Horse News

Coalition to Ban Horse Drawn Carriages exposes lies about collapse of NYC carriage horse

Source:  Coalition to Ban Horse Drawn Carriages

The horse that collapsed near Central Park   Photo:  NYCLASS

By Elizabeth Forel, President of Coalition to Ban Horse Drawn Carriages

Another New York City carriage horse collapsed on Feb. 21, but it did not come to the attention of the public until almost one week later.  Carriage drivers are not required to report accidents.

The horse’s owner claims that Max, the horse, was wearing new shoes and tripped — but eyewitnesses said the horse was breathing heavily before he collapsed. An industry vet examined Max, but too much time has passed to do an independent investigation.

Horses do not trip on pavement “all the time,” as claimed by the owner.  And even if this were true, then this is more reason not to have horses working the pavement of New York City.

Mayor Bill de Blasio made a campaign promise to end the inhumane horse carriage trade but allowed himself to be overpowered and bullied by the Teamsters and other unions who sought to align themselves with this failing business to show the nation that unions were still viable.  They threatened to withdraw support from the mayor and it worked.  Now we cannot even get the administration to enforce the street laws governing this business.

The term “fake news” had its beginnings with the local media about this business — talking outright lies about good union jobs, extensive oversight of city agencies, the bogus desire for the stable land; the minuscule number of horses who have died in the business; first-class stalls and stables; highly exaggerated financial contribution to the economy; safety a nonissue.

The fake news worked.  If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it as truth.

As it stands now, the administration is not transparent on this issue and will not even deal with those of us who criticize them. Sound familiar to what is happening in Washington, D.C.?

Our recourse?  Vote!  Make your voice heard in November.




14 replies »

  1. “Tripping & falling or tripping “all the time” – is just ridiculous! On the other hand, I dont agree with the whole “ban the carriage horse” movement. Yeah, the horses would be better off if they were working in the Park & not on the busy main streets. BUT the whole ban idea doesnt answer what happens to the working horses if this industry IS banned. The auctions & kill buyers are always looking for draft sized horses – there really is no guarantee of retirement pastures for them.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Maggie – thanks for commenting. You may not know this but here are some facts that support a ban. The hack line – where the drivers pick up their rides – is on the south side of Central Park on the street. There have been many accidents here and within the park where the horses work. It is very crowded and not necessarily safer than other parts of the city. People make the assumption that there is an opportunity for the horses to work in a safe park with no traffic. There is not. This is a link to the many accidents that have happened in NYC.

      To answer what would happen to the horses – we believe many of them go to auction now. You mentioned that kill buyers like the big drafts, which most are — although there are also standardbreds in the business. In 2013, I published a 7 ½ year study that showed between 60-70 horses fell off the Department of Health registry in that time – 530 horses. Once a horse is no long wanted, there are no safeguards – and no way to trace his/her whereabouts. This is an article I wrote a couple of years later updating this issue.

      Please read these article. We all want what is best for these horses and working 9 hours a day 7 days a week with little actual oversight from City Agencies is not it. Thank you


      • Yes, I do know what the area is like where they pick up passengers – and I agree, they should be in a more protected & safer environment – the problem is – where? I also realize that not only draft but many other breeds of driving horses are put to work there. There certainly should be stiffer regulations & follow-up on what becomes of these horses – but sadly, as long as slaughter & the current attitude towards working animals exists, the danger continues to ALL horses. Have you read that in Kentucky – horses are now considered livestock? Putting them in that category just might possibly enable horse slaughter plants to return to the US. None of us wants that to happen.


  2. If it were true that horses trip all the time on pavement, those of us who had to ride on pavement and roads just to get to trails would be wrecked along with the horses. I knew a grand total of one horse who tripped and fell while I was riding him on a road and he had problems with his feet and was a shoeing challenge.

    It’s kind of frustrating there is no happy medium: you have a park to tour in New York to drive the horses and surely there are some good honest drivers who care for horses. It would be an opportunity for people who don’t otherwise have the therapeutic benefits of any horse contact. But then you have these terrible ones who lie and don’t. Either the government bans and pushes them all or they do nothing. Why can’t they just enforce the laws that are there to protect them? They DO have some don’t they? If they ban it totally you end up with horses shipped off to auctions and slaughter. Kick out the bad apples, and then see if any good apples are left. If there aren’t….well then you may as well ban it. But at least enforce what laws there are!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Maggie, Terri, great points. And how about perhaps moving the business to an area close enough to NYC that tourists would be interested in taking rides but that’s nowhere near as dangerous or congested as the city itself? For instance, there are parks within Staten Island that are very nice with there being ample room to set up a simple but more accommodating stable and a small pasture. It might cost some money, but at least good carriage riders — irresponsible and dishonest workers ought to be fired immediately — and grooms will be able to keep their jobs and the horses will be able to perform to the best of their abilities without the high risk of injury and death.


  4. I went to look for more photos but there are none of Max or this incident on either of the links provided, and neither had any news that was remotely recent, either. Is there a better source for Max’s plight somewhere else?


      • To my eye it looks like Max was trimmed pretty short, and from the few photos it looks like his right hind is not correctly trimmed. It’s also disconcerting to read what the driver says, first he blames the horse for tripping, then claims his foot (?) got stuck in a small crack (though it is possible a cleat on the shoe might have caught), then claims he might not be comfortable due to new shoes. Which is it? It would be helpful to see photos closer up of Max’s hooves and shoes, a lot of horses working on asphalt wear rubber shoes but it isn’t clear what they put on Max, and what (if any) parts might have caught in a crack so unforgivingly they sent him to the ground.

        It’s also not mentioned if Max was walking or trotting, so there is no explanation for the heavy breathing the witness described. If Max was trotting it is pretty unlikely a small crack would have caught and tripped him — much more likely it would pull or shift the shoe. It’s also at least possible Max just didn’t want to work that day 🙂

        “Max had just returned to work after spending eight months at a farm upstate and had his shoes replaced, he said.”

        “He tripped. His foot got stuck on a little crack on the pavement. He went down,” Emanus said. “That happens all the time with horses. With new shoes, sometimes they’re not comfortable.”


  5. What? Too much time had passed to do an independent examination? What does that even mean?

    Cities are no places for horses – I remember walking in Boston and there was a horse carriage (forgive me if I’ve told this story before). Drivers can be very impatient and inconsiderate even to humans, as we know – but this driver was ready to explode because the horse carriage caused him to slow down, and he couldn’t get around them. (I bet he would have tried if he could). I watched the entire thing, as the guy made an illegal U-turn in a huff and drove off, and I would have gone to the mat for that horse if anything had happened.


  6. Ok. I will Only say yes a horse can trip and fall. I say this after being in horses my Entire life. We drove Hackneys for years and while tripping is rare it occurs on pavement. If you use borium or rubber soles some of this is stretegically eliminated, borium also rounds and slips occur as well as a warped shoe and if rubber hits a dip un pavement it too can cause a fall. Parade horses have done it with riders even. This is a Very Random incident. I also want to point to the fact we Need to focus on Slaughter closure and it was the Illinois Carriage Industry that fought to CLOSE IT with All their might. Your forgetting these people are not the enemy for driving a carriage even in the city. The horses have a job or die. Im not disputing abuse im saying both sides can error. We need to concentrate on Real abuse being stopped and quit harrassing people who are doing their jobs correctly because an accident happened. At this point we have horse trainers who drain blood to make horses easier to ride, illegally tail blocking, tail breaking to reset higher, bits that are still made from barbed wire please folks lets concentrate on Real problems. If slaughter reopens it wont matter what the opinion you have against carriages. You have to handle one issue at a time. Voting isnt the answer right now, but working on the Right issue is otherwise you gain nothing.


    • Horses can and do trip on all surfaces – dirt, pasture, slippery grass, smooth arenas, beaches, dirt roads, you name it. Smooth paved roads are probably among the least likely surfaces for horses to trip on, unless their hooves are in disrepair, a shoe shifts, they have a poorly skilled farrier, or they have some musculoskeletal pain. This is not a strong argument against the horse carriage trade, it’s not exclusive to this practice, this industry, or this location.


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