What Do You Need For Ranch Bronc Riding? (Rules, Gear, Tips Etc)

Western rodeos always draw a big crowd, and ranch bronc riding is one of the most popular events.

Ranch bronc riding is a timed event, and riders are judged on their form and control. The goal is to stay on the horse for eight seconds. There are two types of ranch bronc riding – saddle bronc and bareback.

Saddle bronc riding is the more common of the two, and riders use a specialized saddle designed for grip and stability. Bareback riders do not use a saddle, and instead, grip a rigging that is attached to the horse’s girth.

Both types of ranch bronc riding require a high level of skill and athleticism. Riders need to be strong and fit, with good balance and coordination.

If you’re thinking about giving it a try, there are a few things you should know. And here you will find everything you need to know about ranch bronc riding – the gear, the rules, and some helpful tips.

Ranch Bronc Riding Rules

In order to participate in ranch bronc riding, riders must adhere to a set of specific rules. These rules are put in place for the safety of the riders and the horses, and to ensure that the event is fair for all participants.

Some of the key rules that riders must follow include:

  • Riders must be 18 years of age or older
  • Riders must wear a cowboy hat, a long-sleeved shirt, and jeans
  • Only used approved bronc saddles and stirrups
  • Riders must use one hand to hold the saddle horn, and the other hand must remain behind their back at all times
  • Riders must not touch the horse with their free hand during the ride
  • Riders must not kick or spur the horse during the ride
  • The ride must last a minimum of eight seconds
  • Once the rider has dismounted, they must move away from the horse immediately

Ranch Bronc Riding Checklist and Essentials

In order to participate in ranch bronc riding, you will need the following items for your and your horse’s safety and better control.

1. A good horse

Of course, you will need a horse that is suited for this event. A ranch bronc horse should be athletic and have a lot of energy. They should also be able to buck and spin. You will need to train your horse to do this if they are not already accustomed to it.

It is also important to have a horse that you are comfortable with. This event can be dangerous, so you will want to be as prepared as possible.

If you’re looking for suggestions on which horse breeds do the best in ranch bronc riding, here are a few to consider:

  • Quarter horses
  • Appaloosa
  • Pain
  • Palomino
  • Mustang

Among all other breeds, Quarter Horse is known to be the best for ranch bronc riding. They are versatile and have a lot of energy which is perfect for this event. Along with the quarter horses Appaloosa, paint, palomino, and mustang are also good choices.

Another thing to keep in mind is the size of the horse. A smaller horse may be more agile, but a larger horse will have more power. It is up to you to decide which is more important for your riding style.

2. Saddle and Bridal

The next should have on your checklist is a saddle and bridle that fit both you and your horse. A good saddle will help you stay on your horse, even when they are bucking.

As for the bridle, you will want one that is comfortable for your horse and gives you good control. You may also want to consider a bitless bridle if you are worried about your horse’s comfort.

Here you can check out different bridles available on Amazon. Based on your horse’s condition, your needs, and your budget, you can choose the one that is perfect for you.

There are many different types of saddles and bridles, so you will need to do some research to find the best ones for you and your horse. I would recommend looking at Henri de Rivel Memor-X Close Contact Saddle but again based on your horse’s size, need to make sure the saddle fits.

3. Spurs

Spurs are another important piece of equipment you should have for bronc riding. These help riders control their horses. They are typically made of metal and have a row of sharp points on the end.

Spurs are worn on the rider’s boots and can be used to cue the horse to go forward, turn, stop, or back up.

In ranch bronc riding riders used spurs to cue their horses in a variety of ways, depending on the situation.

For example, if a horse pushes towards the outgate, the rider may use his spurs to tap the horse’s shoulder and cue him to move back towards the center of the arena.

While spurs are an important part of bronc riding, it’s important to use them correctly. Spurs should never be used to jab or hit the horse.

This will only anger the horse and make him more difficult to control. Instead, spurs should be used as a cue or reminder for the horse to do what the rider wants.

Also, make sure you choose the right size and style of the spur for your boot. If the spur is too big it can get caught on the saddle or other equipment and cause an accident.

If the spur is too small it may not provide enough leverage to cue the horse effectively.

A good rule of thumb is to buy spurs that come up to the middle of your calf when you’re standing in them. This will give you enough leverage to cue the horse without being too big or cumbersome.

