Animal Law Coalition has released a video revealing horse tripping events still occur in Oregon, one of the few western states where the cruel practice remains legal. In the last legislative session a bill to ban horse tripping or horse roping in Oregon did not pass, in part, because legislators were told it no longer occurred in the state.
Horse tripping involves riders on horseback chasing a horse and causing the animal to flee. When the horse has reached full speed, a rider lassoes one of the horse's legs, then stops and pulls back on the rope, causing the horse to trip forward and smash full-force onto the ground. In other so-called horse roping practices, a horse is lassoed about the neck and the rope is then pulled down and taut, driving the animal's head into the ground.
Russ Mead, Animal Law Coalition's General Counsel, saw the horse tripping and horse roping first hand at the Harney County Rodeo in Burns, Oregon on July 7, 2012. The organizers don't even try to hide it. The grisly event was held at the county fairgrounds. Mead said, "You can hear the horses gasping, struggling, all the way outside of the arena. This is not a sport. This is animal cruelty, plain and simple."
Organizers of the rodeo tried to block Mead from photographing the horse tripping and roping. They tried to "block my view, and at one point, I was surrounded by ten people on horse back and taunted and threatened. One person tried to grab my camera." Even so, Mead was able to obtain photographs showing this cruel practice continues in Oregon.
The horse tripping exposed in Burns follows the release in May of video showing the cruel practice occurred also at the Jordan Valley Big Loop Rodeo in Southeastern Oregon.
Mead summarized, "One person at the rodeo told me tripping horses is a ‘tradition', a ‘part of the culture'. ‘Tradition' and ‘culture' are always used to justify practices we now know are wrong. Times change, and it's time for horse tripping and horse roping to go the way of animal fighting. It's time Oregon joined most other western states and banned this animal cruelty."