‘Spooked’ Carriage Horse Collapses On Central Park South

Carriage Horse down Central Park South. Image source: The Gothamist.
Image Source: The Gothamist

Six carriage horses have spooked and crashed in urban areas in the past 10 days, says Donny Moss, director of “Blinders”

Cross-posted from The Gothamist

Yesterday afternoon, a carriage horse collapsed—apparently after being spooked by a bus—and now opponents of carriages horses are holding a protest at the scene today at 1 p.m.

According to NYCLASS and PETA, the incident occurred on Central Park South, just west of Fifth Avenue, across from the Plaza Hotel. A tourist sent a photograph and this description to PETA:

I was in town visiting from Oklahoma when I witnessed one of the worst animal cruelty incidents I have seen in a long time. A bus drove very close to a horse and spooked it (rightfully so, I was also scared of how close the busses were to us). The horse bucked and started to run when its carriage went of the curb and pinned the animal to the ground…

The men (if that’s what we want to call them) proceeded to hold the horse down and save their carriage (yes carriage, not horse) from further damage. One man suggested cutting the carriage and the other said no because it would come out of his pocket (he clearly had one concern, of which the horse was not). To top off the whole event, the men proceed to strap the horse back into harnesses and continue to work even though he was clearly limping and hurt!!!

The horse apparently ended up pinned under the carriage and also defecated on himself while still on the ground. Donny Moss, who has been critical of the use of carriage horses and directed Blinders, a documentary about the industry, told us,

Six carriage horses have spooked and crashed in urban areas in the past 10 days. In New York City, the open carriages are driving in the streets with motor vehicles, but the passengers are not wearing helmets or seatbelts. If tourists had been in the carriage when it flipped over last night, they could have been seriously injured. No amount of regulation can prevent a horse from spooking. This is just one of the many reasons why horse-drawn carriages cannot be operated safely or humanely in New York City. We are grateful that Mayor de Blasio understands this and is taking the carriage horses off the streets for good.

De Blasio says he’s committed to ending carriage horses, but isn’t rushing to do so.

Read more including response from The Historic Horse-Drawn Carriages of Central Park, LLC who termed it a “minor incident” and that “claimed the horse, named Spartacus, ‘unexpectedly pulled out, catching the back wheel of the carriage on the back wheel of the carriage in front of it. The tangle pushed the second carriage over, which caused 15 year old carriage horse Spartacus to lose his footing and fall to the sidewalk,’ ” here.

13 thoughts on “‘Spooked’ Carriage Horse Collapses On Central Park South”

  1. So many problems with this post. 1) If zero tolerance for any problem whatsoever reason to ban an activity, then start by banning walking, as several hundred pedestrians die in NYC each year. 2) Six accidents in the past 10 days? Can you please tell us how you got this number? . 2) The horse (named Spartacus) did not spook; wheels of 2 carriages got hooked together, the front carriage overturned, and took the horse with it. The horse was kept lying on the ground by its owner and those assisting until the harness could be removed. The horse got up, went back to the stable, was given a clean bill of health by the vet, and is fine. See him with his owner Tony here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WMYYGCEPbeM


    1. We are merely quoting from an article. We did not write it. We gave both sides. I think the image speaks for itself.

      You will have to ask Donny Moss where he got that number. He stated “Six carriage horses have spooked and crashed in urban areas in the past 10 days”. Urban areas, not NYC.

      Thanks Julie.


    2. In Cleveland a horse fell to the ground and lay there for 45 minutes. A carriage horse spooked and wrecked a wagon in Charleston. In Oklahoma, 9 kids were injured in a carriage. Then there’s the horse that ran off in Savannah Georgia, In Santa Ynez, California, two men
      were injured, one, of them seriously, after two horses pulling a carriage
      got spooked and bolted, causing the carriage to roll over. Then there’s Spartacus. You won’t learn about any of these accidents if you just read what the carriage trade churn out either.


  2. Dear Readers, the carriage horse is probably the last bastion of nature left to you in its truest form that can be found in an urban setting, the horse has been with us in the construction of the urban environment from the beginning, they have built, ploughed and mowed with us for centuries, now at the beginning of the twentieth first century you would tell these magnificent creatures to go away we have no use for you any more. The cruelty of this idea knows no bounds.
    I am from a small farming community in Ireland, brought up to respect the animal and what they provide for you, the idea of banishing the horse or dog or any animal from our lives is not natural to me, we must for all of our betterment live together.
    Please think of the consequences of getting rid of the draft horse from our urban environment, no more carriages, no more need for those breeds, no more breeding those horses, if this thinking prevails there will be no more horses. I ask you only to think clearly about what is at stake here. Thanks Dermot.


    1. How many draft horses go to slaughter in Ireland due to overbreeding or no longer of any use. The draft horse will not disappear because the carriage industry is banned from using them. Look at the premarin mares bred to supply urine, whose foals and them end up in a slaughter facility. No, Dernot, I must disagree with your statement.


      1. I understand that the end of the carriages will not immediately end the draft horse but if we keep limiting the areas where they can work and try to relegate them to positions of being lawn ornaments on rich peoples estates then we will surely loose the draft horse and all horses from our lives, the horse was bred to work and are happiest when doing a job, you said it yourself horses in Ireland go to slaughter when they are no longer of any use, the carriage horses have a job, are happy and well cared for, lets keep them doing what they were meant to do and in our modern landscapes away from slaughter house.


    2. I love New York City, I love Central Park, I love the carriages horses. I love that a city kid can go to the middle of Manhattan and actually touch a real live horse. It was such a treat for me when I did that as a child. I still have the photos taken back then of me petting the horses. Every equine expert who has who has seen and examined the horses say they are the best cared for horses in the world! Long live the carriage horses of Central Park!


    3. Sorry, but the idea that we will lose horses entirely as a result of the cessation of an urban carriage horse ban is false. A classic slippery slope fallacy made by the true property-rights fanatic dedicated to creating a pandemonium that doesn’t exist. That slippery slope fallacy they love involves constructing a scenario in which one thing leads ultimately to an end so extreme that the first step should never be taken. For example: Eating Ben & Jerry’s ice cream will cause you to put on weight. Putting on weight will make you overweight. Soon you will weigh 450 pounds and then you will die of heart disease. Therefore, eating Ben & Jerry’s ice cream leads to death. If you want to live, don’t even try it.


  3. This is one of the best reasons I know of to shut down the carriage horse industry. I have never heard of a car yet that panicked or was frightened by a loud noise.


    1. Drivers of cars often panic … crashing into stores, homes, etc. A little girl was recently killed in Florida when a car (and its driver) plowed through the walls of a day care center.


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