Letters & Editorials 

Horse Sense  
EDITORIAL OF THE SUN | March 31, 2008

It looks like some progress could be made in the weeks ahead on the topic of the Horse Carriage trade, whose horses and carriages have for so many years delighted so many New Yorkers and tourists with their leisurely and joyful rides around Central Park. The progress will stem from the recommendations of the Horse Advisory Board that was created by the Department of Health. Its findings are up for approval by Dr. Thomas Freiden and then on to the mayor.

It strikes us as not a difficult decision, although things that seem logical don't always have an easy time in the city bureaucracy. Our David Pomerantz reported on Thursday that the Horse Carriage industry in the city has just brought in a report by a distinguished veterinarian attesting to the good health of the cheerful nags that pull the carriages. The critics are trying to discount the finding, because it was commissioned by the industry. But we can find no reason not to credit the veterinarian who visited the animals.

It happens that the editors who conduct these columns have spent a good deal of time around horses, and also have gone up to Central Park to see the horses there, and they certainly look happy to us. They live a lot better than many of the horses we have encountered over the years, and it wouldn't surprise us were the recommendations going to the health department to establish even more frequent physical exams and better traffic enforcement, among other things.

It would be nice to see something done about the odor, which is actually mainly from horse urine, on Central Park South. Ideally this could be dealt with by a system of spigots at the horses' staging area, which is something the industry has been seeking for years. It would enable the full-time maintenance workers who already are employed by the horse and carriage industry can wash the streets and gutters. It's a matter that's no doubt long overdue.

We gather there is talk about limiting the ages at which horses can do this drawing and the age at which they should be retired. It's not a matter we worry about; the horses currently get plenty of rest, in and out of the city, and the best persons to judge whether a horse is fit are the owners and drivers. But if requirements were to be set, it wouldn't bother us, either. We're always pleased to see an ever happier horse.

The main point is that these horses and carriages — and the drivers who take the reins and care for the horses — are one of the great facets of life in New York. They may not be as famous as Broadway, or as astonishing as, say, the Guggenheim or as awesome at the Metropolitan Museum. They aren't big business. But they are a wonderful part of making New York special. They give romance to courting couples, they help new fathers and mothers delight their daughters and sons, and they bring relaxation and joy to grandparents from near and far. They deserve practical regulation and encouragement from a city that is lucky to have them.

Coalition To Ban
Horse-Drawn Carriages

A Committee of the Coalition For New York City Animals, Inc.

The Coalition for
NYC Animals, Inc.

P.O. Box 20247
Park West Station
New York, NY 10025


To honor
Bobby II Freedom
previously known as Billy
ID# 2873 rescued by the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages and Equine Advocates on June 25, 2010 from the New Holland auctions.

In memory of
Lilly Rose O'Reilly
previously known
as Dada ID# 2711
R.I.P.August, 2007