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‘The driver kept yelling’: Witness narrates distress of NYC carriage horse hours before collapsing on street

The horrifying incident has called for a criminal investigation on an account of carriage horse abuse
Ryder, a carriage horse, can be seen collapsing on Manhattan street (NBC screenshot)
Ryder, a carriage horse, can be seen collapsing on Manhattan street (NBC screenshot)

MANHATTAN, NEW YORK: A carriage horse, named Ryder, who collapsed on Ninth Avenue and 45th Street in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood on August 10 as bystanders looked and animal lovers called for a ban on the controversial tourist attraction, was struggling to walk for hours before he collapsed on the street as “the driver kept yelling and screaming,” says the latest report.

As reported earlier, a video of the incident obtained by NBC News showed the driver attempting to pull up the horse and hitting it, while yelling, "Get up! Come on! Get up! Get up!" as the horse lies on the ground and later, puts down the head. There were other videos as well, taken by eyewitnesses, that showed the 14-year-old carriage horse lying motionless on the street as officers sprayed water on the horse. And later, Ryder was then taken to a nearby stable, located on 10th Avenue and West 38th Street, where it received veterinary care, as per ABC. Now, according to NY Post, Caroline Smidt, a New Jersey resident who was at Central Park last week with her husband and daughter, narrated what she saw happening with Ryder. The 42-year-old said, "This horse immediately caught my attention because he looked very different from the other horses. I could see his ribs protruding, he was walking with his tongue out and was having trouble walking. He was walking very slowly.” She further said, while adding that the driver was yelling and cursing because Ryder wasn’t moving fast which led to a traffic jam, "The driver kept yelling and screaming at the horse to move even though he had customers in his carriage."


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Smidt, who took photos of the incident that she shared with the NY Post and Daily News, said, “As soon as I saw the video and news stories about the collapsed horse later that evening, I knew immediately that it was the horse I had seen struggling in the park hours earlier," as per Daily News. She added, “The pictures I took of the horse were taken at 1:15 pm, and I later found out that the horse collapsed on the street at around 5 pm.”

As per the NY Post, Smidt will also share the horse’s distress details at a press conference on Tuesday, August 16, outside the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, accompanied by lawmakers and advocates, who want to press animal cruelty charges and want the prosecutors to start a criminal investigation into carriage horse abuse.

Edita Birnkrant, an executive director of the animal rights group, NYCLASS, said, as quoted by Daily News, "Time-stamped photos and eyewitness accounts show that this horse was in distress far before he collapsed onto the pavement in Manhattan traffic. Hours before Ryder collapsed, he was seen struggling and emaciated in Central Park while carriage owner Ian McKeever mistreated the distressed animal in public. The mouthpieces of this industry have lost all credibility. The district attorney must launch a probe into the abuse of this horse and all the others like him.”

Calls for Ian McKeever's arrest

As earlier reported, people now want Mckeever, who was seen sitting in his carriage while the horse writhed in agony on the hot pavement, to be arrested for his behavior. With one of many writing, "I’m going to throw up. This is absolutely fucking disgusting. Ian McKeever, you belong in prison and you deserve every bad thing coming your way. Interesting that you’re the same person who fought for so long to keep this shit legal. There goes your case."