Sunday, December 22, 2013


Note:  posted 7:30 pm 12/22/13 - Tony Salerno, manager of West Side Livery Stable,  told me that up until several months ago, the driver who was charged with animal cruelty worked for his stable but now works for Clinton Park Stable on W. 52nd St.  This is where Blondie is kept.  This is where Blondie most likely picked up thrush.  Shame on all the many drivers, owners and stable men for ignoring this horse.  


West Side Livery Stable  - small stall; nasty bedding 
The desperation and lies from the NYC carriage trade and their extremist supporters is growing out of control  – they are making up lies as they go along.   

One of the most intriguing subjects concerns the horse stables and their claim that since we have not seen them, we do not know what we are talking about and are not competent to make complaints about them.  They suggest that if Mayor-Elect deBlasio sees the stables,  he will change his mind about his intention to shut down the trade.   They are wrong and definitely delusional.

Stables totally inadequate:  It is not necessary to see the interior of the stables in the flesh to  know that they are totally inadequate:  There are four carriage horse stables in Manhattan  – all between 10th and 12th Avenues on the far west side  – on W. 37th, W. 38th, W. 48th and W. 52nd Streets.   They are all multi-storied stables housing stalls on upper floors. The horses access the stalls by a steep ramp.  There is only one means of egress --  in the event of a fire, it would be virtually impossible for the horses to escape.  

West Side Livery - typical
The stalls, by law, must only be 60 square feet or 6’ x 10.’  They call these box stalls because of the configuration – not size.  This is less than half what experts recommend, which is 12’x 12’  or 144 sq. ft.  for standard bred horses about 10000 to 1500 pounds – and  14” x 14”  or 196 sq. ft. for the large draft breeds who can weigh over 2,000 pounds. 
No pasture on which to graze:  In addition – the horses have no access to pasture turnout to graze – something horses need on a daily basis.  None whatsoever.  They work a 9 hour day,  and come back to their small sterile stall where they wait to be taken out the next day  - they do this for 7 days,  47 weeks a year.  The owners are required to send the horses for five- week furloughs every year to a “horse stable facility.”  But there is no requirement in the law that these “facilities” be approved by the ASPCA or the Department of Health or that they meet any standards.  As a result, we have heard complaints that some of the horses return from their furlough looking worse than when they left.  We have also heard they are kept in stalls and not fed properly.  But no one seems to care enough to investigate this.  

The former ASPCA equine veterinarian, Dr. Pamela Corey, is cited in the NY Post on November 2, 2011 as saying "We have observed some horses returning to New York City after furloughs on a farm in worse condition than when they left."  This was never investigated.

The former ASPCA equine veterinarian, Dr. Pamela Corey is cited in the NY Post on November 2,
West Side Livery 
2011   as saying “We have observed some horses returning to New York City after furloughs on a farm in worse condition than when they left.”  This was never investigated. 

Carriage driver charged with animal cruelty:  And  now comes a new twist – a carriage driver being called out by a NYPD officer and charged with animal cruelty for allegedly working his horse with a 4-day old injury.  The driver,
Saverio Colarusso,  was seen in Central Park on Wednesday, December 18th  by Officer Brian Coll who stopped him when he saw his horse struggling with the weight of the carriage.  The NYTimes broke the story on Friday, December 20th.  

The spokesperson for the trade is (of course) denying that this is common practice and trying to distance themselves from the diver.  But this puts a crimp in their mantra of  “The NYC carriage horses are well-cared for – as a matter of fact, there has never been a carriage horse driver cited for mistreatment, cruelty, or abuse of a carriage horse. “

We have disagreed vehemently with this statement  because we know that the regulations governing the trade are not enforced.  This driver is finally the one who slipped through the cracks thanks to a compassion and astute NYPD officer.  We also know it not to be true because of the many violations published by the Department of Consumer Affairs.

 Drivers are inclined to break the laws when no one is looking – whether overloading their carriage with too many passengers; making illegal u-turns; or ignoring a lame horse.  Hiring a platoon of officers to follow the drivers for infractions is as absurd as it would be costly.   Police officers are not familiar with the specific laws and generally look the other way – this time it was different and Officer Brian Coll is a true hero. 

