To qualify, the rider must have his spurs over the break of the shoulders until the horse completes his first jump out of the chute. He will be disqualified for touching any part of the animal or equipment, for losing a stirrup or for getting bucked off before the end of the eight-second ride. Each event requires a key component to achieve success and for saddle bronc competition, this component is maintaining a good rhythm. In time with the bronc’s bucking action, the rider spurs from the animal’s neck, using a full swing, toward the back of the saddle with his toes pointed outwards.
The equipment required by the saddle bronc competitor includes his own CPRA approved saddle, spurs with dull rowels (the revolving disk at the end of each spur), leather chaps and a braided rein. The length of the rein is crucial as it can mean the difference between staying on the bronc for the full eight seconds, or being tossed off. By adjusting his grip carefully, the cowboy can maintain his balance and, hopefully, prevent himself from being pulled out of the saddle and over the front end of the horse.