Carriage Horse Welfare: Readers Weigh In

More than 1,040 readers of TheHorse.com responded to a poll asking, "What do you think about horse carriages in urban areas?"

results of poll on carriagehorses

Results were as follows: 

  • They require additional oversight: 41.55% (435)
  • They're fine: 33.43% (350)
  • They should be banned: 21.11% (221)
  • I don't have an opinion: 3.92% (41)

Readers shared their feelings about carriage horses in the comments below.

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  • All a matter of good basic care
  • I think they require additional oversight for the animal's welfare. Some are in horrible shape!
  • They give city folks a chance to see and pet a horse but they must be regulated for the horse
  • It is impossible to monitor, so they should be banned.
  • too dangerous, more oversigbht required if continue
  • believe cities should make it safer if they want carriages
  • I think city people should be educated as to 'nice manners'/ expected behavior towards horses.
  • If handled well, more city folks'll get to meet horses.
  • horses do not deserve to slave in an unnatural, harsh environment
  • Perhaps they're ok in large park venues, but not on the city streets.
  • horses are work animals not barbie dolls.
  • Hazardous for passengers and vehicular traffic, and these horses live in terrible conditions
  • carriage horses look very good to me, have them Vet checked regular
  • I live in amish country and they are everywhere; accidents occur; the public needs educated
  • ride around the park not on the streets
  • as long as horses are well taken care of!
  • I drive a wagon and see the need for more intervention
  • I drive carriage horses and have always had a very positive response from people about them.
  • It depends on the situation It's not a one size fits all thing
  • I'e seen carriage horses in terrible working/living conditions. They don't belong on city streets.
  • all horses deserve a safe barn to live in and some paddock time outside
  • Ask the Amish how all that works for them...
  • How healthy is it for the horse--physically and emotionally?
  • Motorized vehicle drivers cause the problem. They are inconsiderate, impatient, rude and careless.
  • Hideous life for a horse
  • Most horses are not well cared for and work attrocious conditions
  • leave the industry alone! if the horse can't work, they don't make $ so horse is taken care of
  • I feel they should be taken out of NYC but its nice to have them in small town areas.
  • As long as the horseman/woman is smart about their surroundings.
  • as long as they are treated fairly and well cared for, it should be ok
  • I've visited the hack line, the horses are well-cared for and mellow.
  • As long as the horse is properly trained & equip safe, why not?
  • next thing you know, they will try to ban horseback riding on public roads
  • I think the laws in our state mandate good care for these horses.
  • Some people are not good enough to handle horses.
  • The carriage horses are not abused. There are many regulations on hours, shifts, etc.
  • Horses should receive the best care and given proper rest times
  • Horses bring such joy to NYC people. Horses have and can live in an urban environment.
  • Most I have seen are underweight!
  • how about they are awesome.
  • Auto drivers are uneducated about safety.
  • More equines being driven from view. What next???
  • Horses= Business They do need regulations for safety of animals and people.
  • i dont approve of them.but perhaps if they were liscensed and approved, it would be better.
  • This is a wonderful question. They should really be thinking about bringing carriages back!
  • If the horses are properly cared for - I don't see an issue.
  • Special care and time away in a pasture for periods of time regularly.
  • It's a terrible job for a horse!
  • for many people, that's the only time they may see a real horse!
  • i think it looks romantic for the lovers & for sight seeing in urban areas
  • As long as taken care of
  • For safety, I think there should be some strict guidelines
  • no green house gases! :D
  • Care and handling needs to be monitored and areas of use restricted, eg parks and surrounding blocks
  • Good equine exposure but too many are unhealthy
  • Carriages should be restricted to parks and historic districts with limited vehicular traffic
  • Dangerious as there's may reckless drivers out there. I wouldn't want to risk my horse.
  • What a horrible life those horses must have!
  • So much danger to horse and drivers
  • I know it is very romantic to see and take carriage rides, but city streets are no place for horses
  • Horses built American, clearing trees, trucking product & as war horses.
  • Don't know enough about how they are managed to have an educated opinion.
  • What political BS is this? The carriages are great, leave them alone!
  • Need proper shoes and their own lanes.
  • It is inhumane and puts horses at unnecessary risk for harm. They are worked too hard.
  • If there are carriages in big urban places there is more chance they will get hit.
  • Gives people contact with horses that normally would never have
  • auto drivers are mainly the problem from inattention to surroundings
  • They are a wonderful addition to uban areas
  • I love to see them.
  • Too bad a few bad ones are all we hear about anymore
  • Should be in Central Park
  • Carriage companies that are professionally run are an asset to urban areas
  • as long as horses are properly cared for carriages are good PR
  • Most I've seen in Seattle looked OK, but one was stumbling
  • They are hard on feet and dangerous for the horse. Locally we had a horse hit by a car during xmas.
  • I love seeing them, but they should be restricted to parks and low traffic areas.
  • The next to be watched that the horses are taken care of correctly
  • Absolutely love horse or mule driven carriages...a great way to tour or relax!
  • They are ok if they are maintained properly..
  • Once upon a time, but it's just too dangerous anymore.
  • cruel,boring for the horse,pastures?,shade?
  • Dirty, noisy, dangerous for horses. Equine welfare should be priority.
  • THEY ARE ABUSIVE; THE POOR HORSES DESERVE BETTER
  • They have to contend with witless drivers, breathing car & truck exaust and I believe that they woul
  • It is the chance to give "city folk" exposure and appreciation ofequine.
  • Imagine all of the exhaust they are breathing as they stand behind traffic breathing it all in
  • they bring money into the cities
