Q&A Questions and Answers:
We have an old wooden bucking roll in our display here at the Grain Academy Museum. To date I have not been able to determine the true purpose of the bucking roll or how it was placed on the saddle. The word that we are given was that it was used with the old style military saddles after the first world war when breaking horses.
I would greatly appreciate if you would be able to supply details on its purpose and if possible a picture of how it is placed on a saddle.
Thank you for your attention to our request.
Wow! that's some train set you have! Nice work! If I ever get up to Calgary I'll have to look you up.
The original bucking roll was just a blanket or other pad that was tied around the saddle horn to keep the horn from doing major damage to the cowboy's belly during a wild ride. After a while, bronc riders eliminated the problem by just taking a saw and cutting the horn off an old saddle. This in turn, gave rise to the horn-less "association" rodeo saddles (see the rodeo photo at right). Some riders wanted a bit more security than that offered by an undercut pommel -- that's where your version of the bucking roll comes in. (At the top right are photos of a bucking roll by itself and attached to a stock saddle -- courtesy of the United States Library of Congress.) The bucking roll could be attached to a normal saddle to give the rider a better leg grip -- but did nothing to protect the rider from the saddle horn.
Perhaps the best of all combinations is the horn-less Australian Stock Saddle with its permanently attached blades in front of the rider's thighs. (Unlike the Australian Stock Saddle that I own -- which does have a saddle horn.)
(By the way, I took the rodeo photo. I'm the rider in the Australian Stock Saddle photo -- which was taken by my young sidekick, Dylan Prica.)
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