Horses on SMB still illegal

Police are being reminded to enforce a law that bans the riding of horses on Seven Mile Beach at any time of the day after a caller reporting a horse on the beach on Monday was told it was not against the law.

An internal reminder was circulated within the police force this week to remind officers that horse-riding on any part of Seven Mile Beach is prohibited at any time of the day. On other beaches, and on roads, it is illegal to ride a horse after sunset.

Deborah Denis, public relations officer for the police, said a copy of the law would be circulated internally for officers’ attention.

‘It does state that Seven Mile should be horse-free at all times, other beaches fall under night meaning after sunset and before sunrise,’ she said.

A member of the public who phoned police to inform them that a man had ridden a horse along the beach and stopped at Royal Palms, was told that it was only against the law to have horses on the beach after 6pm.

Ms Denis confirmed that the caller had been told this by the officer who responded over the phone to the report, but that police later determined it was illegal and sent officers to the scene.

She said two officers arrived at the beach in front of Royal Palms at 6.01pm, just over an hour after the call was made, but the rider and horse had already left.

Nicki Eldemire, who runs Nicki’s Beach Rides in West Bay, said all established horse operators were aware of the law.

‘We’d never ride a horse along Seven Mile Beach. Usually you find it’s single-horse owners or kids with horses who just don’t know the law.’

She said that she remembered many years ago that horse riding along Seven Mile was allowed but it was banned as the beach became more popular with tourists.

‘You can’t have horses galloping along a beach with kids playing on it and people on beach chairs. It was an accident waiting to happen, so they changed the law,’ Ms. Eldemire said.

According to the Animal (Restrictions on Riding) Order, which was revised in 1996, it is illegal to ride a horse along the stretch of Seven Mile Beach from the Wharf restaurant to a line west of the junction of West Bay, Town Hall and Northwest Point at any time of the day.

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