Tracey Jackson

Dec 6 2011 | 68 Comments

IT’S NOT RIGHT – NO MATTER HOW YOU LOOK AT

 

The abuse of horses in New York City is out of control. For some time now there have been activist groups trying to get the city to ban the antiquated horse and carriages that roam the busy streets and the park at all hours of the day and night despite all weather conditions.  Sadly, they have had no luck.

I have been upset about the horses for some time.  I live across the street and watch them out my window.  I see how they stand for hours in the freezing cold with very little, if any, food and usually no water. I see them standing in puddles of water with their cracked, uncared for hoofs.  I see their sad, tired faces and often their limps late at night as they finally head home. It breaks my heart.

You get all sorts of inane arguments from the guys who own and operate these horses. They say things like, we love animals, they are our livelihood, why would we mistreat them?

Well, crap is what I have to say to that one.  They make you money, plain and simple, and the less you spend on them, the more for you.

I have seen them hit the horses.  I have seen them keep them out there when it’s below zero and on snowy days when it is oh-so-cinematic for some tourist to whip around the park in one and pretend they are in a Woody Allen film.   I have seen the same horse outside for ten hours at a stretch. I’m not someone who just walks by, I see these animals being abused and neglected outside my windows day in day out: Year in, year out.

But as always, the real truth is in the facts. The horses have been dying . One died at the end of October, several passed out over the summer.  This last Saturday when I looked out the window and saw the line of tourists waiting to get hauled around in the carriages and the drivers knowing you have to make hay while the sun shines- so to speak, I said to Lucy “A horse will die today. They are going to be worked to death.” And sure as hell, that afternoon a horse fell over at the end of our block.

There are so many demons allowing all this to happen – so many elected officials who once again not only pass the proverbial buck,the buck is all they care about.

And we can start the buck where the buck is supposed to stop, with our leader and chief President Obama; in yet another unfortunate, misguided decision he decided  to  restore the American Horse Slaughter Industry. Good move Barack–slaughter our boys in war, slaughter our horses here at home. As long as you keep the banking industry happy you might get another term.

His reason for doing this is that horses were getting slaughtered anyway–it was merely happening in Mexico and Canada.

Now what does this have to do with the carriages? Well, what kind of horses go to slaughterhouses? The kind that are no longer good for anything except dog food, or perhaps a burger in France.

And what kind of horses are those? Oh, ones who are abused and/or worked to death. So there is a simple little connect the dots here. Once these horses are literally driven into the ground, their owners can make one last paycheck off them when they sell them to the slaughterhouses. And Obama has just made that easier.

And then of course, there is our wonderful, bought-his-way-into-a-third-term-Mayor, who stands behind the horse and carriage trade one hundred percent. Go Mike!

He feels that ~

“Animals — like human beings — get old, but that was not a reason to stop hansom cab rides.”

Aside here ~ several of the dead horses have been young. They died from neglect, not old age.

Back to overstayed your welcome Mike~

“They’re animals and animals and human beings, eventually, we all unfortunately stop continuing and it’s unfortunate when it happens, but that doesn’t mean that you stop doing things. You just want to make sure that they’re well treated,” he said.

Bloomberg says that he cares for the wellbeing of the Central Park horses, but stressed how much tourists love them and that they were a New York City tradition.

A point Mike, but lynching was a tradition too and it sort of had to go. Clitoral mutilation is a tradition. There are many destructive, horrifying traditions. Just sayin’….

“There’s enormous demand and we want to keep things going in this city that tourists like and I think they add something to the charm of New York City and when I see them, they all look pretty healthy to me,” he said.

I have several things to say about that, Mike ~ Do they look pretty and healthy like your daughter’s million dollar horses?  Bet those horse aren’t ridden to death and left out in the cold and not fed well and forced to sleep in cement cells and never see the grass.

In fact Bloomberg’s own daughter is against the carriages.

And in response to the tourists loving them, let’s say we got a big Klu Klux Klan convention here in town–how would we make them happy?

I may be going way out on the ledge here; but it’s a crucial issue and it needs to be not only addressed but stopped ASAP. And Speaking of the ASPCA, what is their take on all this?

They pretty much have their hands tied, on one hand they do not think horses are made to be in the streets of a city like New York, yet on the other hand they are the ones who are designated to make sure they are alright, but on the other hand–we will call that one a hoof–there are no real rules in effect for them to follow.

According to Stacy Wolf, vice president and chief legal counsel of the ASPCA’s Humane Law Enforcement department, New York City law requires little in the way of veterinary oversight. While horses must be examined twice annually, there is no directive concerning the thoroughness of these exams and indeed veterinary records reflect that they are cursory at best. Additionally, there is no requirement that horses be examined by a veterinarian after they return from furlough.

The ASPCA believes that carriage horses were never meant to live and work in today’s urban setting. Neither the New York City environment nor the current law can provide horses with the fundamental necessities to ensure their safety and wellbeing.

What can you do?

Log onto this site

http://www.ny-class.org/

If you live in NYC they will tell you what to do. If you come to NYC you can refuse to ride in the carriages. Some people have boycotted NYC all together as a destination until the horses are taken off the street. I for one am going to protest, march, hand out pamphlets do what it takes. Tweet this, Share it on Facebook. Please put this up on your Facebook pages. Stumble it Tumblr it just get the word out there and hopefully we can all then get the horses out of here and where they belong.  There are places in the country who are willing to take them and care for them properly. We can put the electric cars on the street for sight seeing and the world will be  a better place ~ at least in regards to this very important issue.

