10 Reasons Why Taking a Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride Is Cruel, Not Romantic

Horses are forced to perform hard physical labor all day, seven days a week—whether it’s sweltering outside or freezing cold. When not working, these horses are confined to cramped stalls, in which they are unable to turn around, stretch their legs, or even lie down comfortably. This tortured life is a sad reality for the horses who are used to pull carriages. Here are 10 reasons why you shouldn’t support this cruel industry. Cross horse-drawn carriages off your activities list today—for all horses!

1. Horses are forced to pull heavy carriages in extreme weather conditions, such as freezing-cold streets when it’s snowing out.

Horse In Snow Donald Moss

2. They have to dodge heavy, dangerous traffic on loud, busy streets, with cars going in every direction. Can you imagine how terrified they must feel?

Horse Drawn Carriage on street

3. Horses are extremely sensitive to loud noises and unexpected sounds—and busy city streets have plenty of both. Horses and people have been seriously hurt—and even killed—when horses have become spooked and run amok.

working_animals_donny_moss_carriage_horse_close_up_001

4. There have also been countless incidents in which carriages have been hit by impatient or careless drivers. Accidents have occurred in nearly every city where carriage rides are allowed.

working_animals_jerry_002

5. These gentle animals often suffer from respiratory ailments because they breathe in exhaust fumes, and they develop debilitating leg problems from walking on hard surfaces.

Horse Knees

6. In some cases, horses have even dropped dead from heatstroke after working in scorching summer heat and humidity.

working_animals_jerry_001

7. Horses all over the world are forced to pull heavy carriages, and they frequently sustain injuries, sometimes serious ones. Yet they are forced to work every single day, usually without breaks or medical care.

Horse with ribs showing hitched to a cart

8. When horses grow too old, tired, or ill to continue pulling heavy loads, they aren’t retired to green pastures and loving homes, as many people are led to believe. It’s too expensive to maintain a permanent sanctuary for the countless horses who break down in this industry. Instead, many worn-out horses are slaughtered and turned into food for dogs or for carnivores in zoos, or else they’re shipped overseas to be killed for human consumption.

Horse being lowered by life

working_animals_jerry_003

9. Horses don’t enjoy being forced to pull three times their weight all over town in extreme weather conditions. It’s not natural for them—and it’s cruel to make them endure these hardships.

Horse drawn carriage on wet streets

10. Horses deserve better. They deserve a full, happy life in green pastures, where they can run around and feel the grass beneath their feet.

White horse

What You Can Do

People around the world are increasingly recognizing that it’s the carriage industry—not just the horses—taking them for a ride. Never patronize carriage rides, and explain to your family and friends why they shouldn’t, either. If your city allows carriages on city streets, urge your legislators to propose laws that will ban them.

Get PETA Updates

Stay up to date on the latest vegan trends and get breaking animal rights news delivered straight to your inbox!

By submitting this form, you’re acknowledging that you have read and agree to our privacy policy and agree to receive e-mails from us.

 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind