7.17.2012

THE HORSES OF CENTRAL PARK SOUTH


on any given day, there are something between seven and twenty horses parked along central park south, waiting for tourists to climb aboard for a circle tour of the park. 

on sunday evening we took a little family walk down to see the horses. we walked slowly slowly slowly until the rain started to fall. i asked a few horses to smile for some photos as we passed. they sure are gorgeous, sad little lovers.











42 comments :

  1. i always worry these types of horses too...i really hope they are treated well. especially in this heat! i rode for years, and will always have a soft spot for horses..i miss it!

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    1. They are actually NOT treated well http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/carriage_horses/ You can do your own independent research. It is an outdated and unnecessary practice. The beauty of it does not justify the lives these animals live. I think Natalie is aware of this, and I wish she would of linked to a comprehensive article about the practice of carriage horses.

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  2. Beautiful horses. Someday I'm going to take a carriage ride like that. $50/hour or not, I'm doing it!

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  3. I feel the same way about animals being forced to work. I'm sure they're being taken care of and all.. but it seems like they would probably be much happier on a farm somewhere. Who knows, I guess at least they aren't bored!

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  4. i feel for them only because, if i were a horse, i'd rather be grazing pasture and prancing around under a giant shade tree than wandering city streets all day. but, like you said, maybe they like it???

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  5. aren't they so pretty with their decorations on. maybe this is the horse version of broadway? or maybe i am just weird.

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  6. I love all the up-close shots of their velvety noses!

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  7. Their eyes look so sad! I hope one day they aren't forced to work in such terrible conditions.

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  8. I'd hate to ruin you day, but heard that these horses aren't treated nicely at all. Mostly because horses are not meant to be in a city. Their stalls are too small for them to turn around in. Their hooves pound on concrete all day, and the polluted air means they don't generally live as long as a horse outside of the city would.

    Of course I think I read this all in a Peta camping, so it was probably exaggerated. I hope so! Anyway, I haven't taken one of those carriage rides since I heard all that. They sure are pretty though!

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  9. It's unbearably sad to think of these beautiful animals in a hot, crowded, noisy city. It's unnatural and should not be glorified in any way. I'm not a zealot, but anyone who has ever spent time with animals knows they feel pain, loneliness, anxiety, and happiness, just like us.

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  10. gorgeous pictures, but carriage horses in the city make me sad. even carriage horses in my little old downtown slc make me real sad. can't imagine what nyc horses have to put up with.

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  11. Great pictures, but I really do feel bad for these animals. I hope just like you state above they are housed in okay conditions and are taken care of with love and compassion... Just sort of sad.

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  12. I worry about these guys too, the cars and horns, but they sure are pretty. http://willowgazing.blogspot.com/

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  13. I'm just such a sucker for horses. I don't even care that they nibble my fingers when they eat treats out of my hands. I hope these beautiful creatures are treated well.

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  14. You live in a magical wonderland.

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  15. those are great photos. i always love your little stories ;)

    http://babybakerlove.blogspot.com/

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  16. I think they look sad. I bet their feet hurt on the concrete all day long. My favorite is the one with the big feather. I bet she was born in Vegas!

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  17. AnonymousJuly 17, 2012

    http://www.peta.org/issues/Animals-in-Entertainment/horse-drawn-carriages-don-t-get-taken-for-a-ride.aspx

    http://www.peta.org/b/thepetafiles/archive/2011/01/04/lea-michele-horse-drawn-carriage-psa.aspx

    :( Go and free them Natalie!

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  18. I've read too much bad to think good of these situations....just breaks my heart. No animal should be forced to work...a shady tree on a big field sounds so much better for those beauties! <3

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  19. i, too, have read too many horror stories about these precious creatures... it;s kind of how i feel about animals in the zoo- it's nice they are there, so close, and we can have the privilege to be around them and experience their majesty when we otherwise wouldnt... but is that worth their suffering?

    who knows. i can't say.

    but i can say these pics are gorgeous.. and maybe you could write one of your awesomely penned letters to the mayor to stop the animal abuse? or at least give them better conditions...?

