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Save a Horse, Ride a Stick Pony

Written by PETA | May 31, 2011

An outbreak of a deadly equine herpes virus has corralled rodeos and other events throughout the Southwest—including the Davis County Sheriff’s Mounted Posse Junior Queen Contest, which didn’t let the outbreak send its competition out to pasture. Instead, the aspiring rodeo queens put on their Sunday best ten-gallon hats and competed with … wait for it … stick horses

Stick horses! Why didn’t we think of that? The benefits of using stick horses instead of horses made of flesh and blood are almost too many to count. And if stick horses break, they can be fixed with glue—instead of being sent to the glue factory.

Being hauled in trailers from one rodeo to the next can leave horses exhausted and susceptible to illness, and horses used in barrel-racing and bucking events can suffer life-threatening injuries—including broken legs, necks, and backs—which is why we would like to modestly propose that all rodeos switch to stick steeds. Wouldn’t you much rather see a cowboy trying to cling to a bucking birch or loop a lasso around a larch?

Moosealope/cc by 2.0                                                                                benimoto/cc by 2.0

If you live in an area where rodeos are held, contact PETA for help organizing a protest.

Written by Jennifer O’Connor

Commenting is closed.
  • J says:

    I totally agree with Krissy. The article makes it sound as though all horses who are used for competition are forced against their will to partake in the sport. I have grown up with horses all my life, and though I do not ride western, I always had horses that genuinely loved what they did. The Appy mare I had growing up would run to the gate when she saw me taking my tack out for a ride, and for competition she would load herself on the trailer without any human assistance (except to close the door behind her). She was voice-trained, and in competition I wouldn’t even need to give her cues in flat classes, she would hear the judge’s command and instantly react. Though I have certainly seen some sketchy horse trailers, the majority of horses used in competition travel more comfortably than most humans. My trailer had padding on the walls and bars, a ventilation system, and the horses always had access to fresh hay. We also put special boots on the horses to protect their legs during travel, and would stop to check on them frequently to make sure they were ok and offer them water. Mant horses trained for competition have access to the best care and live better than some humans do.

  • Naturalhorsemanship099 says:

    By the way…We just adopted a horse from a local shelter in Houston TX. He was used as a “bucking” rodeo horse in the past years..Until his X owner can’t no longer have him anymore. He’s a gelding about 12 years old, and I’m sure he’s a quarter horse cross. I don’t care what breed he is, though. I still love him. Thankfully, he’s got a new home with us. I ride him, and surprisingly he didn’t “buck” at all. He is very gentle with kids. I can’t believe how he got treated badly during his dark past. Now, is a brand NEW life for him, he’s part of the family, we love him so much. P.S. BAN HORSE SLAUGHTER WORLD WIDE! Love ya PETA!

  • Naturalhorsemanship099 says:

    Shame on rodeos! Horses shouldn’t be used as a “bucking animal.” I don’t find it entertaining…It’s cruel! “Bucking” horses are actually not wild horses.. Rodeo ‘cowboys’ ( Wannabes ) use VERY tight cinches around the horse’s belly ( Which causes them to buck.) Sometimes they use a shocker! So they can buck even more. ( CRUELTY!) These horses aren’t wild, they’re terrorized! On the other hand, barrel racing is less cruel; most horses do enjoy it, however, you CAN’T force a horse to do something unless if he/she wants to do so. I’ve seen some horses DO enjoy barrel racing in some events. But on the other hand, “bucking events” calf roping, etc …cruel….just call it cruel..

  • Cory says:

    I am going to agree with Krissy. You can,t force a horse to anything they dont want to do. I have been around horses all my life and I have been riding since I can remember. My mom did barrel racing for the longest time and I have never seen a horse have so much fun doing somthing. When those two are out there it is like they are one. I do team penning and cattle sorting on my mare and she has so much fun moving cattle and herding them. Half the time I just drop the reins and she does it her self. I love my horses to death and have raised all of them myself. They are acctually kind of spoiled in a way. They have pastures and so much to run on. So all rodeos are not bad, but there are some small back woods ones that do need to be stopped. Dont let one bad apple spoil the bunch.

  • Krissy says:

    An animal may not have a voice but you can’t say all animals would chose not to be in a sport. If they could talk they would have just as many opinions as we do and I bet you a million dollars some would pick to do this sport. You can’t apply your personal human ethics or morals to animals as you simply don’t know what they are thinking. Here in Wyoming those horses LOVE to barrel race no horse is forced to do that. And for the record most animals that are not domesticated or trained for riding don’t like people on their back, no pain just a “what the hell are you doing”. More people die in the sport, the animals do not get hurt and if they do by some chance it’s normally not life threatening. Maybe we should just forget the Olympics because people get hurt and that makes it an abusive sport.

  • Chris says:

    My horse is a retired cattle herder and barrel racer. and I can tell you he enjoyed the work he did. you cannot really force a horse to do much. a horse that enjoys what he does, tends to do well at it. as for injuries to the animals, horses tend to injure themselves more frequently when left to their own devices. no other animal can find danger like a horse. I see more injuries from a horse left alone than under saddle.

  • Saucy says:

    Krissy, waking up in the morning is a nightmare for billions of animals across the globe. How many piglets woke up this morning to the pain of castration, or having their tails ‘docked’, their teeth pulled out, all without painkiliiers. How many pigs will spend another today going insane in a gestation crate. How many baby calfs, sit in utter misery another day until slaughter. How many horses will stand hobbled in the hot sun of Egypt today. How many dairy cows to weak to walk will bulldozed to the slaughter house. How many birds cramped in to small space unable to spread a single wing, how miserable, but wait maybe not as miserable as the ducks who will have a metal pipe shoved down their throats repeatedly as they sit and wait, unable to move. How many dogs and cats, rabbits and mice will be poisoned today in toxicity tests and invasive medical experients. Monkeys too. No Krissy today was anything but a miracle for these animals and more. It was absolutely hell on earth. So count your blessings and try to think of something besides yourself.

  • Get Real says:

    Krissy, as someone has already said, people choose to participate in sports, horses don’t.

  • Rachel says:

    Me and my best friend both love horses and ride them all the time. But we don’t force them to run around hairpin turns at top speed, chase other dangerous/baby animals or make them angry enough to buck like that. Seriously, think about what you have to do to a horse to make it that terrified of being ridden. I also don’t like what they do to the calves, bulls and other animals used in rodeos.

  • Rita says:

    The humans consented that there was a risk of injury while they play sports. The animals had no choice but to be involved in the sport, the humans forced them. That’s the difference.

  • Krissy says:

    I knew about this weeks ago. The herpes thing is a HUGE deal so many many horse events were canceled, so no, no sick horses are competing….sorry. no horses where I live are allowed to travel (Wyoming) they must stay home. And NO the horses are not abused here at our rodeos…. Any sport has a risk for injury (people and animals) so making it out to be all about the “poor” animals is bias. There are people that could easily be crushed and killed by a horse and no harm would come to the horse. Sports are sports weather for humans or animals they pose some risk of injury or death….hell you can break an arm falling off your own couch, drown in an inch of bath water, and choke to death on a piece of lettuce at your own dinner table. Just waking up in the morning for ANY living thing is a miracle.

  • MA Moore says:

    BUCK the Rodeo! Rodeos are sick! Save a horse, ride a cowboy =)