New York City is a major tourist hub, and a lot of tourists take quaint horse-drawn carriage rides around Central Park, without realizing they’re subsidizing animal cruelty. I see, up close, these carriages almost every day. I also have some personal experience dealing with horses. The stable I rode at as a teenager had a separate barn where the older, sicklier horses were kept – the horses in that barn looked healthier and happier than most of the horses that pull these completely unnecessary twenty-first-century urban buggies.
When I used to jog the 6-mile loop around the Park, I once ran past a slow-moving horse that was hauling a family of four. One of the carriage passengers congratulated me for moving faster than the horse – a horse that looked like it was about to drop dead from fatigue at any minute.
One horse did drop dead last October. Others collapse and hurt themselves in the middle of insanely busy, traffic-congested, noise-polluted Manhattan streets.
Please stay away from horse-drawn carriages. It’ll be good for your karma. If you want to take an open-air tour of Central Park, and you’re not willing or able to do so on foot or rent a bike, another option is to take a pedicab ride and get pedaled around by a personable guide. If riding through the streets on a bicycle-powered rickshaw isn’t quaint or old-school sophisticated enough for you, wear a petticoat in the pedicab.
Help the horses harness some peace.