Thursday, March 25, 2010


Horses are prey animals. This means they are often fearful, nervous creatures who will do anything to get away from the source of danger.

Pennsylvania State Police Investigate Walnut Bottom Buggy Crash that Injured Three.

By Jim Tuttle March 24, 2010

A Walnut Bottom traffic accident involving a Mennonite family in a horse-drawn buggy is still under investigation.

After a station wagon ran into the back of the buggy Monday afternoon on East Main Street, the horse broke free of the carriage and caused a second accident, involving a sport utility vehicle.

"I'm not sure if the horse struck the SUV or the SUV struck the horse," said Dan Burkett, South Newton Township Fire Department chief.

Three people, a mother and two young girls, were injured in the initial crash, when a 1989 Chevrolet Celebrity rear-ended their carriage, according to Pennsylvania State Police in Carlisle.

The girls, an infant and a 7-year old, were flown to Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Burkett said.

"The 7-year-old had a head injury, and the infant was more precautionary."

While the baby didn't have any visible injuries, it was decided that she should be checked out thoroughly, because she wasn't riding in a child safety seat, he said.

The mother was taken to Hershey by ambulance, Burkett said. The father, Mark Reiff, 40, Newville, was driving the buggy and was not injured in the crash.

David Lee McBeth, 62, of Walnut Bottom, was driving the station wagon. He was also uninjured in the collision.

State police say the accident is still under investigation. No charges or citations had been filed by Tuesday afternoon.

After the initial collision, Burkett said, "the horse took off with the (buggy) rame and wheels" still attached, causing a collision with a 1999 GMC Sonoma.

The driver, Shawn Ballent of Elliotsburg, was uninjured but his vehicle sustained significant damage.

When Burkett arrived on the scene, he saw the aftermath of the second collision first.

"The horse was laying in the grass on its side ... I figured it was going to have to be put down," he said. "To my surprise, that wasn't the case."

He called dispatch to request a veterinarian to look at the horse. Burkett last saw the horse, looking as though it would survive, being walked down the road to a nearby Mennonite farm.

"They said they thought it was going to be fine ... it needed some stitches."

Burkett said car accidents involving horse-drawn vehicles are relatively rare in his area. He estimated that his agency has responded to "fewer than five" in the past 10 years.

"I'm surprised there isn't a lot more. There's quite a few (buggies) on the roads here, and the way people don't pay attention ... with cell phones and texting."

He added that the many twists, turns and hills found on local roads can add to the danger of coming upon a buggy without enough time to stop or slow down.

Saturday, October 24, 2009


from Horse Sense - 10/25/09 - a publication of the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages

These are three videos of horses spooking.

* We do not know where this video was made, but note how the horses spook from the sound of cars honking their horns. Wedding Chariot Gone Wild

* Here's one of a horse eating leaves from a tree. The tree branch falls down and scares the horse who bolts. Click Here.

* This shows two horses tied to a carriage. One spooks and tries to bolt, but is tied to the carriage. The driver is injured. Click Here.

At 1200-1500 pounds, horses are unwitting weapons. They can spook at the slightest provocation from a noise, a rustling leaf, a strange object. They are unpredictable. They do not belong on the streets of NYC. The industry must be banned in its entirety. Any kind of a phaseout would be very detrimental to the horses and we do not support it.

Terrified horse image by Giovanna DiStefano/OIPA Rome.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

PANICKED HORSES RESULT IN ACCIDENTS: Quebec City; Philadelphia & Salt Lake City

In Quebec City
(horse-drawn carriages are referred to as Caleche)

CTV -Montreal, Canada

Pony-cart driver injured near Quebec City

A pony-cart driver is in hospital after a ride went horribly wrong Saturday at a community festival in Lac St. Charles, north of Quebec City.

According to witnesses the two ponies were pulling a dozen children in a cart when the animals panicked and started to gallop along a street.

The driver was unable to get the animals under control, and when the caleche struck a car, the driver fell under the cart.

With nobody at the reins, the ponies continued to race down the street, and only ended their wild race when adults at the end of the block were able to grab the animals and get them to stop.

Several children were thrown from the cart, and three suffered minor injuries.

One of the driver's legs was severed below the knee.

He was rushed to hospital, although it is not known if doctors were able to reattach the limb.

CSST is now investigating the accident to determine what went wrong.

And in Philadelphia ...

Carriage crash injures horse

6ABC tv – action news

A carriage horse is nursing injuries after crashing while touring with passengers.

The incident happened at 3rd and Walnut Streets in Old City Philadelphia shortly after 5:00 p.m. Saturday.

Reports indicate something scared the horse resulting the carriage to crash at that intersection.

The carriage wrapped around a pole while the horse fell to the ground.

And in Salt Lake City ...

Horse leads tourists on wild ride through downtown Salt Lake City

by Melinda Rogers

The Salt Lake Tribune


An Idaho Falls family visiting Salt Lake City entered an unexpected carriage racing derby Saturday night, when a planned leisurely ride through downtown turned into a case of a runaway horse.

