Can you ride a horse in Anthem? Judge Gerald A. Williams offers the answer.


Judge Gerald A. Williams answers, “Can you ride a horse in Anthem?”

Yes, but you should do so with extreme caution. Some locations, such as the parking lot of Boulder Creek High School at the end of the school day, would be especially problematic. But recently, a young lady’s horse ride in Anthem became a national news story when she was initially denied service while riding her horse through a Starbucks drive-thru.

Under Arizona law, someone riding a horse on a roadway has the same rights and duties as someone driving a car. A.R.S. § 28-625. Also under Arizona law, a driver of a motor vehicle, who encounters someone riding a horse, is required to take precautions to prevent the horse from becoming frightened and to safeguard both the horse and rider’s safety. A.R.S. § 28-858.

Exhibit C to the Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&Rs) for the Anthem Parkside and Country Club homeowners’ associations lists the initial use restrictions for Anthem residents. These include a prohibition of having livestock or poultry in your yard (or inside your house, if you were so inclined). There are, however, equestrian trails within and around the Anthem Parkside areas of Anthem.

Maricopa County has an extensive non-motorized trail system. The Maricopa Trail is 315 miles long and makes a large circle around the metro Phoenix area. The Anthem Community Council helps maintain the 6.3-mile section of the trail that runs through Anthem. The trail is designed for shared use.

An example of how not to behave can be found in the unpublished case of State v. Coates. On a September morning in 2007, near Elgin, Arizona, the defendant was jogging along a private dirt road as his neighbor was riding his horse towards him on the same road. Neither yielded and the jogger somehow managed to run into the face of his neighbor’s horse.

At that point the neighbor tried to calm his horse, but the jogger responded by yelling at his neighbor and by shoving the horse’s head and neck. In response, the neighbor swung the reins at the jogger, striking his shoulder twice. The horse and rider then galloped away, with the jogger running alongside, shouting at them and attempting to take pictures with his cell phone.

At trial, the jogger argued that A.R.S. § 28-625 required the horse to yield the roadway to him as a pedestrian and that he placed his hands on the horse only to prevent a collision and injuries. His arguments were unpersuasive. In 2009, the Arizona Court of Appeals upheld his conviction for disorderly conduct.



Love horses? Arizona Equine Rescue would welcome your help.

The Arizona Equine Rescue Organization, Inc. (AERO) is a charitable organization that provides health care and rehabilitation serves for injured and abused horses. There are several volunteer opportunities for people willing to make a commitment to service.

If you can’t volunteer, but still want to help, they also need money. There’s a factual basis behind the expression “eats like a horse” and it’s possible to sponsor some or all of a horse’s care.

Their business office is in Scottsdale, but their facility is located in New River. You can contact them through their web page at




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