NYC carriage horse stable argues that bare, cramped, filthy stalls are not animal abuse

NEW YORK, N.Y. (Carriage Horses) — There are already many valid reasons and obvious examples why we must rid U.S. cities of the horse drawn carriage trade.

Not that we need another example, but here is yet another one, this time in New York City, which clearly demonstrates that it needs to put an end to its horse drawn carriage business.

The New York Post filed the following image and report on June 1, 2017:

A worried city building inspector snapped a photo of a carriage horse inside her “filthy” stall on Manhattan’s West Side — but the stable owners insist that the huge pile of manure is simply what the animal would produce in four-to-six hours.


The inspector — who is asking not to be named — is claiming animal abuse.

“The stable is filthy. It’s tiny. The horse almost can’t even stand up in there,” the outraged whistle-blower told The Post.

The inspector stumbled on the stinky stall on May 17 while checking the conditions of the building structure at Westside Livery Stables, Inc., on West 38th Street.

He was not there to assess the sanitary or health conditions of the horses, which is done by the Health Department.

But the inspector said he felt compelled to take a cellphone snapshot when he saw the conditions.

“The stable looked like it hadn’t been cleaned in years. It got so crammed up that the horse would have a hard time getting up,” he said.

The inspector said the horse was also lying on a hard floor with little hay for cushion.

But a rep for the stable gave a resounding “Neigh” to any abuse claims.

“I dare say whoever took this picture and thought there was something `wrong’ with it is not a horse person, nor were they interested in learning from someone here at the stable who is,” said Christina Hansen, a spokeswoman for the stables who examined the photo.

“This is a totally normal horse stall, prior to mucking by one of our stablemen, most likely in the morning. Sophia the horse here is shown comfortably lying down in her 9’ x 10’ box stall,” she said.

Horse sh*t. Hansen is delusional. None of what we can see in the picture filed with this report is normal or fitting. Poor Sophia looks anything but comfortable. She looks miserable.

Anyone who thinks that this an acceptable way to care for horses should be banned from having them in their control. This is animal abuse. Sophia is virtually lying on bare concrete next to piles of feces, and no doubt urine too.

PIX 11 News reports that the activist group NYCLASS gathered outside the West 38th Street stables the following day, June 2, to protest the conditions the horses are kept in. The group says it “hopes” for a “one-on-one meeting with the Department of Health to discuss ways to improve the overall quality of life of carriage horses”.

I know they mean well, but that sounds like even more horse sh*t.

New York City needs to clean up its act and rid itself of its cruel and outdated carriage horse trade. This insidious business is never going to treat its horses well because the people in it are not only totally out of touch with a horse’s most basic needs but totally uninterested.

What horrifies us in this case is clearly business as usual to the folks at Westside Livery Stables.  They see nothing that needs changing. Worse still, it appears they think they are doing a good job!

How about some arrests and fines or citations for the abuses these people are committing?

If the Health Department conduct inspections that means they have guidelines. Are there no penalties when people fail to adhere to Health Department standards?

In the meantime, we thank the inspector who reported the sad conditions Sophia is living in. It took courage. It has been our experience over the years that there are plenty of people who work in the carriage horse industry who are ruffians and bullies. They are also often retaliatory and prone to violence.

West Side Livery Stable (left) in Hell's Kitchen has been stabling horses for over 150 years. Time for a change don't you think? Google search result. Unattributed image.
West Side Livery Stable (left) in Hell’s Kitchen has been stabling horses for over 150 years. Time for a change don’t you think? Google search result. Unattributed image.

We are investigating what action we can take on behalf of carriage horses in cities and circumstances like these in New York. Attempts to reform the horse drawn carriage industry to improved the lives of the horses over the past 15 years has failed.

Please help. Share your thoughts and ideas. Let’s bring an end to this once and for all.

Last updated 6/3/17 7:33 pm EST.

