*This letter was greatly condensed in a version that was submitted to the Daily World in accordance with their word count standards.
Horseback riding on the beach has been an Ocean Shores draw for decades and is part of what makes our beach experience so special. It’s been brought to my attention that the City of Ocean Shores is doing everything it can to get rid of the business my father owns (Honey Pearl Ranch) while doing nothing to infringe upon another horseback riding business (Chenois Creek). If there was a movement to get rid of all horses on the beach fine, but it seems only Honey Pearl Ranch is being targeted and there is a history of unfair mistreatment of my father’s business.
Every year the mayor adds new requirements to the contract HPR must sign making it increasingly more difficult for my dad to stay in business. For example, one year she wanted to make it a requirement for HPR to clean up all the manure left by the horses along the beach. HPR already cleans up all the manure near the trailers and horse lines but it is simply not feasible to send someone walking miles up and down the beach behind the horses cleaning up all the manure. The horses walk close to the water so the manure is washed away by the sea. What’s more is that to my knowledge, no requests have been made of Chenois Creek to clean up their manure. Seems odd.
The request wasn’t feasible and HPR expressed these concerns in front of the Ocean Shoes City Council. Thankfully the requirement was voted down. What’s interesting is that this year (and last year too) the mayor gave HPR less than a month’s time to question, adjust and sign the new contract. In 2016, HPR had from December 5th to December 29th to sign. Worth noting is that there was no council meeting in this time frame meaning HPR had no opportunity to dispute the contract in front of city council….again, seems odd.
This year, the mayor is demanding HPR get special immunizations for its herd. These immunizations would cost $5,000 to $10,000. These immunizations are not required for any other horseback riding business in the state. There is no public health or safety issue being addressed. These immunizations are simply not important or needed, (my father has confirmed this with multiple vets) they are just another financial burden to impose upon HPR. No other horses need be immunized. This means tourists and locals can bring their horses to the beach without the immunizations just fine, only HPR horses must be immunized. How does this make any sense? Why is HPR being specifically targeted? What’s more is that just outside the city limits is the other horseback riding business, Chenois Creek. Chenois Creek horses are not required to be immunized and Honey Pearl Ranch’s horses walk along the same path. Why must only one set of horses be immunized?
Apparently the mayor is getting advice from an anonymous equestrian group. This group only lobbies against HPR even though their powers are not restricted by city limits like the mayor’s are. My father told me that he has not been allowed to meet with the equestrian group nor know who is amongst it’s members. My father told me he would be more than happy to talk with the group but their identity has remained a secret and all meetings are closed door. This equestrian group has never lobbied against, sued or made complaints about Chenois Creek which is essentially running the same exact business as my dad.
These are just a few examples of the city and said equestrian groups attacks on Honey Pearl Ranch. These attacks are made on Honey Pearl ranch alone.
Look, I’m a vegan with no problem calling out anyone including my own father. The last thing I want to see is abused horses but there is no evidence that my dad is abusing his horses or that they are sick. In fact, he has more land and barn space for his animals than Chenois Creek. That’s not to say Chenois Creek is abusing horses, I have no reason to believe they are, I’m simply pointing out the flawed logic backing these one-sided accusations.
I am not quick to come to this conclusion but the only difference between Chenois Creek and Honey Pearl Ranch operations that I can find is the skin color of the one in charge of the operations. It is with great shame that I even consider that people in my community are targeting a man because of his skin color. It’s disgusting and not something I take lightly. If someone can point out a fair reason why one business is being targeted while another is not that would be greatly appreciated. Why does this equestrian group take such great interest in HPR while ignoring Chenois Creek? Why does the mayor want to enact laws that would only effect my dad’s horses and ignore others? I trust the people of Ocean Shores and Grays Harbor County are with me when I say racial injustice will not be tolerated here. I hope this is not the issue but until someone can show me why my father is being specifically targeted it is the only logical conclusion I can come up with.