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Experts Line Up In Support of Oregon Horse Tripping Bill

“Horse tripping is the practice of roping the front or hind legs of a horse, causing it to crash into the ground. There’s just no denying that this practice is shockingly cruel.” -Sen. Mark Hass

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(SALEM) - Oregon Senate Bill 835 ( known as the “horse-tripping bill” is garnering more support from North America's top horse and animal experts. The experts are weighing in to debunk the theory that horse tripping is “traditional.” The bill, which will soon be voted on by the Oregon State Senate was co-sponsored by Sen. Mark Hass, D-Portland and Sen. Bill Hansell, R-Athena. Sen.Hass has stated, “Horse tripping is the practice of roping the front or hind legs of a horse, causing it to crash into the ground.  There’s just no denying that this practice is shockingly cruel.”

Video evidence gathered by an investigator for Illinois-based SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK) at the 2012 Big Loop Rodeo in Jordan Valley, Oregon showed horses repeatedly slammed on their heads and necks. One video SHARK posted of the 2012 event has more than 200,000 views. In a desperate attempt to keep more incriminating evidence from emerging from its 2013 event, Big Loop Rodeo organizers banned animal activists and the media from filming, but incredibly, allowed rodeo supporters to film as they pleased.

Animal experts weighing in on horse tripping and Senate Bill 835 this week are as follows: 

Anyone tripping a horse as a sport is abhorrent to the vast majority of society. The horse is an iconic and much-loved symbol of the spirit of the United States. I fully support all efforts to end the sadistic practice of tripping horses as a form of deviant "entertainment" and fully endorse the attempts of state legislatures to curtail this barbaric activity.” Dr. Bernard E. Rollin. University Distinguished Professor, Professor of Philosophy, Professor of Biomedical Sciences, Professor of Animal Sciences, University Bioethicist at Colorado State University

Horse tripping, whether legal or not, is an incredibly inhumane and reprehensible way to treat these wonderful sentient beings. A ban on horse tripping would be a major step in the right direction for adding compassion to the world, and for allowing Oregon and Nevada to get on the map as models for what other states can and must do to improve the lives of other animals.”Dr. Marc Bekoff, University of Colorado; author of The Emotional Lives of Animals and editor of Ignoring Nature No More: The case for compassionate Conservation

This statement is regarding the practice of what is referred to as “horse tripping”.  As an equine veterinarian and a lifelong horsewoman I must say that this practice is cruel and inhumane.  It is considered a “sport” with absolutely no value except for the entertainment of a few spectators.  The cruelty the horse undergoes and the risk to their life is no tradeoff for the pleasure of a few spectators.  There is certainly great risk to the horse to break a leg, shoulder, neck or all of the above and for absolutely no purpose. Roping a moving horse by jerking their legs out from underneath them is not a practice that any respected horseperson in the industry does.  There are many humane ways of restraining a horse that do not include jerking their legs out from underneath them. Please help get procedures in place to stop this cruel and unnecessary practice.” Dr. Lisa Jacobson, Big Sky Equine Veterinary Services

Horses are fine and noble individuals with little pride that the human race has domesticated. Hence, it is now our responsibility to treat them with dignity. Horse tripping is a disgrace and most humiliating for this most gracious creature.  Horses tripped are in danger of sustaining serious/life-ending injuries.” Patrick Ohannessian. Executive Officer.

I am a veterinarian and am appalled to have witnessed horses being subjected to what can only be described as horrific cruelty at the hands of those engaging in so-called “horse tripping,” a practice which frequently results in horses breaking their legs, which is what happened in the video that was shown to me of the recent Big Loop Rodeo event in Jordan Valley, Oregon. In the particular instance involved, the horse fractured the right canon bone and was visibly hobbling on three legs, clearly in excruciating pain. That horse was likely killed as is often done in these types of scenarios. It is a disgrace that such a barbaric practice goes on in the name of sport. - Armaiti May, DVM

Horse experts whose statements were released last week in opposition to horse tripping include Dr. Temple Grandin:

