Horse Driver Says 13-Year-Old Max Just Slipped In New Shoes

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A carriage horse returned to work Monday after a frightening fall last week.

As CBS2’s Tony Aiello reported, critics are not buying the carriage driver’s explanation and are demanding that the city investigate.

The driver claimed that the 13-year-old draft horse was newly shod and simply slipped and fell. Anti-carriage activists are disappointed that the de Blasio administration is accepting the explanation at face value.

The horse, named Max, was back on his feet and back on the job Monday after taking five days off.

“I’ve been doing this for 20 years,” said carriage driver Chris Emanus. “On my record, I’ve never drove a horse that have any incidents.”

Emanus insisted that the horse was fine. But photos showed Max lying on his left side after falling inside Central Park last Tuesday.

The driver said Max had just returned to service after an extended break upstate. He said Max had new shoes and simply tripped.

“When you put a new shoe on, there’s always a little discomfort — that’s about it,” Emanus said.

Emanus said after the carriage was unhitched, Max got back up, was quickly checked by an industry veterinarian, and was given a clean bill of health.

But NYCLASS, the group trying to ban carriage horses, said witnesses saw Max “breathing heavily” before the incident.

“Usually when a horse trips, they do not lay out on their side, “said Jill Carnegie of NYCLASS. “This collapsed horse did something far more than trip that day.”

NYCLASS asked city regulators to order Max to be checked out by an independent veterinarian, but the Department of Health refused.

It was one more disappointment for a group that has soured on Mayor Bill de Blasio, who failed to fulfill a 2013 campaign promise to ban horse carriages.

“The longer that the mayor delays delivering on this promise, the more that these horse collapses are going to continue to happen,” Carnegie said.

The mayor’s carriage ban never got out of the gate. His less-ambitions plan to scale back the industry died in the City Council a year ago.

NYCLASS shows every sign of dogging the mayor over horses during this year’s reelection campaign.