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”.


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

  1. We got a horse that was in horse tripping. She got away from them then to the neibors. She was in very bad conditions. her halter was grown into her face, and she was skin and bones. we bought her from the action and the nebior we bought her from got a hold of us. then she told us what happen to her we got her friendly got the halter off of her she did not trust men only woman then she live the rest her life happy heathy horse




  3. Roxanne, it is not true that there is no plan in place to enforce the new Oregon law. We have been working to ensure enforcement since the law passed, and we have a strategy in place should horse tripping occur at the Jordan Valley Rodeo.


    1. Mr. Beckstead with all due respect for the work you and your groups have done, I have too much personal experience with law enforcement and the judiciary in Oregon UTTERLY failing – deliberately and completely and unconscionably failing – to enforce cruelty and abuse laws and in fact upon occasion covering up the fact of the failure to enforce or even investigate animal cruelty and abuse. My information comes from others who are in that area and report the “attitudes” of the locals who think it is completely hilarious that the anti-tripping law was passed and fully intend to carry on a career as scofflaws. I am quite sure local authorities will tell you differently especially if the cameras are rolling and they think there will be anti-cruelty protests with media coverage of it. But we both know just how well these things get either swept under the rug, plea-bargained to misdemeanors, paltry community service levied instead of jail time, etc. ad nauseum. I have worked in the interest of preventing and reporting animal abuse for thirty years and in my opinion THE worst problem is that the authorities just.do.not.care. And you can put that in caps.


      1. Thank you for this important information. Sadly it is the case with more than your State and this law. However, there are avenues to take and we will explore every one we know of, and keep looking for more. As an advocate for 30 years you know we must keep at it, no matter how impossible it looks.


  4. Thirteen states have passed bans on horse tripping: Texas, California, Florida, Arizona, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Rhode Island, Illinois, Maine, Nevada, Oregon.


  5. Unfortunately here in Oregon, apparently according to some sources including non-Mexicans in favor of horse and even foal tripping, there is NO PLAN to enforce the recently passed legislation outlawing this horrific cruelty. Once again I have to say – this, and horse fighting, and locking horses in a small corral and siccing fighting dogs on the horse, dog fighting including “trunking” – all of these myriad cruelties are IGNORED by law enforcement and the judiciary, the reason being given that these are “cultural” in nature. Please read Michael Mountain’s recent essay on whether “religion trumps cruelty” which addresses similar horrific abuses of animals, specifically halal slaughter of food animals. The problem here in the US is that no one wants to get sued so it is easier for law enforcement and the authorities to turn their back on cruelty and abuse than risk lawsuits from cultural organizations whose insane and obscene entertainments continue at the cost of immense animal suffering. From what I understand, the town of Jordan Valley Oregon whose rodeo is infamous among Oregon rodeos for allowing and encouraging all of the charro competitions, plans to go right on ahead with all horse tripping competitions. I have to say one more thing. I have watched the reactions of some people to extreme animal cruelty. Their reactions could best be described as blood lust. That is an old fashioned term. Look it up. I think the term is even more appropriate in today’s rodeo arenas when applied to the people who perpetrate and perpetuate this obscene cruelty.


    1. This is great information Roxanne and gives us the information we need to put pressure on authorities to enforce this law. If we have to shame them into it, then so be it. And yes, it is sheer blood lust. Like with horse fighting, and the others like you mention.

      I see they have another rodeo coming up in May. http://www.biglooprodeo.com/index.html.

      See horse tripping images from 2013 on their website at http://www.biglooprodeo.com/id3.html and http://www.biglooprodeo.com/id4.html and http://www.biglooprodeo.com/id5.html.


    2. Roxanne – you mentioned a number of cruelties that I’ve not heard of — but that’s fine and well. Whenever, local authorities are involved in activities that are illegal, they simply just don’t enforce it. That’s a well known fact. Unfortunately, we have U.S. Representatives who think it’s OK to have dog fights and for young people to watch them. They are still re-elected every 2 years regardless of what we think. Although some might say that cockfighting is “cultural” in Puerto Rico, just this month members of a big cockfighting ring were arrested in New York State by the Feds. The owners of the farm where these animals are raised and trained were also arrested. The West Coast seems tougher to integrate and differ with general values, but they manage to wrap themselves in religious rights no matter how awful. The Feds should raid them and enforce the law. You mentioned Hallal being particularly horrific. I believe you say that because animals are fully conscious when having their throats cut. Kosher does the same, so there is nothing kosher about it either. On the other hand, animals that are supposedly knocked unconscious by a captive bolt often wake up during the process. There is no slaughter that is humane. “If slaughterhouses had glass walls” everyone would be vegetarian — McCartney.


      1. Perhaps if it was pointed out over and over endlessly to the point of ad nauseum that the cruelty continues in large part because people get sick thrills from it – maybe it would begin to stop. Perhaps if it was pointed out over and over (etc) to the cities who sponsor these charro rodeos that those competitions are contributing to the delinquency of minors – which they are, by not only glamorizing cruelty but permitting children to watch and even participate – maybe it would begin to stop. I do not know what the solution is. I don’t know how to stop it. Legislators at the state, local and federal level are corrupted by better funded financial interests than people who abhor cruelty and who are on the side of the animals. I recall years ago at the beginning of the anti-slaughter movement, there was an investigative report on equine slaughterhouses filmed, at first surrepticiously, by a small group of dedicated reporters. the film showed what appears to be a yearling horse strung up by the hind legs and being skinned alive while he screamed in agony and his abusers were laughing about it. When they discovered they were being filmed they caught at least two of the journalists and beat them within an inch of their lives. The film was saved by the others who fled. I think that must have been the beginning of the outrage. I don’t know that the issue of “sick thrills” has been addressed and it needs to be because it may be another way to discredit the kinds of abuse that the average person doesn’t see or if they do they don’t understand it. Perhaps exposing the “sick thrill” piece of a lot of this would bring more people’s attention to the need to stop the torture and killing!


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