How Veterinarians Care for Top Rodeo Horses

Learn more about the equine athletes that compete at rodeo events, the types of injuries they are prone to, and how veterinarians nurse them back to health.

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How Veterinarians Care for Top Rodeo Horses
Top bucking horses are specially bred and selected for their propensity to buck. They travel thousands of miles a year on the rodeo circuit. | Photo:

Veterinarians tell us how they care for top rodeo horses—from broncs to barrel racers—to prevent injury and illness

No matter the discipline, a competitor’s success and earnings are only as great as his or her horse’s health and soundness. That’s particularly true among rodeo participants. They must abide by Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) guidelines for horse care or face penalties and fines. This goes for the saddle horses used for timed events or as pickup horses (used to assist the bronc- and bull-riding cowboys), as well as for the broncs.

All PRCA-sanctioned rodeos are required to have a licensed veterinarian present during performances. Veterinarians and staff are trained and prepared to offer immediate assistance and medical care to any injured horse.

In this article we’ll learn more about these athletes, the types of injuries to which they are prone, and how veterinarians nurse them back to health and glory

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Written by:

Nancy S. Loving, DVM, owns Loving Equine Clinic in Boulder, Colorado, and has a special interest in managing the care of sport horses. Her book, All Horse Systems Go, is a comprehensive veterinary care and conditioning resource in full color that covers all facets of horse care. She has also authored the books Go the Distance as a resource for endurance horse owners, Conformation and Performance, and First Aid for Horse and Rider in addition to many veterinary articles for both horse owner and professional audiences.

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