And I know people are starving and without jobs and the rest of it, but animals are totally helpless and we can’t ignore them because the rest of the world is a mess.

I will send a free signed copy of my book to anyone who Tweets this, Facebooks it and Google pluses it. PROMISE.

 

 

Does this look like the way a horse should be living it's life?

A better view. Think of what the poor thing is breathing all day. No wonder they collapse.

Where some of them wait for fares.

Not a great shot but you get the idea.

Standing in water looking and probably feeling miserable.

This A-hole made a U-Turn in the middle of Central Park South in front of an oncoming bus. Sorry it's out of focus, but I had to shoot fast the horse was right in front of it

 

What happens when the horse and carriage don't get out of the way of the oncoming traffic.

Another one bites the dust. NOT OKAY.

Mike we all get old unless you have a billion dollars Bloomberg with one of the horses who gave out.

The electric car they have ready to haul the tourists around and then they can let the horses out to pasture.

 

 LINK TO ARTICLE THAT LISTS THEIR FINDINGS

http://www.banhdc.org/archives/ch-fact-reasons-6-4-11.shtml

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/27/nyregion/bloomberg-rejects-calls-to-ban-horse-drawn-carriages.html?_r=1

NY TIMES article about Bloomberg’s refusal to ban the horse and carriages.

 

 

 

 

 

  • Shazia Sajjad

    Tracey, I already have your book so please don’t send me one. I am putting this on my Facebook because I can feel your heart in it. I sat in one of those carriages once years ago, we did Eloise theme for my daughter’s 6th birthday and she wanted to go on it but once on both of my kid’s just sat silently through the whole ride because they felt the horse seemed sad.

  • Shazia, a promise is a promise, since you have it, thank you, you can give it away as a gift. They are sad, and kids pick up on that.

  • Thank you!

  • Private Message me your address and who you want it inscribed to. Thank your kids!

  • I have posted this to my Facebook as it’s so tragic – we don’t have horses in London like this it would be crazy but you can horse ride in Hyde Park & many mornings I have been delayed in traffic as the cavalry horses come round Hyde Park corner back to the barracks after exercising in the park and they are magnificent & part of what makes London & our pomp and ceremonial occasions special but these horses always look sad & tatty – plus who rides in these & you can’t say they have the same allure for tourists as our cavalry horses …… if they disappear to pastures new it will not affect the tourists    

  • Cindy Bouchard

    OMG, this is so sad, I never knew how horrid it is. Can you get this awesome blog published on Huffington? Good work, Tracey.

  • This is exactly why I’ve never ridden in a horse drawn carriage and why I never will. I see them all the time in Chicago too and it seems so cruel. Thanks for sharing Tracey.

  • michele

    And herein lies the reason why I have never, ever ridden in a horse-drawn cab nor have my kids.  Tracey, I don’t know whether I want to cry or vomit or both. Such beautiful, majestic animals being treated this way… This is beyond heartbreakingly cruel.  I am sharing this to Facebook as soon as I get home tonight.  I am also thinking about how this could be a community service/ activist type of  project for  Catie’s animal care group at school so I will be passing this along to her advisor’s as well.  thanks for bringing this to light so vividly with your words and photos..how about taking your documentation to the media?…maybe publicity could spark  a bit of societal outrage.

  • So, are you going to ban working NYPD horses too?  So much misinformation on this article.  What about the links between the NY CLASS and the property management company that wants to buy the stables for parking garages?  What about the ex-NYPD cop, turned ASPCA officer who outed the ASPCA in a NY Times article.  People, there are two sides to the story…don’t believe everything you read.

  • I don’t like to post things where people are afraid to leave their emails. But yes, there are two sides to every story. But there is only one side to a dead animal, and one side to abuse.
    And that my friend without an email is not up for any form of debate.

  • Deborah

    Many years ago I saw a carriage horse in Chicago hit by a bus. Horses and cars are not meant to be on the streets together. I have many horsewoman friends, and they would never work their horses so hard. Draft horses are bred for this kind of work, but not for 10 hours/day, breathing in exhaust fumes. If there was a way to have a dedicated carriage path through the park, not on pavement, with very strict monitoring of the horses’ conditions- but the way they live and work now is inhumane. Thanks for your activism, Tracey!

  • Well said Deb!

  • I’ve been seeing this for months now. The pictures are horrific. They run these horses into the ground. They are not taken proper care of, kept in small storage, and many are not up on there vaccines which cause illness. The pictures do not lie!!! Search and you will find even more terrible photos of the abuse. As for ‘two sides to every story’ Really? The only side I see is abuse. Plain and simple. We have to start somewhere. As for police horses, they are treated well as they are considered officers. I’m sure there are some that do not treat them well, and that will be dealt with as well. Again, we have to start somewhere!
    “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” -Mahatma Gandhi

  • Such a well written and excellent summation. Thank you Tracy for posting this on the site.
    I agree with you one hundred percent. And you are very right about the police horses. There will always be forms of animal abuse, in the same way there will always be forms of child abuse, but that being said we can’t turn on our backs on them just because we can’t catch them all.
    I don’t believe in racing horses as young as we do it in this country. We are the only ones who race horses as young as we do, thus many break their legs.
    You know when you start thinking about it, for what is supposed to be such an advanced society we are very backwards in so many ways.

