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Watching horse break a leg sours a recent rodeo experience
The recent rodeo letters reminded me of going to rodeos now and then over many years, even after animal rights activists began criticizing rodeo as cruelty to animals.
Then I went to the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association rodeo in Truckee, Calif. The first event was bronc riding. When the first horse and rider were let out of the chute, the horse bucked up and down several times, and then both horse and cowboy fell to the ground. The cowboy got right up on his feet, but the horse did not.
The clowns and cowboys came over and began pushing and prodding the horse to get up. Finally, it got up, but it was standing on only three legs. Its left foreleg was not functioning. As the horse hobbled out of the arena, the hushed capacity crowd watched in horror as that left foreleg dangled and swung from the horse's body like a piece of wet spaghetti. It must have been broken in a million pieces.
The announcer said the vet would "look at" the horse, but everyone knew what he meant.
I have not been able to attend a rodeo since, but sometimes I wonder about those little calves. Do they really enjoy being jerked off their feet by a rope around their necks?