A bareback rider uses a rigging made of leather resembling a suitcase handle on a strap. It is placed atop the horse’s withers and secured with a cinch. As the horse comes out of the chute, the rider must have both spurs touching the horse’s shoulders until the horse’s front feet hit the ground after the initial jump out of the chute. This is called “marking out”. The rider will be disqualified if he fails to do so.
A saddle bronc rider uses a thick rein attached to his horse’s halter. As in bareback, the contestant uses one hand and tries to stay securely seated in his saddle for 8-seconds. The contestant strives to keep his toes turned outward while he spurs from the horse’s shoulders to the back of the saddle. He must maintain this during the 8-seconds to score well.
With one hand; a bull rider grasps a flat braided rope which is wrapped around the bull’s chest; just behind the front legs and over its withers. One end of the bull rope (tail) is threaded through a loop on the other end and tightened around the bull. To secure his grip he then wraps the tail around his hand – sometimes weaving it through his fingers to further secure his grip. In bullriding a contestant is not required to “mark out”. While spurring can add to their score, riders are judged solely on their ability to stay on the bull.