Horse owners will no longer be allowed to ride along the beach in the city limits of Myrtle Beach without fear of getting a ticket.
The local Sun News has reported that: “City management last week said it would begin enforcing city code updated in 2011 when the animal control ordinance was rewritten. Myrtle Beach city spokesman Mark Kruea said while a previous resolution had allowed horseback riding on the beach during winter months, the existing code does not allow the animals on the public beach without a special event permit.”
“City code prohibits horses on the beach except for special events,” Kruea said. “Council previously (1998) had approved a resolution allowing horseback riding on the beach, subject to certain restrictions, from the third Saturday in November until the end of February. With the updated code, that resolution was no longer effective… Bottom line, the previous permission for horses on the beach during the winter months had been overtaken by the updated code.”
While Kruea said there was no recent council action on the matter, John Pedersen, Myrtle Beach’s new city manager decided to begin enforcement as of Jan. 22 due to complaints about horse manure on the beach.
Horseback riding has always been prohibited in Surfside Beach and in the county of Georgetown, which includes Garden City beach. Horse back riding will now only be approved in the county which is a 3-mile stretch of beach running along Long Bay Estates south in front of several campgrounds that stretch between the Surfside Beach city limits and the Myrtle Beach city limits.
Richard “Buster” Ray, owner of Horseback Riding in Myrtle Beach LLC said. “We’re the most photographed people in the winter when riding down the beach. I’d say 90 percent of the people love to see horses coming down that beach.”
“It is just really upsetting,” said Lorraine Weckerle, a local horseback rider. “I’ve been doing this for years. It’s hard enough we can’t go to Georgetown. I just feel like they are pushing us out totally and I want to know what is triggering this.” Weckerle owns five rescue horses. “I ride in the water. The ocean is free. … This is working class people and it brings joy to the community.”
The Sun News reported that Kruea replied while it is true no one owns the ocean, the city does have responsibility for the offshore waters and can regulate activities in the water. Kruea states, “The major complaint is the horse manure. I understand there is a biological difference between horse manure and dog excrement but beach goers are not happy about it and it doesn’t mean it is not an unsightly, smelly mess. It still generates a lot of complaints,” he said.
Riding into the city limits now would be a misdemeanor, which carries a fine of up to $500 and/or 30 days in jail.