Carriage horse bolts in heavy traffic in New York

The carriage hit two cars. Image from Twitter by @pcsegal.
The carriage hit two cars. Image from Twitter by @pcsegal.

A New York carriage horse was dropped with a tranquilizer gun after running amok in Columbus Circle on Thursday.

The horse, a six-year-old draft gelding named Oreo, ran into heavy traffic on Columbus Circle and dumped his driver and two passengers, reportedly Australian tourists. Oreo collided with  two cars before managing to break free from his badly damaged carriage, in which there were two occupants.

Oreo ran four blocks before the shot from a police tranquilizer gun ended the incident.

The Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages renewed its call for New York to end the horse-drawn carriage trade following the accident.

In response, it organised an “emergency protest” for Saturday at 1pm at the hack line, in the  north-west corner of Central Park South and Fifth Avenue.

The coalition said there had been 13 accidents or incidents involving New York horse-drawn carriages since June last year,  many of them due to the horse spooking.

Most of them came to attention only through  “citizen journalists” or random eye witnesses, it said.

“So far, New York City has been lucky since no-one has died in a horse-drawn carriage accident – yet,” coalition president Elizabeth Forel said.

“This has not been the case in other cities. In 2010, a passenger in a carriage participating in a parade in Iowa died from her injuries when she was thrown from the carriage after the horse spooked. Another woman – a bystander – was killed in Salzburg, Austria, when a spooked horse plowed into her.

“It could happen here because conditions are ripe for it. The horses are accidents waiting to happen.”

New York City is too congested for horse carriages or electric cars, Forel said.

The New York Times reported that three people were injured in the incident involving Oreo.

Oreo is reported to have escaped with minor injuries.

Once the effects of the tranquilizer wore off, Oreo stood up and was led into a truck for removal.



4 thoughts on “Carriage horse bolts in heavy traffic in New York

  • August 18, 2012 at 9:34 am

    Still safer than riding in a car. Maybe the public needs to be educated about how to drive in areas with carriages. Would benefit Amish communities as well, I imagine. Also, 6 yrs old is pretty young for a horse to be completely desensitized to everything. Maybe a plan to have older horses (10+) who already have experience in less congested situations, be in congested cities like New York?

    • May 21, 2013 at 12:28 pm

      The carriage horses in New York have working life of about 2 years maximum. They never see grass or enjoy turn out in a large field. Most are seriously injured in accidents with cars and are killed. Or have serious bone and foot damage due to walking on pavement for 12 hrs a day 7 days a week and have to be humanely destroyed. They are extremely mistreated and the practice of horse rides through Central Park need to end immediately.

      • May 21, 2013 at 1:44 pm

        RA You are spreading misinformation. Please check your facts before commenting.

      • May 22, 2013 at 3:13 am

        It actually an extremely regulated activity and the horses most assuredly do not work 7 days a week nor are most of them mistreated. I can’t say all – since there is always a bad apple somewhere. For the most part they are very well treated.


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