A State law in Oregon banning horse tripping events in rodeos went into effect January 1, 2014. Google image.

Horse tripping now illegal in 12 States

AMBUJA ROSEN, an independent journalist in California, writes the following eyewitness account:

    “Your are in the front row. A bony Arabian mare stands so close you can see the scars on her flanks, and the terror in her eyes. Three men on horseback swoop down on the mare, chasing her with swinging lariats, until she’s galloping 25 miles an hour. Each time the mare races round the ring, a fourth man aims a rope at the mare’s forelegs. The goal: to topple her to the ground, and win points.

    This mare has already been lassoed several times – those scars you saw were rope burns that carved away inches of her flesh. But this time the mare won’t get up again. She crashes head over heels, breaks her leg, and is euthanized.”


Charreadas (or Charreria) are Mexican-style rodeos — a national sport in its home country. However, this cruel “sport” has now spread to the U.S., mostly in western states.

There are ten individual competitions, six of which involve horses, and all are highly abusive.

The second, seventh and eighth events are the ones most often targeted by horse welfare advocates. These events involve what is commonly referred to in the U.S. as “horse tripping.”

Competing cowboys are called charros.

Points are awarded for literally tripping horses, and how quickly the charro can do it.

A charro lassoes the front legs of a galloping horse and yanks her off her feet in a horse tripping competition in a rodeo in Mexico. These competitions are now being held in the US. Horse tripping is against the law in 12 States. Source: Flickr.
A charro lassoes the front legs of a galloping horse and yanks her off her feet in a horse tripping competition in a rodeo in Mexico. These competitions are now being held in the US. Horse tripping is against the law in 12 States. Source: Flickr.

First they release a horse from a chute – often shocking the horse with an electric prod. A group of waiting charros on horseback force the horse into a full gallop.

The competing charro – either on horseback or on the ground – lassos the front or hind legs of the horse, causing the animal to come crashing down to the ground.

Charros prefer small, lightweight horses because they are easier to bring down.

Witnesses report that the charros continue to trip horses during charreadas until they are lame or can no longer run.

Horses sustain multiple serious injuries, including broken legs and necks, and spinal damage. Horses who try to escape by jumping over fences or walls are only captured and brought back to the arena for more torture to the cheers of the crowd.

There are no statistics available on the number of horses used in charro rodeos. They are not typically privately owned, but instead leased as they do not normally survive.

One source of horses for leasing to charro rodeos are feedlots.

Killer buyers employed by slaughterhouses lease out horses for the charreada circuit to make extra money from them before selling the horses to horse slaughter plants.

Before horse tripping was banned in California, a source at a Riverside feedlot reported they leased 25 horses per weekend to two different charro rodeos.

Upon their return, approximately 2 to 5 horses per week displayed injuries serious enough that the animals were sent to slaughter. For each horse that went to slaughter, another from the feedlot replaced her on the charro circuit.

During that particular season, 75 to 100 horses were leased from that particular lot to the two charro rodeos, but only 2 of the original horses survived until the season’s end. (Source: Ambuja Rosen, Independent Journalist. Rosen’s work has appeared in more than 60 publications.)


In 1994, Governor Pete Wilson signed a bill into law banning the intentional tripping of horses for sport or entertainment in California.

The bill was supported by numerous groups including the California Veterinary Medical Association, the American Horse Protection Association, the California Council of Police and Sheriffs, the California District Attorney’s Association, the Great American Cowboy Association, and breeding and racing associations.

Hispanic organizations also endorsed the California legislation including the Mexican American Chamber of Commerce.

Horse tripping has been banned in the following U.S. states:

Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Maine, Nevada, New Mexico, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island and Texas. (See Legal Citations for each State here).

Oregon’s law against horse tripping is the latest and went into effect January 1, 2014.

Horse tripping is still done in Wyoming, Utah, Colorado (where it has become a part of their State Fair rodeo program) and the eastern region of Washington state. The US Bureau of Land Management conducts helicopter round ups wild horses in those states. Wild horses have been spotted in charro rodeos.

