Even more new rules for NYC’s carriage horses

Whoa, look, NY Gov. David Paterson wants even more improvements in the lives of carriage horses working in New York.

Horse drawn carriages in a wintry New York City
Baby it's cold outside. Is it 18 degrees yet? Reforms in the working lives of New York carriage horses will be heard by the City Council February 3rd include five weeks mandatory vacation per year and permitted weather conditions, like this one. Photographer unknown.

On February 3, the City Council will be looking at a number of proposed for New York’s working carriage horses, like a mandatory five weeks of vacation a year and making it illegal to work after 3 a.m. or in weather hotter than 90 degrees or colder that 18 degrees.

Other changes, like banning drivers and riders from smoking (considering the traffic fumes, not sure how this will help, but okay), and disallowing drivers from using cellphones, cameras or music players which may cause distractions. Hey, New York is a distracting kind of town.

We are not cribbing or anything, but what none of these reforms address is that New York City carriage horses are warehoused in multi-story buildings. The stalls are not any smaller than what the average racehorse lives in, but at least they can walk right out and be on terra firma. Of course, carriage horses do get out a lot more, but still. None of it is natural, but then not much is in the world of way too many horses.

Example of NYC Carriage Horse Accommodation Interior

NY’s Paterson wants carriage horses treated better

By MICHAEL GORMLEY, Associated Press Writer, Wed Jan 27, 2010

ALBANY, N.Y. – (AP) Gov. David Paterson, taking on the 150-year-old tradition of horse-drawn carriage rides in Manhattan’s Central Park, says the horses need to be treated better or the popular tourist rides should be banned.

His recent comment before an animal activist group, rare from a high-level official, drew praise from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

Horsemen, however, have their own high-profile fans, including Irish actor Liam Neeson and others who testified for them at a recent hearing about how well the horses are treated and how important the service is to the city.

Paterson seeks “more humane treatment of horses that have often suffered due to difficult work conditions,” said Paterson spokeswoman Marissa Shorenstein. “Horse carriages are important to New York’s overall tourism industry and to the fabric of New York City’s culture, however we must be certain to treat horses and all animals ethically.”

There are 225 horses hauling 68 carriages in and around Central Park. Read full story >>

4 thoughts on “Even more new rules for NYC’s carriage horses”

  1. Great article – I am a Manhattanite and have seen the things that can and do go wrong when horse meets crowded busy street. Even in Central Park, these horses aren’t always fit or sound enough to do their jobs. There is one in particular that I always watch with pity – he’s probably a TB or some other type of light horse, and his ribs are always visible. Good to hear that others are reporting on this issue.


  2. carriage horse in nyc, caleche horses in montreal…al of them need to be treated humanely and it is good to hear governor paterson say he believes it too. Some of the things mentioned in the article seem pretty silly and trivial, but vacation and not working when it is cold sound like the right direction.


    1. We are wondering if they might not board the horses across the river in NJ and travel the horses to and from, perhaps storing the carriages and equipment only at these multi-storied facilities. There has to be a better way, and we welcome your suggestions.


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