Maybe I'm not doing myself any favours here, but I'd geniunely like to know....
Maybe I do not know the full picture.. but how can you guys enjoy watching an animal, (horses infact, the animals that you're supposed to love) be put into a situation where it panics, and it's behaviour is exploited.
Maybe I've watched extremely biased videos, but still, it's evidence that such things have happened.
Enlighten me. (Of course there are good and bad of everything)
You sound like you are merely referring to bronc riding, am I right? The cowboy jumps on, spurs the horse or bull into bucking, spinning and hopping around??? This is a part of rodeo that I too do not like one bit BUT...it is just a small fraction of what rodeo really is. In my opinion you should maybe take a look at the whole picture before making up your mind so quickly. That's like saying you absolutely hate circus when you have only ever seen a clown act (not to say that bronc busting is a clown act, it is very serious especially for the rodeo clown).
I am pretty biased in that for a long time I had a great dislike for ANYTHING Western ESPECIALLY rodeos. But, I had never actually been to a rodeo. I had never been behind the scenes. I had never seen how the horses are treated first hand. Since my move to Nebraska aka Rodeo Land (as I like to call it) I have changed my mind.
I have worked with a trainer that not only used to train barrel horses, she also worked on reiners and cutting horses. She has several grand champion horses and I'll tell you, they love what they do. Her horses just hear you go into the tack room and BAM, they are standing in front of the hitching post (she always opens the pasture gate when she wants her horses). I've ridden with her into the neighbors cow pasture and have experienced a horse who really perks up just at the sight of a cow, and trust me there was no fear or anxiety there...ears straight forward, eyes glued to the cow and just waiting for that signal that he could go do his "stuff".
I have been to a few local rodeos and I would have to say 95% of the horses there behaved in a similar way....as if they loved every second of what they were doing. Calf roping, team penning, barrels, etc. It seems to me like these horses were the smartest animals I had seen in a long time...it was as if the cowboys merely had to just sit on them and the horse was in control of every situation. The aforementioned trainer had one horse that she just had to turn loose in the cow pasture (only about 20 head of cows) and within half an hour the horse would have every one in the dry lot, by itself! What horse would do that by itself if it didn't actually like doing it? It's just a big game to these horses and they get to do what they love best GO FAST.
I am currently working my green horse, Cinny, through lower level dressage. My hopes are to take him to N level eventing..which may be a stretch for him. But, if he takes one look at a jump and takes a big poo on it I might just switch him to team penning and barrels instead...I've changed my mind that much.