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Don’t Drink & Ride: Understanding Horseback DUIs

horse with beer bottle
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Written by Natalie Gasper

DUIs and Horses

Some equestrians like to drink and ride, especially over long holiday weekends. While most people think DUIs are reserved for motorists, horseback riders can actually be charged, too.

You can get a DUI, short for Driving Under the Influence, for operating a number of vehicles. While some, like cars, may seem obvious, you can also get charged for operating bikes, lawnmowers, and even horses! Some states differentiate between different types of DUIs, including DWIs and OWIs.

Fun fact: you can get charged with a DUI in over half of the states for riding a horse while under the influence.

dui paperwork and gavel

Source: Canva

The Definition of a DUI

The most common definition of a DUI, an abbreviation for Driving Under the Influence, is the crime of driving and/or operating a vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Vehicles You Can Definitely Get a DUI While Operating

Turns out DUIs are for more than just cars. Here are some additional vehicles you can receive a DUI related to:

  • Bicycle
  • Golf cart
  • Boat
  • Lawnmower
  • Segway
  • Moped
  • Tractor
  • Anything electric (bike, scooter, wheelchair, etc.)
  • Snowmobile
  • Horse (in some states)
people riding horses on a trail

Source: Canva

The Gray Area

It’s important to note that laws can vary widely from state to state, so what’s illegal in one can be a gray area in another—like whether or not a horse counts as a vehicle.

Acronyms

DUI vs. DWI vs. OWI

Each state has different impaired driving laws, and not all states feel that DUI is the right (or even the best) term. DUI, or Driving Under the Influence, encompasses both alcohol and drugs.

DWI, or DUI, Driving While Intoxicated, applies more to alcohol than drugs. OWI, or Operating While Intoxicated, is often interchangeable with DUI.

police car

Source: Canva

DUIs By State

State Can You Get a DUI on a Horse?
Alabama YES
Alaska YES
Arizona NO
Arkansas YES
California YES
Colorado NO
Connecticut NO
Delaware YES
Florida YES
Georgia YES
Hawaii NO
Idaho YES
Illinois YES
Indiana YES
Iowa NO
Kansas YES
Kentucky YES
Louisiana YES
Maine NO
Maryland YES
Massachusetts NO
Michigan NO
Minnesota NO
Mississippi YES
Missouri NO
Montana YES
Nebraska NO
Nevada YES
New Hampshire YES
New Jersey NO
New Mexico YES
New York YES
North Carolina YES
North Dakota YES
Ohio NO
Oklahoma YES
Oregon NO
Pennsylvania NO
Rhode Island NO
South Carolina NO
South Dakota YES
Tennessee NO
Texas NO
Utah NO
Vermont YES
Virginia YES
Washington NO
West Virginia YES
Wisconsin NO
Wyoming NO

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What states can you get a DUI on a horse?

You could potentially get a DUI on a horse in over half of the states (check out the prior handy chart to see which ones).

Q: Can you get a DUI on a horse and buggy?

Yes! Most states count a horse and buggy as a vehicle.

Q: Is a horse a vehicle?

This answer varies from state to state. Some say yes, as a horse can move a person from one place to another. Others say no because a horse has no motor. Some say yes if the horse is attached to a buggy or other wheeled object (like a cart).

Parting Thoughts

If you choose to drink and ride, make sure you know the laws where you’re at before you do. Aside from being dangerous (to yourself, others, and the horse), it could also be illegal.

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About the author

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Nancy loves retraining off the track Thoroughbreds and working with her dogs!