I am a videographer in Portland, Oregon with a love for all things horses. Originally from Minnesota, my childhood was spent on racetracks across the Midwest. I am currently training my dream horse with hopes of excelling at dressage and Parelli. I have a Cairn Terrier, Ellie, and an old cat named Winston. I am fortunate to have a pretty nice boyfriend who understands and supports my love of horses. My blog helps keep a record of my successes and failures and helps friends and family enjoy the journey with me.
Over the weekend, a 23-year old horse was pulling newlyweds in a carriage with a "just married" sign on back when it collapsed in front of the Portland library and died. The incident happened while Portland was experiencing a heat wave with temperatures well above 90 degrees. The horse, Balatore, reportedly suffered a heart attack in the sweltering heat.
This story was so disturbing on so many levels. First, the owner of the horse should have canceled the gig, citing the horses well-being was more important than a few bucks. Second, the people renting the carriage even said, the horse "looked really bad" prior to collapsing, yet they happily got in carriage. Third, this horse died a horrific death. I saw his lips pulled back against white gums and I feel horrified and sick that any owner can calmly drape a small white sheet over their horse and wench him down the street into a rusty old trailer. As he was dragged across the street, they looked at him like he was garbage. Balatore's years of service were poorly repaid as he was hauled away for disposal. Finally, because of a horse owners negligent, idiotic behavior the lines have been drawn and PETA is riled up calling for a ban on horse drawn carriages.
I have talked about carriage horse ban before. This is an excerpt from a previous post.
For me, I would hate to see a ban as opposed to an overhaul of the system. I think the more uses we find for horses, the better. I see the jobs for draft horses diminishing and it would be nice if the world had uses for these beautiful, big horses. If the city could implement some sort of equine labor law and limit hours on the job, mandatory vet checks, and since they are such a tourist draw, maybe the city should subsidise the cost of transport and care of horses into the city from boarding stables with turnout. I would be happy if my tax dollars went to help these horses have a better life. Easy fix--and people can going on enjoying the beauty of these horses and the joy of just being around them and the horses are treated fairly and humanely.
PETA has taken this stance.
Horses do not belong in the city. There is nothing romantic about pulling heavy loads on pavement in the middle of traffic. They walk on hard pavement, inhale exhaust, and spend their days dodging cars and buses. Balatore's death should be a wake-up call to make the compassionate choice to ban the carriage horse industry.
My anger is directed solely at the owner and driver of that carriage. They clearly made poor choices about his well-being and it cost Balatore his life.
How do you guys feel about ban on horse drawn carriages? If interested, here is a link to the story that aired on our news channel and here is a link to a documentary about the carriage industry. It is called "Blinders."