City Manager Can Grant Beach Horse Waiver

OCEAN CITY – Less than a week after the town received its first horseback riders on the beach, the ordinance that was passed to allow the activity was looked over and revised.

Last Wednesday Ocean City received its first horseback riders on the beach from Holly Ridge Farm in Powellville and this week the Mayor and City Council had a brief discussion of an ordinance to amend a chapter, Entitled Animals, to allow more than 12 horses on the beach at any time with the approval of the city manager.

The ordinance states that there is no limit on the number of permits that can be sold to allow riding a horse on the beach but there cannot be more than 12 horses permitted on the beach at one time, except by waiver of such limitation by the city manager.

“I think this is a good idea if we had a group that wanted to stay for the weekend, especially a riding club where they might have 15 or 20 members,” Council President Jim Hall said.

Councilman Brent Ashley added that there are horse clubs throughout the region that choose destinations as venues to go and ride.

The Mayor and City Council approved the emergency ordinance with a vote of 4-2, with Councilman Doug Cymek and Lloyd Martin opposed and Councilwoman Mary Knight absent.

After much deliberation, the Mayor and City Council approved horseback riding on the beach last month in a split vote of 4-3. It was approved as a means to attract more visitors in the off season.

Under the approved ordinance, horseback riding will be allowed on the beach only from 27th Street south to the South Jetty at the Inlet from Nov. 1 to March 30 from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Only leisurely activity will be allowed, including riding or walking the horses. The ordinance prohibits any competitions, such as polo matches or racing. The original ordinance allowed for a $50 seasonal pass, but was amended to include a $20 one-day pass after some debate about the cost being prohibitive.

Those who obtain permits will be responsible for those in their party, and beginning or intermediate riders must be accompanied by an experienced rider capable of controlling the animals. The ordinance includes specific language about cleaning up after the horses including the handling of manure.