[QUOTE=Deerly;679539]I guess it depends on what you mean by "rodeo." Barrel racing, pole bending, key holes, those sorts of sports and events are so much fun to watch and participate in and I loooooooooove play days and gymkhanas!!!!
I think English and Western horses and riders can benefit from having some fun and attempting these stimulating and difficult tasks even if it's just for fun and to test your communication with your horse!
When I think of rodeo, however, I think of bucking bulls and horses and little calves being roped and hog tied and all the dangerous and often (unfortunately) abusive and violent things that go along with it.
I grew up around rodeos. My dad was a stock contractor. The animals were fed and cared for before we were. There are definitely some cruel people in rodeo, but that can be said for all walks of life. Overall, they are people who work hard, care for their animals and stay on the brink of poverty to care for them. Today, bucking stock are bred to buck. Roping calves must be a certain weight and there are rules against jerking them down. My husband and I rope calves. We also doctor them, vaccinate them and have not broken one leg ins 7 years. I am certain there are children who are not as well cared for as our animals. While there are rodeos where bad things happen, it's an exception rather than the norm. Saying all rodeos are cruel or abusive is like saying all blondes are dumb. It's simply not true.