I have, and it's not the same at all! When it's kind of rocking back and forth it's similar, but the part that will get you is when the whole bull just whips around in multiple circles - it'll go two or three circles and then stop, then "buck" - and it's the force of being whipped around that generally throws you off. I turned out to be pretty good at it - I think most horsepeople would be better than non-horsepeople, just because we use those muscles. But it's not the same.
I rode one a few years ago. It was fun. Not too similar to most bucking horses, since you're spinning in place with no forward motion.
All I can say is, you're completely at the mercy of the guy with the joystick who controls the bull. When he decides you've been on long enough, that's it. You're on the ground! He did take pity on my friend, and gave her a very easy ride so she didn't fall off. I think he gave her credit for being much older than most bull riders!
I finally got to try one not too long ago.
*Nothing* like a bucking horse. The bull was much easier up to a medium speed/force. Although I think they do have ones that the pros practice on that has as much force and torque as real bulls and I'd imagine at that speed/power I'd have been flung off.
But the "bull in the bar" type ones are fun. However they do NOT listen to any cues from the rider. You cannot disengage the hind end to keep them from rearing or counter a spin with leg, LOL! I went up to about the level of the Spook, Spin-n-bolt some horses do, was fun!
Wasn't there an equine school place that used a mechanical bull doing certain moves only to help riders learn to sit the trot or something similar? For some reason I'm thinking it might have been Meredith Manor?
You jump in the saddle,
Hold onto the bridle!
Jump in the line!
Just a PSA but my Mom's best friend's husband was riding a mechanical bull and went flying off and broke his neck, not killing him but he isn't the same. This was about 3 years ago now and he still hasn't recovered. He spends a lot of time in the hospital. Just be careful
No hour of life is wasted that is spent in the saddle. ~Winston Churchill
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Oh my gosh! Yes! They're SO much fun. A couple of years ago, dad asked what I wanted to do for my 21st birthday bash and I said "have a mechanical bull" (half in jest), and he organised one! It was such a blast, everyone loved it and it was in full flight all evening.
Anyway, as someone else said it's easier to sit to on easy to medium. More like a canter, really. The horse riders hardly moved but the non-riders got thrown around a little (too stiff). But in my experiences most bucking horses tend to travel around a bit and not spin like the bull does. Also the bull we had had a rope you held onto with one hand (like at rodeos), instead of being able to grab a handful of make or use both hands, that was a bit different.
But in terms of sitting to unpredictable movements and quickly adjusting your balance, I think it's similar
I have to say I ride one every chance I get! I'm actually quit good at it but I think it's because, like someone else pointed out, I ride and we have better core muscles. I've actually dated two bullriders and tried very hard to get one of them to let me on a real one....no luck! I've always wanted to though One guy actually used to put his bareback bronc rigging (not the flank part) on my old mare and we would send her down a line of jumps for him to practice. It actually was quite useful for him and she loved it.
There is no secret so close as that between a rider and his horse-Robert Smith Surtees
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I rode the bull at Gilley's before the article in, was it the New Yorker or Atlantic magazine, I forget which. (article became the inspiration for Urban Cowboy) At Gilley's one had a few drinks, did some Texas 2 Step dancing, and then rode the bull.
It is much easier to ride the bull than to ride a bucking ottb mare but not as easy as the floating buck of a wb. (But then I did stay on my mare and my wb, but was thrown off of the bull.)
Not really the same--more spinny, less bucky. The person in control can pretty much dump you anytime, too, so it all depends on how long they want to let you ride. Which IME at bars tends to depend on how cute and bouncy you are up there . . .