Carriage Horse Runs Loose in Traffic in New York City

In further proof of why horse-drawn carriages should be banned from New York City, a 6-year-old horse, Oreo, bolted near Columbus Circle in midtown Manhattan on Thursday, breaking free of his carriage and running down Ninth Avenue.

The driver, Mehmet Dundar, and two Australian tourists, Nathan and Kelly Thompson, were thrown to the ground. Dundar suffered abrasions to his hands and needed 26 stitches on one foot; the two passengers suffered only minor injuries. Dundar emphasized that what happened was not the fault of the horse but was due to noise and cars, says the New York Daily News:

…Dundar said the crash of metal beams falling at a construction site on West 59th St. — coupled with the blare of car horns — spooked the gelding and caused him to bolt.

“It’s not the horse’s fault,” Dundar said after returning home to Bensonhurst from Bellevue Hospital. “They were unloading metal frames. One fell down, there was a crash, and then cars coming were honking. The noise … scared the horse.”

Dundar was trying to merge into traffic in Columbus Circle around 4:20pm — commute time — when Oreo bucked free. He hit a parked car before police officers coralled him between 57th and 59th streets.

Oreo escaped injury, getting some minor scrapes to his hips and mouth. The ASPCA has suspended him from working and will examine him after he gets some R & R. As Christina Hansen of the Horse and Carriage Association of New York City, said to the New York Daily News, “In our business, these horses all find private homes after they retire. This horse has nothing to worry about, nor do any of the other horses.”

Elizabeth Forel, president of the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages, says that there have been eleven incidents involving horse-drawn carriages in New York this year. As she points out, “The carriages are flimsy, people don’t wear seatbelts and it’s open – you wonder why the city would allow something like that especially in such a congested area during rush hour.”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg is of the opposite view, saying that horses and humans have had a bond “since caveman times” and that “I think it’s something that a lot of tourists really love and it makes New York, New York. It would be a shame to lose them. There’s always going to be accidents.”

Horses in the city are all very charming but, of course, in “caveman times,” there were no cities and buildings, with cars and buses and taxis and motorscooters and bikes and pedestrians and four lanes of traffic, not to mention pedestrians. It’s extremely fortunate that no one was seriously injured on Thursday. But what if someone had been?

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Photo by The Man in Blue


Justingaberial J.
Past Member 5 years ago

Now this is in actual fact cooperative. It’s very openhanded of you to share this with us.
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Lynn Jenks
Lynn Jenks6 years ago

I don't often disagree with Care 2, but on this one I have to speak up. Do you really think these horses are ill-treated? If they were they couldn't do their job! Look at the careful padding on the harness, there to make sure it doesn't rub. Look at the way the driver of Oreo, the horse that bolted, defended his horse. These animals are loved and cared for. Do you think they would exist if they weren't doing a job? I agree, it would be better if they weren't mixed up in heavy traffic, but like police horses, they are trained to cope. Maybe we should be campaigning for them to only work in Central Park itself, for the safety of horses and humans.

Pam F.
Pam F6 years ago

Poor thing - it's just WRONG for them to be used this way. Really is animal abuse, just a horrific and dangerous environment for horses, time to evolve, NYC!

Past Member
Past Member 6 years ago

Shameful !

Mary K.
M. C6 years ago

Its called putting up a sign in Time Square alerting people about the real truth of what is happening.

Phyl M.
Bul M6 years ago

When is enough enough? STOP the carriage horse rides NOW!

Claudia Cavallo
Claudia Cavallo6 years ago

Horses are such wonderful and intelligent animals, they shouldn't be forcxed to carry some lazy tourists around the city. Here in rome we ahve the same problem, shame on the major that do'nt ban this habits

Barbra D.
Barbra Drake6 years ago

I'm with Paul R. from the U.K. All you other commentors must be from the city, or know nothing about horses. There are quite a few big city police forces that use horses. Here in Wisconsin Amish country, cars on busy roads and in towns pass horses and buggies all the time. And remember, horses also march in parades and used to be war animals, up to and including WWI. The point is, horses are intellegent, and can be trained to behave well in any noisy situtation. But they are not machines, and all horses are different, and have all had diffrent trainers. I do agree that the cabs should be made safer for the passengers.

Alicia N.
Alicia N6 years ago

Poor guy....... Gladly signed.

Mandy Harker
Mandy H6 years ago

WTF they can't seriously believe that the horses have nothing to worry about just because they get a nice retirement! It's like telling a taxi/cab driver that because they'll retire nicely and safely they don't have to worry about getting stabbed by angry drunks.
Horses don't like noise and cities are full of noise and chaos, I'm amazed(but glad) that more horses don't have heart attacks. An image of New York isn't an excuse to torment innocent animals just for everyone else's amusement, it's cruel, wrong and unevolved!