Terrified Carriage Horse Spooks, Passengers Jump Out of Carriage As Driver Heads Into Midtown Traffic


February 13, 2023


NYCLASS Calls For Investigation Of Unwell Horse That Is In Danger Of Crashing Into Vehicles 


NEW YORK – On Friday, February 10, just before 5pm, NYCLASS witnessed an out-of-control carriage horse in distress, sweating, and displaying fear behaviors in Central Park. Despite pleas to his handlers to get the horse help, the driver started a ride with the horse that was clearly in an emergency state, endangering the safety and lives of both the animal, the passengers, and potential bystanders.

Only moments later, as our video shows, the horse spooked so badly that the two passengers had to jump out of the carriage and escape, while the driver took off at a fast pace yelling that the horse was "in training." 

A separate witness saw this same horse that day, in traffic, and said, "It was a busy 4-lane intersection on Central Park South, the horse was clearly spooked by all the traffic coming from both directions and balked at a street bike doing wheelies past it. He was covered in foamy sweat, likely from  being overworked, or both. It was literally an accident waiting to happen. Why on Earth do we need horses pulling carriages in the middle of 50 vehicles?”

Edita Birnkrant, Executive Director of NYCLASS, said, "I witnessed a terrified horse in an emergency state, being forced to give rides by a driver who was putting the animal, the passengers, and everyone in Midtown in serious risk. Despite several pleas to get help for the horse, the driver started a ride, which ended in the horse spooking so badly that the passengers had to jump out of the carriage. To my utter shock, instead of pulling over and calling a veterinarian - or at least a trailer to bring the horse back to the stable - the driver took off at a fast pace with the terrified horse into Midtown traffic. This horse needs an immediate veterinary examination and must be taken off the streets. Too often, horses ‘spook’ and crash into vehicles in New York City - and this horse is a tragedy waiting to happen. To make matters worse, the carriage license plate on the carriage is completely illegible, as our video shows - an ongoing problem within an industry that regularly breaks rules and violates laws. Enough is enough. The City Council needs to urgently pass Intro 573 (Ryder's Law) to end the constant dangers the horse carriage industry creates every day."



Ryder's Law (Intro 573), a new City Council bill sponsored by Councilmember Robert Holden, will replace cruel horse carriages with modern electric carriages. In addition to ending horse abuse and deaths and making Manhattan streets safer for everyone, the legislation will also provide better jobs for drivers. 

➡️NEW YORKERS: FIND YOUR NYC COUNCIL MEMBER HERE TO make one quick call/email, to ask them to "Sign on as a co-sponsor to Intro 573 to replace suffering, dying carriage horses with cruelty-free electric carriages." Make sure you tell them that you live in their district! 

➡️IF YOU DO NOT LIVE IN NYC, please make one quick call to NYC Council Health Committee Chair Lynn Schulman at 718-544-8800 or 212-788-6981 and ask her to "Please use your power as head of the Health Committee to END horse abuse by holding a hearing and passing Intro 573 (Ryder's Law). You can also email her office at [email protected]

➡️If you have time for one more call, please call NYC Council Speaker Adrienne Adams at 718-206-2068 and 212-788-7210 or email at [email protected] and ask her to "Please use your power as head of the NYC Council to "END horse abuse by advancing and passing Intro 573 to replace deadly, unsafe horse carriages with cruelty-free electric carriages"

Additional talking points for City Council: "When horses are forced to pull carriages on the busy streets of Manhattan, violent crashes and horse deaths will keep happening over and over again. Electric carriages don’t get spooked or drop dead- but 2,000 pound terrified horses in cities do - endangering themselves, carriage drivers, and everyone else around them. Ryder's long-term neglect and abuse leading to his collapse and death is another wake up call for the City Council and Mayor to end this madness and bring New York in line with other global cities by shifting to abuse-free, electric-powered alternatives that ensure safer streets and provide drivers with better paying jobs." This is long, long overdue. Help us make history in 2022


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