The Board of Aldermen voted 4-0 Thursday night to approve amendments to an ordinance that provides the framework for how horse-drawn carriage rides operate in the city of Frederick.
Citing a lack of comfort with how much the ordinance was changed at the hearing, Alderman Ben MacShane abstained from the vote.
In attendance were Donnie Lambert and his daughter Jessica, who have historically held the contract to provide horse-drawn carriage rides for the public in Frederick during the holiday season. Heading into the meeting, Donnie said earlier this week he was hoping the ordinance, which was agreed upon in April, would allow a 30-minute break every four hours for his horses, rather than the two hours the ordinance previously stated.
Instead, the board voted to amend the ordinance to clarify that the horses must receive 30 minutes of cumulative rest every two hours, meaning that the breaks the animals already receive — eight to 10 minutes every 30 minutes as the rides change over — would suffice. After the vote, Jessica Lambert noted her approval of the board’s decision.
“We look forward to continuing the tradition,” she said, adding that she would have to discuss the future of the rides in Frederick with her father later before making a firm decision on whether her family’s company will continue to offer them in the city. “We’re really happy for the clarification, though. It pushes us to want to come back to Frederick.”
Despite the initial hope that the resting time period would grow from two to four hours, Alderwoman Kelly Russell explained how it would be unnecessary to do so if the ordinance recognized the time between rides as rest, which Thursday’s amendment does.
“I think, in practicality, this is what we intended,” Russell said.
In addition to the rest time clarification, which also includes that a horse rests whenever two of the carriage’s wheels are chocked, the amendment now also states that a horse is working when it is pulling people or goods, and the horse must also receive water whenever it stops within any two-hour period.