Outlawing horse slaughter would not only protect horses from entering the slaughter pipeline, but also remove them as a major source of horses for charreada events, striking a significant blow to this cruel and barbaric “sport”.


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Horse Tripping State Laws
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30 thoughts on “Horse tripping now illegal in 12 States”

  1. “The US Bureau of Land Management conducts helicopter round ups wild horses in those states. Wild horses have been spotted in charro rodeos.”
    So the BLM sells horses to charro rodeo people. Again, the BLM is a deplorable agency and part of a department headed by a corporate/oil person who blindly follows a preset agenda. Very disappointing and disturbing that this trend is allowed.


    1. So much for majority rule. Our government rarely listens to us anymore. Our voice goes through one ear and out the other, but that’s not going to prevent me from speaking my mind. Eventually, something is going to give and somebody in office with the right intentions will hear what we have to say. But it still flips me off that this administration claims to be the most transparent one of all. Ehem, excuse me BLM? Preventing journalists from documenting the capture of America’s wild horses? Seriously? I’m being told that my tax dollars are funding a roundup that we aren’t allowed to see? The heck happened to the Freedom of Information or Freedom of the Press? That being said, I guess our government leaders didn’t pass elementary school but expects its citizens to. Pathetic. *double facepalm*


      1. Obama laughed about how he ate dogs. I don’t believe he or the democrats or many republicans care about animal torture. Journalism is dead and has gone to bed with the leftists. Our money is the only way we can fight the disgusting actions of a small minority of mean, stupid people and abhorrent cultural practices. We must also embarrass them by shining the light on them as best as we can. Find them, film them, follow them and display them to the masses and the dark practices will lessen I hope and pray. Young people should direct their “anti” energy to causes such as this instead of ridiculous fake political riots and such.


    2. Following the trail, it appears to me Chris that the BLM sends wild horses to slaughter and they end up in feedlots, and the rodeos buy, or lease, them from there. However, I would not put it past the BLM to do just what you say too.


  2. This horrific “sport” is only one of the cruel acts Mexicans perpetrate against horses and bulls. They seem to like torturing animals. Why don’t they “trip” some fat little mexicans and see how funny that is??? These people, and anyone from the USA, who think this is fun, need to get their heads replaced. This should be banned in the United States and people who enter this country need not bring their disgusting little games here. This is another reason why mexicans are not wanted here.


    1. I totally agree, I am really starting to worry that we are the stupidest specie of all, hurting and abusing animals for fun? The horse, which has helped mankind, we are a pathetic species, and some mexicans too for doing this, well they will get their payback, they should read the bible, it says to be kind to animals, this makes me sick and ashamed


  3. Since California has handed over their state to Mexico it surprises me that anything was passed at all. That’s one of the bad things about Washington state where I live is Eastern Washington which has large Mexican populations that work on the farms. I guess the local government in the towns has to be politically correct and allow this horrific cruelty to be carried out to please the illegal population so its more like home.


    1. I am not sure. We have done various street polls where there is a high population of people from Mexico living there, and they seemed to feel pretty much the same way as most Americans feel about US rodeos — that it appeals to a barbaric minority who feel empowered torturing innocent animals and that they have never been to a charro rodeo and not interested in ever going. I don’t know what would make the Mexican workers you refer to need to feel at home, but hopefully it isn’t charro rodeos. However, E. Washington is where a lot of horrible reports are coming from.


    2. This is so absurd. If people want to work/live here, they should adhere to our customs and conventions and leave behind torturous “entertainment”. This horrific amusement was reported by msm 20 years ago, and we were all aghast as a mare and foal literally ran into a wall trying to escape the rope, but failed and fell. It’s still not driven out of here along with other cruelties.


      1. You are so right Chris. And to think, it’s not just Mexicans doing it. Some US rodeos have taken a liking to the idea, and doing their own version of it. Go figure.

