'Modern rodeo should be banned'Save
By Tristram Clayton
Animal Welfare group Paw Justice is calling for a ban on bareback rodeo riding, saying the sport invariably leads to animal suffering.
The group is basing its claim on a slow-motion analysis of modern bareback rodeo - where the rider lies flat on the horse with their feet above the horse's neck and shoulders.
"At normal speed the rider looks like he's holding on for dear life," says Paw Justice Co-founder Craig Dunn.
"When you slow it down you can see he's deliberately and forcibly slamming his spurs down on to the horse's neck and shoulders to make the horse buck more and thereby receive higher marks from the judges."
Elsa Flint, a behavioural veterinarian with 26 years' experience, said the action would create mental and physical trauma for the horse.
"The spurs aren't sharp so won't pierce the skin. But they will cause significant bruising deep into the muscle," says Flint.
But Glenn Campin from the NZ Rodeo Cowboys Association said the criticism is misinformed and the modern feet-forward technique is designed to make it harder for the rider to stay on the horse and in no way harms the animal itself.
"The spurs are blunt and on free-running rails which stop them grabbing and gripping," he said.