HORSE lovers say riding horses on the beach is good for the animals and encourages children to get outside.
But some Corinella residents have told Bass Coast Shire Council they oppose the riding of horses on the local beach, due to issues including safety and noise restrictions, access to the beach, and at times, the number of horse floats parked.
Last Thursday, a meeting was held between Cr Stephen Fullarton and locals who are concerned restrictions might be implemented for horses on the beach.
Local Katie McDowall organised the meeting after asking Western Victoria MP James Purcell for advice after he dealt with a similar issue near him (Port Fairy).
Cr Fullarton said he wants to see the issue resolved quickly.
“As I’ve said before, with the very unfortunate people who’ve moved here from the city, ‘toughen up princess’. If you don’t like horse s**t, go back to Glen Waverley.”
Cr Fullarton said he will be asking council to put a manure box in the car park at the beach where most horse riders unload their horses.
The majority of horse riders pick up their horses’ droppings anyway.
Caroline Ferguson, a regular horse rider, said there are bigger issues that should be dealt with than horses on a beach, such as crime and drugs.
“We should be promoting kids out there participating in a healthy equestrian sport, instead of sitting at home on Facebook,” Ms Ferguson said.
Ms McDowall created an online petition requesting council not ban or impose any restrictions on horses at the beach.
More than 880 people have signed it.
Her horse had laminitis, an inflammation in the foot, and she said the salt water helped heal her horse’s foot.
“If I couldn’t ride on the beach, I would’ve had to put her down,” Ms McDowall said.
She acknowledged that there’s a small minority of people complaining and a small minority of horse riders who are doing the wrong thing, such as not picking up their horses’ droppings.
But for the issue of “access to the beach”, she said the construction of a second path would resolve that, a view supported by Cr Fullarton.
And none of the horse riders want to see any time restrictions put on horses.
Local Di Kazakoff said she doesn’t want to feel like she can’t just get up and go down to the beach with her horse.
Ms McDowall would like to see more community consultation before any decision on horses at local beaches is made.
Council’s senior communications and engagement officer, Steve Fuery, said “we’re working with the residents, foreshore committee of management, Parks Victoria and professional horse trainers to present options to council for a decision in the near future”.
Ms McDowall will be presenting her petition to councillors on Wednesday, May 10 at a community connection session.