The eighth performance of the National High School Rodeo Association has just finished and Zee and I have chosen to linger a while in the grandstand to let the crowd move out.
Out of the corner of my eye I catch a gate swing open that leads into the arena were the bull riding has just finished. Suddenly, into the arena runs all the bucking horses that had just done their best to dislodge future bronc riders– and the not-so dedicated ones that are thinking “I might want to take up another sport.” The picture that I’ve attached to this story shows the wonderful condition that the stock contractor who owns these horses keeps them in. I watched as this band of about 100 got some exercise. They trotted and galloped for a little while, then broke into a walk. You could plainly see that this was a happy lot.
These horses are born to buck, much like Thoroughbreds are bred to run, and cow horses make their living working around cattle, and work horses find a place when pulling a plow or wagon. All horses wear man’s fingerprint in the selection of the genetic traits that will make up our various breeds. With their D.N.A. code directing them, they can go do what they do best .
Hoses are a gregarious lot that find comfort in numbers. If left to roam, they will travel several miles a day grazing, playing and satisfying their curiosity as to what’s over the next hill. Bucking horses are usually kept in big pastures free to eat and roam. Now, let’s take a look at the bucking horses’ cousins that live in our towns and cities, housed in box stalls by the thousand. Many will spend their entire lives in these stalls never free to roam. If these stalls were used for humans, we would call it a prison cell. It is just as much a prison for my friend the horse where she must waste away the years being treated as a toy. She is ether overfed or underfed, but boredom and loneliness soon cause aberrant behavior that shows itself with maladies like cribbing, weaving, and pawing. When people enter their prison stall you may be greeted with pinned ears and a hostile eye showing their contempt for the way they have to live their lives.
You mean to tell me that Mr Bucking Horse gets only 8 seconds to show his or her stuff before being sent back with their friends to maybe discuss how they threw that young whippersnapper to the ground? What about the flank strap that they wear? Well first, it’s lined with sheepskin. It’s designed to tickle the same as when someone would tickle the bottom of your foot and you squirmed and laughed. So what’s left? The question becomes, if you were a horse where would you like to call “home?”