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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So, I've been debating on trying to get into pickup riding with my mare. I think she'd be great for it and from previous experiences, I have no problem with someone hanging off me while mounted, lol.

Any insight on this? I honestly can't find much of anything on google and the guys told me to forget about it, basically.

I'm sure I'd have a hard time finding a job being female, but, that's okay.

Just kind of wondering if anyone here does/did it and anything anyone is willing to tell me. Thanks.
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You mean picking up someone who's on their feet and getting him up behind you? Like in rescue race or as the Brit's call it the Gretna Green. I've done it, felt like the skin was being ripped off my arm. Lots of bruises.
 

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Try it a few times, pulling buddies off broke horses.

While excellent upper body strength would be a necessity, physics can work in your favor. The only problem would be that you most likely would not alway, likely rarely, be able to position yourself and the rider for an ideal pick up.

And, there is also the stock handling. Granted the average rodeo bucking stock knows to look for the gate out, things do go wrong. Can you rope? How comfortable are you bumping a horse? Stuff like that.
 

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Picking up for the broncs and bulls, Saddlebag. I've got no issue bumping a horse, dragging an unhappy horse off the horn, etc. Alahna can be jumped on/into/hung off the side.
I believe I can fully manage someone hanging off me/my horse. For being a women, I think I have very good upper body strength and balance.

I'm definitely not the best roper, I've been getting into it for the past year though. I'm more of a heeler than a header though, I'm more consistent catching feet than heads.

I should have prefaced this with the note that I have no intention of just jumping right into this or anything of the such. Made that mistake and got my head ripped off for no reason, lol. I'm glad we're a lot more civil on this forum though.
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Picking up for the broncs and bulls, Saddlebag. I've got no issue bumping a horse, dragging an unhappy horse off the horn, etc. Alahna can be jumped on/into/hung off the side.
I believe I can fully manage someone hanging off me/my horse. For being a women, I think I have very good upper body strength and balance.

I'm definitely not the best roper, I've been getting into it for the past year though. I'm more of a heeler than a header though, I'm more consistent catching feet than heads.

I should have prefaced this with the note that I have no intention of just jumping right into this or anything of the such. Made that mistake and got my head ripped off for no reason, lol. I'm glad we're a lot more civil on this forum though.
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Go for it. And let us know when Rodeo News or Western Horseman does an article about you!
 

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Isuel, one of those guys was my husband. I tagged him into that thread because he used to be a pickup man and he is brutally honest to a fault- no sugar coating from him.
My husband is a hard man and his tolerance for BS is non-existent. He is also a very quick thinker and does his best under pressure. Just a few weeks ago he saved a guys life at a branding, he wasn't even branding in the same pen as the wreck. They had a calf at the fire, he bailed off his horse, jumped a fence and mugged the horse that was stomping a hole in a friend that was hung up while 20 people watched not knowing what to do. And he will never brag on himself like some of the others did on that post, but he has roped bulls at the PBR Finals in the Thomas and Mack.

He wasn't telling to not set a goal but to start from the bottom like everyone else, sort calves and steers in the back, pitch hay to stock. He wanted to get in the point that peoples lives are in your hands along with the well being of stock.
There are so many people who want to be pickup men and not very many are capable of doing it. A lot of back yard stock contractors will get guys, usually team ropers to do it for free, people get hurt and stock gets ruined. Horses that used to buck won't anymore because some weekend warrior pickup man couldn't get in there to pull the flank and get the horse to the out gate.
There is a lot to learn to keep the contestants, stock and yourself safe.
 

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Picking up for the broncs and bulls, Saddlebag. I've got no issue bumping a horse, dragging an unhappy horse off the horn, etc. Alahna can be jumped on/into/hung off the side.
I believe I can fully manage someone hanging off me/my horse. For being a women, I think I have very good upper body strength and balance.

I'm definitely not the best roper, I've been getting into it for the past year though. I'm more of a heeler than a header though, I'm more consistent catching feet than heads.

I should have prefaced this with the note that I have no intention of just jumping right into this or anything of the such. Made that mistake and got my head ripped off for no reason, lol. I'm glad we're a lot more civil on this forum though.
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Someone can correct me if I am wrong, but I do believe the pick-up men you see at the rodeo often times are the OWNERS and employees of the company that is providing the rodeo stock. Although I am sure there are exceptions where they have "hired help".

The other thing to think about: If you are hired as a pickup "man" (or woman :wink: ) you likely will be hired for all events, bareback, saddlebronc, and bull riding. You will not be able to do all that with ONE HORSE. Even if you were only hired for 1 event, you often see the pickup men exchanging horses halfway through the event because they one they are on is tired b/c you are pretty much RUNNING constantly. You are going to need to have more than one horse who is capable of doing this because you are going to need to be swapping horses.

