Ryder, the carriage horse that collapsed in a Manhattan street at the end of his shift earlier in August, is now retired at a private horse farm outside New York City, according to the union that represents carriage drivers.
The Transport Workers Union Local 100 claims that Ryder’s carriage industry owner gave him up to a farm outside New York City, and he is being treated by a veterinarian.
Ryder’s body had given out while heading back to the stables with carriage driver Ian McKeever on August 10th, causing weeks of outcry from animal activists since. Even supermodel Bella Hadid, herself a horse owner, joined the chorus of voices endorsing Queens Councilmember Bob Holden’s bill that would effectively ban the horse carriage industry in the city in an Instagram post.
In a statement on Friday the union said Ryder “has a large comfortable stall, many acres of pasture, and many other horses around him,” at the farm where he now lives.
The description by the union of Ryder’s new home contrasts an animal rescue group’s account of his old one on West 38th Street on Friday.
Worried that there may be other horses on the brink of collapse, Amy McCambridge-Steppe, CEO of Unbridled Horses Project, a horse sanctuary, carried out a “wellness check” on the horses at the Manhattan stable on Wednesday where recently-retired Ryder was reportedly being kept, sharing a video of the visit on Instagram.
“The stalls are way too small,” McCambridge-Steppe told Gothamist on Friday. “They didn’t have enough slack or room in the stall to turn completely around, and they definitely couldn't lay down.”
McCambridge-Steppe asserted that the horses in the stalls were also in bad shape.
“It was pretty horrifying. We've been in the rescue business for like eight years now, so we've seen the worst of the worst… and we were shocked by what we saw there. The horses’ body conditions were very, very low,” McCambridge-Steppe said.
McCambridge-Steppe visited the stable after speaking at a rally outside of City Hall on Wednesday, where she criticized the TWU for allegedly failing to follow through on a promise to hand over Ryder to her sanctuary.
“We see more Ryders in there, meaning that the horses are malnourished, very, very tight quarters by the way…it’s disgraceful, and horrible conditions there,” Holden said on “The Brian Lehrer Show” on WNYC Friday morning, reacting to the video of the stable. “Ryder’s not the only one, New York City’s better than this.”
The city’s health department is charged with inspecting the condition of horses and its stables, according to spokesperson Patrick Gallahue.
“Horse owners are responsible for veterinary care for their horses and are required to have the horse examined twice a year. It is the examining veterinarian who certifies the horse is fit to work,” city health department spokesperson Patrick Gallahue said in a statement. “If information is intentionally misrepresented, those responsible will be held accountable.”
The union said it has taken steps to further ensure the health of the horses in its main stable’s by providing additional vet visits. It added that Ryder is “bright, alert, eating and drinking, and has gained some weight,” at his new farm.
But for Edita Birnkrant, executive director of New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets, the union’s statements hold “zero credibility” on grounds it covered up “Ryder’s terrible mistreatment and abuse.”