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Transitioning from shows to rodeo

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Last activity 2019-02-12 8:16 PM
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magic gunsmoke
Reg. Dec 2010
Posted 2019-02-11 7:53 PM
Subject: Transitioning from shows to rodeo

IMA No Hair Style Gal

Posts: 2593
Looking for advice on making the switch!
For my birthday this year I told my husband I was more about experiences, than gifts. I have always wanted to go to a rodeo, so when one showed up close to home around my birthday...BOOM.

Anyways, I ran at my first rodeo last weekend....on my horse that has been hauled and ran at maybe a total of 15 shows? Yep, I am crazy...but he just has the perfect temperment and is easy...so I thought he would take to the sites. Thankfully he did! My only issue was he wasn't too sure of running back through the chute...anything I can do to work on and improve this? I also lost my stirrup, so I wasn't a lot of help along the way, he is just so push style so I held the horn and focused on driving, but didn't get a chance to whip, since my lack of stirrup caught me by surprise. :)


Share with me your tips/tricks/insight/critiques as we make the switch!


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Reg. Sep 2011
Posted 2019-02-12 5:53 AM
Subject: RE: Transitioning from shows to rodeo

Extreme Veteran

Posts: 348
Looks like he worked nice for his first rodeo. Yes, the chute out hurt your time, but that is something that experience will help. Many horses don't like running into that "dark hole" surrounded by bucking chutes at first - basically they are not sure where the out gate is. He didn't act like the crowd or the noise bothered him.

If I'm pointing a horse toward being a rodeo pony, its kinda a multi step process. I'll haul to ropings/teem pennings or sortings, or friends that have cattle and start exposing my horses to cattle. I'll haul to rodeos really early and ride in the pen if the producer will let me. I never make a big deal out of going right up to the bucking chutes, but will just ride around and before they know it, I'm right by them with no issue. This is also the time that I let them see there is an "out" from the third barrel through the chutes. Lots of walking and trotting from the third barrel area out the pen. Ear plugs are my friends when it comes to performance time, with the loudspeaker, music and chute noises. If I think my colt can handle it, I'll ride in the grand entry, but I've also been known to hide out during this time and hope a producer doesn't see me and make me ride in it. I ask producers if they allow exhibitions during slack and will ask for slack for the first several competition runs. Eventually, you have to bite the bullet and run in a performance. I'm usually still kinda floating one through at this point. Rodeo ground can be tricky, so I don't just shuck one in there and expect it to stand up perfectly at full speed. It usually takes time for a rodeo horse to develop, but there are a few unicorns that take to it right away.
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Reg. Jun 2006
Posted 2019-02-12 10:28 AM
Subject: RE: Transitioning from shows to rodeo

Am I really the Weirdo?

Posts: 11179
Location: Kansas
I love rodeos. They are way more fun than barrel races. 
Maybe my biggest tip is to haul a potential rodeo horse to rodeos and expose them to cattle, noise, and crowds. It's really nice to have an experienced rodeo horse to serve as their mentor. I like to ride them in grand entries, around the arena before the rodeo, and exhibition in slack if possible. For a first run, it's nice to be in the slack but some can handle a performance right away depending on the exact setup. 

Before I even haul them to a rodeo, I'll work them on not so deep ground (slowly) and ride them in mud at home. If there are jackpots at arenas with not so ideal ground, you better believe my potential rodeo horse will be running there. I like to do big circles, stops and rollbacks in any new arena to let the horse feel the ground and let me evaluate how they are going to handle it during a run. If they're sliding doing a rollback or circle, then I know to rate them early and sit quietly through a turn so they can try to stand up on their own. I've had a couple GREAT mudders by doing this, and have won a fair amount on crappy shallow ground because I let my horses figure out how to stand up without pulling on their face or leaning a lot. Those things will throw one off balance and get you in trouble on less than ideal ground.

The horse in this video is one I started with rodeos in mind. Before this run, I made sure to lope circles in the arena and let him figure out how to handle it. We had the second fastest time of the night and best of all, he got us around safely. 
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clover girl
Reg. Dec 2005
Posted 2019-02-12 11:11 AM
Subject: RE: Transitioning from shows to rodeo

The Worst Seller Ever

Posts: 4137
Location: Oklahoma
That pen is tricky for even experienced horses.  The alley is super small and you are running to a closed gate.  I held my breath every time I have run there becuase my kneecaps get waaaaay too close to the fence coming in.

Best thing you can do is expose to as much as you can.  Ride hard all the way out.  Take your stirrups off or don't use them at home so you learn to ride wthout them on the pattern.

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Reg. Dec 2003
Posted 2019-02-12 5:21 PM
Subject: RE: Transitioning from shows to rodeo

Saint Stacey


Your horse just ran green. The only way to get over that is to simply enter. You can’t really train for crowds and set ups. A lot of rodeo’s do have practice times if they are bigger ones. 

Rubberbands are your best friend for feet issues. There’s nothing wrong with using them, contrary to what some people say. 

As for the running out...a younger horse is only as confident as the jockey tells them to be. If you are hesitant about a setup, your horse senses that and thinks he needs to be meek about it instead of bold. They feed off of the riders emotions and few people understand that.

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magic gunsmoke
Reg. Dec 2010
Posted 2019-02-12 7:55 PM
Subject: RE: Transitioning from shows to rodeo

IMA No Hair Style Gal

Posts: 2593

Thank you to each of you for such great advice! I appreciate your time and effort to respond.

I will keep all of these suggestions in mind and be sure to attempt to do them and apply these insights so I can learn!

I wish I had been quick enough to let go of the horn and give him a little whip to push him thru the chute more aggressively, but just didn’t work out that way as far as coordination goes on my part. I will say he is a very willing horse, by far the most willing to please than anything I have ever rode.

I will keep at it! I plan on running in another come April, so I will start applying all these things in the meantime.

Again thanks to each of you for your time and sharing what you know!

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Reg. Sep 2003
Posted 2019-02-12 8:16 PM
Subject: RE: Transitioning from shows to rodeo

Queen Bean of Ponyland

Posts: 24879
Location: Florida

Awesome! Just keep going, he will get better and better!

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