Utah looks to ban horse tripping

Horse tripping at a rodeo in Mexico.
Horse tripping at a rodeo in Mexico. © International Fund for Horses

Utah may soon join 11 other states in the banning of horse tripping, a “sport” in which two mounted horsemen chase a horse into an arena and rope its front legs as it travels at a fast gallop.

When the front legs of a galloping horse are roped, the animal trips and falls violently.

It also happens in clandestine charreada rodeos, where a single roper on foot ropes the front legs of a horse as it gallops past him in the arena.

The Utah bill, from West Jordan Republican Rep. Ken Ivory would ban the practice for sport or entertainment.

Horse tripping has been banned in 12 states, including states with strong rodeo traditions, such as Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, Arizona, and New Mexico. The practice has been banned in film and television productions for over 50 years.

Many horses used in tripping events remain unsuitable for use as companions or riding animals.

Horse tripping is not sanctioned by mainstream rodeo. The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and the National Pro Rodeo Association do not feature horse tripping as a sanctioned event.

Ivory told the Standard Examiner newspaper: “It would probably be fair to say we wouldn’t have settled the west without the help and aid of horses.

“And yet we have something that is not part of our tradition that is now coming into the US.”


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9 thoughts on “Utah looks to ban horse tripping

  • February 25, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    Sad to say, this legislation was gutted on Monday to the point of worthlessness. No ban is in sight. Instead, the amended legislation will only require 30-days advance notice of any upcoming “horse tripping” events (yeah, that’s gonna happen!), and reporting of any injuries (ditto).

    You can thank the Farm Bureau and rodeo cowboy paranoia, worried about the “slippery slope,” which might (gasp!) affect rodeo events. Hell, calf roping is far more harmful to the animals than the “horse tripping” events, and I’ve seen plenty.

    Shame on the Utah Legislature for selling out these abused horses. Let them hear from you!

    Brings to mind a famous observation by the late political pundit, Molly Ivins: “All anyone needs to enjoy the State Legislature is a strong stomach and a complete insensitivity to the needs of the people.”

    Ballot initiative anyone? In light of last November’s elections and the poor voter turn-out, it now requires far fewer signatures to qualify an initiative. Now’s the time. Truth be told, most legislators don’t give a damn about animal welfare.

    Eric Mills, coordinator

  • February 25, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    How can anyone in their right mind can find this ‘sport’ remotely entertaining and acceptable? Way to go mighty U S of A. Gotta be proud of yourselves…
    Totally agree with you Eric.

    K Hodson
    New Zealand

  • February 25, 2015 at 8:55 pm

    Horse tripping is the hate filled racially motivated term used by some ignorant animal rights fanatics to describe horse roping. Catching horses by their legs has been and is a legitimate means of capture used by ranchers and veterinarians. Charros have been catching horses by their legs for the last 400 years and if they had been doing serious harm to them they would have stopped. Charreada is a celebration of traditional methods of animal husbandry. Some nervous Nellies have a problem with it, but they probably could not hold a leg at a calf castration. It is too bad that our urbanized society does not understand that horses are strong and powerful animals that can take a little bumping around. That is their real beauty.

    • February 26, 2015 at 5:00 am

      Anyone in doubt about Randy Janssen’s sanity need only see his website: http://www.legalizehorsetripping.com (I’m not making this up.)

      Curious that Mr. Janssen would accuse anyone who uses the phrase “horse tripping” of being “a hate-filled racist,” when he uses the phrase in his own website.

      Mr. Janssen is a lawyer (!) and charreada promoter based in San Antonio, Texas. He has long claimed that animals have neither “emotions,” nor “feelings”–it’s all “instinct.” Yeah, right.

    • February 26, 2015 at 6:51 am

      u sir r an idiot because of the size and power of a horse is evan more reason not to do ! lets say and this is only if your brain will allow u to get that far , if i roped u running at full speed & droped u i garantee u sir would be hurtin

      • February 26, 2015 at 2:19 pm

        If anyone would like to contact Randy Janssen directly, here’s his email address in San Antonio, Texas – rmj8757@hotmail.com. He loves to debate these issues.

        And do take a look at his website, and all the links. Extraordinary stuff.

    • July 29, 2015 at 11:11 am

      A little “bumping around?” Randy Jannesen is obsessed with horse tripping, which by the way, infers no “hate-filled, racially motivated term.”
      Any dime store cowboy knows that a horses legs are key to its life. An injured leg or broken leg means certain death. It is about time fools like Jannsen grow up and find another means of amusement, other than animal abuse.

    • July 12, 2019 at 7:42 am

      Hi Randy,

      I am not an animal rights fanatic nor am I racially motivated to share a story about a horse named Earl who was used in roping events in Oregon. Earl is now 36 yrs old and a permanent resident at the rescue and sanctuary where I worked. He was a practice horse and his neck and trachea are badly scarred from roping. After his usefulness for practice was all used up, he was abandoned at the auction. Tossed aside like trash. True. Horses are strong and powerful animals but to call this “a little bumping around” is nuts. Earl bears the scars from years of this abuse all over his body.

  • February 28, 2015 at 8:38 am

    Any time you rope a running animal by the front legs, the animal is at risk for fractures and torn ligaments in the joints. You cannot make this event/procedure humane. As a veterinarian with experience in both rodeo and ranch practice, catching horses by the legs is both dangerous to the horse and unnecessary. If you need to rope a horse, catch it by the neck. There is far less chance of injuring the horse and yourself.
    Randy Janssen is a lawyer, not a veterinarian. He is clueless as to the injuries sustained by these horses when they are used over and over again in the horse roping/tripping events. The horse in the picture looks very thin to me. It also looks scared.


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