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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Shine em Up, on Central Park South

Shine em Up
Photo by myself at 59th Street and Fifth Avenue.

As usual, horse-drawn carriages are parked along Central Park South.

One driver shined up his ride's hooves with hoof black, Monday morning. Hoof black is similar to shoe polish, and adds a nice touch to the horse's appearance.

The care of carriage horses has long been a hot-button issue in the city. It is tough to see these animals out in all the extremes of New York weather, rain or shine.

There are laws regarding the horses - carriages operate 9 hours a day, seven days a week and can only work when the weather is between 90F and 18F outside. A team from the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) monitors the horses' treatment.

So far I have not noticed that any horses look abused, though some look sad or bored. I can imagine that standing in one spot with blinders in front of your eyes must be very tough indeed.

Related posts: Carriage Horse, Central Park South, A Repent Sign Guy Meets a Horse Carriage Guy and A Horse, of Course, in Midtown.


Olivier said...

il est pret pour la promenade romantique dans central park ;)

Beatrice B. said...

all dolled up for the visitors :) cute. Gotta look nice when the sun comes out


Lily Hydrangea said...

Some people think animals do not have emotions though judging by my own little dog's behavior, this is hard to believe.
It seems like human nature to push things so I think it is wise to have regulations to protect the horses.

MichaleenFlynn said...

First, I'd like to thank you for posting this perfect picture -- an iconic piece of NYC, living history, perfectly turned out; the caring and attentive driver, the healthy, clean, and calm horse, the spotless carriage. You'd have to go far to match it.

That said, I am greatly disappointed in your entry. While our carriage industry is indeed a "hot button issue", it is ONLY that because of a) animal rights fanatics who don't think animals have any place with human beings b)people who are waging war against us because they stand to make a financial gain and c) people who are uninformed and/or don't understand the nature of our business, our horses, or horses in general.

The welfare of the horses is what the decent-minded, casual observer is truly interested in, and for good reason. As a world-renown NYC icon, the horse-drawn carriages are ambassadors to our visitors, and the horses themselves are working animals that are entitled to proper care and good handling.

Fortunately, our record reflects exactly that. Our horses lead exceedingly reasonable and content lives. They each receive a superior, formulated diet, occupy roomy box stalls, are checked by an equine vet 3X a year,are groomed, bathed, and shod regularly, and enjoy vacation at pasture outside the City for 5 weeks a year by law. All of this amounts to an amenity-filled life which many CHILDREN in this city do not have.
Beyond these basics, they are loved and respected by their owners/drivers; they receive affection, treats, and TONS of human interaction everyday. A calm, content horse at rest will naturally lower his head; non-equine people see this and some think "oh, he's sad/tired etc", when nothing could be further from the truth. (There is harness available that would FORCE the horse to keep his head up, but we will not sacrifice the horse's comfort to placate the uneducated.)
There is an epidemic of abandoned and jobless horses across the country right now. Due to what is being called a “perfect storm” of a slow economy, mortgage foreclosures, job loss, and skyrocketing feed prices, a mammoth crisis has emerged, with 1000s of horses being left to waste away in fields & paddocks, surrendered to over-crowded rescues, or sent to slaughter. A horse goes to slaughter in the US every FIVE MINUTES.

Horses need jobs,not only to help pay their own way, but also to keep mentally and emotionally fit. And as human beings, we need this connection to horses in our society.
A well-loved, cared-for horse with a job is a lucky horse, and we are lucky to have them.

Anonymous said...

Michaleen Flynn--you ROCK! Keep letting people know the truth about carriage horses.