  • Anonymous

    Your “facts” are highly suspect. I’m guessing you know nothing about
    horses.

    1.     NYC is one of the most traffic congested cities
    in the world.  Slow moving horse-drawn carriages are a danger to
    themselves and to others and often get in the way of emergency  vehicles.

    R: How are they a “danger to themselves” and when have they ever gotten “in the
    way of emergency vehicles”. Documented incidents, please.

    2.    These horses weigh between 1,000 and 2,000
    pounds.  Approximately half are draft breeds but many are break-downs from
    the race track.  They are prey animals and can be startled at the
    slightest provocation, bolting into traffic, causing injury or death to
    themselves or anyone who is near.  They become unwitting weapons.

    R: Yes, horses are prey animals but draft/carriage horses are bred and trained
    not to spook at things that another horse would spook at. There have been very
    few accidents with carriage horses – considering that there are approximately 2
    million round trips from the stables to the stands, and millions of carriage
    rides each year – that’s pretty impressive. I doubt cars have the same safety
    record.

    3.    There have been many accidents  –  some
    ending in the death of the horse.   Many other accidents are heard
    about through word of mouth and photos taken by passersby.

    R: Three carriage horses in 30 years have died in an accident while on duty – I
    am not minimizing any horse’s death but that is a track record no other horse discipline
    can match.

    4.  The horses live in multi -storied stables on the far west side
    of Manhattan and most stalls are on the 2nd floor.  They are firetraps
    with only one means of egress.  Horses reach the upper floors by ramps,
    which is hard on older arthritic horses.

    R: Not true – the stables are outfitted with up-to-code
    sprinkler systems and ramps are quite easy on a horse’s legs.

    5.    By law, horses are allowed to work 9 hours a day, 7
    days a week.  Although they are supposed to get a 15 minute break every  2
    hours, there is no way to enforce it.  They are stuck between the  shafts of their carriage and are unable to even scratch an
    itch.  When they are unencumbered by these shackles, horses can  back
    into a tree or fence to relieve an itch.

    R: The work hours are enforced by the ASPCA and city inspectors. There are log books (with timestamps) at the stable that the
    ASPCA and the DOH and DCA have access to any time they want detailing the ID of
    the horse, driver and carriage and how long they worked.

    Your comment about how horses scratch an itch is ludicrous.

    6. The horses get no turnout to pasture.  Experts advise turnout
    every day or at least every few days.  By law the horses are supposed to
    get  five  weeks  “vacation” a year.  It is not only
    unenforceable, but for the other 47 weeks, they live a barren and
    sterile existence.

    R: Not true. They are rotated out of the city to farms
    in PA, NJ and upstate NY, where they spend their vacations. Many carriage
    drivers have 2 horses for their one shift, so their horses spend 6 months a
    year on turnout. Some spend 3 or 4 months. Most carriage horses get way more
    than the required 5 weeks of vacation each year – ALL get at least 5 weeks.

    7.    By law, stalls are to be a minimum of 60 sq. ft. 
    This is less than one half what experts recommend, which is 144 sq. ft.
    for   standardbreds and 196 sq. ft. for larger draft breeds.  It
    is impossible to lie down comfortably in such small stalls.

    R: Not true. Stalls are 60 sq. ft. and at least 7 feet wide, which is big
    enough for a horse, even a draft horse, to lie down comfortably.

    8.    Horses are often seen eating their grain off the
    street, which is thrown there and can be mixed with dirt and glass.  In
    the winter, only one water trough operates in Central Park and there are no
    water troughs in Times Square where they work at night until 3:00 AM.

    R: Not true – grain is not “thrown” in the street. Horses eat off the ground
    under all kinds of conditions – usually without any adverse effects. There are
    additional water troughs and rides end at 2 am, not 3 am.

    9.    Horses may not work when the temperature reaches 90
    degrees or 18 degrees.  There is no consideration for humidity or wind
    chill.  If the temperature is 89 degrees and humidity makes it feel like
    99, the horses may still work.  The only thermometer that can be used to
    determine temperature is held by the ASPCA officers who are not always
    available. When the ASPCA does suspend the carriages  – it is only until
    the temperature drops or increases depending on the time of year.  The
    drivers may return.  However, there is no provision in the law for how to
    end a suspension and the drivers come back to Central Park at will.

    R: Not entirely true – while the temperatures for work are correct, no driver
    wants to risk a citation for working their horse in adverse conditions. How
    many drivers have been cited violating these provisions?

    10.     Many of the laws governing this industry are not
    enforced.  The NYPD looks the other way and defers to the ASPCA Humane Law
    Enforcement Division, which is often not available.

    R: Absolutely false. The drivers must present ALL the
    paperwork upon demand by an ASPCA agent or city inspector. The ASPCA performs,
    on average, about 180 hackline inspections every year (about once every other
    day, where they check all paperwork, plus the horses). That’s not counting
    stable inspections and individual horse inspections. And that’s not counting
    inspections by the city inspectors too.

    11.    There are no records for horses sold outside NYC and
    it is highly possible many go on to the slaughter auctions.  Between 60-70
    horses are unaccounted for each year.

    R: Well-trained draft horses are quite valuable. There has been one, ONE, documented
    incident of a carriage horse going to slaughter. That is not to say that there
    have not been others, but that is an issue for all horses, working and pleasure.
    Once a horse has been sold by its owner, that owner has no further control over
    what happens to that horse. That’s a fact of the horse world – it is not just a
    problem for carriage horses.

    12.    Horses working in automobile traffic lanes are
    constantly positioned on their carriages working nose-to-tailpipe and show
    corresponding respiratory impairment caused by sucking up exhaust fumes.

    R: “working nose-to-tailpipe”? That’s pretty much impossible given the height
    of the horse’s head. “show corresponding respiratory impairment” – prove it.

    13.    Horses spend all their time outside walking with steel
    shoes on asphalt, which is an  unnaturally hard concussive surface and
    contributes to lameness.

    R: Absolutely false.

     

  • There was NO abuse of a N.Y.carriage Horse! Charlie is the only one who died and He would have died no matter where He was.

  • Tracy, You have no idea what You are talking about!Save Your money and buy a clue.

  • Anonymous

    Actually, there have been numerous studies by qualified veterinarians that horses do far better on hard surfaces than on overly soft surfaces which cause them to hyperflex soft tissue.  AND the walking and light jogging these carriage horses due is by far less strenuous and provides an ideal toning of muscles and stimulation to their GI systems. I wager those horses are far healthier than many neglected horses that stand around in stalls day after day.  The fact IS most horses DON’T get the pasture turnout for hours every day.  Some are turned out in filthy, muddy paddocks with no companionship or in groups where the pecking order can be pretty brutal.

  • Anonymous

    I agree with you in regard to the racing industry and other sectors of riding disciplines.  I tend to disagree with you regarding horse-drawn carriages.  The majority of those horses have it far better than those used under saddle.

  • I don’t think horses standing behind buses all day is actually OK,  The only air they breath is traffic air. Think about it exercise in the outdoors is one thing, their GI systems may be OK but how about their respiratory systems.

  • There carriage drivers made the choice, the horse didn’t.

  • I think animals are mistreated right and left in this country. I don’t think many zoos are so great. I don’t think racing dogs are treated well, fight dogs, the list goes on and on. But because one is worse than the other in one’s opinion does not make it OK. It all gets down to money and people who make their money off these animals will find any way to defend their position.

  • Anonymous

    You are posting conjecture – where are your FACTS about their respiratory systems?

  • Anonymous

    That’s your response? Wow. I’m surprised you didn’t say “I know you are but what am I”.

    Guess what? If a 1500 pound plus animal doesn’t want to do something, they aren’t going to do it. Draft horses are bred/trained for this kind of work – it is what they do.

  • Trafic fumes are horrible for all living beings. Standing behind a bus has as  dangerous amounts asbestos for all things. Let’s see when someone wants to kill themselves they  lock themselves in the garage and breath the fumes until they are dead.  When your nose is right up against exhaust pipes all day and the only air you breath is traffic air it is not good for any living being. Go look it up.

  • Anonymous

    Where is your proof that these horses are mistreated? “Because I said so” is not proof.

  • Anonymous

    Where is your proof that they are “run into the ground”? Not up to date on vaccines? Absolutely, patently, and utterly false.

    Pictures can, in fact lie in that they don’t always tell the entire story.

  • Tracey – there is so very much wrong with what you wrote, but I would like to start here.  NO animal has a “choice”, including the dog who is left alone in an apt from 8am-6pm, walked on concrete, and returned to that apt, and who never gets to run with a pack, as is his nature; or the apt cat who never gets to smell green grass or hunt, as in their nature.  So let’s put that “animal didn’t choose_____” silliness to the side for a moment, and consider:

    Adult humans, including:

    Toll operators

    Traffic cops

    DOT ticket guys

    Hot dog guys

    Bicycle messengers

    Pedicab drivers

    Delivery guys

    plus

    Our children

    Our elderly

    Our dogs

    Our police horses
    Our riding horses
    all live and/or work in the city.

    Somehow an urban environment – pavement, exhaust, traffic – is OK for ALL of the above, but not for carriage horses?

    Why?

  • It’s not good for anyone, but few are literally standing with their noses in the backs of vehicles all day long and then asked to perform in it.  New York has a very high asthma rate for a reason.

  • Anonymous

    But their noses are NOT “right up against exhaust pipes all day”.

    I don’t disagree that the air quality is not always great in NYC, but there are hundreds of thousands of people and other animals that breath the same air all day long. And, again, where is your proof that these horses have respiratory problems?

  • Anonymous

    One more time: The horses’ noses are not “in the back of vehicles all day long”.  And, again, as others have asked – what about the police horses? Do you want to ban them too?

    The asthma rate in NYC has absolutely nothing to do with the carriage horses.

  • Anonymous

    Do you think the Amish should be banned from driving their carriages on the roads too?

  • Rosylilacsandlace

    Did you know why asphalt became widely used in roads?

    It’s because way way back in the late 1800s, they realized it was easier on the horse’s legs and feet to walk on in than to walk on dirt or cobblestones.   

    The horses are strictly monitored. They are seen a minimum of 4 times a year by a vet, cannot work in extreme temperatures (and horses are much better able to withstand the outdoors than humans, so if it’s too cold or warm for a horse, then there would be no human able to be out working in it either).  

    A good draft horse that is “bomb proof” is usually well over 5,000. They aren’t something you can replace overnight. They don’t carry them at Macy’s. No one (even if they didn’t like the horse, which most owners and drivers do), would purposely hurt their livelihood. 