The ASPCA is giving up humane law enforcement on December 31st.  But they were rarely in Central Park so would not have seen something like this. 

Clinton Park  - dismal  - certainly not "light & airy" 
Need more impartial investigations:  We also wonder why the media is not investigating this animal cruelty incident further.  There are too many unanswered questions  - such as:  why wasn’t the owner of the horse charged with cruelty also?    It is ultimately his/her responsibility for the welfare of the horse.
Why didn’t the stable hands and other drivers notice something was wrong?   The horse is alleged to have had a 4-day old injury on his left rear leg causing him to limp. 
Why didn’t the customers notice or say anything? 

Clean and airy stalls - I don't think so:  The cruelty charge and the diagnosis of thrush also calls into question their “clean, light and airy stalls”  and the “r
egular vet and farrier visits.”   It is highly probably that Blondie was standing for some time in filthy urine-soaked bedding, which was ignored. 

Thrush is easily prevented by cleaning a horse’s hooves daily – before and after his shift – and keeping the stall clean and dry.    If left untreated, as this horse apparently was, it can cause lameness.  It is a glaring example of neglect.


Friday, November 29, 2013

LIES AND DESPERATION - the NYC horse-carriage trade


New York City – November 2013.  It’s been bad news for those who operate horse-drawn carriages in New York City and it is about time.  For years it was bad news for those who cared about animal welfare – with one cold hearted and insensitive Mayor after the other in office.  But this election season it was different with the top two candidates running for the office of Mayor both taking an official stand in support of shutting down the inhumane and unsafe horse-drawn carriage trade. 

the eyes tell it all on this horse 
The carriage drivers and their friends are desperate and digging in their heels.  Even though the handwriting is on the wall and has been for some time and two separate alternate businesses have been offered to them and turned down, they are making up lies about their carriage business to try to influence public opinion.  They put out statements designed to deceive and to make things appear much better than they really are … as long as no one asks questions.  The media in far corners of the US  - and some in New York City - have picked up the Associated Press story and shamefully did no fact checking on their own.   

This is a business that has been unpopular in NYC for many, many years – a business that has been favored by the last two administrations that turned their backs on the violations and abuse.  With Mayor-Elect Bill deBlasio taking office in January 2014 – it will be different.  Mr. DeBlasio has promised to ban the horse-drawn carriage trade in New York City.

To sort through the duplicity put out by the carriage trade, the following is a list of their
LIES followed by the TRUTH. 

LIE:  There have been only three carriage horses who died as a result of a collision with traffic in the past 30 years.

TRUTH:  In the last 7 years, there have been at least 4 public deaths of carriage horses in NYC and many more within the confines of the stables.  Spotty – 2006; Juliet – 2006, Smoothie – 2007, Charlie 2011.  But there have been many more horses who were injured because of accidents.  The public does not differentiate between a horse like Spotty who was involved in a horrific traffic accident in 2006 and Charlie who dropped dead on the street several years later.  There is something about the image of a dead horse – helpless and no longer powerful - that resonates with our collective unconscious guilt – where we feel a sense of responsibility for allowing this abuse to continue without speaking up. 

LIE:  The industry is 155 years old.    

TRUTH:  This statement is designed to have people think this is a long and venerable business.  155 years would take us back to 1858 when Central Park was being built.  Everyone used horses then.  The industry as we know it today started in the late 1940s when Mayor William O’Dwyer issued 68 medallions to individuals to operate a horse-drawn carriages.   

LIE: All the horse stalls are box stalls     

TRUTH: A box stall is simply a configuration and says nothing about size.  According to law, the
Oreo - spooked and bolted into traffic - summer 2012
stalls must be at least 60 square feet.
  But this is less than half what experts recommend, which is 144 square feet (12’ x 12’) for a standardbred horse who weighs about 1000 to 1200 pounds; for larger draft breeds who can weigh more than 2,000 pounds, experts recommend at least a 197 square foot stall (14’ x14’).  The space does not exist in the NYC stables to do this properly so the horses are stuck with substandard sized stalls. 

 LIE: The horses get a vacation for at least 5 weeks out of the year.   

