Liam Neeson Wants To KEEP The Horse Drawn Carriages In Central Park

Liam Neeson’s last quote about American parents being too overprotective with their children was upsetting to some people to read, but tolerable. I’m really curious to see what everyone thinks about this next quote.

As someone who was born and raised in NYC, I am wholeheartedly opposed to the horse drawn carriage industry. My husband proposed to me on one of those carriages, so I can understand the sentimental value they might have to some – residents and tourists alike. But when our little trip was over, I turned to him and said, "Don’t ever take me on one of those again."

Here is the actor attempting to make people see the necessity of keeping the horse drawn carriages in tact.

"As a horse lover and rider, I am deeply disturbed by the unnecessary
and misguided political and extreme rhetoric against the horse-drawn
carriage industry.

"As a proud New York resident, I have personally enjoyed the beauty of
Central Park on a daily basis for many years, and these horses are an
undeniable integral part of that experience."

Two weeks ago, my husband and I took a little vacation sans kids and spent a few nights at a hotel right off of Central Park. Our window view WAS the park, and when we were in the room, we would look out and watch the activity. The horse lineup is SO SAD. They stand there for hours and hours in the freezing cold just waiting to walk. It’s not a booming industry where one horse after another is walking. No, it could be several hours before a horse actually is allowed to walk. We were JUST talking about how soon it will come to an end… because it’s not soon enough.

They should replace the horses with replicas of old cars from the 20s and 30s. You can still make the ride magical and entertaining – without the misuse of these animals. Sorry for the rant, but I feel very passionate about this.




  1. gia says

    Horses are animals & are build for this type of work & the outdoors, but I agree that maybe the conditions need to reconsidered. Horses should not just be just standing around for hours, they need interactment & contact. It sounds like they need to reduce the number of carriages if its not a busy time of year.

  2. Anonymous says

    I´m a horse trainer and riding instructor and I guess you can call me a “horse person” – so my opinion is: the waiting is boring but doesn´t really “hurt” the animals, and drawing the carriages is not really hard work, and if they are well fed, healty and well trained and get a blanket when it´s cold they should be OK. Horses who are used to the cold are a lot thougher than people think, cold fresh air is usually better than an environment that is too warm and stuffy.

    Trotting on the hard ground in the city is not very good for the legs – it depends on how long, how often etc. and some breeds might be tougher here than others. I guess many of the carriage horses have chronic problems with the joints and tendons. A gaited horse breed might use a running gait, rack ore pace which is easier on the joints than a trot.
    There are of course special breeds which are better suited to draw carriages than others, but this means they are better at competitions, shows, etc., it does not mean they are specially bred to stand on the same spot waiting for hours.

    This it is definitely NOT a very good “horse life”. The same goes for horses that are locked up inside a stable for days! Horses should be allowed to spend several hours every day on a field, paddock ore some place like that, to move around freely, rest and interact with other horses. This goes for every breed, it is just a natural need of this species – like food and water.
    I hope – but I doubt – that these carriage horses get “time off” to do that…I guess they spend their resting time locked up in a stable somewhere in the city.

    We have the famous “Fiaker” carriages in Vienna and as much as I like their traditional look, seeing them always reminds me of the fact that a horse simply does not belong in the city center. Last summer one of them collapsed from the heat at the stop where they wait for passengers, which raised a lot of voices saying that they should be banned or at least get a proper shelter for the horses.

  3. Ida says

    “They should replace the horses with replicas of old cars from the 20s and 30s. ”

    Sorry, but I think that idea was even more ridiculous! WHAT ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT?! We sure don’t need any more damage to it!

  4. Ida says

    “They should replace the horses with replicas of old cars from the 20s and 30s. ”

    Sorry, but I think that idea was even more ridiculous! WHAT ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT?! We sure don’t need any more damage to it!

  5. Anonymous says

    I think in Philadelphia, the horses are rotated, so that they get to eat, and get to warm up. They also use they to give tours of the city down town. At one time they wanted to get rid of them also, don’t know if that ever passed.