  • FYI brake linings are made with asbestos when buses are idling and the driver has his foot on the the break asbestos is released.
    Do you want to stand or walk behind a moving or idling bus for ten hours at a stretch? Just wondering.

  • Most people, dogs and kids are not walking directly in traffic that was made for moving vehicles not animals. It was one thing when all transportation was animals it’s not anymore if you haven’t noticed.

  • Are you truly comparing an animal that has been bred as a house pet to an actual horse? So you’re saying what’s good for the beagle is good for the horse? I would rethink that one. 

  • See above response. Most of those are not directly in the traffic. And quite frankly if they were smart they would do what many people in Asian countries do and wear a face mask in the pollution and fumes if they have jobs that put them at risk.

  • It addresses the air quality issue.

  • The Amish live their lives quietly in the country the same way they have for hundreds of years. They are not using their animals for carting people in the traffic, gridlocked, dangerous streets of New York.  

  • We all know how accurate Wikipedia is.

  • I think people who work in zoos do love animals. I think most people who work with animals actually like them it doesn’t mean the animals are always in the best place for them.

  • SLH

    Tracey your right no directly in traffic rather right next to it as they walk down the streets and then of course in it every time the cross a street. You live in NYC are you telling me that there is no pedestrian traffic ever especially when things get grid locked ?

    You have been given a lot of good advice and points from people in various equine industries some if not most who have proven your statements to be flat out wrong but I have yet to see you admit at all to any of them that you could be incorrect ? 

    Its hard for me to give you an ounce of credibility when  post erroneous photos of a random deceased horse (the chestnut) and follow it with a childish “another one bites the dust”. That horse has nothing do it with the carriage horse industry yet you placed it up there for what ..shock value ? Makes your blog a little like the Titanic big and long winded but not able to hold water . 

  • Thank you Diana, I too have had or been around horses my whole life. The ASPCA is hindered by the lack regulations to help control the situation.

  • You are lying, plain and simple. The condition
    of these carriage horses is excellent. There are no cracked hooves, I believe
    you do not know what a correctly shod foot looks like.

     

    People like you who know NOTHING about horses
    should just shut up. I do not live in NYC, but I visit often. I have never seen
    a carriage horse in less than good condition from their feet to the look in
    their eyes.

     

    I am a horse person of 40 years – I DO know
    horses, these carriage horses are fit and healthy for their work. Also let me
    clue you in on something – walking around pulling a carriage is VERY easy work
    for a horse, especially for a horse bred for the work, i.e your draft and light
    draft breeds, which are the types used in NYC.

     

  • Mary

    I agree with you Tracey!  My mother is an equestrian and knows a lot about horses and their well being.  Any major metropolitan area is both a hazard and dangerous for horses to be pulling carriages.  If you go into small, local villages that have horse and buggy rides, you will see the horses are much better cared for, they have beautiful surroundings to walk through and they are allowed to take breaks in between the rides.  I am quite curious where some of the other folks you posted here actually got their facts from….Do they own these horses?   Do they own the horse and carriage business?  Do they own farms?  It is quite easy to just look something up on the Net and them post.  I am sure you see a lot from where you live and can certainly give feedback.

    Hopefully, in time horse and buggy rides will come to an end in big cities and these poor equines can live a natural and healthy life!

  • No they didn’t.  Your cat, dog, goldfish, etc. didn’t make a choice either.  Neither did the cow, pig or chicken on your plate or the leather used to make your shoes.  What do you propose we do?  Outlaw all carriage horses? OK, then where will they go?  Who will pay for them?  

    Did you know that more horses are injured during turnout than at work (horses play rough, accidents happen).    While we’re at it, let’s outlaw racing…horses die everyday.  Let’s outlaw eventing.  Horses die.  Let’s outlaw trail riding.  Horses sometime drop dead.  Let’s outlaw battle reenactments,  horses sometimes step in a hole and break a leg.  Let’s return them to their natural state, where they’ll be happy and roam free.  Of course, many starve, many wild horses have low grade laminitis (google it), the old and the weak are picked off by predators (not a humane death).  But wait, let’s take it further, the horse, as we know it, is not native to the U.S.  So, let’s send them all back to Europe.  That will fix everything.  You want a cause?  Go look at the horrible injuries caused to many Tennessee Walking horses to get that big lick gait.  That will make you sick.  That’s a cause to get behind.Do some actual research and fact checking.  This is more about extremist animal rights groups and big money wanting the property owned by the carriage horse stables than any problems within the carriage trade.

  • Number One – THE FACTS section was not written by me it was taken off the web and I will post the link later. Those are not my words, but I do believe them.
    Number Two I have been around horses my entire life, my family always had them and I rode them for years, and sorry I do know what a cracked hoof looks like and I have seen many on carriage horses.
    Your comment on the look in their eyes is ridiculous. They are animals and often unless they are really sick we do not know what they are thinking or feeling. Its one of the reasons people stand up and talk for them, as they cannot tell us themselves what they like or dislike.  It’s why we set rules and regulations for working animals.
    My guess is if you polled them you would not get very positive responses. But yes, this is conjecture on my part.
    I know one thing for sure, I live here, I walk the streets here, I see the horses each and every day here, and there are very few, almost no New Yorkers I know outside of the ones who make their living off of these animals who have anything other than pity and sadness for them. That is everyone I have spoken to about it. I cannot speak for 8 million people. Nor do I pretend to. The words before the facts are my feelings on this topic and my observations. 
    THE FACTS section comes from the web, but there is nothing in there other than opinion and general facts about horses.
    People can argue about this forever and my guess will until it is resolved one way or another.  
    And in response to do I think all forms of horse use should be outlawed  – No. Like I said I think we race them far too young. 
    I write about what I see. There are many things that should be outlawed. I’m not in favor of capital punishment either. I don’t think we should allow boxing. I have very particular views which I’m allowed to voice on my blog. I did not post this on Huffpo or any of the other sites I write for.

