Should carriage horses be banned in certain cities? Learn how people can still enjoy taking horse drawn carriages for tours in popular tourist cities without causing cruelty to the horses used to pull the carriages. How can we make life better for carriage horses? Should tourists take rides in carriages pulled by horses while on holiday?
Many cities around the world offer horse drawn carriage rides. In some places this has come under attack, for example there are many debates about cruelty in the industry and some people have called for a ban on horse drawn carriage rides in cities such as New York (where horses have taken tourists around Central Park).
Perhaps, rather than banning horse drawn carriage rides altogether, animal welfare activists should work towards education and rules in regards to help provide better care for the horses in general.
Concerns Facing Carriage Horses Used for Tourists
Cement is hard on their feet and legs. While horseshoes do offer protection for the hoof, the constant concussion on the solid road surface can be very damaging to their legs, causing many injuries and pains.
The hours that the horses work is not always regulated except by their owner or driver. A horse might be expected to work from morning to night. They might be worked seven days a week.
Concerns are that the horses may not be getting enough water, food, and rest.
Concerns are raised that the tack and harness, especially if not fitted well, or when used on a sweaty horse, could cause sores on the skin, which would actually be hidden by the harness itself.
Horses may be forced to stand (or work) for long hours in poor weather; too hot, or rainy.
Exhausted horses being made to pull.
Ways to Improve Working Conditions for Carriage Horses Used for Tourists
Sadly the owners, drivers, and operators, of carriage horse tours are not always interested in the welfare of the horses in question. Some get into it purely as a way to make money; a job. As such regulations are needed as well as education. Ultimately it would also benefit the horses if tourists who saw animals who look tired, thin, lame, or so forth, to refuse to ride in the carriage and instead call the animal welfare authorities in the area to investigate the care of the horse.
Above -Horses in Vancouver's Stanley Park and are hosed down on a hot day. Photo © by author.
There are special rubber pads that can be put between the horseshoe and the horse's hoof. These rubber pads act as shock absorbers and help reduce concussion problems that occur as a result of the horses being driven on cement or hard surfaces.
There are sun hats for horses to help keep the heat off their forehead. These should be used on sunny days.
Sprays can be used to keep insects away from the horses.
Horses should be given at least 2 days off per week, and should not be allowed to work more than six hours per day. Cities can help to restrict days and hours by issuing permits and by even restricting horse carriages to certain days of the week.
Horses should be kept only at a walk. Trotting and cantering on hard ground is particularly hard on their legs.
Cities should have bylaws in regards to what is the maximum temperature horse carriages can be operated at (on hotter days they should not be permitted).
Regular inspections should be made to make sure the horses do not have sores on their body and are not lame.
When Anna Sewell wrote “Black Beauty” she wrote it to draw attention to the plight of working horses in London, England.
May carriage horses were former race horses, or horses whom otherwise would be slaughtered if not for the opportunity to extend their useful years in this way.