TRUTH:    A “vacation” is a human concept.  Horses need daily turnout to pasture, which does not exist in NYC.  So for 47 weeks out of the year, the horses are confined to their small stalls when they are not working on the streets of NYC.  The Department of Health (DoH)  does not require a list of the “farms” where the horses are sent and the ASPCA is not required to inspect them.  According to this article in theNY Post, former ASPCA equine veterinarian Pam Corey said that many of the horses look worse when they return from this vacation.  It was never investigated.  

 Dr. Corey, the director of equine veterinary services of the ASPCA’s humane law-enforcement department, said, “We have observed some horses returning to New York City after furloughs on a farm in worse condition than when they left.”

We have also heard this from others - that the horses are not fed properly when on "vacation" and are returned to NYC thin and unfit, but expected to return to work nine hours a day.  This is truly a travesty and the NYC media must accept much of the blame for perpetuating this nonsense and not fact checking.  

LIE:  The industry is tightly regulated by many City agencies and the ASPCA

TRUTH:  While there are many laws on the books, enforcement is rare.  Because there is generally no one in an official capacity at the hack line, the drivers break the laws with impunity.   And because the Commissioners of the Department of Health and the Department of Consumer Affairs serve at the pleasure of the Mayor, no one wants to rock the boat about bringing violations to the surface.   The ASPCA enforces all animal cruelty laws on a volunteer basis and has fewer than 20 agents.  They are rarely at the hack line or around the streets where the drivers work to observe any violations.  Starting on January 1st, the ASPCA will no longer be involved with this enforcement.  This
Chris - collapsed with carriage falling on him 9/26/13
is a link that shows violations.
LIE:   The industry contributes $15,000.000 annually to the economy.

TRUTH: This is a fabricated and extrapolated piece of information.  No one knows how much the trade contributes in the way of taxes every year because it is a cash only business.  The number was originally put out there by the organization that is promoting electric cars to show how their industry would compare against the carriages.  But it is a puffed up estimate and cannot be confirmed or validated.  It is suspected that the industry reports far less income than it takes in and thus pays less in taxes. 

LIE: Blue Star Equiculture (BSE) is the “official and guaranteed” retirement home for NYC carriage horses.

TRUTH: Currently BSE lists only one former NYC carriage horse on their site.  Further the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages published a 7 ½ year study that revealed a turnover of 529 horses in the NYC carriage trade over this time period.  This is a link to the study, which includes raw data from the DoH. 

LIE:   Tourists love this iconic ride

TRUTHIt is not only New Yorkers who want this inhumane and unsafe business to be gone.  Many tourists agree.  More than 70,000 people signed our first petition from a few years ago supporting a ban.  It included eople from all 50 states and more than 55 countries.   Tourists continue to tell us that they avoid the Central Park South area because they do not want to see the horses – it is so troubling to them.  

Every online poll done since 2006 has resulted in between 75 and 80 percent of respondents voting in favor of a ban on horse-drawn carriages in NYC. 

Our current online petition has more than 130,000 signatures on a petition in support of the Avella/Rosenthal bill to ban horse-drawn carriages in NYC.     

LIE:  There are 300 carriage drivers in this industry that will be affected by job loss. 

TRUTH:  While there are close to 300 licenses, many of those holding them are part timers or live  in other states and countries.  According to Steve Malone of the NYC Carriage Association, there are between 150 and 160 active drivers.

In addition, the drivers have turned down alternate businesses such as retrofitting their carriages (and retiring the horses) or vintage replica electric cars.  This is a tiny industry and the City of NY should stop being held hostage by a small handful of people.  Enough is enough.  Many people have lost their jobs in the last several years – ranging from municipal workers to corporate workers to those who worked in businesses affected by redevelopment and gentrification.  No one in the City Council or NYC government created a special industry for them.  Things change, businesses become obsolete.  People need to find new means of making a living -- to retrain for new opportunities.

Oreo's carriage - summer 2012
There are no arguments that are justified here to defend this abusive and dangerous trade.  It needs to stop.  The best alternative business that can happen in a relatively short period of time is retrofitting carriages such as these produced by Andres Carriages.