    The horses I see are the Carriage Horses – not the Tennessee Walking horses, but I imagine you are right. And I would probably get worked up over that too.  I don’t like puppy mills.
    Polo ponies are under a lot of pressure, though they are coddled and rotated after every chukka. Animals are helpless,  yet man has used them to help him since the beginning of time. And I’m sure they do like to be useful. A great racehorse loves to run. 
    But what started before the world became so polluted and populated does not necessarily work today, especially in a city like New York.
    If we were all riding around in horses and buggies it might be different. 
    I will take down THE FACTS and replace them with a link to the person who wrote them as I don’t want to confuse people with my words and some one else’s. I also should not have blindly done that with out giving him credit.

  • Anonymous

    OK, then why not go after the Amish?  Keep in mind horses and oxen, etc. were critical to civilization.  Most people I know who have horses form amazing bonds with them.  I agree that there are too many people who mistreat animals or are simply indifferent to how they are treated, but there are many more who love them and treat them kindly and with respect, an yes, employ them as a means of income.  Many people would think I’m insane for the amount of money I spend to have a horse and to keep him healthy and provide a very good life for him.  I would rather see a civilization which includes animals of all kinds in daily life.  A horse’s respiratory system is far more sensitive to dust and mold.  A horse with heaves or COPD (very similar to asthma in humans) is caused by standing in dusty enclosed stalls and mouldy hay – these horses really suffer if not treated and it is just as fatal for them as for humans.  I’m all for ensuring that the carriage-horse industry is not violating the health and welfare of the horses, and in order to best serve them, opponents need to understand a horse’s physiology.  The equine industry is one of the highest contributors to our nations’ economy, and most of that money is made and remains right here in the U.S.  I find puppy mills and dog fighting far more abusive and horrific tragedy of our nation, and all the work and money going towards eradicating those practices seems to be futile.

  • Anonymous

    If you actually SAW how some of the Amish treat their animals – deliberately withhold water and food to teach them they are absolutely dependent upon the human for their survival, I think you would change your mind.  You would also see how some work many hours in ill fitting harnesses which cause open sores, and some very thin horses.  On the other hand, you will see horses with other Amish families that are stunningly beautiful and healthy.   It comes down to how people are individuals with different perspectives.  Yes, they are on the open roads with their horse buggies.  A family and horse were killed by a semi truck a couple of months ago.

  • Anonymous

    FarmLife – that is so true.  In Ohio I met a very nice Amish kid that’s helping a friend of mine teach her young saddlebred to drive.  He has done an excellent job, quiet and kind. Her horse is far from being a docile draft horse.  The Amish tend to be practical – their animals are there to serve their needs, not viseversa, but not abusive or malicious.  I think they just view the horse with arthritis, for example, like many other large breeders, as not being sound for his intended job and therefore find it more practical to send it to slaughter.  I don’t condone or condemn on that issue.  Although, I’m a strong opponent of slaughter.  

  • Hoofcare

    Some very knowledgeable people have posted here, Mary asks where some of the people who posted get their facts from? Well, some of them ARE equine professionals, and I am another.

    I won’t go point by point as Barnrules has already done a fine job there, but I will speak mainly to my area of expertise, hoof care and equine lameness.

    What stood out to me was the picture of the horse standing in a little puddle.  Oh, the HORROR!   The equine hoof is a fascinating structure very well adapted to varying environmental conditions. Water is essential to its structural well being. During the hot, dry months I recommend that clients let a water trough overflow to PROVIDE a wet place in which to stand. Sure, too much water and being constantly saturated/muddy is unhealthy, but that is not going to happen with the carriage horses while they are in the city. It might while they are on vacation in county, but not in the city.

    As others have pointed out, walking and trotting on smooth, hard surface is not detrimental either. In fact some studies have shown that moderate concussive force (which is what carriage work provides) actually increases leg bone density….a good thing.

    This is not the place to go into minute detail, but if you would like an education on hoof function and structure and equine locomotion bio-dynamics I’d be happy to expound.

    One more point, the picture you posted of a horse standing in the rain ‘looking miserable’…from where I sit here at my home office desk, my view from the window right in front of me is of my pasture, my run-in shed and 3 of my horses. I’m fortunate to get to observe them daily, year round in all extremes of weather, and trust me, in Michigan we have extremes of weather!  They have full, free access to a large, 3 sided shed positioned to back up to prevailing winds. Guess what?  By choice, they use the shed very little. They stand out in pouring rain all the time, by CHOICE..yes, often heads down and from a human point of view, based on our own human perceptions and projections, looking miserable, but if they are truly miserable, why don’t they walk 50-100 feet to readily accessible dry cover?

    And don’t even get me started on snow, their absolute favorite weather condition. A heavy snow fall is the surest way to catch them out of the shed enjoying the flakes! 

