Concerns about highway damage from horseshoes are being raised in Sauk County, Wis., the Baraboo News Republic reported.
The Highway and Parks Committee gathered to discuss possible legislation to restrict the types of shoes allowed on Sauk County highways. The Amish and other groups apply Borium or Drill-Tek to their shoes to gain better traction on roads. However, officials are blaming these shoes for damaging roads, especially freshly-paved surfaces in the summer months.
This isn’t the first time Wisconsin has proposed legislation controlling shoe types. In February 2018, a bill was proposed to limit damage by inflicting a warning, then fines. The goal of giving a warning first is to educate the horse owners about the damage the shoes can have on the roads. Officials have proposed filing down the metal studs on the horseshoes to a quarter-inch in spring or to change horseshoes during the summer months.
Similar legislation was proposed in Indiana after an estimated $1.2 million in recently paved roads had been damaged as a result of horse-drawn Amish buggies. To help pay for road maintenance and repair costs, there has been an increase in the cost of buggy license plates, costing $60 in 2017.
In addition to the higher license fee, Indiana legislation is also looking into horseshoe alternatives, such as rubber shoes. The plan was to try out five sets of Megasus Horserunner plastic shoes that are applied with adhesives rather than nails. However, there was some reluctance to try five sets, and only two were purchased. The shoes were then on back order, and it was a matter of finding volunteers to test the shoes out with their horses and buggies. The idea of rubber shoes wasn’t well received.
The difficulty Wisconsin is facing in its bill proposal falls in the issue of enforcement. Legislators don’t want to adopt regulations without intentions of following through on overseeing. However, Richland and Crawford counties successfully passed ordinances that barred the use of Drill Tek, as well as other materials or applications that can cause damage to the highways.
Despite bills passing successfully at the county level, ordinances proposed at the state level have failed to pass. There is the issue of determining the specific language to classify which horses would fall into the bounds of enforcement. It was suggested that horseshoe restrictions should be geared specifically toward non-recreational horses instead those used for recreation. The Wisconsin State Horse Council opposed the state bill that was introduced in 2017, as reported by lobbying date from the Wisconsin Ethics Commission.
In January 2018, Indiana reached an informal agreement that horses pulling buggies would wear heavy-duty shoes with spikes or studs from Nov. 1 to Apr. 1 each year, and then they would change to a milder steel during the summer months.