Charreadas (or Charreria) are Mexican-style rodeos and a national sport in its home country. However, this cruel "sport" has now spread to the U.S., mostly in western states.
There are ten individual competitions, six of which involve horses, and are all highly abusive.
The second, seventh and eighth events are the ones most often targeted
by horse welfare advocates. These events involve what is commonly
referred to in the U.S. as "horse tripping."
Competing cowboys are called charros.
Points are awarded for literally tripping horses, and how quickly the charro can do it.
They release a horse from a chute -- often shocking the horse with an electric prod -- and a group of waiting charros force the horse into a full gallop.
One of charros -- either on
horseback or on the ground -- lassos the front or hind legs of the
causing the animal to come crashing down to the ground.
Charros prefer small, lightweight horses because they are easier to bring down.
have noted that the charros continue to trip horses during charreadas until they are lame or can no longer run.
Horses sustain multiple serious injuries, including broken legs and necks, and spinal damage. Horses who try to escape by jumping over
fences or walls are only captured and brought back to the arena for more torture to the cheers of the crowd.
There are no statistics available on the number of horses used
in charreadas. They are not typically privately owned, but instead leased as they do not normally survive.
One source of horses for leasing to charreadas are feedlots. Killer buyers employed by slaughter-houses lease out horses for the charreada circuit to make extra money from them before selling the horses to horse slaughter plants.
Before horse tripping was banned in California, a source at a Riverside feedlot
reported they leased 25 horses per weekend to two different charreadas.
Horses who incurred serious injury were returned to them, who they in turn shipped to slaughter.
They replaced the horses with others from the feedlot. In total, the feedlot owner figures he leased 75 to 100 horses to charreadas, only two of whom survived.