Saturday, December 17, 2011

in our own backyard

Numbers of posts here have railed against horse-drawn carriages in New York and Philadelphia. Then, just as a dent seems to be made in the mentality permitting this archaic, cruel, involuntary and unnecessary practice (see post for Dec. 12), a local venue offers . . . horse-drawn carriage rides.

Something about winter holidays, with thoughts of snow and sleighs, must suggest: Hey! let’s do horse-drawn carriages. That should attract more (paying) visitors!

Last month, Hamilton Township’s Grounds for Sculpture began radio commercials for its holiday events. (Sculpture used to be enough there, but over the years, the place has become a playground.) The ads included horse drawn carriages -- prompting me to email a couple staffers to express my disappointment.

Bonnie R. Brown, the park’s director of operations, replied, sounding pretty much like all the carriage drivers who write indignant blog reactions. Check out the factual value and logic here: ”The operators are from area farms – they have the highest regard for their animals’ health and safety,” she began.

She went on to say these “operators” have vetted GFS pathways for safety and they won’t provide rides if pathways or weather are not appropriate. And, “We have every faith and assurance from the owners that their animals are healthy and treated with respect and care.” (Would any other assurance be likely?)

Her response to my 2nd note dealt with Clydesdales’ “need to use those muscles or risk health issues from lack of challenge to their physique.” She sees “much danger in not providing proper muscular activity to a breed” and “a Clydesdale should never be expected to run, but they still need to work their muscular frames or risk severe health issues from inactivity.”

Naturally, the best way to work those frames is pulling carriages full of people who could probably use the exercise much more than the horses!

(; 609-586-0616)

1 comment:

Equiculture said...

Actually, if you knew anything about draft horses, you would know that it IS true that big draft horses often must get exercise in order to avoid the effects of debilitating and very painful ailments like EPSM. You would also know that pulling a carriage for a 2000 lb Clydesdale is about on the same level of exertion as you or I pushing a shopping cart would be.