On that note, you are going to need someone at the rodeo with you who can have your second horse ready to go, and can cool off the first horse, because you need to not hold the rodeo up and be ready to go.
 
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Cowchick, I wasn't talking about your husbands advice to start from the bottom. Just a lot of the stuff that was absolutely unnecessary. I also never said I wanted to just jump into it and hope for the best. I wanted the questions I asked answered and some experiences. Not to be hung because I choose to ride in work boots. I may very well not get into it at all and stick to barrels and team roping, I just wanted to hear more about it from other people between talking to my rodeo buddies.

I'm currently looking for a few that have the same personality as my mare (because that's what I like, most people don't). I have two weanlings in mind as well as a two year old and a few 3-5yos. The gelding I have is going up for sale in a few weeks to make room for a few more to try out and either use or resell.
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Cowchick and Beau are both correct on several points. Typically the pick up men are part of the Rodeo Company/Stock Contractors crew. Most that I have known have a minimum of 3 horses for one performance as it is really hard on the horses to try to do it all each night. You need to be a proficient roper, cow hand and horseman. You must be able to react quickly and think on your feet. You must also have the confidence to run into a bad situation while everyone else has the urge to run away. Pick up men don't usually just ride during performances, they care for the stock, unload/load and haul the stock to their next destination (so they have commercial licenses to drive big rigs) and some companies even haul in the arena and set it up. I use to watch one crew pull in before dark on Thursday nights, set up the arena, unload the stock and be done by sun up, sleep for a couple hours get up and work all day to prepare for the show, sound systems, arena grading, meeting with local code enforcements, chambers of commerce, PRCA officials, judges, etc.

It is not easy work and it getting into the job takes a really long time. I use to warm up and cool down horses at rodeos for announcers, contractors and pick up men and the pick up men had to be able to jump on any horse the contractor had available should one of their own become injured or just having a bad night. There are no excuses for them to not preform their duties.

If you choose to do this then be prepared for a lot of hard work at the bottom to pay your dues and I suggest hitting the gym, decent upper body strength will not do. If you have a 230lb saddle bronc rider grabbing onto you while coming off a horse at 20 mph your in for a real treat. You need to keep working on your roping and you need to have a lot of knowledge about rodeo, the rules, procedures, laws, politics, economics, etc of all that rodeo entails. There is a lot going on behind the scenes that most people never know about.

As a woman is it possible? I believe it is. It is easy? Not a chance and never will be, it takes a lot more than a good horse. Good luck to you and I think you should take advice from people like Cowchicks husband.
 

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Cowchick, I wasn't talking about your husbands advice to start from the bottom. Just a lot of the stuff that was absolutely unnecessary. I also never said I wanted to just jump into it and hope for the best. I wanted the questions I asked answered and some experiences. Not to be hung because I choose to ride in work boots. I may very well not get into it at all and stick to barrels and team roping, I just wanted to hear more about it from other people between talking to my rodeo buddies.

I'm currently looking for a few that have the same personality as my mare (because that's what I like, most people don't). I have two weanlings in mind as well as a two year old and a few 3-5yos. The gelding I have is going up for sale in a few weeks to make room for a few more to try out and either use or resell.
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There was a lot of BS on that thread, I agree. HDC is a tough crowd and you are going to get a lot of BS, crudeness and it's pretty tough to get a straight answer. If you do you have to wade through a bunch of crap to see it.

As far as the work boots are concerned the point was that it is a safety issue. If you can't wear proper attire to ride then one may question your ability to keep others safe. Kind of like showing up at a construction site in shorts and flip flops and expecting to get a job.
 
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I know this thread is old, but I think I have some valuable input on the subject. I happen to work for a large rodeo company and a pick up mans family on the West coast, when I can. Yes, a lot of these guys are hired by the stock contracts and the rodeo (you have to appease both parties). Many come from ranching backgrounds, and a great majority of them have actually been bronc riders. You don't pick up bull riders. Getting the cowboy off safely is a goal, but it is not the only goal. A pick-up mans job is all encompasing. He has to look out of the safety of the stock, the cowboys, the officials, the working people in the arena, photographers, etc. A lot of times, he also helps run production, moves stock, treats, medicates, etc. They work in the pens during the day sorting and moving. They work the perf in the evening, and then at night they load and sort what they can. The horses are one of a kind. Just because your horse can rope or doesn't mind dangling stuff and riding bareback, does not mean it will work as a pick up horse. My horse is a failed pick up horse, despite grown up on a ranch, doing brandings, and being a decent head horse. It takes a skilled horse that can handle the pressure in the arena, the job, the cowboy, and more. It's hard. These guys travel a lot during the year and don't earn much money. They are PRCA cowboys without the recognition, big paychecks, or the glory.

Here is a great video on what it takes to the a pick-up man, the horses, and more.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwqgBSxHNrU
 
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