Carriage Horse Dies in Central Park, Prompting Call for New Laws

A carriage horse died after stumbling and falling in Central Park on Saturday, prompting new calls from animal activists for laws to protect the horses.

The horse had completed one ride and was waiting for its next one inside the park around 7th Avenue when it fell around 12:30 p.m., a trade group representing owners and horse-carriage drivers told the Post. The horse was taken to stables on 52nd Street and checked out by a veterinarian.

“The Health Department responded to reports yesterday that a carriage horse was unable to stand and required veterinary evaluation,” a spokesperson told us. “We closely monitored the situation throughout the evening. The horse did not respond to treatment, and was humanely euthanized.”

A video of the horse is below:

Animal activists with NYCLASS said the horse’s “legs appeared to be severely injured,” and that the drivers reacted “recklessly” when they “shoved” the horse into a trailer. The carriage-driver trade group disputed that characterization, saying they followed the correct protocols and got the animal care quickly. A Health Department source said the vet believed the horse suffered a cardiac event, and did not a broken leg.

“This video is just the latest disturbing piece of evidence we’ve seen showing how poorly these horses are treated and what they go through on these busy city streets,” NYCLASS Executive Director Edita Birnkrant said in a statement. NYCLASS has pushed for new laws, including one that would require carriages to add dash cams, and one that would make carriage drivers treat horses with the same care given to NYPD horses.

The mayor, who pushed unsuccessfully for a ban on carriage horses in the park in his first term, said an investigation is underway.

NEWS, OUTDOORS | 49 comments | permalink
    1. Yossarian says:

      Horses should not be in the city. A total anachronism that’s purely for entertainment. If you want to ride a horse carriage, go outside of the city. I feel like it’s crazy this has been overlooked because of tradition.

    2. james says:

      shame on de Blasio for commenting so casually on twitter. he promised to ban these horses on his first day in office six years ago. this unfortunate incident is on his hands.

    3. Colleen Odonnel says:

      YOU F**KERS!!!!!!! Have NO right to make $$$ off of a beautiful Angel 😢😢😢🙏. This is truly cruelty 💯😢😢😢😢

    4. A says:

      How old was the horse?

    5. JJ says:

      That is so sad, just breaks my heart, poor horse.

    6. Alan Alejandro Maldonado Ortiz says:

      No es posible que el ser humano siga abusando de los animalitos asi solo para beneficio economico no se estan dando cuenta de la situación en el mundo que estamos viviendo

    7. Marie Ben Alaya says:

      Drivers of these horses dont realize if their horses are overworked and tured.its a shame how people mistreat animals just because they dont have a voice to complain…RIP Bud.your work is appreciated.

    8. Evan Bando says:

      It is disgraceful that the city persists in caving in to the horse and carriage business and its employees just for a handful of tourists and a couple of bucks of revenue. It is bad enough watching the horses laboring in all kinds of weather and defecating on the park roads that residents use for running and cycling. Now, a horse dies from apparent negligence and abuse. It makes no sense in any way, shape or form. End it now.

    9. Will says:

      Where’s Liam Neeson now?

    10. Yael says:

      Heinous, inexcusable, highly predictable & 1000% avoidable! Ban horses from the city! How many horses have suffered and died for NYC’s monetary gain of tourist attractions?! NOT ONE MORE horse hit by vehicles. Not one more overworked horse! Not one more horse working in the blazing heat nor dead of winter! ENOUGH!!!! People need to RISE UP, end this horrendous, ongoing NYC animal cruelty. Time to shut down the carriage horse industry-of-death. It feels to me as if many Nyers have gone numb. Food for thought: If these poor horses had been DOGS, this shit show would have been physically stopped by angry mobs of Nyers many decades ago!

    11. Henry says:

      ” Kudos ” for Mayor de Blasio for trying maybe now
      He will get support.
      what is it going to take???….soooo sadHenry

    12. Tracy Detz says:

      This breaks my heart.This is so sad.Animals are pure love and should be cared for with great respect, and love.

    13. Eln Lou says:

      RIP No words.

    14. chris w says:

      People are pretty quick to jump in without knowing exactly what happened or the cause. Are they going to adopt these horses when the Amish are done using them for farm labor and ready to sell them because that would be a good several thousand a year. The alternative is not great if they cannot sell these horses for the carriage trade.

    15. Lady Di says:

      this is beyond heartbreaking and outrageous! I can’t understand what more needs to happen to get the humane carriage ban into law ! perhaps the next horse(s) who die from this abuse should be left on the steps of City Hall; hard to ignore this issue when dropped into your lap.

