Weekly updates about issues and actions concerning New York City's Carriage Horses

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4 March 2007 - Vol. # 18

contacting your Council Rep. ***letters to the editor *** Lilly O'Reilly update

Guidelines to Writing your Letter
hack line - editedIf you have not already done so, please contact the City Council regarding the carriage horse issue. You may access the City Council web site - and by entering your address, find out who your Council Member is along with their contact information. E- mails or faxes are preferred since snail mail is delayed due to the irradiation security process. In addition to your Council Member, it is also important to write to Speaker Christine Quinn and members of the Transportation Committee. Please see Horse Sense newsletter #17 for more information.

Some of you have asked for tips in writing such a letter. The following guidelines should help you in writing to your Council Member. You may also check out our web site section "Why a Ban is Necessary." Start out by stating why you are writing - such as "As one of your constituents" , I am writing to ask you to support legislation that would ban the carriage horse industry in New York City." Then go on to say why you feel it should be banned. Include such arguments as traffic/public safety; humane Issues - i.e. horses work between the shafts of their carriages for nine hours straight; multi storied stables in warehouse buildings, which are fire traps; horses are herd animals and are deprived of a natural life with no opportunity for turn- out; impossible to adequately enforce the myriad of regulations ? i.e. During the brutal storm on Valentine's Day, the ASPCA did not send the drivers back to their stables until the afternoon; the possibility of being sold at auction for slaughter.

If you live outside NYC, you might consider saying "I am a tourist from [country/state] who hates the sight of the sad horses on Central Park South"; that you would never take such a ride; prefer pedicabs - at least the driver has a choice - the horses do not; always avoid the area; would never come back because of the sad carriage horses.

Always end your letter by providing your name, address, city/state and zip code - or country.

What About the Carriages?
carriage horse in Times Sq.Am-NY - March 2, 2007 Vehicles on city streets should be regulated and obey traffic rules. The new bill passed by the City Council that regulates pedicabs requires drivers to have a valid driver's license. This requirement shows that one has passed the driving test and is familiar with the rules of the road.

But horse-drawn carriage drivers are not required to have a driver's license. I have seen them make U- turns on crowded streets, cut between cars using their horse as a battering ram and talk on cell phones and/or stand up while driving. Why is one industry favored over another?--Elizabeth Forel, Manhattan

Former NYC Carriage Horse
Lilly - first rescuedLilly O'Reilly was a 19 year old mare when she came to Central New England Equine Rescue early in 2006. Through the engraved number on her hoof, we were able to trace her back to one of the NYC stables. They had sent her on to New Holland Auctions. Lilly was not in good shape. She was a couple of hundred pounds underweight and had harness sores from ill fitting tack all over her body - both are evidenced in the photo by protruding ribs and areas where her hair had rubbed off; she also had suspensory problems in her hind and her fetlocks were down. It was very clear she had been overworked.

Lilly - updateFor a long time, Lilly was very sad and mistrusting of humans. A big girl ? 18 ? hands high, she was the biggest horse in the rescue until Teddy came. In June, Vicky of CNEER said ?Lilly still has not lost that sadness in her eyes. I don?t know how long it will take but it?s still there - she has moments of interest, but that?s all - little by slow she will trust us to keep her safe. She has had a hard life I think ? a very hard life. And how she can still even tolerate people is beyond me. She can?t be adopted until she is restored both physically and emotionally.?  

But good news for Lilly -- In the fall of 2006, a local veterinarian named Michaela, fell in love with Lilly and adopted her. This was Lilly in the fall - much healed.

She now lives with Coal, a quarter horse and Badonkey Donk ? a rescued donkey - and adores both of them. She is getting lots of loving attention and is fluorishing. They pose for Michaela's holiday card.

Lilly Christmas cardMichaela talks about her new girl. "Lilly is doing great. She has come out of her shell like you wouldn't believe--her newest favorite game is taking everything out of my tack box one item at a time when I am busy brushing her or picking her feet. I swear that horse smiles the entire time she does it."

Lilly and meI feel a special affinity for Lilly because she is a New Yorker - and as a former carriage horse, I know she had a difficult life. She was one of those horses who had to climb steep ramps in her multi- storied stable to get to her stall - and she probably never had a good nights sleep because it was not big enough to allow her to lie down comfortably. She was a means to a buck and when she was too old and creaky to work efficiently, she went to auction. I fell in love with her when I got the chance to meet her last fall. She is a very sweet and special horse. I am delighted that she finally has a wonderful, permanent loving home. Thanks to a few key players, Lilly is one of the rare, lucky ones who went on to a happy life where she is valued and loved.

Please let's all strive to get rid of this archaic and inhumane industry wherever it exists. Too many Lillys, Montys and Teddys never get that chance for happiness.

Thank you for caring about the horses, Elizabeth Forel - Coalition for NYC Animals, Inc. for the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages