Yay, We Won!!

Yay, We Won!!
Now Where's My Carrot??

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Of Ambassadors and Angels

Each and every day the NYC carriage horses and their drivers welcome people to NYC.

Now, a goodly portion of our patrons are locals; folks from the 5 boroughs of NYC and the surrounding tri-state area ride regularly, especially at Christmas time, on Mother's day, etc.
Hey - locals know a good thing!

But the majority of the people who climb in a carriage are visitors, and hail from every corner of the world. I myself have had people in my carriage from every continent on the planet; from a Maori tribesman of New Zealand to a group of high schoolers from Norway, from a great grandmother and her family from Greenland seeing NYC for the first time to a newlywed couple from South Africa, the people of the world make a Central Park carriage ride part of their NYC experience.

Our profile is iconic and historic - we are ambassadors for NYC, in the truest sense of the word!

There is a much lesser-known side to the carriage business, though. People in our industry work with the Make-A-Wish foundation and Ronald McDonald House among other charities to bring smiles and make dreams come true for sick and disabled children.

I find it difficult to convey in words the feeling of witnessing one of these events. A child whose days are filled with physical and medical challenges that would tear apart the strongest adult is able to find a moment's respite to enjoy a carriage ride, or to pet a velvety nose and squeal with delight as one of our gentle giants lips a carrot from the child's hand. At Ronald McDonald events held in one of our stables, I have seen these children light up for hours in the warm, equine atmosphere, petting and interacting with our horses, listening intently to a veterinarian explaining about their care, making little handcrafts as a memento of their day. A parent of one of these children told me "You don't understand....these children's days are an endless series of doctor's appointments, treatments, and therapies, many rarely get to leave the hospital. To come to a place like this and enjoy the afternoon is such a blessing, you guys are angels."

For the carriage owners involved, I know that it is an honor and a privilege to be able to provide for these children this small interlude of relief from their courageous medical journeys.

For the horses, it's just another day on the job, doing what they do best - delighting people.

I would like to thank those involved for making this world a better place.

We are proud to be NYC ambassadors - but we are humbled to be called a child's "angel".

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Back Up on Me Horse 'n Carriage in NYC!

Back in the saddle, so to speak ;-)
A thousand apologies for the long hiatus....things have been a mite busy personally of late.
It's been a very nice summer - a bit hot, but that just means more time off for us, as the horses -by law - may not work in temps above 89 degrees.
It's a very good, reasonable law, I think. The rest of our industry agrees.
NYC has the lowest stop-work temp law for carriage horses in the country, by the way.
Problem is, the law has been handed to the ASPCA to enforce, and they send us in at their whim.
We've been sent in at 88, 87, 86, and even 85 degrees.
We've been sent in on days that have never reached 90 at all.
But this is all to be expected, as the ASPCA has a classic and stunning conflict of interests.
Just imagine - a privately funded charity, given police powers by State law, overseeing an industry it has pledged to put out of business.
Naw, you say, can't be! Not in America!
But yes, sad to say, 'tis true.
The Humane Enforcement division of the ASPCA - whose officers have summons books, handcuffs, billy clubs, and guns - is responsible for the oversight and enforcement of laws with regard to the NYC carriage industry, a business that they state they want to see banned. Here is their position statement from their own website:
And so it goes - they try to inflict as much damage on us as possible, including cutting our days short with bogus temp readings.
Meanwhile, the bills keep pouring in, and we carry on.
You would think that people allegedly concerned with animal welfare would like to see the people responsible for those animals be able to earn enough money to make sure they continue to get complete, top shelf basic care, plus all the niceties, wouldn't you?