The electric cars do not exist, are prohibitively expensive,  and are not a realistic alternative.   Let's all (both sides) get beyond this Emperor's New Clothes saga and move on and deal with reality.  deBlasio needs to shut the industry down as promised.  The owners can either accept retrofitting their carriages or get nothing.

LIE:  Safety is a non-issue

TRUTH: Safety is a huge issue.   These horses weigh between 1500 and 2000 pounds.  As prey animals they are nervous and predictably unpredictable; can spook at the slightest provocation and cause havoc – becoming unwitting weapons – can injure or kill themselves or passerby.  Dragging a slow moving flimsy carriage through the congested traffic of NYC is a recipe for disaster.

There have been about 18 accidents in the last few years that we know about. It might well be more because the drivers are not required to report them to the NYPD; and even if the NYPD is called on the scene, they, too, are not required to write a report.  We believe that many more happen and unless something is done, it is just a matter of time before a human dies.  It has happened in other cities. 

Horse-drawn carriages should not be allowed on the streets of NYC – or in Central Park  They are a danger to themselves and innocent bystanders. 

LIE :  Since 1981 not one horse-drawn cab owner or driver has been convicted of a cruelty charge.

TRUTH:  This statement is absurd and begs the following response:
What happened before 1981 – was someone arrested for animal cruelty?  After all, the industry claims they have been in existence for 155 years. 
This is like asking people to vote for a candidate because he does not beat his wife.  Very low standards. 
As already mentioned, there is little enforcement of this trade – however there have been many violations recorded by the DCA and 311. 

Most recently, it was learned that the driver of Chris, the carriage horse who collapsed while going to work on September 26, 2013 was charged with double shifting and overcharging his customers.  Double shifting is when a driver keeps a horse working for more than the legally allowed 9 hours.  See this report.       

LIE:  The buildings in which the horses live are outfitted with high-pressure fire sprinklers, pro-actively installed and paid for by the carriage owners, in the absence of any law stating they must have them.

TRUTH:  Two previous city council bills requiring sprinklers in the stables were killed.  Because there is no law requiring sprinklers in the horse stables, it is not known if they are adequate, installed correctly,  or even if they exist. 

horse parked over steaming manhole cover 2013
Further, the stables are a firetrap.  If there were a fire on the upper floors, there would be no way for the horses to get out.  They would panic.  There is also only one means of egress in the stables. 

LIE:  Those who oppose the horse-drawn carriage trade know nothing about horses while the drivers have a lot of experience and are the experts. 

TRUTH:   One does not have to “own” horses to know that this practice is wrong.  Many people who have a lot of experience with horses are opposed to this abusive trade.  They include horse rescuers, veterinarians, horse owners and just people who have compassion for animals.  Besides so called “experience” means nothing.  Michael Vick had a lot of experience with dogs and he ended up serving time in prison for his bad actions.


Sunday, November 10, 2013



horse spooked and carriage fell on him - NYC 9/26/13 
Ban or Not? The NYC carriage drivers believe and hope that there will not be a ban of their inhumane and unsafe horse-drawn carriage business that has clogged up the streets of midtown NYC for years; caused numerous accidents involving human and horse injuries; horse deaths and property damage – besides rattling the nerves of bystanders who quickly moved aside when spooked horses ran up on the sidewalks.    They have dodged the bullet many times, avoiding human deaths.  But human deaths involving horse-drawn carriages have happened elsewhere and it is only a matter of time before it happens here if this dangerous business is allowed to continue.   

It has always been incumbent upon the Administration to address human safety issues.  But past administrations did not want to rock the boat and looked the other way.

Lies, Corruption  and Entitlements:  The drivers continue to put out misinformation about the number of horse deaths, accidents, how long they have been in business;  how simply wonderful their business is and how the horses are delighted to be slaves.   And the media eats it up.  After all, why shouldn't they believe they would win?  They have a history of enjoying an entitled business with perks that included very low rent on city owned stables; renovation of that same stable paid for with tax dollars; a Council Speaker who is cousin to a horse-carriage owner – and who used his influence accordingly; a Deputy Mayor married to a horse-carriage trade lobbyist – and that is just the main points of what we know. 

