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.”