Wildwood Says ‘Saddle Up!’

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By Deborah McGuire

 

Horses on Wildwood Beach?

 

WILDWOOD — Horseback riders can now officially saddle up and ride the happy trails of Wildwood’s wide beaches. The Wildwood Board of Commissioners gave its final approval to an ordinance allowing for horseback riding on the beach during its Nov. 9 meeting.

The new law allows equestrians to ride during the city’s off-season, October through April. Riders wishing to take their horses on the sand will need to pony up a permit fee of $100 to allow two riders per permit vehicle to engage in horseback riding.

Riders are limited to a time frame of 6 a.m. until 5 p.m. with riding limited to Wards 2 and 3 as well as a portion of Ward 1. Only 20 horses are allowed on the beach at any given time. Riding sessions must be scheduled three days in advance through the City Clerk’s Office.

“It’s not going to make money, but it’s going to bring people,” Mayor Ernie Troiano told the Herald. Troiano hopes that the people coming to ride on the beach will leave something behind in the form of cash to area businesses.

“I’ve gotten a lot of emails,” he said, “from people who have never been to Wildwood who will be bringing their horses.” He added that he hopes people who have never been to the city but come to ride will come back to Wildwood in the summer.

According to the ordinance, riders are required to clean up “any manure, hay or other debris” left behind by the animals on the beach, parking lot, or entrance to the beach.

Riders will also be required to wear headgear while riding. The requirement to have helmets on riders was a bone of contention during the development process of the ordinance, but the city’s insurance carrier had the final say.

“I sent this to the JIF,” said City Administrator Chris Wood, and they said “If you think we’re going to let you do anything without a helmet, you’re crazy.”

Now that Wildwood has officially taken the reins in bringing horses to beaches, other shore towns may be following suit.

“Ocean City, Md is following our lead,” said the mayor.

Troiano readily admits that he is not an equestrian. “I’ve been on a horse twice,” said Troiano. “And both times I fell off.” Not to be deterred, however, he said, “If someone brings a horse down there, I’ll get on it. Maybe the third time is the charm.”