Riders injured after umbrella spooked carriage horse in Central Park

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On Sunday afternoon, three passengers were injured after an umbrella spooked a carriage horse while in Central Park South. The incident occurred at 12:15, when a pedestrian opening and closing an umbrella screamed loudly which startled the horse.  Moments later the white Percheron galloped down the street, across Sixth Avenue; his driver jumping off the buggy to help the panicked animal.

According to Pix11News, the frightened horse, named Arthur, wedged himself and the carriage between two stopped vehicles. The passengers were then able to climb out of the crumbled carriage – fortunately they suffered only minor injuries.

“I think this really highlights that horse carriages do not belong in chaotic traffic,” stated Edita Birnkrant, executive director of the animal advocacy group NYCLASS. “This was a horrifying crash that happened. This horse spooked; ran completely out of control with no driver.”

“The enforcement of these carriages is a joke and it has only gotten more lax in the last four years despite repeated assurances from City Hall,” continued Edita in her statement on Sunday.

For years, the NYCLASS (New Yorkers for Clean, Livable, and Safe Streets) has advocated banning all carriage horses from New York City streets, and is now urging the City Council to limit carriage rides to just Central Park. In addition, the organization wants additional protection for the horses stating the carriage horses live in small stalls without pastures to roam and graze.

Carriage drivers, however contend the horses are well cared for, loved and are routinely rotated from working in the city to rural farms where they graze in pastures and “hang out with other horses for companionship.”

New Yorkers seem to be divided on the issue. Advocates for keeping the iconic horse carriage rides, contend the horses are happy doing their jobs, the drivers make their livings with the horses and fear that the horses would meet terrible deaths at Canadian or Mexico slaughterhouses if the carriage industry folded. Where would the horses go animal advocates have repeatedly asked?

Christina Hansen, spokesperson for the carriage industry in New York, stated Arthur was not injured nor was the driver.

“Everyone in the carriage industry works every day to ensure the safety of our horses, our passengers and the public, and our record speaks for itself,” Christina said in a statement. “That every single accident we have is considered news is a testament to the safety of our industry.”

And so the hotly contended battle of the New York City carriage horses continues.

Read about a runaway horse carrying passengers in Wisconsin.

(Photos screenshots via NYCLASS)


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9 replies
  1. Jeanette says:

    The general public is really stupid when it comes to animals. Also I agree that the carriage horses should be kept inside the park.

    • Lee says:

      The general public is much smarter about animals than you think. Obvi you are somehow involved with this silly carriage trade.

  2. Marni says:

    I don’t like the idea of horses being made to navigate in a big noisy city, but if they are not used, they are killed, not put out to pasture, like they were. They need to make these rides only on roads without traffic. the horse’s safety is the most important thing.

  3. Nancy Raymond says:

    Exactly how many more stories do we need to hear about horse carriage accidents before something is done????
    And of course, Bill DiBlasio, the lying sack of shit mayor who PROMISED to end carriage rides during his campaign did nothing about it – and horse carriage accidents continued to happen – the 21st century is too crowded on city streets to expect these animals to negotiate traffic – anything for the almighty dollar and THAT is the bottom line. Horse drawn carriages should be banned in ALL cities – it is dangerous all the way around.

    • Pamela Bolton says:

      Greed is always the only motivation for this to continue They care no more for the horses than they do for getting a real job !

  4. Red says:

    Horses were only a means of transportation when there was not automobiles. GET THEM OFF OF THE STREETS!!!!!! The pavement, the smog, the horns, the screaming people….it is just to distressing to these beautiful animals. Hook the carriages up to motors and REMOVE HORSES FROM THE STREETS!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. Lee says:

    Time to end horse drawn carriages on the roadway… including banning the Amish. Horses do not belong on roadways.
    There are gas and electric powered carriages, that are much safer. Keep the welfare of the animals in mind.


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