Ocean City may allow horseback riding on beach during off-season

Ocean City isn't afraid of a little horsing around.

In an effort to boost tourism, the Town Council will hold a final vote next week on a proposal to allow horseback riding on the beach Nov. 1 to March 30.

The proposed amendments to the town's animal ordinance allow horseback riding "beginning at the northernmost extension of 27th Street and extending south to the south end jetty." Riding in any dune area or nesting area would be prohibited.

Visitors would need to secure a permit at a cost of $50 for each horse, limited to two riders.  Additional riders could be added for $25. There would be no limit on the number of permits, but only 12 horses can be on the beach at the same time. Horses would be allowed on the beach from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily. Reservations would have to be made at least three days in advance.

Riders would be required to clean up after their horses or face a $500 fine.

Some council members worried about the cleanliness factor for beachgoers and also whether riders would be diligent about removing manure.

Despite those and other reservations, the changes narrowly passed an initial reading on a vote of 4-3. The council meets again Feb. 6, when a second reading and final vote is expected.

After that, more visitors to the resort town could be saying "giddyap."

What do you think? Take our poll on allowing horses on the beach in Ocean City.

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