Protest Planned After a Carriage Horse Named Spartacus Fell Near the Plaza Hotel [Updated]

From Friends of Animals' Edita Birnkrant:

This latest incident yesterday, in which a tourist witnessed a horses spook as a bus roared by, resulted in the horse being pinned to the ground with the carriage overturned, highlights the immediate need to speed up efforts to introduce and pass legislation in NYC to get these horses out of the chaos of Midtown Manhattan and into sanctuaries.

In the past 10 days, six separate carriage horse accidents related to horses "spooking" have occurred in different cities. It couldn't be more clear that horses, with their highly developed flight drive and who frighten easily, simply cannot operate in traffic-congested Manhattan streets any longer. Friends of Animals is calling on the City Council and Mayor De Blasio to make banning the dangerous, inhumane horse-drawn carriage industry a priority. Had passengers been in the carriage when it overturned, there could have been a tragedy.

From the Horse and Carriage Association of New York:

Minor Carriage Incident Demonstrates Carriage Drivers' Professionalism

Carriage accident that tripped horse taken out of context by animal rights activists:
Training and experience of drivers prevented injury to fallen horse.

NEW YORK -- At approximately 4:20 PM on Wednesday, April 23, a horse parked at the corner of 5th Ave. and 59th St. 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.

Several carriage drivers immediately came to the horse's aid, keeping him calm and laying down while they unharnessed him, got him untangled and righted the lightweight carriage before safely allowing him to get to his feet. Unharmed, Spartacus was reharnessed and rehitched to the carriage, whereupon he was driven directly home to his stable on West 38th St. to await the arrival of the vet. In all, this was a very minor incident with no injuries whatsoever to horse or human.

Carriage driver Christina Hansen was a witness to the incident, and was one of those who helped Spartacus. "Spartacus behaved like a gentleman - having found himself suddenly in his predicament - and remained calm as we got him free of the harness and carriage. He had been waiting quietly for a ride when the other carriage hit his. He did not spook. He did not collapse. Contrary to rumors, he was not startled by a bus; there was no bus on 59th St. at the time."

"We are very happy Spartacus is fine."

Carriage driving experts note that when a horse is down in harness, an experienced horseman will want to keep him down for as long as it takes to ensure all the harness is free or the animal could seriously injure himself. Carriage driver Colm McKeever notes that, "To the onlooker, the longer the horse is down, the worse it looks to the layperson, but to the horse professional, you must take all the time you need to ensure all harness is free so the horse is not fighting against it getting up."

Demos Demopoulos, Secretary-Treasurer, Teamsters Local 553: "The health and safety of our 200 horses is every carriage driver's priority. The drivers tending to the horse handled the situation with complete professionalism and care, as they have been trained to do. The horse involved in today's incident walked home without any issues and our veterinarian visited tonight and gave him a clean bill of health. What we saw today is that accidents are few and far between. When they do occur, injuries are rare. That is why every horse veterinarian who has visited our stables commends the care and the conditions we provide for horses."


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5 comments
benster11
benster11

Sure, blame the animal. The industry evidently cannot police itself. I hope the Mayor is successful in shutting it down. When is enough enough?

dawgprayer
dawgprayer

Theyr'e full of it,plus as anyone can seethe horses rib's are showing!!

erkube
erkube

There are no buses on that stretch of E. 59th Street.  There are buses on Fifth Avenue and the Sixth Avenue bus makes a turn further up, where no horses are parked.  But there's no way a bus would get anywhere near a horse where they are claiming.  Clearly lying or imagining it.

otterbird
otterbird

@dawgprayer  He looks to be a Standardbred, not a draft horse.  Possibly a former trotter from the track.  Many of them tend towards small and lean, even after they're done racing.  It's the breed.  He looks pretty good, actually.

edita1
edita1

@erkube  There are double-decker tour buses constantly traveling on that exact stretch of E. 59th Street--going just inches past the carriage horses.  There is a multitude of photo documentation proving that double-decker tour buses constantly drive right past the horses stationed at the location Spartacus spooked and collapsed. Two witnesses came forward and said the same thing--a tour bus roared by and Spartacus spooked, reared up and collapsed.  You either are lying, or have never been to NYC and have no idea what you're talking about. Either way--you are dead wrong. I could easily share with you photos of tour buses just inches from the horses at that section of the hack line.

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