Print Horse rides may return to Old Town
Written by Greg Ruland   
Tuesday, 27 September 2011 00:00

Horse-drawn wagons could return to Old Town in a big way if negotiations between the city of Cottonwood and Gypsy Wind Carriages conclude successfully as expected.

Cottonwood City Council directed City Attorney Steve Horton to draw up a contract that requires Jackie Odom to maintain adequate liability insurance, confine rides to a specific route, care appropriately for the horse, obey traffic laws and otherwise operate according to city standards.

Gehlert reported city staff sees the horse carriage as an attraction for Cottonwood’s Historic District and recommended the contract be drawn up to address several concerns.

Abigail Jensen, holding the reins, celebrates her ninth birthday  Sept. 15 by taking a wagon ride with Gypsy Wind Carriages. Jackie Odom, second from right, owns the company and is negotiating a contract with the city of Cottonwood that would make wagon rides a regular  feature of a visit to Old Town. Along for the ride are, from left to right, Heather Barber, Abigail Barber and Olivia Williams.Gehlert also recommended both the Cottonwood police and fire departments review the agreement to make sure any concerns those departments might have are also addressed.

Council declined to change city ordinances to address the concerns, deciding instead to rely on the contract Horton negotiates.

Odom currently provides wagon rides in tandem with the Farmers Market on Thursday evenings from July through September. The new contract would allow the service on a daily, year-round basis. Gehlert said.

If approved, the carriage would be staged at the site of the old car wash, just east of a recently-opened beer and wine bar in the 700 block of North Main Street.

The wagon would travel north on Main Street to the parking area in front of an emporium where it would turn around and head south, stopping to drop and pick up in front of the city’s historic hotel.

On Farmers Market days, the wagon would turn east onto Pima Street to drop and pick up people in the parking area along the south side of Pima Street, where the rig would again turn around and head west to North Main Street.

Odom told council the current summertime operation proved to be very successful and popular with people who attend the market.

Wagon rides Odom provided in Sedona, Clarkdale, Camp Verde and Rimrock during the past four years did not result in any safety or traffic violations, Odom said.

The animal that pulls the wagon, a small draft horse imported from the United Kingdom, has been around emergency vehicles with sirens blaring and has never “spooked or bolted,” Odom said.

Odom said Thursday, Sept. 15, negotiations with the city were on track, and she expected a completed contract could be signed very soon.