New Yorkers call for end to carriage horse rides at City Hall rally

NEW YORK — There are renewed calls to put an end to carriage horse rides in New York City.

The horse that collapsed on a city street two weeks ago is now at a retirement stable in upstate New York, but that incident has raised more concerns around the treatment of carriage horses.

CBS2’s Steve Overmyer was at a rally Wednesday on the steps of City Hall.

READ MORE: Carriage horse collapses of neurological disease in Hell’s Kitchen, union says

“A moratorium on the horse carriage industry right now until this can be sorted out,” Councilman Robert Holden said.

Legislative measures have been on the books for decades. Until then, Holden wants Mayor Eric Adams to “shut it down.”

“The industry is not policing themselves, obviously, from what we’ve seen,” Holden said.

“Have you spoken with the mayor’s office?” Overmyer asked.

“Yes, I’ve spoken to the mayor’s office. I think the mayor’s sympathetic. I think he’s starting to come around. I think he knows, but the pressure has to be constant,” Holden said.

For decades, the union for the horse drivers has been facing pressure to change, especially after a horse named Ryder made headlines after collapsing on a city street on Aug. 11.

“There’s no indication that this is anything other than an isolated event,” TWI Local 100 Shop Steward Christina Hansen said.

Ryder was diagnosed with a neurological disorder called EPM, consistent with old horses.

READ MORE: Animal right advocates want criminal charges filed in case of carriage horse collapsing in Hell’s Kitchen

While his owner claimed he was only 13, the vet determined him to be at least 28. Horses must be retired at the age of 26.

“Do we know where Ryder is right now?” Overmyer asked.

“Oh yeah, he’s on one of the carriage horse vacation farms. He’s being seen by a vet. He’s taking his EPM medication. He’s getting the veterinary treatment he needs,” Hansen said.

Holden is hoping to pass Bill 573, which calls to replace horse-drawn carriages with electric carriages.

“Five-seventy-three is getting more sponsors every day, and again, it’s because of Ryder. I saw that it would be an uphill fight, we knew it, but I think because of Ryder, it woke people up. And I think this will happen this time,” he said.

For now, it’s a battle between those who love and are employed by the horse carriage business and those who want the carriages out of business.

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