Our View: 'Horse tripping' seems inhumane

Friday , February 28, 2014 - 12:32 PM

Editorial Board, Standard-Examiner

The sporting event known as Charreada, or “horse tripping” by its opponents, seems inhumane to us. It involves roping a horse around its hind or front legs, and even the neck. According to Utah rodeo enthusiast Robyn Van Valkenburg, who edits an equine blog, horses are forcibly tripped and brought to the ground. “You could kind of see that they were traumatized,” said Van Valkenburg, who videotaped one event. Standard-Examiner readers who go to our StandardNET website can see the footage of “horse tripping” that Van Valkenburg, a Utah State University student, videotaped.

As mentioned, to us it seems appalling to treat horses in such a manner. We are pleased that Box Elder County canceled a Charreada event scheduled for the fairgrounds. Prior to the cancellation, animal advocacy groups People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and the Global Conservation Group had published news releases asking local residents to express concerns with the county commission.

The next step for Box Elder County is to draft a policy that deals with the Charreada problem. In our opinion, not scheduling any of these events would be appropriate. It seems that torture to the animals overshadows any skill involved by participants. However, Charreada has its supporters, who cite the long history and tradition of the event. Joe Bruce, founder of Reservation Cattle Company, a school for horse riders, says that skilled participants know how to lasso the horse without sending it forcibly to the ground.

That kind of safety and expertise was not on display in the video, and we’re glad we won’t be seeing it again in Box Elder County. Ten states already prohibit Charreada. The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association bans its practice in competitions. Horses don’t have the body structure or skin protection for this event. It’s not something the Top of Utah should be involved with and Utah should consider being the 11th state to ban it.

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