Central Park Carriage Horse “Oreo” Leaving NYC

Being Groomed for Career Change at Mass. Sanctuary

Teamsters, Carriage Drivers Call on Vance to Prosecute Activist who Assaulted Driver to Fullest

New York, NY (Horse and Carriage Association of New York) – Horse and Carriage Association President Steve Malone and Teamsters Local 553 President Demos Demodoulos announced a fond  farewell to Oreo, the   the NYC carriage horse who was corralled on Manhattan’s Ninth Avenue after a widely-reported accident near Central Park on August 16. The horse will be traveling to his new home at Blue Star Equiculture of Palmer, Massachusetts.

In addition, Malone and Demopoulos called on District Attorney Cy Vance to prosecute Roxanne Delgado to the fullest extent of the law for her arrest on August 18, for assaulting carriage Driver Jesus Rojas at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Fifty-Ninth Street. Delgado is a member of NYCLASS, a rabidly anti carriage horse group closely associated with the ASPCA and  NYC real estate interests. Over the past several months the group  has conducted, and condoned the harassment, of drivers that has now escalated into assault. She was arrested for third-degree assault after kicking Rojas, who was simply trying to do his job and provide for his family.

“It’s time for DA Vance to send a clear message to NYCLASS that the harassment and attacks on hard-working, law abiding carriage drivers must come to an end,” Malone said. “By prosecuting Delgado to the fullest extent of the law, even if only for a misdemeanor charge, he can help put an end to the verbal and now physical assaults that NYCLASS has unleashed on drivers for months.”

High Profile Incident, But Only Minor Injuries to Passengers, Leg Injury for Driver, No Injuries to Horse

On Thursday August 16, Oreo, a six-year-old black and white spotted draft-cross gelding, was working his regular shift at Central Park, when a bundle of scaffolding at a nearby construction site crashed to the pavement.  Startled by the unusual loud noise, Oreo reportedly bolted, still hitched to his carriage. Despite the driver’s best efforts, Oreo got away from him, and headed west on Fifty-Ninth Street in the direction of his stable.  The carriage struck several other vehicles before breaking apart, with the two Australian tourists in the carriage left behind.  The horse, still in harness but with no carriage attached, continued taking his regular route back to the stable before stopping behind a car waiting at a red light at Ninth Avenue and West Fifty-Seventh  Street,, where he was approached by pedestrians and police officers and led to the side of Ninth Avenue.

“We have amateur video of Oreo standing patiently at the red light, en route back to the stable,” said Stephen Malone, spokesman for the Horse and Carriage Association of NYC.  “Oreo showed just how well-trained our horses are, even under duress”, Malone said.

The driver and the tourists were treated and released from area hospitals. The responding NYPD officers, who took charge of Oreo until the NYPD Mounted Unit could arrive, understandably not being familiar with horse harness, tied Oreo to a street pole in such a way that the horse was forced to steadily move backward.  Mistaking this movement for agitation, the officers shot Oreo with a tranquilizer gun as a precaution.  The horse sunk to the pavement under sedation.  NYPD Mounted Unit arrived on scene, loosened the harness restricting Oreo’s movement; Oreo got to his feet and was led into a NYPD Mounted trailer, and was transported back to Clinton Park Stables.

Oreo’s Future at Blue Star Equiculture and Beyond

Oreo will be joining Blue Star Equiculture’s famous “herd” of 30 horses, many of whom are former carriage horses.  “Oreo will recuperate here, as we get to know him and evaluate his eligibility for adoption”, said Pamela Richenbach, director of BSE.  “As a non-profit draft horse sanctuary and organic farm, our mission is helping horses, humans and Mother Earth. We are advocates for working horses, and a young, strong, beautiful horse like Oreo certainly has a very bright future in partnership with humans”, said Richenbach.

For more information on Blue Star Equiculture: http://www.equiculture.org/carriage-horses.aspx

Pamela Richenbach, Director:  (207) 468-0495

Link to amateur video cited above in quote by Stephen Malone:


16 comments for “Central Park Carriage Horse “Oreo” Leaving NYC

  1. Karyn Zaldi
    August 30, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    The illogic of this “it’s not natural” always astounds me. How many hours a day would it be natural for horses to work? And where, in small cities? Only on farms? Let’s see: a quiet, calm place, that means that parades, horse shows and cattle ranches are out, too. Quick, somebody tell the Budweiser Clydesdales and the New York City Mounted Unit that they are out of work!

