Horse-drawn carriages (copy)

Horses lead a carriage full of riders through downtown Frederick during a recent holiday season. 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.

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.

Follow Colin McGuire on Twitter: @colinpadraic.

(17) comments


I am glad the changes were make last night. We need to remember this group make up of mostly non Frederick City or Frederick County Residents has one objective to SHUT DOWN the Carriage rides. Don't let them fool you. That is there only agenda. And to think that their leader Mr Boyer, chased a carriage down the street along with two other screaming horrible language to a carriage filled with a family of 4 with two children under 8 years of ago. Just Horrible, but that are the kind of people we are dealing against.


I hope the city police are ready this winter to deal with nasty animal rights activists - some from out of state - who WILL come to harass the carriage riders.


A sad day in City Gov't when our elected leaders feel compelled to legislate horse-drawn carriage ride animal welfare, based on what appears to be in reaction to a small, but vocal, animal rights group. A solution looking for a problem. Absurd.


A fair conclusion. No significant change to current practice. The Lamberts know what they are doing, and they do it well.


I could not agree more with your statement. They are providing a valuable service to the City of Frederick.


Diehard protesters want horses in pastures, not pulling carriages.

Crusty Frederick Man 64

What I saw last night watching that meeting was proof again that we have city officials that after being given the facts by qualified people they are unable to make a intelligent decision. The Lambert’s horses have more common sense than the people running this city.


What, exactly, is your issue? This seems like a reasonable compromise that will hold up in the future no matter who is doing these rides.


I am surprised that no one has commented here. For those of you whining that this is somehow prohibitive or bad, what precisely is your issue? Is this unreasonable in some way?


Good to see they are tackling the tough issues. The homeless and vagrant problem downtown will take care of itself.


This is ridiculous.

Not one of those aldermen are experts in the care of horses. Not one of them. And here they are making scientific decisions for horses. At a minimum, an expert should have been consulted with.

And no, I am not a horse activist. I support the Lambert’s all the way.


How do you know that an expert was not consulted? It is not like this is re-inventing the wheel.


At the meeting Not any mention of any other parties


So you are assuming that no one sought or received information at all? Okay.


Why? Just why? It was discussed at the meeting. And no one mentioned counsel from experts. I didn’t conduct the meeting. All I did was listen. I’m sorry if my post bothers you.


Wow they can figure out how to water a horse, but still can’t get roads paved and finish the Ron Young Flood Control Plan. Smart man that Ben Mcshane from abstaining.


I Disagree with your statement. I was at the meeting and Mr McShane did not like the old law and did not like the proposed changes to he did not vote. However he did not have any solution and that is just not good.

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