    16. ST says:

      Another one of Di Blasio’s big promises that he backed out on. Just like banning helicopters among many many others.

    17. Pamela says:

      Animal rights bs..horses have cardiac issues like any animal. Life happens. The horse was in great shape well cared for. Horse with a job is a happy horse. Stop ruining horse industry! Horses are made to work for man..stop ruining the horses lives. DAMN new Yorkers are clueless

      • stu says:

        A horse with a job is happy? Did Mr. Ed tell you this? Watching horses slog their way up exhaust-infested avenues, with cars and trucks honking all around them, only to reach the park and contend with hordes of pedestrians, runners and cyclists swerving around them all day — I can assure you they don’t wake up every morning looking forward to their day.

        • Jan Sutherland says:

          But humans and dogs and rats and cats…they are all okay in this sliimey polluted hell hole you describe? What about the pedi cab guys. They have to breath a lot more than the horses do on the job. Should we shut them down too? Grow up.

    18. Susan Equus says:

      Why is it so difficult for people to educate themselves especially today with information available via your computer. Stop relying on the overreported hysteria of activists.

      Carriage horses in NYC are well cared for and they are examined all the time, Asphalt is actually easier for them to walk on.

      “In fact, Charles Komanoff of has reviewed the data and concluded that horse-drawn carriages are the safest vehicles in midtown Manhattan.”

      The NYC carriage industry is subject to some of the most extensive regulations concerning horses in the country. Carriage horses are overseen by 5 city agencies.

      Carriage horses cannot work when it is too hot or too cold. (Above 89 degrees or below 19 degrees.)

      Carriage horses cannot work more than 9 hours per day.

      Carriage horses must get at least 5 weeks vacation every year.

      Carriage horses must live in box stalls large enough to turn around and lie down comfortably.

      Carriage horses and their stables are inspected regularly by the NYPD Mounted Unit, the Department of Health and the Department of Consumer Affairs.

      Carriage horses are sound. Walking on asphalt actually makes their job easier. A 2008 study by Cornell veterinarian Dr. James Lowe found virtually no lameness in NYC carriage horses.

      Carriage horses are not stressed by the city. A 2014 study by Dr. Joe Bertone of Western University of cortisol levels in NYC carriage horses concluded that carriage horses have exceedingly low levels of cortisol while working in the city, and that they appear to be more stressed while on vacationing on the farm.

      Dr. Stephen O’Grady from Virginia made an independent visit to the carriage stables in 2013 and concluded that the stables were very clean, with spacious stalls. He also remarked that carriage horses receive excellent farrier (hoof) care.

      Every equine vet who has visited the stables or the hackline has remarked on the lack of respiratory issues in NYC carriage horses.

      • Lisa says:

        Thank you Susan for pointing out the actual facts here.

      • Christian says:

        This agrees with what I’ve heard, read, and observed.

      • Irish says:

        Thank you for the most comprehensive and factual response to this story. Everyone is so quick to jump on the ‘animal cruelty’ bandwagon, when a filly these horses are very well cared for. I trust all this people are vegan?! Because if not, they should be uproaring about the treatment of the animals they slaughter to feed their appetites.

    19. CW says:

      Where was this level of outrage over the little girl mauled by a pitbull? There was more sympathy for the pitbull and now horses draw the ire of the Mayor rather than a child attacked by a homeless woman’s dog. Boggles the mind.

      • Irish says:

        Exactly! People care more for animals than human life these days. And this animal was actually well cared for. Believe it or not, horses die too!

    20. AF says:

      Thank you for reporting on this when most other news outlets did not. Horses are NOT made to work for man, lol Pamela. This industry is a horrific blemish on our city.

    21. L Norman says:

      Ban Carriage Horse Industry! It’s time to evolve and eradicate this antiquated industry that forces equines into unnatural congested urban settings, breathing carbon monoxide, and kept in dank dark stalls with no grass diet. Numerous incidents over the years have revealed the inherent cruelty and danger to horses and the public. What about the emaciated horse, Tommy? Has this horse been confiscated and charges filed for animal neglect/cruelty?
      Safe and fun alternatives exist for tourists to enjoy without exploiting and endangering equines.

    22. Joanne says:

      Bill De Blasio only won the primary his first go around and stole it from Quinn who would have been a much better mayor because he promised to ban the horse drawn carriages. And then of course reneged.

    23. Nick Bacon says:

      The horse suffered a cardiac issue, the sort of thing that can happen to any horse, however well cared for.
      The horse was treated by her regular Veterinarian, who after several hours was unable to save her.
      The carriage horses are heavily regulated by the City and the DOH veterinarian has expressed herself satisfied with care and treatment given.

