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Lawmakers back off horse-tripping ban

By Amy Joi O'Donoghue | Posted - Feb. 25, 2015 at 9:29 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY — A bill requiring equestrian venues to register an official "horse-tripping" event within 30 days of when it is scheduled passed a legislative committee on Monday afternoon.

The substitute version of HB261 by Rep. Ken Ivory, R-West Jordan, also requires the owners of the arenas to report the consequences of such an event, including how many horses were involved, if there were injuries and the contact information of the attending veterinarian if called.

Horse tripping, or horse roping, has already been banned in 13 other states. It is the competitive non-rodeo sanctioned event of lassoing a horse's legs and neck and bringing it to the arena floor, often at a full gallop.

Ivory, a horseman, sought to prohibit the measure outright under state law and make it a misdemeanor, but he pulled back Monday before a hearing with the House Natural Resources Agricultural and Environmental Quality Committee.

Sterling Brown, with the Utah Farm Bureau, said the organization is strongly opposed to horse tripping, but conceded the original version of the bill made him extremely "jumpy."

Critics of outlawing the practice say it is a foot in the door to ban rodeo.

Proponents say states with strong rodeo traditions such as Texas and Oklahoma have outlawed horse tripping with no fallout.

A number of people testified in favor of the Utah Legislature taking some action on the issue.

One child told the committee, "If I was horse, I would not like this done to me."

The measure also requires the state agricultural department to embark on an educational campaign on horse tripping and make reports during the state Legislature's interim. Email: amyjoi@deseretnews.com Twitter: amyjoi16

Amy Joi O'Donoghue

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