Heartbreaking footage of a carriage horse in New York City collapsing during rush hour traffic in Manhattan on Wednesday has sparked outrage against both the driver and the controversial practice of using horse-drawn carriages on busy city roads.
Bystanders watched in horror as a horse named Ryder collapsed onto the hot pavement and then the driver of the carriage reacted by repeatedly hitting the heat-exhausted animal and shouting, “Get up! Get up! C’mon, get up."
“I saw the horse collapse. He obviously was malnourished, dehydrated, hungry. The guy started whipping his horse and telling him to get back up instead of giving him water,” one witness told the New York Post. “It’s really sad, man. You can tell that horse was not taken care of. You can tell [the driver] was exploiting that horse."
Police officers soon arrived and hosed Ryder down in an apparent effort to help lower his body temperature.
The driver was accused of "kick[ing] up his feet" as he "sat in the shade texting, while police desperately tried saving Ryder the horse."
According to News 12 New York, Ryder was able to stand after about 45 minutes and was taken to a "private horse stable to receive proper veterinary care."
New York City Council member Robert Holden used the opportunity to call attention to a bill he introduced last month that would replace horse-drawn carriages with electric carriages.
The Transport Workers Union, however, defended the practice of horse-drawn carriages in the city and claimed Ryder actually suffered from a "neurological disease caused by possum droppings."