  • We should ban autos
  • Be careful, if you ban carriages, they'll ban riding horses next.Carriage horses are well cared for.
  • Having seen some horses abused i feel tighter control is needed
  • I don't think that horses should be subjected to exhaust and traffic and hard pavement.
  • i think it would be nerve racking to any one in any street with the fumes,noices and traffic
  • only on streets where traffic is not allowed
  • I love to ride in them, but worry about the horses welfare.
  • They require MUCH additional oversight or need to be banned
  • carriage horses are wonderful venues
  • It's a lovely tradition, but all the smog and possible health issues can't be good for the hores or
  • There should be strict reanimgulations regarding rest periods, days off, feeding and watering.
  • great use for otherwise unwanted horses
  • horses and vehicles don't mix. Horse loses every time.
  • We have urban horses. Most of our riding is in town. They do fine with traffic.
  • they should be highly monitored and use appropriate horses
  • Not all are bad, but enough of them are to warrent oversight
  • Limit length of work period. Limit hours on pavement. Closely monitor condition/health.
  • I want a ban, but protect exisiting horses from slaughter after ban.
  • I think they are great, if the cars realize they are there and watch out for them.
  • Carriages are a wonderful way to tour an historic old part of town or ride through large urban park
  • Licensing should depend on regular veterinary inspections.
  • Cities are just too crowded now
  • They are OK as long as the horses are taken care of properly.
  • horse carriage belong in the countryside unless we are speaking or poor countries where the equine u
  • no one will rpoperly police the owners and 1 bad owner is one too many
  • It's not natural for a horse tobe in that kind of traffic...so like everything else it can be over d
  • People act to dangerousely
  • I think that many of them are not treated well.
  • Horses shouldn't be on the road with cars because of fumes and the danger of getting hit
  • They need extra protection and more time off away from the city.
  • I have seen some ugly wrecks when a car hit the horse, or he was spooked.
  • Give urban people a connection to horses. Make sure the horses treated well.
  • Our society today does not have the "room" to do this any more. it no longer is feasible.
  • IF THEY ARE USED ON NON MOTORIZED ROADWAYS, IT WOULD BE OK, BUT NOT WHERE CARS AND TRUCKS GO,
  • To dangerous.
  • As long as horses are properly taken care of
  • They OK if they treat the animals well. They are a great way to see the sites.
  • The health and safety of the horse(s) is paramount. It's a good way for a horse to make a living
  • They should have a certain route that cars can give them a wide berth to pass them
  • The horses have been very well-cared for in the cities I've visited.
  • I love carriage rides in cities!
  • the drivers shuold watch out for the carriages.
  • be safe about and use low traffic routes. Put up warning signs if possible along routes
  • Just as taxis and their drivers require licensing and annual safety checks, so should carriages
  • They need to be tightly regulated for the health and safety of horses.
  • Only allowed with VERY stringent oversight.
  • cruelty
  • people have no business subjecting horses feet to endless hours of pounding pavement and gas fumes.
  • Exhaust fumes, hard pavement and standing all day in the hot sun not a favorite for horses
  • OK, as with any other horse activity as long as horse welfare is considered
  • It is so dangerous to have horses alone around heavy traffic, much less HITCHED horses
  • If you don't use horses, there won't be any horses.
  • They are pretty cool. They do need inspection however. By qualified parties please.
  • They should be monitored but NOT by government, animal welfare group.
  • As long as they are ethically treated and cared for, I'm all for them having jobs.
  • Amish use them as primary transportation in parts of PA
  • Just need to be sure the horses are treated humanely.
  • Paved roads and heavy traffic are a risky work environment
  • I cringe everytime I see a horse at work on concrete
  • leave them alone.....
  • Every time horses are taken out of the public eye, the entire industry is one step closer to death.
  • dangerous for the horses
  • hell for the horses, absolute hell.
  • As long as the carriage operator is committed to promoting the humane welfare of the animals,
  • I love to see horse carriages in urban areas
  • Carriage horses should wear padded boots, not shoes, to prevent concussion injuries.
  • It is extremely cruel and an obvious dangerous environment for a horse.
  • Vehicle driver's should give them the same type of respect.
  • -have seen them in major cities worldwide; need accurate accident data to access degree of risk
  • Sometimes their hooves look awful, but most draft horses I've seen have bad feet!
  • As long as it's safe and the horses have proper training
  • Allow carriage rides to cointinue. Put a good set of welfare rules in place and enforce them.
  • need rules for car drivers whn approaching and passing carriages- be respectful of the horses & peop
  • Love em! But don't want them mistreated
  • Inspections of carriages for safety
  • I think it is a good thing that the horses can work, as long as treated humanely.
  • Good for the general public view of horses but need to be moniterd and horses need to have less
  • Cities are too heavily congested with traffic. I believe it is too dangerous for both horse & people
  • Stables and management techniques should be approved
  • People who drive cars/trucks have no respect for those of us who drive our carriages on the road.
  • Today, most if not all are well taken care of. There are more regulations reguarding health.
  • As long as they are properly taken care of
  • i would LOVE to be able to use my horses for transportation in town
  • I love them. And they are a great "green" alternative for sightseeing

About the Author

Megan Arszman

Megan Arszman received a Bachelor of Science In print journalism and equine science from Murray State University in Murray, Ky., and loves combining her love of horses, photography, and writing. In her “free time,” when she’s not busy working as a horse show secretary or riding her American Quarter Horses on her parents’ Indiana farm, she’s training and competing her Pembroke Welsh Corgi and Swedish Vallhund in dog agility and running.

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