So let’s stop the corruption and start with a fresh slate.  The majority of people want to see this business shut down.  Every online poll taken since 2006 has resulted in between 75 and 80% of respondents favoring a ban.  In Bill deBlasio, we elected a true progressive who won by 73% - a landslide.  This is  someone who included a humane city for NYC animals in his platform.  That has never happened before.   

Vintage Electric Cars are a Myth:  Mayor-Elect deBlasio has promised that he would shut down the carriage trade almost immediately and we hope he keeps his word.   It will be logistically challenging.  I have communicated this to him in person and in writing why a ban of this business must not be dependent on the success of another privately owned risky vanity business – the phantom so called "vintage electric cars."   One really has nothing to do with the other.  He appeared  to understand  yet continues to talk about the non-existent vintage electric cars --  on his  web site and during a televised debate.  This is very troublesome.  These cars have been promised for five years and have never materialized. 

If deBlasio makes one dependent on the other, there will be no ban. 

Besides being far too expensive – approximately $175,000 per car -  the carriage drivers have said they are not interested.  So even if it were to happen, it is not a “job substitute” for the carriage drivers.  It is simply another business.  

And even if somehow the cars existed, a phase-out would be the worst thing to do.  The ill conceived plan was to retire 1/3 of the horse-drawn carriages or medallions  - 23 the first year and roll out 23 cars -- continuing over three years.  This means that  the industry would still have a foothold to cause trouble such as filing lawsuits.    What happens if tourists (possibly set ups ) still choose the horse- carriages? 

The smartest thing to do is to shut them down at one time – phasing them out over six months to give time to place the horses.  

But three years is a guarantee a ban will not happen and this is not what any of us signed up for. 

Jobs?  If Mayor-Elect deBlasio is concerned about the jobs issue, the best solution is the retrofitted battery operated horse carriages such as those already produced by Andres Carriage Tours.  The cost of this process is $15,000 to $20,000 per carriage.  Every carriage and medallion would remain – including the same horse-drawn carriage business model.  This should appeal to the owners who would continue to be autonomous.  But they have not accepted this idea either.  Since the horses are privately owned and the City cannot compel the owners to hand them off to anyone, perhaps money could be made available to retrofit the carriages in exchange for the horses. 

The electric cars will not be allowed in Central Park because they are motorized vehicles.  Runners, bikers and others who use the park roads do not want cars going through the park and should rightfully put up a fuss if they were allowed.    So why would someone pay $50 to $100 to ride in one and sit in a traffic jam on Central Park South  just like any other frustrated person in a private car or taxi?   

Am I missing something here?  In so many ways, this is a ludicrous not well thought out idea. 

It  is also true that the retrofitted carriages may not be allowed  to go into Central Park either because they will be motorized.  But I believe an exception is much more likely for them than the cars because of the way they look.

NYC:  Stop being held hostage!  All that said –  is the City once again getting caught up with allowing the carriage trade to hold them hostage?    The driver/owners have known for years that their days were numbered – the  Hudson Yards Redevelopment Project covers the stables on W. 37th and W. 38th St., which means they would be demolished at some point.  Their business has fallen off over the years due to the popularity of the pedicabs; increased rates -- $50 for only 20 minutes; and the ground swell of popular opinion against them. 

All of us know people who have lost jobs – whether they worked for retail establishments that were shut down because of redevelopment and gentrification of neighborhoods; government workers; or private industry.  Has the City stepped up and created jobs for all of those people?  

Not that I recall. 

No it is not pleasant to have to change your line of work and recreate yourself – but many people have been forced to do just that with no help from the City of NY.  So why are these people different?  Why are they so special.  Answer is they are not. 

The Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages  - -  started this campaign in January 2006.  Unlike the others, we are not in this to make money off the backs of horses  or off  a vanity industry.  We just want to remove the horses from harm's way - the streets of NYC - and see that they get good homes.  

We hope Mayor-Elect deBlasio does the right thing about the horses and shuts the business down soon as he promised.  Only time will tell. 


Sunday, June 9, 2013


The Story of Dada and Billy - better known as Lilly O'Reilly and Bobby II Freedom - rescued former NYC carriage horses.  

The Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages  recently published a  study of horse disposition in  the New York Carriage trade, which revealed that an average of 71 horses a year do not get their license renewed ... 529 over 7 1/2 years. The study is linked from our home page    There is no protection for the horses - the owners are

not required to be accountable for their lives.  If they are not wanted - if they cannot do the job anymore - they are out.  Some may find good homes - but some don't.  We believe many went on to auction but because of the way the system works - no records after they are not licensed anymore - there is no proof.  But we do not believe for one minute that the owners found homes for all 529 horses.  

I'd like to tell the story here of two horses (who are part of this 529 number) who were saved despite their uncaring owners -- Dada who went on to become Lilly O'Reilly -- and Billy who went on to become Bobby II Freedom.  They had both been dumped at the New Holland kill auctions -- an auction frequented by kill buyers.   If you want more information about the study, please go to our web site     

DADA - I first became aware of this horse in 2006.  She had  recently been rescued by 
Central New England Equine Rescue  in Massachusetts.  She  looked terrible.  She was a 19 year old mare and very tall at 18.2 hands.  She was 200 pounds underweight and her  body was filled with harness sores, which she could only have gotten working as a carriage horse.  We do not know how long she was in the carriage trade but her body showed the harsh effects of life 
harness rubs
photo by CNEER
harness rubs
photo by CNEER
as a workhorse pulling heavy loads.   By the 4-digit number on her hoof - #2711 -  I was able to find out that she was a New York City carriage horse who had been owned by Clemente Cretella.  She had been sent to the New Holland auction to meet her fate and been purchased by a Boston carriage owner to be put to work.  She had been at a horse dealer's farm when she was rescued. 

This is the section of the report that includes Lilly (Dada).  She is listed on the first line.The blue color indicates when the horse was no longer on the DoH rolls.   Click to make it bigger.  

Changing her name to the pretty "Lilly O'Reilly" the good people at CNEER set out to work with her.   They wanted to help her to trust people again.  She was very withdrawn and depressed.  She was distant.  This is what Vicky of CNEER said: "Lilly still has not lost that sadness in her eyes.  I don't know how long it will take but it's still there - she has moments of interest, but that's all - little by slow she will trust us to keep her safe.  She has had a hard life I think - a very hard life.  And how she can even tolerate people is beyond me.  She can't be adopted until she is restored both physically and emotionally."   

With CNEER's guidance and help, Lilly's luck was changing.   After all, their motto is  "making
Beautiful Lilly
photo by EForel
a difference - one horse at a time"  
and they mean it.   This is a   link to our page with Lilly's story.  I was fortunate to get to meet Lilly a few times.  What a treat.  She and I are both NYC girls.  Although  withdrawn, we seemed to commune with each other.  I fell in love with her.  

Sometime later she was adopted by an equine vet, Michaela and went to live with Cole, a quarter horse and Badonkeydonk, a little donkey.  She and Cole became very close.  

This is what Michaela said about her new girl.  "Lilly is doing great.  She has come out of her shell like you wouldn't believe - her newest favorite game is taking everything out of my tack 
Lizzie and Lilly 
box one item and a time when I am busy brushing her or picking her feet.  I swear that horse smiles the entire time she does it."   

How great is that!  So it was with much sadness that I learned of Lilly's death one year after she got to her new home.  She and Cole got sick - he was strong enough to recover but she just succumbed in the field with her loving and caring family around her.  At least for the last few years of her life, she was a much loved being.  Micheala knew how much I cared about her and sent me a  lock of her mane, which I will always treasure.  She is honored on our web site.  (left side - scroll
Cole, Lilly & Badonkeydonk 

Bobby at New Holland 

BILLY - This is the horse who became the famous Bobby II Freedom.  I became aware of him on Friday morning , June 25, 2010  when I turned on the computer to read an e-mail about a "bay gelding ex carriage horse"   "Can you guys offer any info or know anyone who would like to save this gentle gelding from slaughter?  We have til Sat 6 p.m. to find him a secure home."