The family of seven was westbound in a horse-drawn carriage on 300 South near Main Street around 10 p.m., said Salt Lake City Police Lt. Mark Scharman, when "Jim", the black 12-year-old horse pulling the carriage, became spooked.

Jim broke into a trot and then a full gallop about a half block from Main Street, but his owner, Jason Kirton was able to subdue the animal, Scharman said. When Kirton brought the carriage to a stop, he exited it to try to calm Jim before continuing the ride with his patrons.

The horse, however, became frightened again, dragging Kirton along the street and forcing him to let go of the reins, Scharman said. The family of seven was then left in the carriage with the horse running away and no driver to stop him, Scharman.

"It goes into a full run; this family is in there hanging on for dear life," he said.

A Salt Lake City police officer on a bike reported to the scene to help stop the runaway horse, Scharman said. But when the officer approached the horse, his bike became tangled with the carriage and he fell down trying to stop the animal, Scharman said.

The carriage came to a stop about two blocks later when it hit a parked car, Scharman said.

Scharman said Kirton and the police officer suffered

minor injuries. The carriage and police officer's bike were both totaled in the incident, he said.

The Idaho Falls family was "fine, but just a little shook up," Scharman said.

He said to his knowledge Kirton has the proper permits to operate a horse carriage downtown.

It's unknown what scared the horse and caused it to run, but there was loud traffic in the area that may have contributed to the animal's unease, Scharman said.

Kirton, who offers carriage rides to tourists in Salt Lake City, told police Jim's behavior on Saturday was unusual, Scharman said.

Jim recently participated in Salt Lake City's Days of '47 parade where he walked calmly along the route, Kirton told police, noting the horse is usually friendly with carriage patrons.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Scene of terror when horses spooked

It is in a horse's nature to spook easily, and a recent tragedy in the UK reminds that the consequences are often horrible. Two horses died in this tragic accident, and the 65-year-old carriage driver is reported to have serious injuries: two broken legs and likely spinal injuries. Police have said something spooked the horses, who then jumped a wall and plunged 20 feet before becoming getting entangled in trees and left dangling there, thrashing wildly. One horse was crushed in midair, and the other was injured and later euthanized. A passenger escaped this horrible crash with minor injuries.

Yet another somber reminder of the consequences of spooking, and more evidence that horses will spook in various settings and circumstances.

This is one of the latest in a long and ongoing string of spooking accidents that have been reported. Others include: an equestrian spook; a carriage spooking in Vancouver; a mother and daughter who were trampled by a spooked horse outside a Florida eatery; and 5 spooked Napa Valley horses who died after being struck by a car, in a crash that also claimed the driver's life.

Horses spook: another close call!

Update: Carriage driver hospitalized
When are people going to get it? Horses spook. And parades should be delightful, not dangerous. Still, it's parade season and that means horses will be spooking.

The 2009 Memorial Day Parade in Morris Plains, New Jersey, took a terrifying turn on Saturday when a pair of carriage horses spooked. The 62-year-old carriage driver was "badly bloodied" and two children narrowly escaped serious injury in this accident involving a pair of 1,800-pound Clydesdales, Sunny and Cinder.

The carriage apparently flipped during a U-turn, spooking the horses, who bolted. The driver was pinned and run over, the young passengers were eventually snatched to safety, and cars were smashed and dented before this ordeal was over. The driver was hospitalized for treatment of head wounds, broken ribs, and severe cuts and bruises. One of the horses suffered a cut to a hind leg.

Scary stuff, and dangerous. But perfectly normal horse behavior. Horses are easily spooked, and a frightened horse is a dangerous thing.

The spooking was "pretty upsetting," said Mayor Frank Druetzler. Before the next parade he should inform himself about the nature of horses and their tendency to spook.
(Photos by George!/Morristown Green)
UPI: Horse spooks, driver hospitalized

San Francisco Carriage Horse Spooks & Rampages Through Streets

In another crystal clear example of why Horse-Drawn carriages are a menace to urban society as well as an exploitative form of enslavement for horses, a carriage horse in San Francisco went on a rampage through the streets after guessed it, spooked! The horse apparently trampled its hander, who is in serious condition and has been hospitalized, and also knocked over at least two bike riders. This horse managed to run free through two neighborhoods before two people managed to catch the horse and corral it. No word on the condition of the horse, who was reportedly taken to a vet. Can you just imagine the other tragedies that could have easily happened had these two individuals not managed to catch the horse? I haven't been able to find any follow up stories yet that report on the condition of the horse handler, but I'll keep looking.

Here's the San Francisco Examiner's coverage of the story:

The SFist blog also covered the story, and included a quote from blogger Brittney Gilbert, who stated, "Maybe horses don't want to pull buggies in urban areas." Good point, Brittney!

I would extend Brittney's point even further by saying that it's simply wrong for humans to force horses to pull buggies in urban areas. This kind of animal domination and exploitation for profit and amusement has no place in our society any longer. I only hope that more people come to the same conclusion that Brittney has, and that it doesn't take another tragedy to do so.