The horse tripping event you describe in your email dated May 20, 2013 is not acceptable.  Roping the front legs and causing the horse to fall is abusive. Compared to cattle, horses are more excitable and may be more likely to be injured.”  - Dr. Temple Grandin 

“Horse tripping is NEVER a humane procedure and should not be tolerated in any way by the horse industry. The majority of horse professionals would never allow such a thing to happen to horses in their care. The Illinois Humane Care for Animals Act declares persons convicted in horse tripping to be guilty of a Class A misdemeanor for the first violation, and a class 4 felony after that. Something that is humane and accepted would not be against the law. Tripping injures many horses, many times fatally. Is this something that the horse industry stands behind? No way, and it never will.” Hillary Clark, Program Director, Hooved Animal Humane Society

Horse tripping has no U.S. historical significance and certainly has no place in civilized, family-oriented "rodeo" type events.Sandy Johnson, Founder, Arizona Range Riders

We endorse and support the ban on horse tripping since it is our view that any attempt to suffocate, cripple or maim a horse does not qualify as sportsmanship, horsemanship or sport.” F. M. Allen. Founder. Equine Right To Life -

As knowledgeable horse people here in Canada, we are outraged and dismayed to see the horrific Horse Tripping ‘sport’. Horses are by nature domesticated to be trusting of humans and turning them lose in a pen and choking them with ropes and tripping their delicate long legs with ropes can only bring suffering, pain, injury and death to many of those horses. Since veterinary care for resulting injuries from horse tripping would amount to thousands of dollars (if they are treatable) which most people could not afford to pay for a horse that was used for ‘sport’ with life-enduring injury(s).” The Standardbred Horse Fan Club, BC, Canada

Please ban the practice of horse tripping in rodeos. It is inhumane and dangerous and a determinant to horse sports everywhere.” Kaylene Johnson. Back Country Horsemen of Alaska

“Growing up on a large ranch we used horses to herd the animals and NEVER, EVER would have done such a thing.  When proponents say, "our animals are treated better than we are", that is a bald faced lie.  To trip a horse is to likely lose a horse, and true "cowboys" wouldn't do this unless the animal was in a position to hurt himself more than the tripping.   Bottom line is it is NOT a wild west "tradition".  It is violent and potentially deadly for the horse.  Roping them by the neck then tripping them by lassoing their legs more often than not ends up in some injury, and many, many fatalities occur with this spectacle.  Broken necks and legs are fatal, of course.  And if the horse is merely lame from tripping, they are no longer of use to the rodeo and are sent to slaughter.” Shannon Morgan. Equestrian and former rancher of 45 years

“I personally own a horse who was BRUTALIZED by horse tripping in Nevada in 2005. If my horse were human, he’d be in a mental institution. Horses like him who were lucky enough to survive horse tripping events have such dangerous fear issues of humans that any human who adopts them is in grave danger of being killed because horses are prey animals and they’ll do whatever they need to survive. My horse took FOUR YEARS to trust me because I belong to the ‘human race.’ He also has a broken C3 vertebrae in his neck and the side of his face is scarred from sliding face first in a dead run. Rodeo participants and competitors are NOT the majority of horse people. Far from.” – Catherine Revell, Equestrian.

This needs to be stopped immediately. It is cruel and barbaric. The pain these horses endure is beyond wrong.” Joan Burton. Consultant. Horse enthusiast.

Source: SHARK (SHowing Animals Respect and Kindness)

See these recent reports for background:

View the video of horse tripping at the Jordan Valley Big Loop Rodeo, which inspired the bill here:



Comments Leave a comment on this story.

All comments and messages are approved by people and self promotional links or unacceptable comments are denied.

Sandy Culbertson June 5, 2013 7:30 am (Pacific time)

Please sign and share my petition against Horse Tripping. Thank you.

Randy Janssen June 4, 2013 12:07 pm (Pacific time)

If you want to read about horse tripping go to

(If you want to read information in favor of tripping horses)

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