    The only time they consistently use the shed is from mid July until late August/early September to gain some protection from  the large tabanid biting horseflies we get that time of year…flies that I don’t think are much of a problem in NYC..at least I don’t remember seeing any in the 9 years I lived in Manhattan.

    Hope you enjoy the pic of 3 of my boys in the snow.

  • Lovely ~ a nice life for them. Thank you for sharing.

  • bayoubengalfirst

    Tracey- You have included several misstatements of fact in your blog. The most glaring misstatement is the one concerning carriage horses routinely going to slaughter. This is simply NOT TRUE. Most carriage horses in NYC and elsewhere are retired to their owners’ farms or to other retirement farms. If they are still sound, they often go into semi-retirement with a special events livery- the people who provide carriages or horses for parades, weddings, parties and the like.

    How do I know this? I run a small not-for-profit horse retirement and organic farm, as well as a special events livery. There are several horses here who are former carriage horses, show horses or field trial horses. The each “works” on average fewer than 20 days a year. In return, they each receive affection, vet care, farrier care, quality feed and suppliments tailored to their nutritional needs, grooming,  proper shelter and blankets.

    While my farm is too far from NYC for it to be economically feasable for a NYC carriage horse to be sent here for retirement, there are several farms similar to mine, some on a much larger scale, that are within a few hours drive of NYC.

    One such farm is Blue Star Equiculture. I urge you to check out their website http://www.equiculture.org/ or better yet, why don’t you contact them and ask for a farm tour? If you ARE interested in learning the truth about the lives of NYC carriage horses, why not visit http://www.youtube.com/user/StopLiesSeeTruth  to watch some of the videos posted there. If you are just interested in repeating the lies and misinformation that the radical anti-carriage horse groups and animal rights fanatics use, you will probably will not take my advice.

    If you really want to help carriage horses, you can help sponsor one of the retired horses at Blue Star Equiculture. Carriage horses are expensive to own and keep. Those of us who privide their retirement homes can always use volunteers, and in-kind, or monetary donations.

    And BTW, I personally think the fake “antique” replicars being pushed by NYCLASS as “replacements” for real horse-drawn carriages are tacky, tacky, tacky. They are also very expensive to build, and they have much larger carbon footprints than  horse-drawn carriages do. For the price of  building 68 of these replicars, you could fund retirement for many, many deserving horses.

    There are many ordinances, and laws already in effect to protect the NYC carriage horses from abuse, neglect or cruelty. You need to educate yourself about horses in general, and carriage horses in particular before you form opinions about proper hoof care and handling practices. I can assure you that no one can MAKE an animal that weighs half a ton or more do anything it really does not want to do. I know this from about 50 years of experience riding, driving, and working with horses. How many years of hands-on experience do you have with horses?

    As for the ASPCA, it is an organization more than 100 years old and for MOST of its history, if had no problem with horses being used in NYC. In fact, the ASPCA used to operate its very own horse-drawn horse ambulances. You need to look into just when and why the ASPCA suddenly decided that NYC was not a proper environment for horses. You also need to reead about their own head equine vet, Dr. Corey, asking for the NY Attorney General to investigate them. And you need to read what former Animal Cops star, former ASPCA agent, and decorated former NYPD officer, Henry Ruiz had to say about the unfair policies adopted by the ASPCA higher ups. He said ASPCA agents were directed to go and “find something wrong”that  they could issue drivers citations for at the hack stands. That sure reminds me of “targeting” and racial profiling. It struck him the same way. He no longer works for the ASPCA. 

  • I have been around horses all my life and had them several at time during certain periods. My family has had ranches with horses, my father bred horses. I have been to many auctions.  Horse rescue – no.
    I do not hold a degree in equine science nor do I claim to. Most horse people with horses don’t. Some do. 
    I have taken care of my own horses, cleaned them and their stalls and cared for them daily. I don’t do it now as I no longer have them. But I have been around them for much of my life. 

  • I did not say the Routinely go to slaughter re-read it.
    But I thank you for the links to the farm,  looks like a place worthy of a donation.

  • If all of this is true, then can you explain why you have the caption, “Standing in water looking and probably feeling miserable.”?
    First of all, the horse is standing on wet pavement, not “in water”.  Secondly, if he WERE standing in water, surely with all your background you are familiar with mud season?  Or horses that prefer to stand in the rain even when shelter is offered?  Or the fact that he will be standing here a short time?
    Explain why you think he is “feeling miserable”? He is obviously in good weight and physically fit; he has a nice fat pad under his saddle; his tack all looks well-fitting; he’s standing square.  What signs do you see of “misery”?  Well fed, well harnessed, at rest, showing no signs of distress whatever.
    Sounds more like projection than observation to me.

  • That “farm” happens to FULLY SUPPORT NYC’s working horses.

  • Hoofcare

    I’m glad you enjoyed the picture. It should be noted that all three are current or former working animals. Tiempo, on the left is a multi-purpose horse, competitive trail, extreme cowboy races, reining and cow work.

    Tucker, in the middle is my police horse in training and Norman, on the right has shown extensively on the Morgan horse circuit and is my retired parade horse. 

    Norman did parades for years where he was exposed to hard surfaces, vehicles, crowds, sometimes we have been placed between gunning hot rods and the fire department blowing off their horns, children throwing candy at him..you get the picture I’m sure.  He LOVED doing parades and somehow, despite all this work IN TRAFFIC he has managed to live to retire perfectly sound mentally and physically and is quite healthy at 32 years old.