20 thoughts on “NYC carriage horse stable argues that bare, cramped, filthy stalls are not animal abuse”

  1. I have owned and boarded horses for over 50 years, and can tell you this is not acceptable!! The woman who says it is, is delusional and knows nothing about horses physical and mental well-being! First of all, the building they are in looks like it is from a horror movie, and horses have been here for 150 years – really??!! A typical 1,100 pound horse requires a standard 10 x 12 foot stall, 3 additional feet then what these poor horses have today. And a window to get much needed sunlight and fresh air. My barn and boarders are extremely conscious when it comes to keeping stalls clean. The horse is not breathing bad air to get respiratory issues, no thrush from standing in urine and manure, and the stall in the picture was by no means just cleaned that day. Also, do they have clean water, good hay, and nutrition? These are working horses and they need their protein for much needed energy. You need to move them out to the country and retire them as they so rightly deserve. And anyone that supports or rides in a carriage is just as guilty of this abuse to God’s beautiful, helpless horses.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Please stop the abuse of these poor innocent animals. These are unacceptable conditions for any living being & cannot be tolerated. Do not support horse drawn carriages. Disgusting.

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  3. Stop the carraige rides horses do not belong in the city of New York !!!!! Really you people are nuts

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  4. Maggie, the fact that you, “HAVE seen horses that were neglected & had much worse care than this,” does not take away from the fact that the horse in this photo is miserable and is being kept in terrible conditions. This horse works day in and out and has no room to rest in a comfortable and natural manner. Straight stall, box stall, the type of stall this horse is kept in is irrelevant, it is too smal for a horse of this size, period! Stop quibbling over semantics, this is animal abuse!

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  5. Looks like an OLD-FASHIONED tie stall. This is the kind of stall farmers use during the day to keep horses handy for changing them out in the hitch while using horse-drawn equipment. Horses are only in them during they day and are turned out nightly at Liberty in a large lot or pasture to graze. This isn’t possible in NYC because there is no available pasturage

    Keeping a draft horse in a bare 9X10 or 12 ft stall is totally inadequate for the horse’s comfort especially with a bare concrete floor. Hey Hansen:Where are those much talked about rubber stall mats to cushion these horses? They cost less than $400 at Tractor Supply

    The way these horses are being kept is a sin. You all may get by with the NYC health inspectors but God is watching all of you.

    Horses should not be kept for profit in such deplorable conditions. If you cannot or will not do right by those horses, someone NEEDS to shut you down, for mercy’s sake.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is animal cruelty because not providing ample space, and bedding for a horse to lay down is pathetic.
    Moreover, these horses are pulling weight for miles almost every day over hard concrete surfaces, with car emissions going into their respiratory system, and the stress of their surroundings are constant.
    This is not natural for a horse, and they should go beyond basic horse care to provide for working horses.
    This example clearly shows that when money and animals mix – the animals lose.
    BAN horse carriages in all states now, put it away in the history books where it belongs.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Get theses horses outa here now now now before it’s to late I don’t care what has to be done fight for these great horses set them free!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Also these are MONSTERS

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  8. To Maggie and Susan.

    If you have to ask where the abuse is — after looking at that picture and reading what the witness said — I really don’t know what to say without offending you. But here it is.

    I began taking care of horses under the watchful eye of my father as soon as I was big and strong enough to handle a ‘barrow. We did not pamper our horses but looked after them well. My father taught me that it is only right when you make an animal dependent on you for their wellbeing.

    No horse of ours was ever in the condition pictured and never, ever left exposed to lying on a hard surface with a few meager shreds of bedding, mat or no mat.

    Our horses had plenty of room to move around so if they got cast in their box there was room enough to get them up without it being a danger to horse or handler.

    There was always a good supply of clean bedding. They were mucked out twice a day. We kept their hay nets and water freshened. We kept them warm in winter and cool in summers.

    Our horses’ hooves were trimmed regularly when they weren’t shod, and their teeth floated regularly.

    They were able to look out and not closed up. Unless they were on box rest, they were turned out for part of every day and ridden regularly, walking, trotting and galloping, to benefit their heart and lungs.

    And all this for horses who did not “work” like these horses do, standing for hours and pounding the pavement off and on, day after day, in all types of weather, lugging heavy carriages full of tourists around in the noise and traffic, inhaling dangerous fumes, that go hand and hand with congested city streets.

    So make no mistake about it. What the witness reported in this article is without a doubt abusive.

    This comment is already overly long so will conclude with this.

    For those of you who think this is not abusive, why don’t you try a night of it, closed in, lying on concrete next to your own shit with the air reeking from your own urine (which is where the “stink”mentioned in the article is coming from though not stated as such).

    Perhaps the people connected with these type of situations live in filthy, abusive circumstances themselves and subject their horses to their own low standards. It might explain it however it does not excuse it. People have a choice. The horses do not.

