TELLURIDE, Colo. — The Telluride Town Council passed an ordinance Tuesday afternoon allowing horse-drawn carriages to operate in the town, but there may still be an approval process before operations can start.
In a May 24 memorandum to Telluride Mayor Sean Murphy and Town Councilmembers, Town of Telluride Attorney Kevin Geiger stated:
Although the genesis of this discussion and possible Municipal Code change came from discussions with a specific local party interested in this activity, Town Council is not approving that specific activity or possible application with the passage of this Ordinance. Stated another way, should this Ordinance receive Town Council approval, a proposal for horse-drawn carriage rides would still require a detailed application and approval by the Town Manager before commencement of horse-drawn carriage rides.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) started a campaign against the horse-drawn carriage proposal with letters being sent to town officials encouraging them not to pass it.
Breckenridge decided to ban horse-drawn carriages in August 2017. After having carriage rides for a while, the town grew and got busier with more people and traffic. The decision was made not to renew the contract with the horse-drawn carriage operator. Breckenridge Assistant Town Manager Shannon Haynes said the choice did not have anything to do with safety concerns for the horses and carriages.
There are specific rules in place for horse-drawn carriage rides in the city of Denver. Operators have to be licensed, and Denver Police approves permits for them to drive on city streets.
Christi Fontaine runs Royalty Carriages in downtown Denver. She said the most important factors for making sure she is operating safely are being able to read her horses and paying attention to what's going on around the carriage.
“The horses will definitely tell you if they are not sure of something because their heads will kind of come up and their ears will go forward,” said Fontaine.
Fontaine also said restrictions on times they are allowed to operate helps her avoid problems with traffic.