As I described in my article in One Green Planet, I immediately went into action reaching out to rescues to see if anyone could take him.  Equine Advocates in Chatham, NY happily agreed to do it and Billy finally arrived at their place on the following Monday.  
Bobby's worried look - 1st day at EA
photo by Jim Craner

This is the section of the report that shows Billy and his owner Maria Sulla.  He is third from the bottom - #2873
The press showed interest in Billy who immediately got a lot of  coverage - he was fast turning into a celebrity.  Referred to as an "it" by co-owner, Mr. Spina,  in the NY Times article, Billy  was finally living with his own herd and with people who loved him.  Take that!, Mr. Spina.  

This is a link to a NY Times article that featured Billy's story and arrival at Equine Advocates.
Bobby rolling - 1st day at EA
photo by Jim Craner
 The first thing he did was to roll on the grass - natural behavior for horses.  Susan Wagner, president of Equine Advocates, believes he probably never had a chance to do that before .  So heart warming.  The writer, Elizabeth Hess, has referred to it as "palpable horse joy."

Billy immediately was seen by an equine vet who determined serious lameness in his right front leg,  overgrown teeth and two kinds of worms -- not exactly  
the condition of a cared for horse.  Find our more about Bobby on Equine Advocates' blog.  These  are some pictures of Bobby II Freedom when he first came and how he is today.  

Bobby and Susan Wagner, president of Equine Advocates
photo by Jim Craner
Bobby and I communing 

Photo taken by Jeffrey Anderson 

painting by Peter Max

Sunday, May 5, 2013


West Side Livery  - looks dismal

Horse experts say that a horse should have pasture time every day for 16 to 18 hours.

They recommend between 1 and 1 ½ acres of pasture per horse.  This is where the horses graze, exercise, hang out with his herd, play, mutually groom each other – a great stress reliever.  

But alas, it does not exist in NYC.     New York City carriage horses have no turnout to pasture. 

Instead, the stables are old warehouse-like buildings with no access to green pasture.  When a horse finishes his nine-hour workday, he is taken back to the stable and put in his inadequately sized stall until the next day.  The stalls are less than half what experts recommend – 60 sq. ft legally – as opposed to 144 –196 sq. ft.   This is like squeezing Cinderella’s sister’s foot into her slipper.   The horses cannot lie down comfortably and stretch out their limbs.  Only a few years ago, it was actually worse - 48 sq. ft.  And the "industry," always in denial,  defended it. 

Is the horse washed and groomed after he returns from working when he is still sweaty?  Or is he groomed in the morning when he is taken out to work having had to stay the night in his sweat?  Or does it happen at all?  There are no legal requirements and it is expected that these “horse experts” will do what is right for the horse and not themselves.  But we have seen some of the horses with urine and feces stains on their hides and many look like they have not been brushed and groomed in a long time.

But hey – what do we know – the carriage supporters say we know nothing about horses while they have all the answers.  Our complaints are met with defensive insults and denials. This is their M.O. 

For five weeks out of the year, horses are required by law to be sent for “furlough.”  The NYC Department of Health claims not to have a record of the farms, nor do they inspect them.  It is not required.  The public does not know if these horses are made to work, are fed properly – or are kept in a stall for the duration of their time away.    It is simply not known.  In a NY Post article dated November 2, 2011, Dr. Pamela Corey, former director of equine veterinary services of the ASPCA’s humane law-enforcement department said, “We have observed some horses returning to New York City after furloughs on a farm in worse condition than when they left.”  No one ever investigated this statement.  

But the gullible media – never wanting to challenge an issue – refers to this time away as a “vacation” – not understanding that this word is a human concept. 

These horses do not need vacation.  They need daily turnout.  And they do not get it. 

Experts say that pastured horses are generally happier than stabled horses.  It is a more natural lifestyle allowing them the opportunity to socialize with their herd; roll, play or do nothing if they choose.  They have the opportunity for natural exercise.  They get to act like real horses – not horse slaves.    

NYC carriage horse standing over a manhole from which steam is pouring. 

This is an excellent article called “Pasturing Guidelinesfor Horses” written by Dr. Judy Marteniuk, equine extension veterinarian at Michigan State University, College of Veterinary Medicine.  

So the next time you see a carriage horse pulling a carriage around Central Park, please know that he does not live in the park.  Those green lawns are simply a tease.  And know that these gentle  horses are quietly suffering because they do not live like they should.  

This is yet another reason to close down this inhumane and abusive business and save the horses.