The blog radio silence may be best explained by having one horse on stall rest and another in a 30 day trial of sorts, but since I can usually babble endlessly about random horse stuff - the real reason was that the fam and I spent the better part of the week mostly unplugged over in Idaho.
The highlights of our holiday weekends spent in the Mountain Time Zone always include a trip to the local rodeo.
|(that's a kid. and a pony.)|
I love rodeos.
Like, really, really love rodeos.
I've never participated in them, or really learned much about any of the intricacies surrounding the sport, but hot diggity, I love stomping my feet, drinking beer I wouldn't have even touched in college and watching good cowboys and quarter horses do their thing.
I especially like the fun "pre show festivities" that usually kick off the evening. In fact, if we miss the mutton bustin (putting a toddler on a sheep and seeing how long they can hang on, for those who haven't witnessed it) - I sorta feel like we miss the main event.
Most people stick around for the Bull Riding as the main event - but I love the toddlers (and their varied enthusiasm for the whole process) and the totally freaked out, rather adorable, woolly sheep.
This time, I noticed a new section in our "program" that simply said "mini broncs."
No explanation, no photos, just "mini broncs" - right in between tie down roping and breakaway.
About halfway through the tie down ropers I noticed some action down in the chutes and assumed they were loading the horses for the saddle bronc riders, but when I took a look, I saw PONIES loaded in the chutes not big rough stock horses.
IN THE CHUTES.
My brain immediately solved the "mini bronc" mystery and I was extremely excited to say the least Kids, on rodeo ponies instead of sheep.
But as soon as the first kid came out of the chute, my stomach curdled a bit.
See, with mutton bustin the sheep are relatively harmless. They typically just run like mad to the other end of the arena and the kids sorta bop along holding on for dear life until they (slowly) slide off and plop the (short) distance to the ground. Also, Sheep are relatively small and their hooves don't do as much damage should one accidentally hit one of the kids.
Mini Broncs were a totally different story.
For one thing, the ponies are in full saddle bronc tack - meaning, in addition to the bare bones saddle and stirrups, they were also wearing a bucking strap, which I'm assuming these ponies are not used to wearing, resulting in insanely pissed off ponies.
Prior to witnessing this event, I sorta expected Mini Bronc riding to look like this:
Small kids, on small ponies (or even minis) jiggling around while a pony runs aimlessly around the ring.
But instead, most of the Mini Bronc rides looked like this:
12 and 13 year olds who (clearly) don't ride getting their shit tossed by really, really mad ponies. A few wore helmets, most didn't.
Just as I was started to get seriously concerned for the well being of these kids, the last pony and cow... kid? (do we call them cow kids?) loaded up and got ready. That little dude RODE THAT PONY. both his parents were competing that night which made me think this guy might have some actual bull riding experience, but no matter - I was impressed
I was also impressed that he was wearing a protective vest, but horrified that there was no helmet!??
What the crap people? who puts their child on an intentionally agitated pony without a helmet for their brains. Ponies do enough damage without trying to piss them off and kids get enough injuries even with safety gear.
I mean, wow.
Has anyone else ever seen this? It was a new experience for me....