‘I heard this thud’: Carriage horse collapses on NYC street

NEW YORK — A horse pulling a carriage along a New York City street collapsed on Wednesday, prompting police to come to the aid of the distressed animal.

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The incident happened at 5 p.m. EDT in the Hell’s Kitchen section of Manhattan, WABC-TV reported.

“I heard this thud and it sounded like almost like a car,” witness Christian Parker told WNBC-TV. “But when I turned my head it was this poor horse in the middle of Ninth Avenue.”

Another witness, Kelvin Gonzalez, told the television station that the man driving the carriage began to hit the horse with a small whip in an attempt to get the 14-year-old animal, named Ryder, back on its feet. The horse did not respond, keeping his head on the ground.

“He started whipping and saying ‘Get up, get up. Like bro, don’t whip your horse, he obviously needs some water he, looked dehydrated,” Gonzalez told WNBC.

New York Police Department officers arrived at the scene and placed a pillow under Ryder’s head, WNYW-TV reported. Officers then used a hose to cool him down and administered a shot of adrenaline, which enabled the horse to rise to his feet, according to the television station.

A crowd that assembled cheered as Ryder got back to his feet, WABC reported.

“The NYPD takes the health and well-being of our four-legged friends in New York City very seriously, and are glad that our trained equestrian officers were able to assist,” the police department said in a statement.

Transport Workers Union Local 100, the group that represents horse carriage drivers, said Ryder made it safely into his trailer and was examined by an equine veterinarian, WNYW reported.

The vet said he believed the horse may have been suffering from equine protozoal myeloencephalitis, a neurological disease caused by infected opossum droppings.

“The neurological effects of the EPM caused the horse to stumble and fall as the carriage driver is trying to change lanes and turn here on 45th Street on the way home,” Christina Hansen, a spokesperson for the carriage drivers’ union, told WNBC. “And once he was down, he had difficulty getting up again from the neurological symptoms of EPM.”

Animal advocates have called for horse and carriage rides to be banned in New York City, according to the television station. The city council is currently considering that legislation.

“We’re calling on the City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, the mayor -- they’re aiding and abetting this egregious animal abuse,” Edita Birnkrant, of NYCLASS, an animal rights group, told WNBC.