This week’s post is actually a commentary I made on the Cowgirls With Curves facebook page last week…
After a comment about abuse on a rodeo meme pic, I feel like I need to make a statement.
I try not to post political crap on this page because that’s not what it’s about. This is a place for we as horse folks of all disciplines to come together and be encouraged and get a laugh every now and then, but I will take a stand on this.
I support rodeo and I will always support rodeo. I personally have only barrel raced at NBHA jackpots and a couple of futurities, but I’ve never ran rodeo. It’s always been a dream of mine ever since I was a kid in the 70’s watching the Hesston commercials for the NFR, and one day I will rodeo, good Lord willing. I have lots of friends that rodeo, have been involved with rodeo ministry in years past, and the love of my life is an old bull rider. So my ties with rodeo come from the heart.
Some folks might assume I’m this way because they think I’m just a barrel racer or that’s all I do. They are sadly mistaken. Yes, I love to barrel race but that’s not all I do or all I am. I’ve shown hunter, trail, western pleasure, judged hunter/jumpers and gaited horses, sorted cows, and even trained saddleseat, western pleasure and halter Arabs for a few years in my twenties. I’ve taken a stretch of lessons for eventing, and even had an event prospect off the race track. I’ve gone to ranch clinics and roped calves for doctoring, and I’ve broke more colts than I can count, a few older horses to boot. So I’ve got a pretty well rounded perspective when it comes to horsemanship and what is and isn’t abuse.
I don’t support true abuse in any event or discipline – rodeo or otherwise. But when someone calls out rodeo and makes a blanket statement that it’s abusive but other disciplines get a pass, I have to stand up. There’s abuse that happens in ALL disciplines. Look at Rolkur in Dressage, or riding horses with broken legs in the Kings Cup Endurance Race, pushing horses past their ability in Eventing, or tying horses up for hours in Western Pleasure.
If putting a flank strap that’s as tight as a rear cinch would be on a ranch saddle or a packing set up, on a horse is considered abuse, then those horse riding/showing folks calling it abuse might want to be aware of the fact that there’s a whole other world out there that adamantly states even riding a horse is abuse because horses had rather be out grazing and we’re making them carry us around. People say the mere act of trimming whiskers is abuse too, as well as using ANY type of bit. If that’s the definition of abuse, then a ton of us are abusing our horses!
As someone else pointed out in a comment on the post, the folks that call the mere act of riding abuse are out to ban all aspects of riding, and instead of bashing each other’s disciplines it’s important that we come together and support one another.
Oh, and while I’m at it, they don’t break horses in rodeos and the bucking straps on bulls are not around their testicles. And as far as spurs, I’ve seen far more reining, western pleasure, and gaited horses with bloody sides than I ever have bucking horses.
In addition, if it weren’t for rodeo the bucking horses would be bound to a Mexico slaughter house because they like to buck and no one wants a horse they can’t stay on or that’s dangerous. I’d much rather a horse have two square meals a day, get vet care, and only have to work at most 16 SECONDS every weekend than to see them on a truck for 48 hours without food or water just to be cut up while they’re still alive at the end. Heck, my horses work a LOT harder than they do!
Maybe not all the stock contractors or competitors are perfect when it comes to dealing with bulls and horses (I say get some first hand ranching experience and dealing with irate stock without pens and then you can judge.) But then not every rider that rides a dressage pattern, jumps a cross country course, or rides a class down the rail is either. There are poor horsemanship and stockmanship examples in every facet of the horse world but they aren’t the example of what it’s about, and the exact same applies to rodeo.
Rodeo, the people involved, and all the things it stands for will always be near and dear to my heart. I love and appreciate all disciplines because in the end it’s about what a horse and a rider can do together.
Copyright F.J. Thomas
I completely agree with you here — I love music — but not ALL music, and that also reminds me of the horse world. In the horse world are so many options, just like music. From classical to rap . . . vaulting to carriage to rodeo to dressage. (My least favorite discipline happens to be dressage, as I have personally witnessed more sad horses due to that discipline than any others.) But the partnering we share with our horses, the joy — that’s what it’s all about, that’s the focus we all need to keep :)) you’re a brave girl to write this! :)) Dawn
Thought you’d like to see this brave gal, as well: https://liveyouradventure.blog/2017/10/08/being-an-equestrian-does-not-make-me-anti-horse-racing/
GREAT analogy!! It’s sometimes difficult to take a stand in today’s society but I think it’s necessary. Besides, being politically correct kinda goes against the grain for cowgirls, lol! Thanks for commenting & I will have to visit your blog!
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Glad to know there are still a few strong cowgirls out there! Here are a few of my horse posts you will enjoy :))
Excellent post & very sensible! I wanted to comment but couldn’t find a place to do so.
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Wondering if you saw this :)) :))
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There is cruelty at every level of rodeo, and not just the overt cruelty of roping and bucking broncos/ bull riding. My last horse was a reigning horse before I got him and his legs were absolutely destroyed by that “sport”. I work at a barn that takes in rescues, most of which were previously used in rodeo events. They are all broken, either mentally or physically because of it. And these are the horses that got out. Rodeo is an indefensible, outdated, and barbaric pastime. Your support of it really says all I need to know about you. Animal lover, you are not.
As a friend if mine always said, when a person is uneducated and doesn’t have anything of value to say, that’s when they start handing out insults. I tell ya what, when you learn how to spell the discipline that you’re so critical of and apparently know so much about, I might take you a little more seriously. Until then, you are more than welcome to have your opinion. As I said on the other post, since I’m not am armchair jockey and have decades of experience with more than just a few back yard ponies, I’ll keep the same opinion. Sounds like you need to go actually ride because it’s evident you need some joy in your life.