09/11/07 — Not so fast, you cowboys...

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Not so fast, you cowboys...

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on September 11, 2007 1:45 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Hold your horses -- or at least clean up after them.

Well, maybe.

Mount Olive Town Board members are still looking to create guidelines for horseback riding within the city limits, but tabled an ordinance Monday evening that would prohibit "reckless" galloping through town.

Town Attorney Carroll Turner said he drafted an ordinance based on the information he had, documented complaints from residents about "aggressive" riders.

But when Mayor Ruff Huggins read it aloud, residents called out from the gallery.

Elvin Gray said he was not satisfied with the proposed policy, which would make it "unlawful for any person to ride in an aggressive manner a horse or livestock within the corporate limits."

"I don't see the clean up on here," he said.

Gray argued that the issue was horses in general, not the manner in which they are ridden.

"They drop manure in front of your home and it's your problem, I guess," he said.

Gray comments provoked laughter from some in the audience and on the board.

"It's not hilarious," he replied. "If you live in town and the horses are crapping in front of your house, you smell it. If I wanted that, I would have purchased a home in the country."

Robert King does not see the "big deal."

A few times a month, he and other members of the Ponderosa Saddle Club take to the streets to bring smiles to faces across town, he said.

So he was strongly opposed to District 3 representative Tom Preston's call for "no riding, period, in the city limits."

"We ride for the kids and for the elders in this town," King said. "This is a nice thing for us to do. When we are in the projects, you should see the smiles on the children's faces when we ride up on that horse."

And while he acknowledges that animal waste on roadways and sidewalks is a nuisance, he does not believe banning horses from the town is the right solution.

King said he was in favor of Kenneth Talton's suggestion -- requiring riders to apply for permits.

That way, horse owners could be held accountable for "cleaning up the trail."

No vote was taken on the ordinance Turner drafted.

"We're going to have to work on this for the next several weeks," Mayor Ruff Huggins said.

But Turner said he was sure of one thing.

"We can make it a lot more restrictive than this if you want to, but in my opinion, that would be overkill," he said. "I'll tell you one thing, this is going to be one heck of a difficult thing to enforce."