“It’s the horse that makes the difference between winning and losing.”
After watching all of the recently concluded National Finals Rodeo (NFR) on television, one observer made that conclusion.
Whether it’s a completely correct analysis, there’s certainly some truth to the comment.
Today’s cowboys and cowgirls are athletes, highly educated, trained, physically and mentally fit. All of the NFR contestants were capable of being a champion.
Yet often their horse or draw of livestock was the determining factor. The horses, calves, steers or bulls were a major component in whether they won, lost or even placed.
Okay, majority of those watching the richest rodeo in the world paid most attention to the few seconds of each individual contestant. A select few, true stockmen at heart, were more interested in how the livestock performed.
Certain spectators are especially critical of including girl’s barrel racing in discussions about rodeo, sometimes just considered a cowboy attraction. However, a perfect example of horse ability is most readily apparent in barrel racing.
In several go-rounds of NFR barrel racing, many of the contestants knocked over a barrel. How could that be with the best horses and riders in the world?
It all boils down to extremely well trained horses. They know their job, and are almost human in a sense. The horses are nervous wanting to do the very best job possible.
Despite the cowgirls working extremely hard to help their mounts, the horses have a mindset to do what they know. Riders quite often cannot change that.
A race horse expected to speed around a set course turns a split second too soon knocking over the barrel. Many factors can come into the equation, but really neither horse or rider is at fault. It’s a part of the event.
Same thing goes in the roping and steer wrestling competitions. Horses know their job so well cowboys depend completely on their mounts.
People become burned out and horses become exhausted too. That’s why contestants have backup horses and often get different steeds.
The reason the best horses are frequently old horses with the mind to withstand pressures of their profession. No different than the top bucking broncs and bulls.
Reminded of Second Timothy 3:16: “Don’t let it faze you. We are shaped for the tasks. Stick with what you learned.”