Updated: Nov 17, 2021
Families watching a fireworks show.
The Florida House of Representatives turned its attention to the use of fireworks this past week. After calling a vote, members passed HB 979, which aims to prohibit the sale and use of fireworks within the Village of Wellington’s equestrian preserves. With more authority over the sale and use of fireworks locally, Wellington is in a better position to regulate fireworks within the Equestrian Preserve’s 9,000 acres.
The bill was originally brought forth by Representative Matt Willhite of Wellington to better protect the local equestrian community. Loud noises, and especially fireworks, are known to frighten horses. Representative Willhite recognized the potentially serious disturbances caused by local fireworks displays and the unique and important role that horses play in the local economy.
The Village of Wellington is widely considered the “Winter Equestrian Capital of the World,” and every year, thousands of spectators gather in Wellington to enjoy equestrian sporting events. In the course of a season, as many as 13,000 horses are bred and trained in the local area, and the animals represent a significant investment of time and resources.
In a statement issued shortly after the vote, Representative Willhite praised the bill’s passage:
Wellington is a unique community, known for its equestrian sports. The horses that participate in these sporting events are like Olympic athletes, and inspire thousands to travel to the Village of Wellington every year. These equestrian sports are an economic driver for the Village. Because of Wellington’s unique circumstances, it’s a great accomplishment that the House passed this bill. Without it, Wellington will be unable to protect its equestrian citizens and their horses from the use of fireworks throughout the community on designated holidays.