  6. Anonymous says

    What evidence do these protesters have of abuse? You can’t treat livestock like a pet. Do the concerned people have knowledge of horses or are they just looking at the situation and guessing? i think its only fair to ask the “horse people” how they are treated, not just go on the statements made by animal activists, who tend to stereotype in my opinion. I see nothing wrong with a well tended horse pulling a carriage, running a race, etc.

  7. Anonymous says

    im from new orleans, we have mule driven carriages here. sometimes in the summer a mule will drop on the street due to heat exhaustion. these animals stand waiting in the hot sun, just like the horse in the cold of nyc. every tourist area has its up and down seasons. i think limiting the amount of animals would solve this problem. because you realize that when they ban it completely, all of these animals will be put down, theres no happy farm in the country waiting for them.

    so whats the answer?

  8. Anonymous says

    Hi. another “horse person” here (not a professional, though I’m a “backyard horse person”): the rule of thumb about the temperature is if you can handle it, the horse can handle it. The horse is tougher than you, always. The rider/driver will freeze before a cold weather horse will.
    And i take issue with the idea that horses are defenseless: I will testify that a spooked or upset horse can kill people. Horses are bigger, stronger and faster than humans. They are smart; know who is their friend and who isn’t.
    “horse people” who go through the effort but most importantly the expense of horses are generally very good to their horses. Good enough in a lot of cases to have things like air conditioned barns and trailers. (I am from TX, and yes we need them.)
    It takes a lot of physical abuse for a horse to become “broken.” And you would be able to see it on the horse. Those are the horses that need intervention.
    I have no experience with horses in cities. Does anyone who has know how the horses are cared for and where?

  9. Anonymous says

    Starting to sound like horses in the country, yes, horses in the city maybe not. Philly seems to have the right idea, N’Orleans not. I agree with the poster that said animal activists groups tend to stereotype. i don’t think there’s enough information here to get anyone up on arms. Thnx “horse people” for the input as well.

  10. Anonymous says

    i don’t feel strongly about this either way, so if they got rid of the horses, i wouldn’t care that much.
    that car idea is terrible though?!

  11. Anonymous says

    sorry but old cars are not environmentally friendly so i wouldn’t support that idea at all

  12. Carla says

    The horses are kept in a 3 story warehouse, no fire escape, no alarms, no spinklers only ramps leading to their stalls. A disaster waiting to happen… these are only regular stalls large enough to fit the horse but not large enough for them to turn around. They only go to these warehouses at night when their handlers shift is over. He/she gets to go home to a warm place and comfy bed, the horses well untill tomorrow are simply on their feet/hooves 24/7!! I’ve lived in New York my whole life and no there is no end to there misery. City life is no place for a horse let alone New York of all places. Little P.S. for ya all thinking those horses will be killed if there are no longer needed… Out of the two hundred and seven working horses in New York city there are triple that in sanctuaries eager to take them in ASAP!!! Once the city bans it entirely. Love a concerned citizen

  13. Callie says

    You are showing how completely ignorant you are about horses. Horses DONT lie down. If they are, they are either ill or injured. They sleep standing up. Sometimes they roll in dirt, but thats typically the only time a healthy horse is off their feet. Second, the horse sanctuaries in the US are completely packed right now due to the influx of horses abandoned by people who have been hit hard by the economy. 90% of these horses would be put down for lack of a place to send them if they didnt have work. I personally know this for fact as I have a dear friend forced to give up her 9 horses here in Texas. At present she’s taking donations on food and care for her animals because the only place she could even get on a waiting list is a 9 month wait. I personally helped her research places to send her horses. There just arent any right now. Too many horses with no homes and no place to go.

  14. Carla says

    Callie… The people who are trying to get these pros passed are the ones who have the room and are the ones whom have the place for them. These same people are focusing their concern on The Horse Dawn Carriage Industry horses’ and not your friends. They’re not going to fight this just to put them down in the end. They are not advertising which places they will be going cause others will try to get their own horses’ there as well, and you’re right there just isn’t that many places for horses to go anymore.

  15. says

    I appreciate some of the thoughtful responses here.

    Some of the other responses are laughable ::chuckles at Carla:: lol.

    I’ve been in the NYC horse and carriage industry for 27 years.

    The welfare of the horses is what the decent-minded, casual observer is truly interested in, and for good reason. The horse-drawn carriages are a New York City icon; they are ambassadors to our visitors, and the horses themselves are working animals that are entitled to proper care and good handling. Fortunately, our record reflects exactly that. Our horses lead exceedingly reasonable and content lives. They each receive a superior, formulated diet, occupy roomy box stalls (you are hilariously pathetic, Carla [or should I say Roxie?]! LOL), receive vet & farrier care, and are groomed and bathed regularly. This amounts to food, shelter, and medical care – which many CHILDREN in this city do not have. Beyond these basics, they are loved by their owners/drivers; they receive affection, treats, and human interaction everyday. Every stable has a sprinkler system in case of fire, and every stable has 24/7 stablemen.

    When the time comes, we work very hard to retire them to loving, forever homes. I personally have retired 3 horses, one of which is still living the life of Riley after being retired 6 years ago in South Jersey at a bank president’s home.

    There is a national crisis of mammoth proportions right now of unwanted horses. The slow economy/high cost of grain & hay/closing of US slaughterhouses have all contributed to this “perfect storm” that is leaving thousands of horses either starving and abandoned, or on thier way to Mexican abbatoirs. Any working horse with a comfortable, reasonable life is a lucky horse indeed, now more than ever (don’t take my word for it; Google “horse abandonment” or “horse crisis” etc. It will tear your heart out)

    Our safety record is STELLAR – 68 carriages operating approx 300 days a year for 25 years = over 2 MILLION trips in traffic back and forth to the stables. We have had THREE equine fatalities due to traffic accidents in those 25 years – that is a matter of public record. NO equine pursuit can claim a similar ratio (500 horses have died on American racetracks just since the Kentucky Derby – hell, 100 HUMANS were hit by cars and killed in 2008 in NYC alone!) While each of the three horse deaths was a tragedy (and I knew each one – Chester ’85, Tony ’90, and Spotty ’07), there is nothing in life that has no risk, and certainly no human/horse activity without risk. The humaniacs would have to eradicate all horses to eradicate all risk – something I do believe they could live with :::shudder:::

    The bottom line is, we love & care for our horses, and there is definitely a place for the urban horse.

    We don’t ever hope to or care to change the ‘humaniac’s’ mind; they are blind and hysterical, and will remain so.

    But to those of you who are thinking, rational people, I offer you my blog:

  16. Suzanna says

    For those of you who have said you are against the idea of replica vintage cars as a replacement for horse-drawn carriages for environmental reasons:
    “replica” means it looks like it’s vintage not that it IS vintage. These would be brand new cars and as efficient and clean as any new vehicle, not old diesels with 80 year old engines!

    For some info on the current NYC carriage horse situation, here are some links:

    NYC horse killed by car after being spooked by drums:
    a quote from the article by a passerby who witnessed the accident:
    “It fell into a panic and then fell on the ground, kicking. He kept shaking and then went into shock and collapsed.”
    and in a statement released:
    Humane Society of the United States Executive Vice President Michael Markarian said: “Horses and city traffic are a dangerous and inhumane combination.”

    Article on audit of NYC carriage industry by the NYC comptroller (from ’07) shows a lack of regulations and non-enforcement of guidelines:

    Horse and taxi collide in NYC resulting in serious injury to horse, who is then forced to walk (while severely bleeding) over a mile to shelter :(

    Spooked carriage horse is struck by SUV in NYC traffic:

    Carriage horse articles, pics, facts:

    The city is no place for a horse. As someone who grew up around horses I can tell you that they have really specific physical and social needs and that the sounds and traffic in a city are totally incompatible with those.
    Sure it’s a cute idea to have carriage rides, and maybe there was a time when that was practical (i.e. when NYC didn’t have 8.5 million people living in it!) but as things are it is time to put this in the past and look for new ways to have fun in the city that don’t involve horses.

  17. Anonymous says

    …eh, what exactly do you think will happen to those horses if they are not “used” for rides in central park anymore? I think a horse could do a lot worse than standing around in central park!

