Equestrian terms: What is a bronco?

The bucking bronco is a popular rough-riding rodeo attraction. What is a bronco? The word “bronco” is actually a Spanish word for rough. In English, a bronco is a challenging horse that is difficult to ride and tends to buck while ridden under saddle or bareback.

Basically, a bronco is a horse that is inexperienced in carrying a rider, unwilling to do so, or simply difficult to ride. The bronco, or bronc, may be a feral or green horse, or it may be an unruly, intractable equine that persists in bucking riders off.

Bucking broncos are commonly seen in rodeos, showing up in bareback bronc and saddle bronc events. Bronc riders are timed and judged to earn competition scores. For such events, riders typically wear spurs, and special flank straps are placed on the horses (and tightened immediately before entry to the arena) to encourage bucking.

The term “bucking bronco” is also bandied about in to describe a misbehaving horse after a particularly high-energy ride.

Public domain photo - Pixabay

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