Carriage Ride Operator Facing Frederick Regulations Considers Ending 8-Year Tradition

A Frederick City Ordinance is requiring carriage operators to give their animals more breaks.

Frederick, MD- Eight years of holiday carriage rides might be coming to an end in Frederick this winter due to a Frederick Ordinance limiting times a horse may work.

Donald Lambert operates a carriage ride business with his daughter Jessica and has a contract with the city to lead carriage rides through downtown Frederick every November and December.

However, Lambert faced controversy when activist groups began protesting the carriage rides, citing complaints of animal cruelty and mistreatment.

Lambert said he first ran into protesters two years ago.

“It just turned into nasty,” Lambert said. They just chanted the whole time I was near them.”

Protesters met with the mayor and Board of Aldermen at a workshop in Fall 2018 to push for an outright ban of horse drawn carriages in the city. The Aldermen revisited city ordinance regarding horse-drawn vehicles and updated the regulations.

The Frederick City ordinance regarding horse-drawn commercial vehicles now requires drivers to give their horses a 30 minute break every 2 hours or less, and the horses may not work for more than 6 hours per day. Violation of the regulation would be punishable with a fine of $400.

Lambert said the new regulations are too limiting and that he already gives his horses 8-10 minute breaks in between each carriage ride which usually lasts around 20 minutes. He said giving 30 minute breaks would result in the animals standing around in the cold for too long and that walking helps keep their muscles warm.

“They have no clue about these animals,” Lambert said. “I’ve had veterinarians call [the Aldermen]… These horses can work 8-10 hours every day without a break.”

Lambert said he will not give carriage rides in downtown Frederick until the ordinance is changed, and will likely give rides at other locations Mt. Airy.

“Everybody down there has been so nice to me,” he said.

By Timothy Young