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  20. Miss Natalie, I love your blog but am heartbroken to see this post. These horses are treated HORRIBLY. They are forced to live in tiny stalls in unhealthy, unsafe conditions (go check those out on 48th btwn 10th & 11th - the smell alone will make your heart break for them). They are forced to work in crowded, unsafe city streets and forced to pull weight that exceeds what their bodies can do, in sweltering heat. They are DYING, collapsing in the middle of the street. You have the power to reach thousands, PLEASE, please use that power and follow up this post with one about how their lives really are. Tourists and residents alike: PLEASE DO NOT SUPPORT HORSE DRAWN CARRIAGE RIDES. It is not romantic or a vacation memory, it is animal cruelty. You can sign the important petition that will save their lives here: http://www.nyclass.org/action/petition

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  21. You can make anything interesting you are such a good writer. I was feeling a little worried about these horses as you were talking about. I bet they are way hot and according to Kerry I guess they are.

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  22. This is off the subject of this post, sorry! I just wanted to let you know that I am visiting NYC this week with my family and have been very inspired by your blogposts to see things we never would have thought of. I keep thinking, maybe I'll see Natalie:)

    Chandra
    nowthislife.blogspot.com

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  23. AnonymousJuly 17, 2012

    They are so beautiful, they deserve more. There is nothing I hate more in NYC & Boston than those horses that are whored our for tourists. I can deal with the dirt, humidity, gum covered sidewalks, crazies on the streets, and whatever else Gotham throws at me but there is nothing else that I hate so much as those poor horses clomping around. Thankfully BF knows that I find that to be the least romantic thing ever.

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  24. Taking pictures of horses in my downtown area have become a sort of past time to me as well. I'm simply amazed how big and graceful these majestic creatures are.

    Love your post!

    -Milynn
    Love and Whimsy

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  25. great pictures! They are gorgeous.

    xo

    lydia from vintage2vogue

    stop by!

    http://vintagetwovogue.blogspot.com

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  26. They do look sad...and some of their hoofs look a bit worse for wear. I did go for a ride in a carrige the first time I visited NYC...mistake as I'm super allergic to horses, even though I think they're lovely.

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  27. hi natalie, i just want to preface this comment by saying how much i enjoy your blog (i really do!) and these pictures.

    but like others have already mentioned, the central park horses certainly aren't treated very well despite what mayor bloomberg and others might proclaim in their efforts to defend a $15 million-a-year nyc business. opponents might blame peta for being too dramatic, etc., but one cannot deny the subpar conditions nyc horses (along with many other animals in this world, but that's for another conversation) endure on a daily basis. it's never good to just assume 'their living conditions are fine' and 'there have got to be rigorous standards in place to make sure they're treated well' because the reality of the matter is that things could be a lot better. i would suggest reading some articles regarding the matter:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/08/nyregion/ny-horse-drawn-carriage-industry-fights-for-survival.html?pagewanted=all

    http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2011/11/01/animal-rights-advocates-central-park-carriage-horse-that-died-was-unhealthy/

    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/charlie_horse_had_nagging_ulcer_aZj8IY2hOsfIjqcjX10qbP

    now is either side "right"? who knows, but it's worth looking into the other side of the matter and other possibilities nyc could pursue.

    anyway, i only just discovered your blog about a month ago through the daybook, but i look forward to reading your posts every day, and this one definitely won't change that. keep it up!

    - shannon

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    1. Agreed. It is never safe to make assumptions. There is a reason that the term "knowledge is power" is so seemingly overstated! I will add that I don't believe animal cruelty (which, based on the living conditions to which these animals are subjected, it is) is ever right, especially when the desired outcome is entertainment and, primarily, turning a profit. I enjoy this blog and as stated by someone else would love to see you use your power to educate your readers!

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    2. I think the fact that one of the horses in the photos looks like it has sores on its back from the tack should give way to saying the side against horse drawn carriages being used. Jussayin'.

      (picture #8 down)

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    3. *is wrong

      I accidentally a word.

