Oregon Horse Tripping Bill Now Law!

Horse tripping.roping legsUpdate July 1, 2013: Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber has now signed S.B. 835, a ban on horse tripping, into law. For more on this important legislation, read Animal Law Coalition’s reports below.

Update June 26, 2013: The Oregon House of Representatives has voted 57-1 to ban horse tripping. The vote means S.B. 835 is one step closer to becoming law. The bill now goes to Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber for his signature. For more on this bill, read Animal Law Coalition’s report below and go here for ALC’s role in passing this important bill for the horses.

Update June 20, 2013: The Oregon House of Representatives Rules Committee has passed the horse tripping bill, S.B. 835. The bill was referred to the Rules Committee after the Judiciary Committee decided not to make a decision about the bill.

It’s on to a vote by the full House of Representatives. A vote is expected next week. Read Animal Law Coalition’s original report below for more on the bill and how you can contact your Oregon state rep to urge him/her to vote yes on S.B. 835!

Original report: The Oregon horse tripping bill, S.B. 835, would make it a Class B misdemeanor to intentionally cause “an equine to trip or fall, or rope[] or lasso[] the legs of an equine, for purposes of a rodeo, contest, exhibition, entertainment or sport or as practice for” such events.

Opponents are pushing for an amendment that would allow a horse’s front legs to be roped if the neck is roped first. This is exactly what S.B. 835 would ban! The members of the committee and their contact information are listed below. Please help stop an amendment that would make the bill pointless. Please contact the Committee members and urge them to vote NO on any amendment that may be proposed to SB 835 that would allow the front legs of a horse to be roped if the neck is roped first. Urge committee members to pass S.B. 835 AS IS. The committee is considering this bill NOW so please don’t wait to voice your support for S.B. 835 WITHOUT AN AMENDMENT THAT WOULD ALLOW HORSE TRIPPING IF THE HORSE IS ROPED AROUND THE NECK FIRST. Here is a horse roped around the neck and legs at the 2012 “Big Loop” rodeo. The organization, Showing Animals Respect and Kindness (SHARK) obtained the photo. It is hardly less cruel. As the photo demonstrates, even if a horse is roped around the neck first, roping the front legs still causes the horse to trip and crash head-first into the dirt.

Horse tripping SHARK.2012 SHARK volunteer, Adam Fahnestock, from Vancouver, WA, was actually arrested by Malheur County, OR sheriff’s deputies for filming this and other horse tripping at the 2013 Jordan Valley “Big Loop” rodeo. He was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest and later released on $1,000 bond. Sheriff’s deputies approached him and told him to stop filming and he refused. There was a scuffle as Fahnestock tried to protect his camera and he was handcuffed. The rodeo was on private property, but a number of people were filming or taking photographs. Here is more video of the 2013 rodeo. Only Fahnestock was singled out. Later that day, Steve Hindi, founder of SHARK, was stopped by a sheriff’s deputies as he was driving away from the rodeo where he was ejected from the rodeo for having a camera. The traffic stop was purportedly because Hindi allegedly failed to show ID at the rodeo.

Last year Animal Law Coalition’s Russ Mead was surrounded and threatened at the Harney County, OR rodeo as he tried to photograph horse tripping events there.Watch the video: http://animallawcoalition.com/oregon-horse-tripping-exposed/

Horse tripping is an event that originated in Mexican rodeos called charreadas, Horses are lassoed around the front legs, and the rope is then pulled back, causing the horse to trip forward and smash full-force into the ground.

Rodeos in the U.S. follow variations of this practice. At the Jordan Valley Big Loop rodeo in Oregon, the horses are roped around the neck and then the legs and slammed to the ground. The result is the same: The horse is tripped or slammed to the ground in a terrifying and painful ordeal.

Most recently Arizona outlawed the cruel practice in 2009, A.R.S. § 13-2910.09 and Nebraska in 2008, R.R.S. Neb. § 54-911. Horse tripping or roping is also illegal in New Mexico, N.M. Stat. § 30-18-11; Oklahoma, 21 Okl. St. § 1700; California, Cal Penal Code 597g; Florida, Fl. Stat. Sec. 828.12; Illinois, 510 ILCS 70/5.01; Maine, 7 M.R.S. § 3972; Texas, Tex. Penal Code § 42.09; and Rhode Island, R.I. Gen. Laws § 4-20-4. In some states the practice is exempt from animal cruelty laws as a rodeo event and so must be specifically prohibited by law. For more on exemptions from animal cruelty laws for rodeo events….   

In fact, charrerdas banned horse tripping in the US years ago. Ramiro Rodriguez, President of the American Charrerdas Association, wrote, “The charros in the US do not trip the horses when they do manganas in any competition, whoever trips a horse (intentionally) is suspended for a whole year.”

Tripped horses typically suffer serious injuries, from broken bones to spinal damage, sometimes dying as a result. Those who survive are usually so psychologically traumatized that they cannot even look at a rope without becoming terrified.

Oregon state Senators Mark Hass and Bill Hansell introduced the bill which passed the state senate by a vote of 22-6.  The bill has now moved to the state House of Representatives where a hearing was held on May 13, 2013 by the Judiciary Committee.  At the May 13, 2013 hearing, Animal Law Coalition’s Russ Mead disputed testimony that horse tripping or roping does not occur at rodeos in Oregon. Mead went to the Harney County Rodeo in Burns, Oregon on July 7, 2012 and obtained photographs of horse tripping and roping taking place as rodeo events.

A cowboy still wearing his spurs came from Central Oregon to testify and told committee members, “There’s no reason to trip a horse.”

Previously, SHARK, Showing Animals Respect and Kindness, obtained video of horse tripping at the 2012 Big Loop Rodeo.


Find your Oregon state representative here. Call or write (letters or faxes are best) your state rep and urge him or her to vote YES on S.B. 835 and end the cruel practice of horse tripping in Oregon.

Reps. David Gomberg and Sara Gelser are House sponsors of the bill.