Why You Need to Avoid Horse Drawn Carriage Rides During the Holidays

Imagine the snowy landscape of Central Park surrounds you, holiday music plays in the background, and city lights twinkle in every direction. It is the picture-perfect holiday evening.

And then, from your horse-drawn carriage, you notice the horse has stopped, unable to take another step.

Unfortunately, this happens to horses throughout the year.

In 2018, the exact situation happened. In widely-spread video, a horse that had collapsed was forced to stand again. Several workers can be seen surrounding the horse, trying to force the horse back up.

According to Stop NYC Horse Abuse, an account on Facebook, “Horses are dangerously worked during snowstorms, torrential rain, heatwaves and just last month two horses dropped dead of colic in their tiny stables.”

With the holidays here, and our university’s proximity to Manhattan, it is likely that any student may find him- or herself in the city this December or January.

Part of the holiday cheer is taking a ride in a carriage. Hundreds of carriages can be seen going into and out of Central Park every day.

These horses may be older or broken, either from the surrounding farms or old racetracks. According to Green One Planet, a horse veterinarian named Holly Cheever said, “Many horses enter the carriage horse trade with a legacy of injuries.”

A horse with injuries that continues to work will frequently collapse.

According to Green One Planet, horses typically live until the age of 25 — ironic, because New York law says these horses can only work until the age of 26. It’s a pointless law and does nothing to protect the horses.

Other horses that work in the city, such as the New York Police Department horses, retire at the age of 20, NY Class said. Why is it that the horses trotting through Central Park must do so until they are elderly? Working horses deserve equal and kind treatment, no matter the difference in jobs.

As you might imagine, NYC Horse Carriage Rides paints a different picture. On their Frequently Asked Questions page, a user asked about the treatment and care for the horses. The response said, “We treat our horses like family and I can guarantee you they are probably the most spoiled horses in the world.”

While washing your horse and feeding it vitamins and nutrients are wonderful, those things should be considered a necessity,not special treatment. In addition, the reply mentions that the horses spend up to two months in Pennsylvania, grazing in fields, but that is where the older or infirmed horses should be. They should not be in a cramped city inhaling fumes and pulling tourists around.

Additionally, the reply said the owner never endangers his horses.

We need to stop overworking animals that were never meant to be in a city. Tourists need to stop funding this attraction. Horse owners need to stop acting like humane treatment is a wonderful act of kindness.

Horses deserve better. Students should avoid taking any type of carriage ride during their holiday celebration. In addition, please consider signing this petition to end horse drawn carriage rides for good: https://www.nyclass.org/petition.