    You aren’t against working horses or carriage horses? Why on earth not? And saddle horses, too, after all they weren’t born with those things on their backs, how unnatural. But it’s OK if they have daily turnout? Hey, all you horses kept in because of dietary or medical issues, out you go! And you show horses, no more overnights for you, there’s no turnout on the show grounds and Heather says that’s not natural. Hold it, hold it, I guess it’s OK once in a while, how often, Heather? And what about the noise? Never mind, horses get injured in trailers, so road trips are out, too.

    How about fences, who would want to live fenced in? They keep horses safe? But they aren’t natural! How about vaccinations? They’re OK, because they keep horses disease free? But those shots hurt! Abuse! Oh, dear, you say NOT vaccinating them is neglect? Maybe we should explain it to them and let them choose? But these are horses, not people, perhaps their rights should be different?

    I’m so confused, maybe we should let horse owners decide for themselves how to care for their horses, as long as it’s within legal guidelines. Or maybe we shouldn’t allow people to own horses at all. Wait a minute, that’s the bottom line of the radical animal rights groups!

    • skip
      September 1, 2012 at 2:03 pm

      To Karyn-Well said!Unfortunately,there’s many more people the likes of Heather Clemenceau out there.The industry needs more concerned,informed folks like yourself!

      • September 3, 2012 at 1:01 pm

        Yes, there are – you’re no doubt wondering why there are so many “animal rights activists” out *there* – it’s because we are the norm and the majority.

    • September 3, 2012 at 1:07 pm

      Since we’ve just had one of the hottest summer’s on record, I’ll mention something very timely coming out of a Veterinary school close to where I live. I’ve often seen quoted on the various carriage boards that the oppressive temperatures are little to worry about, videos of panting horses or horses who may have COPD, standing waiting to take on more passengers. Have a good read here – when all those tourists are hot, the horses feel even worse. Dodge this – http://atguelph.uoguelph.ca/2010/06/when-the-rider-is-hot-the-horse-is-hotter/

      “Prof says horses feel summer heat 10 times faster than people”

      “Prof. Michael Lindinger, an animal and exercise physiologist at the University of Guelph, explains: “It only takes 17 minutes of moderate intensity exercise in hot, humid weather to raise a horse’s temperature to dangerous levels. That’s three to 10 times faster than in humans. Horses feel the heat much worse than we do.”

      And the effects can be serious. If a horse’s body temperature shoots up from the normal 37 to 38 C to 41 C, temperatures within working muscles may be as high as 43 C, a temperature at which proteins in muscle begin to denature (cook). Horses suffering excessive heat stress may experience hypotension, colic and renal failure.

      Lindinger, a faculty member in the Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, became interested in the effects of heat on horses when he was a lead researcher on the Canadian research team that contributed information on the response of the horse to heat and humidity for the Atlanta Summer Olympics. He recently presented a workshop on the topic at Equine Guelph’s outdoor Equine Expo held June 4 at U of G’s Arkell Research Station.”

  2. Janet Schultz
    August 30, 2012 at 11:50 am

    So glad the story is out for everyone to read. The pictures of Oreo in the street when this story first came out were to say the least, disturbing. It is apparent, after reading the story, that training needs to happen with the police department in how to handle horse incidents. As for the horses working as carriage horses in the City, I think it is a great idea and keeps horses in front of the general public – who need to be reminded what a wonderful creature the horse is and respect it for the role it takes on unselfishly. Does NYC have horse lanes (just as there are bicycle lanes). This accident was not the doing of Oreo, it happened. horse is frightened and gets away from us. Happens out in the country too. Happens when we ride trails – It happens during dressage tests. Happens in the saddling area of racing. Happens while working as a police mount. The carriage drivers I have known have been good people, but as in every industry – there may be some who are not interested in doing the best they can by the horse. But this story and Oreo and his handlers are shining examples. Lets celebrate the good and work together on the bad. We can’t do that if we continue to mix it up … unless that is the goal. I hope not. Just isn’t right.

