As a five year old in Fountain Green, Utah, my grandpa had a horse named Clip Clop (seriously, that was his name). Almost every day, I would climb up on the block wall and Clip Clop would come over and let me jump on his bare back. He would walk me around the pasture and bring me back to the wall to get off.
One day I climbed on Clip Clop’s back, but the next thing I remember, I was coming-to in the local diner with a cheeseburger and fries in front of me. Apparently, I fell off Clip Clop and hit my head. It was nothing that a cheeseburger and fries with my grandpa couldn’t fix. I loved that horse!
After my first year of college, my summer job was working as a cowboy on a ranch in South Dakota. One day, the boss wanted us move a herd of yearlings about ten miles across a river. My saddle had broken earlier that week, so the boss said I could use his saddle. The boss was 6’3”. I, however, am NOT 6’3”. However, I didn’t think to adjust the stirrups before taking off on the ten-mile jaunt. If you know horses, yearlings, and stirrups, you know why I could hardly walk for the next week, but I still couldn’t wait to get back in MY saddle!
So, when neighbors Heather and Taylor Brady approached me concerned about the spread of an event called “horse tripping,” I wanted to know more. Horse tripping is a Mexican Chareada event where the front legs of a running horse are roped and the horse is taken to the ground head first. It can cause serious injury to the legs, neck and head of these beautiful animals. There is nothing like it in American Rodeo, which has strict rules for protecting the health of the animals.
The Bradys were great. They helped as we drafted the bill, attended meetings, arranged witnesses, and testified in the House and Senate Committees as I presented the bill. We had to work out concerns with ranching and rodeo groups. They wanted to make sure that any horse tripping protections did not hinder them from normal ranching and American Rodeo practices.
We were able to address their concerns and HB261 Horse Tripping Amendments enacted protections that have put an end to the spread of this appalling practice in Utah.
It is gratifying to help constituents of our District 47 understand the legislative process and work to pass meaningful legislation.