    Most barns only muck out once a day Maggie? This is low quality care and unhealthy for the horse. You muck a horse out twice a day. Always. No excuses. Horses who stand in urine or urine soaked bedding can contract thrush which leads to lameness. It makes me shudder to think what else goes on in that barn of yours.

    —Vivian Farrell, Editor.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sorry Vivian – but I disagree! I HAVE seen horses that were neglected & had much worse care than this – but not at any of the barns where I boarded. In the summer the horses were in during the day – turned out at night. The stalls were cleaned before they came in for their feed in the am. In the winter they were turned out during the day (depending on the weather) stalls cleaned after they went out. Of course horses that stand in a urine or manured stall can contract thrush. You have no need to “shudder” about what went on in “that barn of mine”!
      It was & is one of the best boarding facilities in this area – over 30 stalls, an indoor and an outdoor arena – wash stall & 2 tack rooms and turnout every day. Low quality care? Hardly. And I was THERE every day so there is no doubt in my mind what kind of care my horse was getting. And I knew the owners & the people who worked at the barn. But thats neither here nor there.
      Would I want my horse in a stable in the city? Nope. All I’m saying is this is far from the worst case scenario. One of the rescues I donate to goes to auctions & buys horses out of the killer pens – giving them a chance to actually be cared for & live! This mare apparently is well-fed – as Suzy said – it appears theres a mat under the shavings AND she does have room to lie down which she wouldnt in a smaller straight stall. And this IS a straight stall NOT a box stall.

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      1. This is a tie stall. It even looks like there is a lead attached to the horse’s halter. This is NOT the kind of stall that a horse should be kept in 15 hours a day, 7 days a week 48 weeks out of the year. These carriage owners make good money and the stable owners make more than enough to put down stall mats. This horse is on concrete–NO MAT. And BTW when most of the owners use up a horse, they send them straight to the kill buyer. No chance of rescue, no bad publicity as has happened in the past

        Liked by 1 person

    2. You are absolutely correct in all that you say, Vivian.

      I was appalled looking at this photo – the box that this horse is living in is far too small for such a large animal that is meant to be moving, walking on a constant regular basis. Clearly she’s not comfortable, her hind is up against a wall, she cannot stretch out because there’s not enough room for her. And it’s not just excess poo, there’s urine there as well. When i worked in a racing stable i was mucking out constantly during the day with fresh straw replacing the previous day’s straw each morning. And no fresh air by the looks of it and no natural light.

      This carriage horse is living in a hell hole.

      And the life of a carriage horse is hell – that is a fact.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. You must be kidding! Where’s the abuse? This is a normal amount of manure for a large horse. Looks like the stalls haven’ been cleaned yet. Does this inspector have any farm animal experience at all? While it is not absolutely clear, it looks like there may be a rubber mat underneath the shavings. This horse is comfortably lying down with plenty of room. I usually agree with most of what you print but in this case you have it all wrong about a dirty horse stall! Get real people and report the real abuse that goes on out there!
    Whether the carriage industry belongs in the city or not is debatable.

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    1. Your comment leaves me speechless. A kid in pony club could tell you how wrong the living conditions for this mare are. Shame on you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The horse carriage business belongs in the history books. Clearly you are unaware of the life of the carriage horse e.g. collapsing while pulling a heavy carriage loaded with the huge weight of people, being injured in motor vehicle incidents, working long hours in the heat and the cold, etc. etc. and at the end of their long working day are put into boxes like this mare. This of course is blatant animal abuse and very cruel.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. OK! Yes the pile of manure IS probably 4-6 hours worth! Has this “inspector” ever actually spent time in a barn?
    In my opinion this is a STRAIGHT stall – not a box stall. But it is a large straight stall – enough for the mare to lie down. And horses POOP! a lot! Yes that looks like several hours worth – but if this is the morning – probably when they feed they muck out the stalls. Most barns dont clean stalls more than once a day – at least any of the ones I ever boarded my horse in, and he had a 12 x 12 box stall.
    Do they belong in the city? I think that no matter how well-trained they are – weird things happen and horses are prey animals – their answer to feeling threatened is to get away from the threat!

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    1. Maggie Frazier – you seem to be focusing on your personal experiences in barns and ignoring the plight of this cruelly treated mare.

      Liked by 1 person

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