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Strange Horse Laws

Here is a collection of some of the wildest horse laws ever passed. This is a compilation of approximately 41 loony laws. Hope you enjoy! A great many of these laws were aimed specifically at horses and riders. No one knows how they got there and no one living has a memory of anyone arrested under them. 

In Omega, New Mexico, every woman must "be found to be wearing a corset" when riding a horse in public. A physician is required to inspect each female on horseback. The doctor must ascertain whether or not the woman is, in fact, complying with this law!

In Hartsville, Illinois, you can be arrested for riding an ugly horse.

In Pattonsburg, Missouri, according to the Revised Ordinances, 1884: "No person shall hallo, shout, bawl, scream, use profane language, dance, sing, whoop, quarrel, or make any unusual noise or sound in such manner as to disturb a horse."

A Wyoming community passed this one: "No female shall ride a horse while attired in a bathing suit within the boundaries of Riverton, unless she be escorted by at least two officers of the law or unless she be armed with a club." And continues with this amendment to the original: "The provisions of this statue shall not apply to females weighing less than ninety pounds nor exceeding two hundred pounds."

A misworded ordinance in Wolf Point, Montana: "No horse shall be allowed in public without its owner wearing a halter." 

A Fort Collins, Colorado Municipal Code: "It is unlawful for any male rider, within the limits of this community, to wink at any female rider with whom he is acquainted."

West Union, Ohio: "No male person shall make remarks to or concerning, or cough, or whistle at, or do any other act to attract the attention of any woman riding a horse." 

Abilene, Kansas, City Ordinance 349 declares: "Any person who shall in the city of Abilene shoot at a horse with any concealed or unconcealed bean snapper or like article, shall upon conviction, be fined."

1899 vintage law from Waverly, Kentucky: "Any person who shall ride a horse in a public place while wearing any device or thing attached to the head, hair, headgear or hat, which device or thing is capable of lacerating the flesh of any other person with whom it may come in contact and which is not sufficiently guarded against the possibility of so doing, shall be adjudged a disorderly person."

A 1907 Cumberland County, Tennessee statute reads: "Speed while on horseback upon county roads will be limited to three miles an hour unless the rider sees a bailiff who does not appear to have had a drink in thirty days, then the horseman will be permitted to make what he can." 

Figure out this 1913 Massachusetts law: "Whosoever rides a horse on any public way-laid out under authority or law recklessly or while under the influence of liquor shall be punished; thereby imposing upon the horseman the duty of finding out at his peril whether certain roads had been laid out recklessly or while under the influence of liquor before riding over them." 

Male horse buffs in Basalt, Nevada, are prohibited from eating onions between the hours of 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. while out riding.

Law specifies only men! Ice cream lovers beware in Cotton Valley, Louisiana. Citizens aren't allowed to eat an ice cream cone while on horseback in public places. 

An antiquated city ordinance in Quartzite, Arizona, prohibits anyone from playing cards with a pregnant woman, a child, or an Indian, "lest they acquire a taste for gambling!"

In McAlester, Oklahoma, it's taboo for a woman over 235 pounds and attired in shorts to be seen on a horse in any public place. 

It's illegal in Marion, South Carolina, to tickle a female under her chin with a feather duster to get her attention while she's riding a horse! 

It's a violation of the law for a married man to ride on Sunday in Wakefield, Rhode Island. Married women aren't mentioned, so it must be okay for them. 

A newly married man in Kearney, Nebraska, can't ride alone. The law states that he "can't ride without his spouse along at any time, unless he's been married for more than twelve months."

It is strictly against the law in Bicknell, Indiana, for a man to leave his new bride alone and go riding with his pals on his wedding day. The penalty is a week in jail. 

In Bismark, North Dakota, every home within the limits of Bismark must have a hitching post in the front yard. 

Budds Creek, Maryland, has an antique law which prohibits horses from sleeping in a bathtub, unless the rider is also sleeping with the horse. 

In Headland, Alabama: "Any man on horseback shall not tempt another man's wife. An unmarried horseman should not stop overnight when the woman is alone." 

Bluff, Utah's legislation regarding the Sabbath: Women who happen to be single, widowed or divorced are banned from riding to church on Sunday. Unattached females who take part in such outlandish activities can be arrested and put in jail. 

Citizens are prohibited from buying, selling or trading horses "after the sun goes down" in Wellsboro, Pennsylvania, without first getting permission from the sheriff. 

In Schurz, Nevada, they have an old law which prohibits the trading of a horse after dark. 

In Pee Wee, West Virginia, people are prohibited from swapping horses in the town square at noon! 

A unique law in Pine Ridge, South Dakota where horses are banned from neighing between midnight and 6 a.m. near a "residence inhabited by human beings." 

And in Pocataligo, Georgia, horses aren't allowed to be heard neighing after 10 p.m.

Paradise, California, retains a most unusual law that says it is illegal to let a horse sleep in a bakery within the limits of the community. What about goats, cows, etc.?? Only horses are mentioned.

In Sutherland, Iowa, a law governs how horses may be seen when on the streets during evening hours. The animal must always have a light attached to its tail and a horn of some sort on its head.

No rodeos in this town! No man is allowed to ride his horse "in a violent manner" if he happens to be in Boone, North Carolina.

Female riders in Clearbrook, Minnesota, be aware of this one governing the heel length of a horsewoman's shoes. Any such woman can wear heels measuring no more than 1-1/2 inches in length. 

A loony clothing ordinance in Upperville, Virginia, bans a married woman from riding a horse down a street while wearing "body hugging clothing." A $2 fine can be imposed on any female rider who wears "clothing that clings to her body."

An attorney can be barred from practicing law in Corvallis, Oregon, should he refuse to accept a horse in lieu of his legal fees. 

Trying to find a wife? Watch out in Tranquility, New Jersey that you don't violate this law. The law states that a person can't distribute handbills while on horseback as a means of advertising for a wife.

It is against the law in California for horses to mate in public within five hundred yards of any church, school or tavern! The penalty can be a $500 fine and six months in jail. This law isn't clear as to whether the horse or the owner is fined and jailed. 

McAllen, Texas, has outlawed citizens from taking pictures of horses on the Sabbath. Any person who "disturbs" or "otherwise antagonizes a horse" in this manner will be subject to a fine of at least $1.50 and can be jailed for as much as "three full days and nights."

In Burdoville, Vermont, it states that "no horses are allowed to roam loose between March 1 and October 20! 

In case you have an accident in Hortonville, New York, here's their antique law: "The rider of any horse involved in an accident resulting in death shall immediately dismount and give his name and address to the person killed. 

Watch out in Rhinelander, Wisconsin if you are riding a horse while intoxicated! An old ordinance takes care of the problem. Such a horseman, per the law, must be given a "large dose of castor oil." Who doles out the penalty? The horseman's wife! Refusal to take the castor oil results in a fine! 

In closing, a summation of Clergyman Henry Ward Beecher's view on the art of lawmaking holds so much truth. "We bury men when they are dead, but we try to embalm the dead body of laws, keeping the corpse in sight long after the vitality has gone. It usually takes a hundred years to make a law; and then, after the law has done its work, it usually takes another hundred years to get rid of it."


Contributed by Lynn G.

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