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.