  3. August 30, 2012 at 9:10 am

    I for one am at least glad that he is off the streets of a busy metropolis, which is no place for a sensitive animal. I hope he finds a private home that adheres to the more traditional view for a horse.

    Now to find out what happened to Doreen, whose head came in close contact with the windshield of a car. Why will no one apparently speak of her? Will it take a FOIA request to find out what has become of her? If she was re-habbing at Blue Star you’d think there’d be a big “hoo-ha” over it.

    Horses do not belong on city streets, working 7-9 hour days. It’s a wholly unnatural lifestyle for them – unable to graze until they get turnout, which is anywhere from weeks to months of steady work before they get a break, if they aren’t injured beforehand.

    I have nothing against working horses or carriage horses, but the city is no place for them. There is no evading the fact that humans, being fallible, are going to hit them with cars, or loud noises, such as the construction noises that spooked Oreo, are going to startle them, with catastrophic results. Quite apart from the fact that when a carriage gets in a wreck, the passengers do not have protection of any kind. Many of these drivers are not “horsepeople” either, having qualified for carriage driving by taking a short course. If they were, they’d realize that they should get off the cellphone and sit down in the whip seat – not stand up. Carriages should be subject to the same precautionary considerations that automobile drivers are, but some consider themselves to be above the law.

    • Proud NYC carriage supporter
      August 30, 2012 at 10:11 pm

      Still waiting for an acceptable explaination of your rationale on that Heather, since more horses die per year in your very own chosen horse pursuit than have died in the last 30 years due to NYC traffic accidents. Sorry, your logic remains faulty and absurd.

      • September 3, 2012 at 12:58 pm

        I noticed you didn’t bother or were not able to make a comment on any of the points that I made. Your repeated ad hominems are getting boring.

  4. Wendy
    August 30, 2012 at 7:10 am

    At six years old Oreo is a very young horse! Hopefully after some R&R at Blue Star this lovely young horse will find a job that is perfect for him. Horses live well into their 30s – just standing around is not a good life for any horse – they enjoy having a job.

  5. EndARAbuseofNYCcarriages
    August 29, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    The fact that some of the Blue Star founders are or were carriage drivers constitutes a PR move??? A pretty expensive and labor intense one, if so!
    Nope, not buying it. More like benevolent foresight, ongoing responsibility, and appropriate care, affection, and advocacy for the horses they love — even after they have left the biz.
    It takes a real gutter mentality to think otherwise.

  6. SUsan Samtak
    August 29, 2012 at 8:21 pm

    Yay for Oreo!

    He is a working breed that will be evaluated at Blue Star and sent to a suitable home where he can do something useful with his life.
    To “endabuse” and others : “abuse” is forcing a horse do nothing. Get a job and see how meaningful YOUR life can be !

  7. Donna McArdle
    August 29, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    I have seen the aforementioned harasser at the Clinton stables before at work harassing carriage drivers. I hope she gets her day in court and the help she needs.
    Oreo is going to a wonderful horse rescue in Massachusetts, and is in safe, very capable hands!

  8. endabuse
    August 29, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    It’s not a real sanctuary. The co-founder is a NYC carriage driver. The industry has been exposed and this is only a PR move. End this abuse

    • JustTheFacts
      August 30, 2012 at 12:43 am

      You have your facts wrong, but anyway, who would be the best people to take care of retired and rescued work horses… Hmmmm…. people who used to work with them maybe and who actually developed a plan to provide a safe haven for them? And yes, the industry has been “exposed”… the stables in NY and the sanctuary in MA are open to the public for all to see. The horses do their jobs in front of people. What is being hidden? The SPCA watches every move and has not given one citation for abuse. NYCLASS protests by yelling in front of the horses and attacking drivers – they are the ones who need to be exposed for their true motive: greed.

  9. Elaine McMinn
    August 29, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    Oreo is certainly one lucky horse. He is going to one of the best facilities there is. He will live among many other horses that get treated with the love and respect they deserve.

  10. Laura McFarland-Taylor
    August 29, 2012 at 3:51 pm

    Yay for Oreo and yay for Blue Star Equiculture! Can’t wait to see where life takes Oreo next – bet he’s going to make someone VERY happy. :-)

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