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Carriage Horse Accident Injures Three Near Central Park

August 16, 2012 | Horse Carriages New York

August 16, 2012 | By Nikhita Venugopal, Aidan Gardiner, Leslie Albrecht

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UPPER WEST SIDE - A spooked carriage horse suffered minor injuries after colliding with a car near Central Park on Thursday afternoon, police and fire officials said.

The four-legged melee injured the horse-drawn carriage's two passengers and its driver, who were treated at local hospitals, police said. The extent of their injuries wasn't immediately available.

Emergency responders raced to the scene at Seventh Avenue and Central Park South at 4:20 p.m. after the scared animal broke free from its carriage, bolted through traffic and apparently ran into a parked car, officials said.

The brown and white horse was spotted a short while later tied to a lamp post on the west side of Ninth Avenue between West 57th and 58th streets.

The animal, who was still wearing a harness adorned with red velvet, had bloody cuts on its nose. The horse appeared to panic and whinny, then fell on its side. The NYPD's Mounted Unit took the horse back to its home stable on West 52nd Street and 12th Avenue, police said.

A tourist said he saw the immediate aftermath of the carriage crash at West 60th and Broadway. Chris Harvie, a visitor from Australia, said he saw an overturned carriage, but no horse. The carriage appeared to have collided with a black sedan. One of the carriage's rear wheels was completely destroyed, Harvie said.

"The carriage was on its side," Harvie said. "The very nice black shiny limo was covered in horse poo."

A carriage driver who saw NYPD personnel bring the horse back to the stables said the creature appeared to be fine. "He was on all four legs and he walked up the stairs to the stable," said carriage driver Christina Hansen, 32, who drives a 9-year-old horse named Tyson. "All things considered, he seemed pretty calm."

Hansen said carriage harnesses are designed to break free in the event of an accident to protect horses from injury. She noted that the scared horse seemed be heading home, in the direction of the stables, after it got spooked.

A June accident involving a carriage horse, a motorcycle and an SUV at Columbus Circle injured the horse and renewed criticism of the carriage horse industry, which has come under fire from animal rights activists.

Priscilla Feral, president of the advocacy group Friends of Animals, said Thursday's accident was another reminder that horses don't belong in an urban setting.

"We return to the same theme over and over again about whether New York City could possibly be the right environment for a horse, and it can't," Feral said. "You can't make it sane, you can't make it safe. The chaotic streets of New York aren't going to work for a horse and it's a dangerous situation for drivers, tourists, for everybody."

Feral said her group would gladly help place New York's estimated 220 carriage horses in safe sanctuaries where they could live out their remaining days "with dignity."

But Hansen, who said she's worked for years with horses and helped set up sanctuaries for carriage horses, defended the industry. "We do everything we can to have a safe work environment for the horses because it's our safety too," Hansen said. "These horses are the most regulated, most public, most seen horses in the world."

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This one story of carriage horse cruelty makes me want to scream but there are others that I have heard that make me want to cry. Starvation is horrible and so is having these poor animals in congested areas. However in some ways the thin ones have an advantage over the beautiful, healthy and sometimes famous horses (Ferdinand) who find themselves going to slaughter. The US closed slaughter houses here so now our horses are being purchased for as little as $10 a piece to go to Canada, Mexico or off shore barges to be killed in the most horrible ways. One auction house in our area closed its doors recently. Most of the horses sold there were being purchased by killers. Camp horses that were quiet and gentle went, a pure bred Lippizan mare was rescued, a trained Tennessee Walker listed in the catalog was a no show. One woman was there with money to save one horse. She stepped out to use the ladies room and the horse went to a killer. She had to pay him more than 10 times what he paid to save this horse. We need a united international voice to stop the export of our beautiful US horses for meat. The recent scandal in the UK has drawn some attention to the problem but no one has taken this on as cruelty to companion animals. I know because I have adopted two rescues. Ten got his name from the price a kind man paid to save his life. I fell in love with him and he has blossomed into a champion pleasure driving horse who won a blue ribbon and championship at his first horses show. My other rescue was purchased to produce show horse babies. When the owner had as many as he or she wanted, s(he) left the horse with a trainer and never came back. Fortunately he contacted a rescue instead of sending her to auction. She is an "easy keeper" and doesn't need much more than hay to stay fat. She is sweet and gentle and a baby sitter. I would love for any group with an international voice to condemn the senseless slaughter of American Horses taken out of the US. The profits are huge, the treatment inhumane and the slaughter practices heinous including delimbing and skinning our animals while they are still alive. Please help!

Somebody told me this horse died a couple of days after this accident. The carriage was hit from behind. The horse did nothing wrong! Friends of Animals comments: We haven't heard any news about the horse Oreo being dead. But you are right, the horse did nothing wrong.

Keep these carriages in Central Park! Columbus Circle is not place for a horse and buggy! It's too congested and no place for a horse and buggy! I saw this accident. The horse was scared out of its mind. KEEP THESE CARRIAGES OUT OF THE CITY!

How can I get involved? How can I help?

Look at that horse!! It's ribs are showing!! Its malnurished besides mistreated. This has GOT to end!!!

Keep these horse OUT OF CITIES ALTOGETHER! Why is this still a debate? I grew up in NYC, and even as a child, could recognize that these horses, at best, were bored and tired, and at their worst, unhealthy, miserable, and neglected. STOP STOP STOP this right now! New Yorkers need to vote on this, vote OUT representatives that endorse this or even sit idle and do nothing, and vote in those that put this on the agenda!

My neighbor rescues NYC Carriage horses and retires them to her farm..To see their faces light up when they see & taste REAL pasture grass! Where in NYC do you have that? It's sad to see how they live in their stalls after a long tiring day in NYC Horses do not belong in NYC.

What can we do to help? We had many occasions where the horses in NYC were mistreated and we know it's not good for their well being. It's so much cruel to keep these horses there! I cannot believe so far the Mayor doesn't do anything about it. These horses should be sent to sanctuaries! NYC should have non animal carriages!

Please no more horse and carriage rides. What's wrong with the people that patronize these rides ? A car crowded street is no place for a horse. This is horse abuse !!!!!

I prefer the wonderful bicycle taxis over the horses and carriages and I urge everyone to switch. You get a wonderful ride and your horse is a happy human!


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