  • Hoofcare, as you state there are all kinds of working animals. What people object to in the city is the day in day out in the traffic, shoddy living conditions, exposure to traffic situation. The surfaces I’m not getting into. I don’t think people really care about the surfaces as much as the pro-carriage people are writing about them.    Aparade is a controlled environment for a finite period of time, they are not all day every day, late at night. NY streets are bedlam much of the time.
    Police horses work on rotation and you know I’m not sure why we have them frankly. I have never in all my years in NY seen one running after anyone or galloping down the street with a red light between it’s ears.  I would love to know why they are here.
    Cutters and horses on the circuit are living their lives with other horses, they are not in traffic spending nine hours where they don’t belong. I don’t think many people are against the working horse, horses are in fact bred to work, but not in NEW YORK CITY day in day out. That is the point.
    My point and what concerns me.

    Now COMMENTS ARE CLOSED.
    Not because I don’t like hearing all sides of the story ~ I do. I have learned things and heard the other sides passion. 
    But we are heading towards 80 comments and I’m on deadline. So thank you all very much for writing in. Best of luck to you all.

  • If all of this is true, then can you explain why you have the caption,
    “Standing in water looking and probably feeling miserable.”?
    First of
    all, the horse is standing on wet pavement, not “in water”.  Secondly,
    if he WERE standing in water, surely with all your background you are
    familiar with mud season?  Or horses that prefer to stand in the rain
    even when shelter is offered?  Or the fact that he will be standing here
    a short time?
    Explain why you think he is “feeling miserable”? He is
    obviously in good weight and physically fit; he has a nice fat pad
    under his saddle; his tack all looks well-fitting; he’s standing
    square.  What signs do you see of “misery”?  Well fed, well harnessed,
    at rest, showing no signs of distress whatever.
    Sounds more like projection than observation to me.

  • Miss Experienced Horsewoman…it’s called “grooming” your horse, not cleaning it.  And mucking stalls, not cleaning.  I question how much experience you really do have.  

  • Anonymous

    It might address the air quality issue, but it doesn’t address your false assertion that the carriage horses have respiratory problems.

  • Anonymous

    Wait – let me get this straight. You posted someone else’s words as your own, did NO research to learn the truth of the words, and now you are trying to distance yourself from them? Riiight. I hope you get sued.

  • Anonymous

     “Cleaned” horses and their stalls – yeah, right.

    By “being around horses” I’m guessing you showed up for your lesson and a groom handed you your tacked up already lunged horse and you rode around in a circle for 30 minutes, hopped off and handed him back to the groom.

    I’m guessing you have never held a horse for the farrier, never been around for spring/fall shots, never had to pick mud out of your horse’s ears, never hand-walked a colic-y horse, never held your horse while the vet tubed him, never watched a horse being humanely euthanized. I see the whole picture very clearly now.

    If you think you are “educated” about horses, you are very sadly mistaken.

  • What specifically is awful?

  • Rosylilacsandlace

    They aren’t working 70 hrs a week. The hours are strictly monitored and enforced by the APSCA.  They walk on asphalt.  The reason that roads are paved with asphalt is because it’s easier for a horse to walk and pull on than cobblestones or dirt. It’s why roads started being paved in cities over 100 years ago. (asphalt has much more give to it than cobblestones, bricks or hard packed dirt). The ASPCA is right there, governing the treatment of the carriage horses. They get at minimum 5 weeks of vacation a year (usually 6 months). They are in excellent stabling with stalls large enough to lay down in. They also have a top of the line security system (because RARAs have tried to poison them in the stables before) as well as an excellent sprinkler system. They are not allowed to work in inclement weather at all (as decided by the ASPCA), and are monitored at minimum 2x year (usually 4x bc they need a vet check when going and returning from vacation as well. 

  • Angela

    makes me sick. has always made me sick. thanks for writing. will blog and tweet now.

  • You call
    yourself a horse person but you cannot read a horse’s eye? Shame on you! Much
    of a horse’s condition can be read in their expression. Are their eyes dull, do
    they lack expression? Are they interested in what is happening around them? Is
    their pain in their eyes? Come on now LOOK at the horse not at your own prejudices
    at the work he is doing.

     

    You say you
    have been around horses you entire life but have never seen a cracked hoof?  Your experience with horses then is highly
    limited.  Hooves crack for all kinds of
    reasons – sloppy wet pasture is one of them. 
    Have you ever thought about that? 
    Makes the foot very wet, never has a chance to dry out, the horse can
    get thrush or other funguses, the foot can get so soft the hoof walls crack.  The best thing for a foot is dry land and work
    – gets circulation to the foot and therefore increases the quality of the hoof.

     

    Do you know
    what the major reason is that a horse does not survive a break of its leg?  Circulation to the lower limbs is impossible
    to maintain.  The horse needs to move to
    ensure proper circulations to their legs and feet.  Feral horse walk miles and miles a day, much
    more than the NYC carriage horse do. 

     

    I do not
    understand why you animal extremists are against horses doing any time of “work”.  Whether it is pulling a carriage, carrying a
    pleasure rider, or performing high level Dressage, what is wrong with
    this?  Would you rather that there be no more
    horses?  Is that the goal?