    24. Chrigid says:

      maybe move forward the tiniest wee bit to the first electric cars, circa 1900.

    25. ellen says:

      maybe within the confines on Central Park…most definitely NOT on the city streets…

    26. Char says:

      I called the ASPCA when horses were out in extreme heat thinking they would help. They me the only people who can do anything are the mounted police. Who are never around. Which means that NO ONE is looking out for these poor creatures. All of us has seen the carriage drivers with their phones up their butts, not paying attention, running traffic lights. It’s very naïve BS to say no one will take care of these horses if they’re banned. There are rescue groups all over the country. While many hate PETA, they would jump on making sure the horses have new homes in a natural environment.
      They’re either in a stall, or walking on concrete with blinders, bridal, and reins on. That’s a hateful way to spend every day of your life.

    27. Christian says:

      Horses never have heart attacks in the country? I don’t know, it seems to me they stand around, they walk around, they eat … not a bad life in Central Park.

    28. Horse Sense says:

      This antiquated, cruel business needs to be shut down once and for all! Many major cities and countries around the world have done so, so why does NYC allow this obvious animal cruelty to persist for a handful of people’s jobs when there’s plenty of other jobs out there that don’t involve the torture animals – not to mention that humans could also be involved in carriage accidents. Why does it always have to be about money?

    29. Harry z says:

      Horses live work and die like the rest of us David Olney passed away on stage recently

    30. Horselover says:

      People complaining, New Yorkers, PETA, activists, are so darn hypocritical, one has to laugh. I love horses, and feel very sorry for horses who have issues and the video is gutwrenching, but, one horse, out of how many? Does anyone care for all animals, where are these groups when animals are getting their throats cut for rituals? And, horses are not meant to stand around in the fields of Oklahoma and do nothing. One group doesn’t even think they should be pleasure ridden, lol. What IS the world coming too. It is never a good thing to see any, again ANY animal suffer, but such hypocrisy negates the cause.

    31. Susan pohorily says:

      I am not an activist. This horse went thru hell and did not deserve this way to die

    32. Patricia A Gormley says:

      Dear all
      The environment in nyc is beyond what any normal horse can tolerate. Nyc and horse racing and cross county competition is pushing both humans n animals in a cruel cynical exploitation. Follow the dollars and u see who protects these destructive games……protect those who cant protect themselves… the right thing. Pat Gormley

    33. Terry Costilow says:

      The time for horses has passed do what Chinese do use a man.

    34. MaryAnne Wassem says:

      So sorry to hear about the carriage horse in Central Park. Much like Southern California where horses died everyday at the Santa Anita Race Track; More needs to be done for the protection of all Animals, especially animals that bring commerce to the private sector.

    35. Peter Wood says:

      The NYC carriage horse industry is inherently cruel and corrupt. I first started working to help carriage horses during the Dinkins administration. At that time, we just wanted to get them off the streets and into Central Park. On August 6, 1991, a dog walker I knew called to tell me that she saw a dead carriage horse in Central Park. He was covered in a tarp awaiting disposal. I went and found the horse and photographed him. My photo ran in the Daily News. Since that time, horses have continued to suffer and die. The horses are worked in areas not allowed by law. They are also worked in temperature extremes. NYCLASS recently documented at least one carriage horse license plate that had been whitewashed to prevent identification. If a carriage can’t be identified, a complaint cannot be made. The city’s lack of enforcement is outrageous and unconscionable. Shame on the powers that be and the drivers who work sick horses and break the law with impunity. The carriage horse industry is an embarrassment to NYC and proof that it’s not as “progressive” as everyone thinks.

    36. Wake up says:

      The city does not oversee their regulations. These rules are broken constantly and there is photo and video proof of that taken constantly by the Advocates for humane treatment of these horses. I have seen these rules broken myself walking down Central Park South.
      Are we still living in the 1800 or 1900’s?
      Humans consume and use everything on this planet for their own entertainment and work. If the Amish want to continue living in the 1900’s we can’t stop them, but machines have taken over the work horses have done in the past for ages now- There is no need to keep USING them. And No Pamela, horses are not made to work for us, but we MAKE them do it anyways. It’s the choices WE make that can make the world a better place to live and work in. We can learn to respect every living being on this planet rather than wiping them out with indifference. We destroy animals homes, kill them for their skin and coat, experiment on them for our make up, make them race against each other pumped up with drugs, make them dance for their supper, and torture them for our food. Isn’t there a better way to live with other species? Are we that numb and ignorant? Do we NEED to do this?
      And by the way, I am not a vegan.
      I’m just a human sick of seeing life on this planet be consumed for human greed.