With all the controversy around the Central Park Horse Carriages and the manner in which the horses are being treated, I thought I would go tour the stables myself. I chose to do this only after the news that Mayor de Blasio refused to go. It seems to me that he should go there before making a decision that would put 300 people out of work and end a NYC tradition.
So I dragged my dad out last Sunday morning, March 16th. I should note that I am not a horse person and while I've been on pony rides I am not a rider. I am a New Yorker, born here in Manhattan and I now live on the Upper East Side. As an Upper East Sider I was fully expecting a stable that smelled, well like horse and manure.
Everything I expected was not the case. The stables were clean. In fact they were a lot cleaner than many other places in New York. They also did not smell Certainly not as bad as the barns where they keep the horses at summer camp in Pennsylvania. Those were far worse. People may speak less lovingly of the fresh country air if they visited some of those barns. The Clinton Park stables were clean.
Most importantly, the horses seemed happy. While a number of the horse were out working, many of them were still in the stables. While I am not a vet, the horses all appeared healthy and had large stalls. Many were genuinely happy to interact with all the visitors. These horses are people horses.
It would sad to see New York City lose these horses and the carriages. The horses bring so much joy to kids, adults, and tourists while being an iconic piece of the New York City landscape.