Blondie, a Charleston carriage horse, collapses when spooked by noise from a cement truck. Courier and Post image.

Spooked Charleston, SC carriage horse tosses driver, runs into car

CHARLESTON, S.C. — What in blue blazes is going on in Charleston, S.C.? Here is yet another horror story involving a carriage horse. The carriage horse in question is from none other than repeat offender Charleston Carriage Works.

Andrew Knapp of the Post and Courier (who did not publish photographs of the horse involved in this accident) reports:

A runaway carriage horse tossed [his] driver to the ground before crashing into a car in downtown Charleston on Thursday, a week after another animal was spooked by a woman posing as a Tyrannosaurus rex.

Luke, the horse, suffered two minor scratches on his chest and a back leg. He was taken back to his barn.

What scared the horse wasn’t immediately known.

A passenger tried to grab the reins but could reach only one of them.

“I pulled on the rein, but Luke didn’t stop,” the passenger wrote in a statement.

The horse turned into a gravel lot and hit a parked car. He stopped there. Other carriage workers controlled him, the report added.

That ended Luke’s workday. He was examined by a veterinarian before returning to the street. Read full story »

This is not just a spell of bad luck. This is about mismanagement and an obvious total lack of care about the horses they use.

On January 18, 2017, Dave Munday of the Courier Post reported that one carriage horse backed into car and another dropped to his knees in Charleston.

On April 19, 2017, Munday reported that a carriage horse tripped and fell at Meeting and Hasell streets.

The horse was attached to a carriage with about a dozen passengers and didn’t try to get up until the harness was removed, according to Dan Riccio, the city’s livability and tourism director. The horse (pictured below) is named Big John and is owned by Charleston Carriage Works.

A carriage horse tripped and fell at Meeting and Hasell streets Wednesday afternoon, April 19, 2017. The horse was attached to a carriage with about a dozen passengers and didn't try to get up until the harness was removed, according to Dan Riccio, the city's livability and tourism director. The horse is named Big John and is owned by Charleston Carriage Works. Photo: Ellen Harley.
Photo: Ellen Harley.

Here are a few more Charleston, S.C. horse drawn carriage incidents outlined in a Post and Courier article from July 16, 2015, reporting on the collapse of Blondie, seen in this post’s featured image up top:

In June 2014, a horse pulling a Charleston Carriage Works carriage along Limehouse Street got scared and careened into 150 Tradd St., gouging the side of the house and throwing two of the five passengers to the ground.

In April of the same year, a horse pulling a carriage took off running with three passengers in tow down Anson Street before crashing into the City Market. No one was injured, although video released by the police department shows the passengers clinging to their seats. It was not known what caused the horse to take off running.

In January 2008, a carriage horse bolted on South Battery. The horse took off running after the carriage hit a curb and overturned. Six of the 13 passengers were taken to hospitals for treatment and released the same day.

In an August 8, 2015 article The Paulick Report stated that “The city of Charleston’s Tourism Department had had 18 carriage horse incidents reported since 2012”.

Clearly . . . clearly, horses and traffic do not mix, especially horses attached to a carriage full of people where they feel trapped and vulnerable and likely to panic and make a run for it when they feel in danger.

So when are they going to shut the carriage horse business down in Charleston? Not, it seems, until horse lovers like us make enough noise about it — or until they maim or kill someone. Speaking of which . . .

Taking action can lead to victories for carriage horses. Example. Salt Lake City voted unanimously to pass a ban on horse-drawn carriages in 2014, a year after a horse named Jerry, who had been pulling a carriage in 98-degree heat, collapsed in the street and later died.

Crews try to get carriage horse Jerry to his feet. The carriage company that owned Jerry forced him to spend his days hauling tourists through dangerous, congested streets in the scorching Salt Lake City heat. He finally collapsed in 98 degree heat and was unable to get up. He had to be dragged into a trailer and hauled back to the barn. After months of hiding it, Peta exposed that Jerry had actually died shortly thereafter. Image source: Peta.
Crews try to get carriage horse Jerry to his feet. The carriage company that owned Jerry forced him to spend his days hauling tourists through dangerous, congested streets in the scorching Salt Lake City heat. Jerry finally collapsed in 98 degree weather and unable to get up.  So they tied ropes around him, dragged him into a trailer, hauled him back to his barn, and hoisted him inside with a forklift.  After months of hiding it, Peta exposed that Jerry had actually died not long after this picture was taken. Image source: Peta.

Take Action

What happened to Jerry need never happen to another horse used by this callous and deadly industry.

So far we have signed petitions and complained to the City’s mayor who appears to be non-responsive. Let’s complain to him again. Contact information below.

This time let’s add the City of Charleston’s Department of Livability and Tourism. Tell them (if you truly feel that way) that this disgusting business with Charleston’s carriage horses has killed any idea you have of ever spending any time or money there. Ask them why don’t they get rid of this dangerous and archaic way of carrying tourists around.

Interestingly, part of the Department’s job description from their website reads, “Tourism Enforcement officers enforce ordinances applicable to horse drawn carriages . . .”  Well, they seem to be on the scene of many of these accidents. How in the world can they continue to treat these incidents as business as usual with no apparent care for the horses or the passengers?

CONTACT THE DEPT OF LIVABILITY AND TOURISM
Dan Riccio, Director
Email: ricciod@charleston-sc.gov
Ph: 843-805-3226; Fx: 843-579-7673

Now we’ve taken care of tourism, let’s move on to the Mayor who certainly has the power to shut down the carriage horse trade down and replace it with something safer, modern and more fun.

CONTACT THE MAYOR
John J. Tecklenburg, Mayor
Email: tecklenburgj@charleston-sc.gov
Ph: 843-577-6970

Please be polite. No name calling. Get all that out of your system before you contact anyone. Thank you!

On Twitter, for higher visibility, use only two hashtags. Here are some you can use:  #charleston, #horses, #citycharleston, #postandcourier. Tweet the Mayor @JohnTecklenburg.

If you are a resident of Charleston, S.C. please contact your City councilmember and ask them to act now to ban the horse drawn carriage trade. If they are unresponsive, remember this come election time and vote them out.

Related Reading

• Woman who petitioned on behalf of collapsed Charleston, S.C. carriage horse threatened | May 12, 2017

• Will you sign a Petition to help Big John the downed Charleston carriage horse? | May 1, 2017

• Two Change.org Petitions, both for Carolina carriage horses | July 21, 2016

• Charleston horse drawn carriage accident prompts renewed call for a ban | June 21, 2014

Featured Image

On July 16, 2015, an Old South Carriage Co. horse named Blondie went down about 10 a.m. on East Bay Street at North Adger’s Wharf. A noise from a cement truck made the horse jump, causing the carriage to jackknife and the horse to sit down and then collapse on his side. It was the latest in a growing list of incidents of carriage horse mishaps. Image Credit: Post and Courier.

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