US in Equus
Total words 103,865
Author: Jack Vance
Why Horses Buck?
I think you will find your resolution in these writings.
The professional rodeo bucking horse that is a superior athlete, good at his work and likes it, is what every rough stock breeder is trying to breed for. The rough stock rodeo rider hopes he will draw that kind of bucking horse in the competition and will be able to stay on his back for 8 seconds.
Although horses in general buck out of fear, anger, pain, belligerence, and fun, I do not think the professional bucking horse bucks out of fear or pain. I think their bucking is the reaction to what they feel is a nuisance, and they become angry and belligerent at it. (We all have had a nuisance in our lives at one time or another.) To some horses, the speed, power, and flight of the bucking may trigger innate emotions, often called on in the wild to maintain survival, which may incite them to buck harder. The cowboy rolling his spurs on his shoulders is not something to sooth him, but to incite him.
I think some professional bucking horses, feels the flank strap is a nuisance as well is the cowboy. L think they find the bucking exhilarating and fun, so they do what they do best.
The rodeo horse bucks because the flank strap is a stimulus that incites him to buck. It is a stimulus that, on a daily basis, seldom occurs, and is not tolerated. Place a rider on his back, and that is another stimulus that seldom occurs and, again, is not tolerated.
This inconsistent pattern of bucking competition does not allow the horse time to become familiar with and desensitized to the sensations of the two stimuli and the circumstance.
In the first place, the horse does not want or like the sensations of a flank strap on him or the rider on his back. Therefore, he bucks to get rid of it. The horse owner wants the horse to buck the rider off quickly, like in under 8 seconds. The rider wants off the horse also, but only after 8 seconds.
The rider who stays on a horse for more than 8 seconds are sometimes rewarded with an equine limo ride to expedite their safe departure from the horse’s back, and other amenities such as prize money.
When the cowboy is off the horse’s back, whether he is picked up by one of the pick-up men, (equine limo driver), or bucked off, the horse often continues to buck because the flank strap (stimulus) is still on. One of the remaining pick-up men ride alongside the bucking horse, pulling the release on the flank strap so it comes off. The horse thinks, Aha! I knew I could get rid of that thing and he quits bucking.
This is training, and each time this lesson occurs, the horse is learning through repetition that bucking is the resolution to what is bothering him. The horse owner is happy, the horse is happy, and the rider is happy, if he stayed on for 8 seconds.
The truth is if the rider was not bound by P.R.C.A rules, there are some rough stock riders that are good enough to ride the horse until it is quits bucking. If each time the horse is ridden, the rider was permitted to stay on; the horse would learn bucking is not getting him what he wants, which is the rider off his back. Therefore, the horse, being efficient with his energy, is not going to waste it on activity that does not benefit him, so he would quit bucking. This would ruin the horse for rodeo sport.
I would think a good bucking horse would buck again once rested. This theory is not set in stone for all horses. Some will buck every time you get on them, they just do not want or like us on their back.
Some domestic horses buck when they are first turned out after being up in a stall overnight or for long periods. This is sheer joy, expressed with sheer energy.
They also buck from fear of what they do not understand, and anger brought on by fear or pain. If I remove Pain, Fear, and Anger, through good stewardship and training, most horses will not buck after the initial familiarizing and desensitizing period.
This bucking conditioning of rodeo horses is just the opposite of what we as riding/driving horse trainers want from the horse. We want the horse comfortable, trusting, quiet, and confident in our company.
End: Bucking horses are for the Professionals:
Last edited by Kayty; 12-13-2011 at 07:08 PM.