Ryder, a carriage horse who went viral this summer after collapsing in Manhattan, has died.
His death came just two months after a shocking video was shared widely on social media and made international headlines, showing the horse collapsing during rush hour traffic, while his driver repeatedly hit him with the reins and ordered him to get up. Ryder reportedly lay on the road for over an hour before he could regain the strength to stand.
The troubling footage has renewed calls for NYC and other cities internationally to end the use of horse drawn carriages.
Ryder Was Elderly & Malnourished
After the falling incident, a vet reportedly discovered that Ryder was in fact 28-30 years old, not 13 years old, which is what his owner and carriage driver, Ian McKeever, told police. It was also determined that Ryder was malnourished, underweight, and suffered from an equine neurological disorder. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has said he’s investigating for potential illegal animal cruelty in Ryder’s case.
Ryder was sent to live at a farm upstate. But not long after his retirement began, Ryder was diagnosed with a variety of serious medical conditions and was euthanized at Cornell Equine Hospital. A necropsy will be performed to determine the cause of death.
Ryder’s life was filled with misery and suffering at the hands of the horse-drawn carriage industry. No horse deserves to endure this type of mistreatment for a cruel and antiquated form of transportation.
Horse-drawn Carriage Cruelty in Canada
Horses used to pull tourist carriages have caused concern and outrage in Canada in recent years, too. In 2016, in Vancouver, a car horn spooked a pair of horses who ran off, lost the carriage driver, and crashed into a park bench. In 2018, in Victoria, a bus bumped into a carriage causing two horses to fall. In 2020, Montréal banned calèches from its streets due to concerns about animal cruelty. And concerned citizens continue to raise the alarm for horse welfare in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ottawa, and Charlottetown, where horses pull tourists through busy, traffic-filled streets.
Forcing horses to pull carriages and trollies in urban environments poses serious safety risks to both the animals and the public. The Vancouver Humane Society points out that regular exposure to traffic, noise and pollution; the long hours of standing and walking on hard surfaces; and the hard labour under sometimes extreme weather conditions are not consistent with a horse guardian’s responsibility to provide high-quality, long-term care for horses. Causing horses to suffer is also illegal under provincial and federal animal cruelty laws.
Horse-drawn carriages should be a thing of the past. Instead of dodging distracted drivers, risking respiratory ailments from exhaust fumes, and pulling heavy loads across hard surfaces, horses deserve the right to live their lives with other horses out at pasture, enjoying themselves.