you will need to race across uneven, rocky, hole-filled ground to rope a cow or calf, and give it the treatment it needs. Safe? Absolutely not. Necessary? If you value your livestock, yes. I've gone racing after stray cattle in old sunflower fields, scared to death I was going to slice up my horse's legs, but when the cattle are going the wrong way to their summer pasture, you don't have much choice. Yes, it would be ideal to bring the cow home, put them in the nicely groomed arena, and rope them there. But on a working ranch, we know that doesn't happen.
When you are voluntarily training your horse to run barrels, its not a good idea to set your barrels up in that same uneven, rocky, hole-filled grass ground. Yes, I realize that not everyone has access to an arena, but if you are serious about training for barrels and want to create the safest environment possible for your horse, grass is a no-no. I think we can all agree that dirt is better than grass when it comes to barrels and when it comes to an environment you can control at home.
Of course, when you get to a rodeo, you cannot control the ground conditions. Yes, you always have the option to scratch, but who's going to want to do that when you just driven 200 miles and paid your entry fee? If it rained 2 inches on your way there, either scratch out, or go for it. If the rodeo crew didn't take care of the ground, and there's no footing, either scratch out, or go for it. No one is forcing your horse to run on unsafe ground, but that's part of mother nature and part of rodeo grounds, unfortunately.
Of course you can still slip on a well-groomed arena. It's speed events; it happens. No one can dispute that. But when I am in a controlled environment at home where I practice, I am going to give my horses the best ground that I can when I train them for barrels: Safe, even,good dirt footing.
Yes, some jumping events are held on grass, especially cross country where sometimes sharp turns are required. Ideally, I wouldn't want to jump on grass. But some courses are set up that way. And for cross country, it's not ideal to create miles and miles of "arena dirt" across the whole course. It's just not feasible. But alot of show jumping, including olympic show jumping, is often held in a dirt arena too.
No one is saying accidents can't happen on good ground.
No one is saying any discipline is more dangerous or strenuous than the other.
And we all know that things are different on a working ranch where you've gotta get the job done now in the pasture, regardless of the footing.
But when you have a controlled environment at home to practice team roping or calf roping or breakaway roping or barrel racing or any other rodeo event, or any other event for that matter (including jumping), why not set your horse up in the most safe environment you can provide? With good dirt footing that is taken care of.
∞•*˚ Βгįťţαňγ ˚*•∞
It is not enough to know how to ride; one must know how to fall.
Last edited by beau159; 03-17-2013 at 02:17 PM.