Horse Tripping Ban a Tough Sell in Some States

Nebraska's ban on horse tripping for sport went into effect July 18, but even as that state's authorities gear up to enforce the measure, similar legislation died on Arizona's Senate floor .

"We had nearly unanimous support all the way through the state House and in the Senate," said Pat Haight, PhD, president of the Conquistador Equine Rescue and Advocacy Program in Tempe, Ariz. "But it never got to a final read in the Senate before the session ended."

Horse tripping involves roping the legs of a galloping horse, causing it to fall to the ground. The practice has long been a part of rodeo competition in Mexico and at traveling Mexican-style rodeos in the United States, particularly in the Midwest, Southwest, and in California. According to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), 11 states now have anti-tripping legislation on their books. But convincing lawmakers to support ban laws isn't always easy.

"We had to convince people that we weren't going after agricultural practices," explained Kristie Biodrowski, chief investigator for the Nebraska Humane Society.

Some animal welfare advocates also postulate that the prospect of alienating ethnic voters makes lawmakers reluctant to back such bills.

"Legislators don't want to appear to be singling a specific group out," said Keith Dane, HSUS director of Equine Protection.

Haight isn't sure that was the case in Arizona, but she and fellow trip ban proponents vow to persist.

"We'll be back with another bill when the next session begins," she said.

About the Author

Pat Raia

Pat Raia is a veteran journalist who enjoys covering equine welfare, industry, and news. In her spare time, she enjoys riding her Tennessee Walking Horse, Sonny.

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