Another carriage horse accident spurs protests

Carriage horse Dorreen after a separate accident earlier this year.

A bloody collision between a horse-drawn carriage and an SUV near Columbus Circle last Thursday has strengthened the call to ban the iconic carriage rides through Central Park.

“Horse drivers just don’t care, look what they’ve done to Doreen the mare!” chanted several protestors at 59th Street and Seventh Avenue on Sunday afternoon. They held signs that depicted blown-up pictures of bloodied horses.

Doreen, a 12-year old mare, was involved in the latest accident, which happened at 60th and Broadway just after 5 p.m. on Thursday. An SUV hit a motorcycle, and then Doreen and her driver, unable to stop in time, collided with the SUV. The horse’s head cracked the windshield of the car, according to several protesters, who said they had been informed about the accident from eyewitnesses.

Nobody required medical attention at the scene. But pictures taken at the street corner show Doreen with a cut near her upper right eye. Witnesses said she was limping as she was being escorted out of traffic, according to the New York Post.

Doreen was able to walk back to the stable on her own, however, said ASPCA spokesman Bret Hopman. She was treated for a small superficial cut and won’t return to work until she is reevaluated by a veterinarian, he said.

“We called the stables to check on Doreen but they just keep telling us ‘she’s fine, she’s fine,’” said Mary Xanthos, a member of Carriage Horse Cruelty, who led today’s anti-horse carriage chants.

Doreen was not back at work today. Several other carriage drivers Metro talked to assured that she was fine. Other drivers mentioned that the carriage driver, whose name they said they didn’t know, was able to return to work immediately.

Drivers said Doreen is being kept at the West Side Livery stable on 38th Street. Metro went to check on her condition but was not welcomed inside.

Other accidents

Doreen’s collision is only the most recent in a long list of carriage horse accidents:

1. Jan. 1983: Thirteen people injured when a horse frightened by New Year’s Eve fireworks bolted into a packed crowd, according to the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages.
2. Aug 1988: A carriage horse named Misty died two weeks after collapsing from humid heat. Misty’s body was allegedly dragged across 12th Avenue and dumped at the city sanitation pier.
3. June 1999: A car smashed into a horse carriage, knocking the driver into the street and shattering her jaw. The horse galloped into traffic and was hit by an oncoming car.
4. Sept 2007: An unattended mare named Smoothie was spooked and became entangled in her carriage wheels trying to run away. She then crashed into a tree, went into shock and died.

Doreen was taken to the West Side Livery stable on 38th Street, but Metro was not allowed inside.
Photo by Daniela Bernal/Metro


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