New York carriage horse on the mend after frightening collapse: stable hands

The sick carriage horse that collapsed on a busy Manhattan street will not be sold or euthanized as a result, a stable worker insisted to The Post on Thursday.

The horse, named Ryder, spent the night at the West Side Livery stables on West 38th Street after it was filmed lying in the middle of the street in Hell’s Kitchen when its driver repeatedly hit it and ordered it to “stand up.”

Christina Hansen, a carriage driver who works at the stables, told the Post it was “highly unlikely” that the 14-year-old horse would be euthanized or sold after the camera’s ordeal on Wednesday.

“He will not be sold,” top hat wearer Hansen said, adding that she spoke to the horse’s owner earlier Thursday.

Ryder was examined by a vet after he was brought back to the barn by the NYPD’s mounted unit after collapsing – and the diagnosis was equine protozoal myeloencephalitis, a neurological condition caused by opossum feces, Hansen said.

Hansen said it was unlikely the horse would return to work immediately as it required treatment for EPM.

Ryder stayed at the West Side Livery stables in Manhattan.
Robert Mueller
Ryder collapsed on the floor
Ryder collapsed in midtown Manhattan on August 10, 2022.

“It would be irresponsible,” said Hansen, who is also the union chairman, to let him tow a carriage right away.

“We have all the time in The World. We’ll do what’s right with the horse. He’s being treated and we’re going to find one of the best places for him to retire,” she added.

The stableman said Ryder, who has only been in the Big Apple since April after being used as an Amish buggy horse, is already doing “really well.”

“He was great. He has plowed through hay. He ate his carrots,” Hansen said.

Her insistence on Ryder not being brushed aside came after the president of NYCLASS – an anti-horse-drawn carriage group – claimed the horse was at risk of being sold for slaughter after it collapsed.

“If the owner simply sells Ryder, he runs a serious risk of being sold for slaughter or some other horrible situation,” Edita Birnkrant said in a statement.

Birnkrant said the organization had already offered to “place Ryder in a sanctuary where he would receive lifelong love and care and proper veterinary care.”

Christina Hansen
Coach driver Christina Hansen told the Post it was “highly unlikely” that Ryder would be put down or sold.
Robert Mueller
West Side Livery stable
The carriage involved in the incident was parked in front of the West Side Livery stables on Thursday.
Robert Mueller

Meanwhile, animal activists — including NYCLASS — descended on City Hall on Thursday to urge the city council to expedite legislation phasing out horse-drawn carriages in the Big Apple. This bill was introduced last month by councilman Bob Holden.

If passed, the new measure would give horse drivers preferences for an electric carriage license and require them to pay union wages.

“Ryder’s collapse in midtown Manhattan rush hour traffic is tragic, unforgivable … and entirely preventable,” said Dr. Jim Keen, Director of Veterinary Sciences for Animal Wellness Action and the Center for a Humane Economy.

Skin incision on the horse.
Ryder shows injuries, possibly from the Midtown collapse.
Robert Mueller
Another cut was found on Ryder's back right side.
Another cut was found on Ryder’s back right side.
Robert Mueller

“Whether he collapsed from overwork and heat exhaustion or, worse, from overwork, heat exhaustion and untreated EPM, there is no excuse for treating a horse like an expendable machine. There is a simple solution: ban horse-drawn carriages from densely populated urban areas and replace them with electric carriages, as Councilor Bob Holden has suggested.”

Ashley Byrne, PETA’s director of public relations and communications, said the law, if passed, would be “a win for everyone”.

“That would be a win for the workers. Their jobs would be preserved and would be much better and have benefits. It would also protect the public from accidents and running horses, which we have seen too many of. And of course a win for the horses,” she said.

Cut to Ryder's leg
A laceration was also found on Ryder’s leg.
Robert Mueller
Ryder and Christina Hansen.
According to records, Ryder is 14 years old.
Robert Mueller

Mayor Eric Adams did not answer questions Thursday about the horse’s collapse.

One protester, Lisa Forsee, 60, aimed directly at Hizzoner for his silence.

“I’m ashamed of him. He rules this city. He allows animal cruelty. It’s documented. He has to do something about it,” she said.

Additional reporting by Desheania Andrews New York carriage horse on the mend after frightening collapse: stable hands


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