• A carriage horse appeared to collapse in NYC on Wednesday following a brutal heat wave.
  • Viral footage of the incident appears to show the carriage driver repeatedly striking the animal.
  • The incident has been met with backlash from NYC citizens and celebrities like Kendall Jenner.

Kendall Jenner is one of a number of celebrities who have publicly slammed the practice of New York City's carriage horses after footage of an animal appearing to collapse in the middle of a busy street went viral. 

On Wednesday, the New York Post reported that a carriage horse fell on a Midtown Manhattan street during rush hour after a heat wave. In a video clip of the incident published by the New York Post, the carriage driver appeared to repeatedly strike the horse while telling the animal to stand up. The publication shared images of New York Police Department officers arriving at the scene to hose the horse with water and help it back on its feet. According to ABC 7, the incident occurred at Ninth Avenue and 45th Street, and officers took the horse to a private horse stable nearby to await care.

Sharing the clip on her Instagram story on Thursday, Jenner, 36, wrote that she was disgusted and hoped the horse was doing better. "I'm sick to my stomach," the "Kardashians" star wrote. "Stop this now."

Kendall Jenner re-shared a clip of the collapsed horse on her Instagram story. Foto: Kendall Jenner/Instagram

Other celebrities like Alicia Silverstone and Joey King took to social media to express their outrage at the incident, the Daily Mail reported. According to the publication, King shared a link to a Change.org petition calling for the New York City council to ban horse-drawn carriages via her Instagram, which has over 45,000 signatures as of Friday, just under 5,000 short of its goal to get to 50,000 signatures, which would make it one of the top-signed petitions on the platform.

Representatives for King, Silverstone, and Jenner did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

The incident has been met with backlash

Photos showed protestors gathering at New York's City Hall on Thursday carrying signs calling horse-drawn carriages "abuse" and "cruel."

Robert Holden, a New York City councilman who introduced a bill proposing replacing the horse-dependent vehicles with electric carriages in July, told Insider via email that the latest incident was "barbaric."

"Yet another one ill or dying this summer, alone, while the industry parrots that it's 'rare,'" he wrote of New York City's carriage horses. 

"Making horses suffer like this, especially in the brutal heat, is barbaric and needless. There is no reason, in this modern age, to continue using horses this way. It's not a good life for them and it causes public safety issues," Holden added. "Horses can get plenty of exercise without being forced to pull tourists around in an urban environment."

Protestors gathered at City Hall in NYC on Thursday. Foto: ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

In a tweet from Wednesday, Holden wrote that his bill would prevent horses from "suffering or dying" in the city and replace them with " clean, electric carriages." 


The official account for New York City's Transport Workers Union (TWO Local 100) responded to the tweet, writing that the horse – known as Ryder – was later examined by a veterinarian who diagnosed the animal with Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis, or EPM, a neurological disease caused by possum droppings.

"Please do not jump to conclusions before knowing the facts or talking to the carriage drivers' union," it added. 


Christina Hansen, a TWU Local 100 shop steward and veteran carriage driver, told Insider via email that Ryder is "doing well and is resting comfortably." Colic and heat exhaustion were ruled out as reasons for his collapse, she added.

Hansen said she believes Holden's response to the incident exploited "sensational and upsetting footage to advance his anti-horse political agenda," and added that she fundamentally disagrees with the councilman's proposed bill. "No one comes to NYC to ride in a flimsy electric cart," she said. "Carriage drivers consider their horses part of their families. Replacing horses with soulless electric carriages would make the city a worse place."

Signs labeled the practice "cruel" and "abuse." Foto: ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

Horse-drawn carriages in NYC date back to the 1800s

Despite the controversy surrounding the practice in modern times, horse-drawn carriages in New York City have origins dating as far back as 1853, according to a National Geographic report. Back then, the publication adds, horses were put to work pulling trams across the city moving 120,000 passengers each day. 

Citing a research paper published in Access Magazine, a University of California-issued publication, the report added that, by 1880, 41 dead horses were removed from the street per day.

Horses drawing carriages of people in New York City in 1875. Foto: Archive Photos/Getty Images

Fast-forward to 2022, the practice has evolved as a tourist attraction regulated by the local government. 

According to the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, working horses must have a license issued by the Office of Veterinary Public Health Services and drivers must pass an operator's course. There are laws dictating conditions in which horses are legally able to work. They include restricting horses to no more than nine working hours within a continuous 24-hour period. 

The website adds that all horses must stop working and be brought back to the stable when temperatures hit 90 degrees Fahrenheit or above in the summer and plunge to 18 degrees or below in the winter.

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