* Regarding “A Question of Culture, or Cruelty?” (April 18), I feel very qualified to elaborate on the issue. A group of my friends are involved in Arabian horse rescue, down at the local feedlot. The first horse that I heard of being rescued was a highly bred, imported Russian Arabian stallion. Next my friends bought a mare that had been an English pleasure champion at Santa Barbara the previous year. The next thing I knew, I was buying a 2-year-old filly whose only fault was to be put in a quarter-horse auction. Her father, a foreign stallion, was Scottsdale, Canadian and U.S. national champion, and commands a stud fee of over $6,000.
My filly escaped the fun and culture of the charreadas because the horse rescue group hid her in another pen. Your article mentions the old horses and wild horses that these guys rope. Not so! The horse of preference has in our experience been a small, young mare. It’s easier for them to abuse a docile, sweet-natured horse that won’t fight back.
American rodeo promoters take care of their stock and use them again and again. These guys are torturing other people’s pets, prior to their death. This tradition is useless and outdated.
Vice President of Corral 35
Equestrian Trails International
* The tripping of horses for entertainment is certainly not a new phenomenon. In the early days of the motion picture industry, battle scenes using horses were simulated by stretching piano wire across the set in order to trip the horses into a dramatic fall or, later, by using a specially designed device which would trip a galloping horse in a precise spot by pulling his front legs out from underneath him. The horrendous falls created broken legs and necks and resulted in many horses having to be destroyed. Finally, spurred by public outrage over the 1939 film, “Jesse James"--when, in one scene, an unsuspecting horse was sent sailing to his death from the edge of a 70-foot cliff into the river below--the American Humane Assn. opened its Hollywood office to do away with such barbaric practices and to monitor animal action in film and television. Today, American Humane Guidelines and the Motion Picture Industry rules both expressly prohibit the tripping of horses in the name of entertainment.
The film and television industries successfully learned to use animals without abusing them. This is called a compromise. So, too, must the charros learn to use--not abuse--the animals for whom they profess love and respect. The manganas , or horse-tripping events, entertain humans at the expense of animals and have no place in a so-called civilized society.
Coordinator, Animals in Entertainment
Los Angeles Office