10/02/07 — Mount Olive sets new rules on riding horses in town

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Mount Olive sets new rules on riding horses in town

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on October 2, 2007 2:08 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Don't form a posse.

No more wild riding.

And you might want to find an oversized pooper-scooper.

Mount Olive Town Board members tightened the reigns on local horseback riders Monday, passing an ordinance they say will "protect" residents.

Town Attorney Carroll Turner said he revised the ordinance after witnessing aggressive riding Saturday and hopes the board's vote will satisfy the citizens.

"It is a very difficult problem to address," he said. "But I hope this is one baby we can put to bed."

Board members began discussing the prospect of outlawing horseback riding altogether after some residents complained that large groups like the Ponderosa Saddle Club were intimidating.

But after a show of support for riders at their September meeting, they decided to pass restrictions rather than a ban.

Under the new guidelines, riders would be responsible for cleaning up after their horses within 24 hours or face a $50 fine.

"Aggressive" riding within the town limits would be prohibited, as would riding in a group of more than four.

Turner said large groups are more likely to intimidate bystanders and those attempting to navigate around them in cars.

He cited his experience Saturday, when a "high-spirited" group of horses made it nearly impossible for him to pass.

"Twelve of them together was a little overpowering," Turner said. "So we have tried to come up with something that reasonably protects the public."

Resident Elvin Gray, who has been outspoken in his opposition to horseback riding inside the town limits, was on hand Monday.

He called the ordinance "outstanding" and told board members that they are helping to create a better place to live.

"It's great," he said. "I think it will fly."

Still, many in the crowd of nearly 50 wonder who will enforce the rules.

It is easier to stop a large group of riders than it is to identify the horse responsible for feces on the road or sidewalks, they said.

Turner agreed.

"We have done the best we can," he said, chuckling. "Somebody suggested we do DNA testing."