Once you have your spurs, practice using them at home in a safe environment before taking them out to the arena. This will help you get used to the feel of them and ensure that you know how to use them correctly.

4. Chaps

Chaps are an important part of a bronc rider’s outfit. They protect the rider’s legs from the harsh elements and also help to grip the saddle.

Chaps are available in different materials but the ones made of leather are the best and most popular as they provide the most protection and last longer.

You can find chaps in a variety of colors and designs as well. Just like spurs, saddles make sure you find a chap that fits you well.

The chap should be snug around your waist and thighs but not so tight that it’s uncomfortable. Make sure the chap covers your entire lower leg, from your ankle to your knee.

You can find chaps at most western stores or online. You can also take a look at Rod’s All-Around in-Stock Suede Chaps. This is a good option for those on a budget and is available in a variety of sizes.

5. Helmet

Probably you have seen some live-action on ranch bronc riding or bull riding events and noticed riders wear cowboy hats and helmets during the ride.

Most of the rider at ranch bronc riding wears the cowboy hat but if you’re pretty serious about your safety then you should wear a helmet.

It is recommended that you should always wear a helmet whenever you are riding.

And if you ride horses often probably you already have one. If you don’t have one then you should buy a helmet that is comfortable for you and also makes sure that it’s not too loose or too tight.

Along with your head size, helmet material, and budget make sure you consider your head shape

As there are helmets specifically designed for round heads and oval heads. If you have an oval head then check the detailed guide on the best horse riding helmet for an oval head and for a round head check the best helmets for the round head.

6. A good pair of boots

Another important thing which you need while bronc riding is a good pair of boots. A good pair of cowboy boots not only look great but also provides good ankle support and grip.

In addition, make sure they’re tough enough to stand up to a lot of wear and tear.

Choosing boots might be tough for you as there are tons of different cowboy boots available in the market. And all of them look great and it’s hard to decide which one to buy.

Here you can read about the best boots for saddle bronc riding with a complete buying guide(for both cowboys and cowgirls).

All you have to do is find a pair of cowboy boots that is comfortable for you(made of good material) and also make sure that it’s not too loose or too tight(measure your foot size before and later while finding compare with the boot size chart).

7. Gloves

Ranch bronc riding gloves are another essential piece of equipment for any rider. They help to grip the reins tightly, protect your hands, and keep your hands warm in colder weather.

Look for gloves that are made of a breathable material like leather or stretch fabric so your hands don’t get too sweaty.

Also, make sure they fit snugly. You don’t want them to be too loose, as they could slip off during your ride.

But you also don’t want them to be too tight, as this could restrict your movement.

8. Mouth Guard

Last but not least a good quality mouthguard is an important piece of safety equipment for any rodeo participant. It helps to protect your teeth from being broken or knocked out, and can also help to prevent concussions.

There are a variety of mouthguards available on the market, so be sure to choose one that is comfortable for you to wear and that will stay in place while you are riding.

Ranch Bronc Riding Tips

There are a few key things to remember when ranch bronc riding:

1. Stay loose in the saddle- you want to be able to move with the horse

2. Don’t get hung up on the stirrups- let your feet come out if you need to

3. Try to stay relaxed and don’t death grip the bronc halter- if you’re too tense, you’ll get bounced around more

4. Keep your eyes up and look where you want to go

5. Remember to have fun!

These tips will help you ride broncs like a pro in no time. With a little practice, you’ll be impressing everyone at the rodeo.


Do bronc riders wear cups?

There is no definitive answer to this question as it is a personal preference. Some riders may choose to wear a protective cup for additional protection, while others may find that it is uncomfortable or unnecessary. However speaking from experience, most bronc riders and bull riders do not wear cups.

Do bronc riders wear spurs?

Yes, riders in bronc riding and bull riding events wear spurs. The type of spur used is governed by rules and must have dull rowels.

Do bronc riders wear helmets?

Most riders in bronc riders do not wear helmets, they used cowboy hats instead. But for better protection, you can wear a helmet just like bull riders.


So, these are some of the essential things which you need for ranch bronc riding. Ranch bronc riding is fun but it can be dangerous too so it’s important to take all the necessary safety precautions. With proper gears and equipment, you can minimize the risks and enjoy your ride.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *