NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — An out-of-control horse caused chaos in Midtown Monday morning, and the incident raised questions about whether the animals should be put to work at all.
As CBS2’s Brian Conybeare reported, the sight caught on surveillance video around 10 a.m. Monday was unusual. Two men were seen riding horses up Eighth Avenue near 56th Street, followed closely by a vendor with a food cart.
Suddenly the brown horse, named Billy, got spooked, reared back, and trotted backward. The rider struggled for control, and then Billy bucked sideways and wound up on the ground after colliding with a cab.
Noelia Pasi was just walking by. She grabbed her phone and posted video onto Facebook Live.
“I just don’t think that’s the right environment for them, you know,” Pasi said. “It’s dangerous for everyone.”
Thomas Beckner said he was on his way to work at the Hearst Tower on Eighth Avenue when he came upon the scene.
“As I was approaching the taxi cab I could see the horse was underneath the taxi and a couple of people were pulling the horse from underneath the taxi,” he told 1010 WINS’ Al Jones. “They did a quick check of the horse’s hooves and legs and then started to put the horse’s saddle back on it at which point I just couldn’t take it anymore and decided ‘I’m out of here.'”
The horses were on their way to Central Park from the Chateau Stables on West 48th Street. The riders were stable hands, but no one at the stable would comment.
CBS2 did spot a veterinarian who confirmed he was there to treat Billy. He said the horse was “fine,” and shook his head “no” when asked if there were any major injuries.
Billy the horse used to pull a carriage, and now gives $150 horseback rides on the bridle path in Central Park. But the accident has given new ammunition to those who want to end the horse trade in the city.
“This just highlights the fact that horses have no business being in dangerous Midtown traffic,” said NYCLASS executive director Edita Birnkrant.
NYCLASS is the animal welfare group that joined Mayor Bill de Blasio in a failed fight to end the horse carriage business.
“This should not be happening in New York City,” she said. “This is just a disaster waiting to happen.”