A bill that would ban roping horses by the neck and legs and tripping them for entertainment passed out of the Oregon Senate with a vote of 22-6 and has been the subject of several recent House Judiciary Committee hearings. Horse tripping in Oregon has been documented in Jordan Valley and Burns, according to testimony, and proponents of SB 835 say that being chased and tripped terrifies and injures the horses.
In addition to a “rodeo bill of rights” amendment introduced to make the bill more palatable to rodeo lovers, Rep. Val Hoyle’s office (D-West Eugene and Junction City) has proposed an amendment to the bill. In her May 8 testimony, Hoyle’s legislative director Autumn Wilburn said that there are legitimate instances when a horse may need to be roped around the legs to protect the safety of the participants and spectators at rodeos. Wilburn proposed amending the bill to say that in order for the law to apply, the horse must not only be intentionally roped around the legs but also intentionally tripped or made to fall down.
Longtime rider Kendra Kimbirauskas testified in favor of banning tripping. She competes in the equestrian support of dressage with her BLM mustang as well as attends the Molalla Buckaroo every Fourth of July, she said. She said that she disagreed with the argument that roping a horse by the legs “is sometimes necessary to control an unruly horse.” Kimbirauskas said that she has never experienced a situation where she felt the only solution was to rope a horse by its legs, adding, “People who understand horses know that such an act would only intensify an already heated situation, making a frightened thousand-pound creature even more terrified and increasingly dangerous.”
As of press time, SB 835 had not yet made it out of committee. Floyd Prozanski (D-South Lane) is chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee.