NEW YORK, N.Y. – A startled carriage horse took a jaunt around Central Park without any passengers or its driver.
The horse became detached from its bridle on Monday evening and ran into the Manhattan park, following its usual route, the union that represents carriage drivers said. It was unclear what startled it.
It looped back around to basically where it had started and exited the park at Fifth Avenue and 59th Street, near The Plaza hotel, where a group of carriage drivers was waiting to corral it. Its carriage got caught on an open taxi door, and it came to a stop.
There were no injuries to the horse or to any people, carriage driver and industry spokesman Stephen Malone said.
Advocacy agency NYCLASS, which is seeking to end the carriage horse industry, released a statement saying carriage horses and city streets don’t mix.
“It’s time to retire the carriage horses and replace them with something that doesn’t spook or dart dangerously through traffic and pedestrians,” it said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio wants to ban the horse-drawn carriages and replace them with vintage-looking electric cars. But he may not have enough votes in the City Council to pass a law.
“The Biggest Loser” trainer Jillian Michaels, former “30 Rock” star Alec Baldwin and “Raise Your Glass” singer Pink also support a carriage horse ban.
“Taken” actor Liam Neeson is among those campaigning to keep the colorful coaches. He says operators treat their horses well and the industry provides 400 jobs.