        Then the US has the despicable horse soring and the “big lick” that has gone on for decades. A federal law enacted in 1970 making it illegal has not stopped it. It only recently slowed it down a little bit.

        It is all very sick and not a good sign for any culture that not only allows it, but also “celebrates” it. Laws are important but the only way to get rid of this filthy behavior is to change society’s thinking regarding the treatment of animals, period.


      2. If they want to work and live here??? You do realize the entire south western portion of the US WAS Mexico and many, many people you distinguish as “Mexicans” have roots in this land that go back much further than the gringos.


        1. So how does your personal historical recollection make animal torture acceptable to you and the Mexican perpetrators?


  4. A few comments: I was the sponsor of the original 1993 California legislation to ban this cruelty. The bill failed that year, then was passed almost unanimously in 1994. Eleven other states have since followed suit. OF ALL THESE STATES, ONLY NEBRASKA GOT THE LANGUAGE RIGHT. The NE law specifically bans ROPING OR LASSOING HORSES BY THE LEGS, with exceptions for veterinary care and public safety. This wording, BY DEFINITION, outlaws three of the charreada’s nine standard events. The laws in all other states ban only the INTENTIONAL felling of the horses. In 1995, all U.S. charro associations adopted rules banning the felling of the horses. They still rope the horses by the legs, but nowadays let the rope go slack, and do not intentionally bring the horses down. But horses can still become entangled in the rope and fall. (And they’re still felled in the Mexican competitions.) The Nebraska language makes moot any debate about “intentional” or “accidental” felling of the horses. Other states should follow suit. (Nebraska also banned “steer tailing” in 2009, the only state to have done so–see below.)

    Charreada features two events which involve roping the FRONT legs of running horses: (1) “manganas a pie” (with the roper on foot), and (2) “manganas a caballo” (with the roper sitting still on horseback). A third event, “piales,” involves roping the HIND legs of a running horse. These horses generally do NOT fall, though they are often brought to an abrupt halt and stretched out. Some vets think this event is even more harmful to the horses than the “manganas” events.

    I’ve been working on these issues for 20 years now. To be fair, I think the injuries to the horses are greatly exaggerated by some in the animal protection movement. The unadorned truth is bad enough.

    There’s another charreada event which is even worse than the “horse tripping” events, in my opinion: “steer tailing” (“colas,” or “coleadero”). A mounted charro (cowboy) grabs a running steer by the tail, wraps the tail around his leg and stirrup, then rides his horse off at an angle, dragging or slamming the hapless steer to the ground. Bruises and contusions are routine, and tails may be stripped to the bone (“degloved”), even torn off. And horses may suffer broken legs when the steers run the wrong way. Some “sport”! Even Cesar Chavez and his United Farm Workers Union opposed these events.

    Here’s hoping that Colorado, Utah and others will soon introduce legislation to ban this cruelty. Simple “tradition” justifies nothing. I’d be happy to help. Be aware that neither “horse tripping” nor “steer tailing” is standard ranching practice anywhere in the U.S., nor are they sanctioned by any American-style rodeo association (which has its own share of problems).

    Eric Mills, coordinator
    Oakland, CA
    email – afa@mcn.org


  5. this is sadistic and disgusting, the same should be done to the men who are doing this to the horses, lets see how much fun the “sport” of that is?????????????????? ;-(


  6. Sport? I say nothing’s a sport when one person has a significantly unfair advantage over another, and this is likewise the case. Entertainment is the gift the animals give us, not something we are entitled to. I have absolutely nothing wrong with animal related entertainment as long as they engage in the task willfully. But the horses in this event purposely run away from the charros out of the fear of being tripped. Therefore, it is clearly evident to me that the practice of horse tripping is downright brutal. No animal of any kind should be subjected to such cruelty. Hands down. I also fear the possible psychological trauma some of the survivors face. Whatever impression mankind has left on an animal, it’s going to stick with him for life.


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