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  28. I agree with some of the other readers, I don't think they are all treated the way animals should be and perhaps we should do something about it. I love horses and always had some until about five years ago. I miss them dearly.

    www.accidentallybeautiful.com

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  29. i'm not a horse person at all (although i am animal lover!) but my heart just breaks for these guys. their eyes look so sad, you can tell they're not happy with this situation. i'm a new reader of this blog and i've really enjoyed it... i don't think that it is not your obligation to address this abuse. but if you were interested, it would be welcomed.

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  30. i am so glad that i stumbled upon your cute blog. because it is lovely. just like you!

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  31. wow. beautiful shots. i suppose they are like people. some may love living/working in the city and some may hate it but have no other choice. i personally can't help but feel that they should be on a green field running around and eating grass.

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  32. beautiful pictures but i do hate how you can see the sadness in their eyes. like you, every time i walk by them, i just want to set them all free! especially on those days when it's so hot and humid that i'm just about melting, i can't believe there are still horses pulling carriages. as much of a "magical" tradition this is for most people, i hope this can become much less romanticized as people become more educated about the actual working conditions of these horses. the aspca is working to change this industry without eliminating ways for tourists and residents alike to tour the city.

    http://www.aspca.org/fight-animal-cruelty/animal-precinct/nyc-carriage-horse-industry.aspx

    i do love all of your nyc posts (and all your posts in general!), it makes me venture out and see parts of the city i wouldn't otherwise think to visit!

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  33. I love NYC! :) This makes me want to book flights for my hubby and I for this fall. Those horses are so handsome!

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  34. the horses poop in bags. that makes me sad.

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  35. Please set those beautiful ponies free!! They look so sad. I can't make myself read the other comments on this post because I'm afraid to learn about any potential shabby treatment. I'll just hope that they're treated well.

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  36. AnonymousJuly 18, 2012

    seven and thirty million horses? actually? i thought the human population of NYC was just over 8 million so i would be surprised if there were that many horse. or are you being sarcastic? its hard to tell over the internet sometimes. love the blog though :)

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  37. I know this is an old post, but as a horse person, I have to throw in my two cents (or twenty, as it always ends up being)...

    Let me preface by saying that horses are bred and trained for specific disciplines, and the vast majority far prefer to be "in work" than idling in a stall/pasture. Pulling breeds (like drafts and draft-crosses) are hardy, strong, and bred FOR pulling. In no way is their load too great by carrying a couple people around a park.

    That being said, the living conditions of these horses in such a large city is far from ideal, particularly with our modern abilities to provide for them. They are kept in stalls for all times they are not out, and must deal with the issues of no turnout (ulcers, leg issues, etc.). As long as the horses when worked are provided adequate water and rest (and are being spared the worst of the heat or cold/wet weathers), they're not being "worked to death" as many would claim, though one could reasonably state that their consistently-stalled conditions do shorten their expected lifespans simply by the fact that they are unable to roam/graze at liberty. That being said, most of the competent owners/drivers do "rotate" horses in and out of the city (one horse working for a couple months before another is brought in and horse A gets a couple months break on the farm), which helps these horses to both get to enjoy life AS horses and get a break from the city, while still being contented in their work.

    There's much that should be done to improve the conditions (and end-of-life options) for these horses. But to suggest that all drivers/owners are evil as some have done, is to do a disservice... not only will you only alienate those who are actually caring for the horses day in and day out, but you will also cut ties with those horse people who understand the industries at play, and who wish to use that knowledge in order to better the situation for all involved.

    ((And FTR: the facial expressions on the horses above isn't "sadness" (trust me, if you actually see that on a horse, you will never forget it)... boredom and disinterest are the biggest tells there. Standing around waiting = boring. Ears plugged against sirens/city noises = disinterest in what you aren't hearing))

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  38. They are actually NOT treated well http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/carriage_horses/ You can do your own independent research. It is an outdated and unnecessary practice. The beauty of it does not justify the lives these animals live. I think Natalie is aware of this, and I wish she would of linked to a comprehensive article about the practice of carriage horses.

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