Walk, Ride, Rodeo

This true story follows one young woman’s journey through physical injury to return to her passion.

One of Netflix’s most recent original movies depicts a parent’s worst nightmare: a daughter’s life-threatening struggle for survival following a horrific accident. The film “Walk. Ride. Rodeo.” encapsulates the true-life story battle of 19-year-old, nationally-ranked rodeo barrel racer Amberley Snyder after she’s left paralyzed along a Wyoming state road.

The film’s title “Walk. Ride. Rodeo.” are Snyder’s three goals set during her physical rehabilitation, despite being told by doctors she’d be confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life. It’s here, on the long road to recovery, that Snyder and her family sustain setbacks, yet overcome staggering odds while trying to accept life has changed forever.

A hopeful message the film circles back to repeatedly is that although we don’t always get to choose what happens to us in life, we can choose what we’ll do next. Snyder’s diagnosis is grim and permanent, but she’s still got rodeo plans in her future.

“Walk. Ride. Rodeo.” successfully maneuvers and sprints along quickly in its storytelling, giving viewers an inside look at rodeo barrel racing and the relationship between rider and horse. During the blazing 60-foot, 90-foot and 105-foot darts we see a determination to be the best. Amberley’s inner strength, stubbornness, and independence carry her back into the rodeo ring.

Perhaps the film’s greatest feat is the sobering presentation of Snyder’s terrible accident. Partly seen from the parent’s viewpoint, a daughter is set out on a trip with strict reporting instructions for every stop. Soon a phone call changes everyone’s life. The mother, now driving to the hospital, comes across the shocking scene of the accident and instantly understands how badly her daughter must be hurt. A short time later, the grieving mother finds herself picking small shards of glass from the blood-soaked hair of the young cowgirl. 

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the sensational cinematography and soundtrack that motivates and teaches us about the unique sport of rodeo barrel racing. The camera angles and vantage points all underscore the agility and speed necessary to compete at the national level. In a competition where one-tenth of a second makes the difference between winning a saddle, a buckle or a long ride home, “Walk. Ride. Rodeo.” nicely showcases one young girl’s grit, determination and will to ride again. 

Grade: B

“Walk. Ride. Rodeo” is a Netflix original movie rated R with a running time of 1 hour and 39 minutes.

Patrick King is a resident of Tucson and writer for the Reel Brief movie blog at reelbrief.com.  Email him at reelbriefmoviereviews@mail.com.

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