Watching a Cinderella-style carriage being pulled from the icy Missouri River feels like a Disney-movie-turned-horror-story. This bleak scene tragically resulted when a horse in St. Charles, Missouri, drowned after being unable to break free of the sinking load.
After a long night of being forced to pull a carriage, the horse was reportedly waiting to be unhitched before becoming frightened and dashing through a parking lot, smashing into several vehicles, and plunging into an icy grave.
It’s believed that the horse tried to stop after seeing water, but the carriage was too heavy, and its momentum pulled the animal into the river. It took emergency crews roughly three hours, using special equipment, to retrieve the carriage and the horse’s body.
Horse-Drawn Carriages Are Accidents Waiting to Happen
Horse-drawn carriages are hazards on 21st century streets. There have been numerous incidents in which horses have become spooked or carriages have been hit by impatient or careless drivers. Accidents have been documented in nearly every city that allows carriage rides.
— PETA (@peta) November 27, 2016
Former carriage driver Angie Pheiffer says, “Anything can spook a horse because a horse has black-and-white vision and can only see two-dimensionally. To a horse, a manhole can look like a bottomless pit.”
Many accidents, injuries, and even deaths—involving both horses and humans—have occurred after horses became spooked in traffic. In a split second, a horse can go from being half-asleep to crashing blindly through busy streets.
What You Can Do
If you live in a city in which carriage rides are still allowed, contact your local legislators to ask them to sponsor a ban. Many cities—including Biloxi, Mississippi; Camden, New Jersey; Key West, Palm Beach, Pompano Beach, and Treasure Island, Florida; and Salt Lake City—have already banned horse-drawn carriages.
And share this story with your friends, family, and social media followers. Let them know that “nostalgia” is never an excuse for cruelty. Horses don’t belong in traffic and don’t deserve to be forced to pull heavy loads in all weather extremes.