Friday, August 29, 2008


“Horse-Drawn Carriage Ban” is a short well done video by Jennifer Pham and can be seen on You Tube. It features my friend, Elizabeth Forel, who is the president of the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages, a grass roots organization that is responsible for making this inhumane and archaic industry an issue again after years of non attention.

In the film, Elizabeth describes what free horses do … they have tons of personality unlike the carriage horses she describes as unwitting automatons. Free horses roll in the dirt and play sticks. I know the horses she is referring to since I have also met them … Monty, a former Boston Carriage horse - now rescued ,,, and Sugar, his friend, who passed away recently. They are pictured here enjoying themselves.

But before I describe how this wonderful game is played, I offer a blog entry by a bitter member of the carriage industry who says: "E.Forel,please tell me how horses ''play sticks'',I'd like to add that to my editorial in The American Driving Society,and Driving Digest,2 very well known carriage sriving magazines,i'm sure htey would get a good laugh at that."

Her comments speak volumes about how much the carriage industry does not know about horse behavior. Elizabeth goes on to say how the carriage horses are dispirited animals and when they are rescued the light comes back in their eyes.

RULES FOR STICKS: Take two free and happy horses not in the carriage industry. In this case, we have Monty, (white) ....and Sugar (brown). One of the horses must already know how to play this game. Sugar learned it from Abe, who is now also at the Rainbow Bridge. He taught it to Monty.

HOW IT WORKS: Sugar, generally the instigator, picks a twig up from the ground and goes up to Monty and pokes him with it. If Money is in the mood, he grabs the stick in his mouth and what follows is a tug of war. This is what is pictured above. Really fun to watch them enjoying this game and each other.

This is a picture of Monty and Sugar playing in the snow. They were very good pals and had a ball that day. NYC carriage horses are not given this opportunity.

For those who do not know: NYC Carriage horses work in heavy traffic between the shafts of their carriages for nine hours straight, seven days a week. They do not have any turnout where they can socialize. Instead, they live in multied storied stables where they access their stalls by ascending a steep ramp. It is very sad.

For this person to not get that horses really know how to enjoy themselves is outrageous. And these pictures prove it!

Pictured to the right is a NYC carriage horse...a horse slave. His body is covered with glitter; he is wearing a silly head dress and his hoofs are painted with metallic purple paint. Yes, perhaps the paint is non toxic, but that is not the point. This horse is not free...not even close. After dragging

tourists around all day, he will go back to his stall and stay there until the next day. Now tell me...What kind of life is that!

1 comment:

Katharine Swan said...

The pictures of Monty and Sugar playing are fantastic! There is, in my opinion, nothing that compares to the sheer happiness of seeing beautiful horses running around, having fun.