  18. Abigail says

    For the people who know nothing about our horses, how they live or how many regulations we have: We have NEVER been cited for cruelty in over 150 yrs. We have 5 stables, 2 of which are state of the art. We make approx 60,000 trips to and from the park (68 carriages with 2 shifts per carriage per day) per year with an overal safety record that the horse racing industry or jumping horses, or any other equine sport can not touch! All of our horses in nyc have box stalls. (which the mounted police horses dont even have)They get ferrier care, worming, and dental and vet care on a schedualed basis…which is all recorded for the city. We are overseen by 5 agencies (we have more regulations and oversight than at-risk children). We have temp restrictions(low 18-high 89), and hr work restrictions (9hrs)which are overseen by the aspca. We send our horses to vacations on farms 3-4 months out of each yr. When our horses are retired they are adopted out through one of 3 adoption programs we use-one is on the homepage of the new york humane society. We are licensed 4 times over (carriage, driver, horse,and stable) We are fully insured. Our horses were trained specifically for this job… PETA is really good at lying to people. their intentions are evil. They want to do away with all human to animal relationships. ALL of them including pets. Its disgusting. If you want the TRUTH you can see my videos on youtube of my horses on my farm and in their stable in nyc and at work. This is the TRUTH. I can prove everything I say….they cant! Please take a look before you believe everything they say.

  19. Anonymous says

    For all the imbeciles who need evidence of abuse–I used to take a car service home from work at three a.m. 5 nights a week (I quit taking the car service, despite it’s convenience, because that is another for-the-rich industry which should be outmoded); I would often see horses standing up sleeping, with their heads supported by the outside brick wall of the stables. The person who wrote that some horses are meant for the kentucky derby and some are meant for this type of slavery is truly pathetic.

  20. Anonymous says

    You pose a very good argument, Vera. They have horse-drawn carriages over here in Florence, Italy, as well. Not QUITE as cold as NYC, but again, the horses do stand around and eat or do nothing…Lots of them cannot wait to MOVE!

  21. lily says

    I am with you on this. I used to ride horses, but we would treat them with a lot of respect. This is insane, my heart aches every time I go by.

  22. wildcats says

    I don’t know much about horses but I do know that not every horse in born to race the Kentucky Derby. I believe there is a specific horse (gaited horse) to do this very specific purpose of drawn carriages and also guided horse rides. I hope that a horse person comments and sheds some light on this.

  23. lara jane says

    I didn’t realize this, either. I’m interested to hear the responses to wildcats’ post.

    I feel like the car idea might not be the best replacement, as it would expend unnecessary resources. What about those bike tours… They have them in San Francisco, a bicyclist pulls a cart that you ride in. Aah, what are they called? I’m blanking on the word!

  24. Anonymous says

    nashville has some horse carriages too. thank you for standing up for the ones(horses) who cannot stand up for themselves.

  25. Anonymous123 says

    i disagree that we should get rid of the horse and carriages entirely but I don’t like the mistreatment of the horses. Give them plenty of food, water and rest and keep them warm when needed but they do need exercises and there’s nothing wrong with them walking around the city pulling a carriage.

  26. ErikaLT says

    I bet they probably do a lot of “spontaneous” business, but why couldn’t they move toward something that was by appointment only?

    This way people could still have the carriage ride, but the horses could be stabled in between and only brought out when actually being used.

  27. Anonymous says

    Aren’t horses used to being outside? Wouldn’t these older cars only add to the pollution problem?

  28. Callie says

    Yes they would, even more so than newer cars. Oh yes Vera, I really want to enjoy the smog and exhaust put out by an antique car! Look, horses usually DO stand around, with the occasional run or walk even when in a pasture. Does the city need to put in place protections to make sure the horses aren’t mistreated and that they are well taken care of? YES. Should they shut it down? NO. Guess what? You shut down the carriages, the owners of the horses will have no choice but to get rid of them. There is actually a crisis right now concerning horses in America. People cant afford to keep them and as a consequence, many are in pastures with no supplemental food starving to death. Be angry about THOSE horses. Not the ones that actually have work and are being cared for. Horse sanctuaries have a 9 month waiting list right now, and the abandonment rate is sky high. There are more important worries than carriage horses.