Tourist Recounts ‘Traumatic’ Experience After Carriage Horse Takes A Tumble

Animal Rights Activists Renew Calls For Ban; Drivers: You Are Overreacting

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A tourist hoping to enjoy a leisurely ride through Central Park on a carriage horse Sunday said she is distraught after the animal started moving backward and fell to the ground.

Theresa Shaver told 1010 WINS’ John Montone that her husband and son were sitting on the horse carriage when it tripped over a curb and collapsed.

1010 WINS’ John Montone With More On The Incident

“Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh! Oh the horse, no! Oh God, get off, get off,” she could be heard screaming on the video.

Warning: Strong Language

Shaver described the whole episode as a “traumatic” experience and was incensed to see that shortly after the incident, the carriage driver allegedly had the horse in line to pick up new passengers.

“You put him back to work after he drops to the ground twice?” she asked the driver seen on the YouTube video.

Shaver said something terrible could have happened given what she perceived to be the horse’s poor condition.

Back home in upstate Baldwinsville on Thursday, Shaver said she still hasn’t gotten over the incident.

“I’m changed forever. My view on it is changed forever. I was actually afraid for horses on the way out. I didn’t want to get near the carriages,” Shaver told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.

However, a spokesman for the Horse and Carriage Drivers Association, Ian McKeever, said Shaver is “crazy” and overreacted.

Warning: Strong Language

McKeever said the horse just tripped like a person might trip and was “absolutely fine.” He said the horse was returned to the stable to be checked and returned to work only on the following day.

“We followed proper protocol, we brought the horse back to the stable — made sure the horse was fine.  And the horse was fine,” McKeever said.

Kramer found Bill Sac, the carriage driver during the incident, on Central Park South on Thursday with a different horse.

“It could happen sometime. It could happen. They always risk,” Sac said.

Dr. Pamela Corey, Director of Equine Veterinary Service for the Humane Law Enforcement Department of the ASPCA, said the horse was “spooked by a pedicab and fell down.”

The driver claims that Shaver left her purse in the carriage and he was waiting with the horse in the hack-line for her to return to collect it, Corey said.

The incident comes on the heels of a recent push by animal rights activists and lawmakers to ban horse-drawn carriages in New York City. Supporters of the movement claim it is abusive to the animals.

“This is definitely a safety issue safety, meaning it’s a safety issue for the horses and it’s a safety issue for people,” said Elizabeth Forel of the Coalition to Ban Horse Drawn Carriages.

Drivers said an investigation isn’t necessary.

“The truth of the matter is that they’re very well cared for. There’s much oversight of this industry. These guys love their horses and take good care of them,” Demos Demopoulos said.

Did the woman overreact or does she have a good reason to feel traumatized? Should horse-drawn carriages be banned? Share your thoughts in the comments section below…

More from John Montone
  • notimeforfools

    Who could blame the horse for carrying her fat a$$ all over the place. Glory hound!

  • John Bloomberger


  • T.R.

    Having worked with horses my whole life, I have learned one thing: Horses do trip sometimes. Just like people. It doesn’t mean they have heat stroke or are being overworked. They also get insecure and skittish. I myself felt a bit skittish, hearing her howling away.
    I have no doubt that the NYC carriage industry could be improved, but this particular video doesn’t demonstrate animal cruelty. It demonstrates a sad, nervous woman screaming her head off for no reason.

  • Gina

    If she felt compassion for the horse she wouldn’t have taken a carriage ride in the first place.

  • Fleur

    I think the femal passenger heard “Ca_ching!!” and doculented everything, even copyrighting her video with the idea of cashing in on this poor horse’s misstep.

    I am sick and tired fo MS. Forel and the anti-carriage horse people screaming for a carriage ban every time there is an accident. Why don’t the work to ban motor vehicles? They cause and are involved in way more accidents than horse-drawn carriages are.

  • Mary

    The horse tripped, and that woman is an idiot.

  • F

    It looked to me like the weight in the carriage was making it roll backwards, it went over the curb and the poor horse got dragged along behind it, causing it to trip. Then that woman screaming hysterically didn’t help matters. I can’t believe this is being treated as a worthy news story. Poor horse.

  • Maria

    It’s obvious this woman was scared of horses BEFORE she got in the carriage. I could tell by her language she was scared and she was constantly questioning the horses every step. The horse backed up, tripped, and fell. That is all. It happens. But the minute the horse fell, she wasn’t worried about the horse. She was SCARED for herself, hence her jumping out of the carriage and foolishly telling her son to “run, run!” Did you hear her scream even louder when the horse stood back up? She is scared of horses, plain and simple, and for this reason she had NO business being on the carriage in the first place.

    • KPlan

      Agree that she’s loud and perhaps crazy, but she was right to be angered by seeing the horse back to work so quickly. These drivers have ZERO training when it comes to the care of the horses. I

  • Jeff

    1st, CBS shame on you for giving this woman any publicity. The horse Tripped over the curb because that woman was over reacting. Anyone that have OWNed horse and cared for them, know they are very sensitive animals. Everyone that is screaming to ban carriages never take the time to go to the stables and see them self how the animals live. The fact of the matter is, the owners CAN’T Abuse the horses. They can’t afford too. Do any of you know how much money these things cost? How much money it cost to heal them if they are cut, broken or sick?? Honesty folks, grow up and think with your brain. Stop following loud people. They are just idiots!!!

    best regards: from a horse owner for 15 years. and yes, my horses pull carriages, just rides to young kids, help out on my land and even run around on their own outside of the fences. They always come BACK to the stable on their own power.

    • Bob P.

      “these THINGS”? Oh, yeah, feel that owner love for their horses. Um, excuse me, their “things”.

    • K plan

      Jeff, if you’re not a shill for the carriage co. here in NYC, then you’re simply not understanding the situation. The kind of carriage rides scenario you’re describing is FAR, FAR different from the situation here in NYC If you know horses so well, you know that a horse shouldn’t be made to work in these hot summer conditions, and for the number of hours, these horses work in. You should also know horses don’t belong standing in hot city weather, breathing in car fumes, for hours and hours at a time. If you’ve ACTUALLY seen the stables, you know that they are too small for the horses and that the building (their stable) is NOT conducive for keeping horses (or for keeping them healthy for that matter). Also, a horse does not just “fall down” if it’s healthy and comfortable w/its surroundings. Either the horse was traumatized by something or it needs medical attention. Usually, when a horse suddenly collapses, it means something dire. But, Jeff, you probably know that.

  • sunnyskies

    Reading these comments is quite a trip through the convoluted corridors of the human mind. In a very real sense, they reflect all that’s right, and wrong with people. Some people care–knowing little about the animal, they believe their heart, and what they see. Others simply don’t want to see, and so, they do not..

    The measure is simple, though, and you understand this, or you do not: would you wish to be in this animal’s place? If you were a horse, would you want imposed on your life what is imposed on the life of these animals? Really research it before answering–go look at where they live and how they live. Think about being born to run the plains and eat grass vs. being behind exhaust pipes, in the heat, in the cold, encased in leather, pulling a carriage full of people nine hours of a day. No turnout. No herd contact. For months of the year. These horses last but a few years in this job and then, off they go to the auctions, and from there, unless rescued, they go to the horror of the slaughterhouse.

    Suffering is suffering, no matter what the animal, human or otherwise. If can be avoided, it should be avoided. In this case, it can be avoided. You get it, or you do not. The woman in the carriage was quite clearly a person who got it, and was appalled. That Poor Horse, she cried. And, she was right.

  • Wendy Bockman

    There should definitely be a ban in the city. They should ban the CARS. The horse was fine, the lady overreacted as do many others.

    • KPlan

      If you think a horse that suddenly collapses is “fine,” there’s something severely wrong with you.

  • DanTe

    Stupid screetching c\/nt spooked the horse with it’s whiny pitch. And than post it on the web for her 5 minutes of fame.

  • Susan Davis

    Agree that her screams and panic were probably frightening to the horse, but the situation was frightening to her as well and out of towners do not know to call the ASPCA. The horse did appear to trip, but I don’t believe he was startled, I believe he was stressed to the max.

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