An exhausted carriage horse collapsed during the evening rush hour in Manhattan on Wednesday — lying on the asphalt while his driver repeatedly struck him and ordered him to “get up.”
The animal’s knees buckle in video footage as the driver jerks the reins and slaps the horse in an attempt to make [him] stand on 9th Avenue and West 45th Street in Hell’s Kitchen.
“Get up! Get up! Get up! C’mon, get up,” the frustrated driver commanded as traffic backed up on the busy avenue around 5 p.m.
Onlookers were disturbed by the flogging.
“What if I slapped you around like that, bro?” one concerned bystander asked.
“Stop slapping him,” another woman was heard pleading.
“I’m trying to get him up, alright,” the driver said, as he whipped the horse with the reins twice.
The dejected horse then laid down on his side and rested his head on the street as the driver removed his carriage with the help of a pedestrian.
A group of police officers then arrived and were filmed dousing the horse with water, finally getting him on his feet after more than an hour, according to video and witnesses.
The NYPD’s mounted unit then transported the animal to an unknown location for treatment, according to police.
The incident horrified witnesses and advocates and came after a brutal extended heat wave that finally broke Wednesday.
“I saw the horse collapse. He obviously was malnourished, dehydrated, hungry. The guy started whipping his horse and telling him to get back up instead of giving him water,” Uber Eats driver Kelvin Gonzalez, 25, told The Post.
“I told him, ‘Yo, stop whipping him, give him some water. That’s a horse, not a machine.’
“It’s really sad, man. You can tell that horse was not taken care of. You can tell he was exploiting that horse. The horse was hungry, he was thirsty. You can tell the horse collapsed from the thirst.”
The horse “tried to get up like 10 times and [he] kept collapsing,” before police put “adrenaline up his butt,” Gonzalez said.
“He knocked the water down because he was so disoriented. He was out of it. He licked the water off the floor because he was so thirsty. The [driver] didn’t care. He didn’t care. He just wanted to get his horse back up so he can make more money,” the witness alleged.
Another witness told The Post the horse was bleeding from the knee and a tourist on the scene said she believed the horse had suffered from heat exhaustion.
“I told them they shouldn’t try to force the horse up. It’s just like a person you wait and make sure they get over it,” said Cathy Garfield, 75, who noted that she had grown up with horses.
“He was afraid to take the bridle off the horse because he was afraid he wouldn’t control [the horse] once [he] got up. He didn’t know a thing about horses,” she said about the driver.
“[He] tried to drink water but still had the bit in [his] mouth. I was able to convince the driver to remove the bit from the bridle. [The horse] had been trying to drink water. It’s hard when you have a big piece of metal in your mouth,” she said.
Advocates said the animal had been passed out on 9th Avenue for over an hour with no veterinary care.
Mayor Eric Adams, who was endorsed by the TWU [New York’s Public Transit Union], has said he does not support a carriage ban but is open to discussing the issue.
Former Mayor Bill de Blasio was an outspoken critic of the industry but his multiple attempts to enact a citywide ban on carriage horses during his two terms were halted by political opponents concerned with protecting the industry’s 200 jobs.
His predecessor, Mike Bloomberg, was an unabashed fan of the tourist-friendly business who fended off neigh-sayers that claimed the industry is abusive.
Think people! Forget the inept and immoral politicians. Would any of you take a horse drawn carriage ride? Of course you wouldn’t. Horse drawn carriages in NYC do not need a law to stop it. Residents and tourists can stop these atrocities. Just. Stop. Stop taking carriage horse rides and the industry will suffer and die — instead of the animals they horribly abuse and kill.
Bring on the eCarriage
“Phasing out the use of horse carriages and replacing them with 21st Century ‘Horseless eCarriage’ for current carriage drivers is one possible solution that will preserve employment for everyone in the industry. No one is losing a job — they are simply moving to a modern, humane alternative,” writes NYClass.
“Adoption homes will be offered to all 200 carriage horses, provided by NYCLASS, ASPCA, HSUS and numerous organizations and individuals. No horse will be sent to slaughter.” Learn more »
• “Collapsed horse in NYC reignites calls for carriage ban,” The Independent, 8.11.22, article and video »
• “Horses Are Not ‘Its’“.
Featured Image: New York Post.
Updated 7:10 pm EST
Official Blog of The Fund for Horses