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Tourist Recounts 'Traumatic' Experience After Carriage Horse Takes A Tumble

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- A tourist hoping to enjoy a leisurely ride through Central Park on a carriage horse Sunday said she is distraught after the animal started moving backward and fell to the ground.

Theresa Shaver told 1010 WINS' John Montone that her husband and son were sitting on the horse carriage when it tripped over a curb and collapsed.

1010 WINS' John Montone With More On The Incident


"Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh! Oh the horse, no! Oh God, get off, get off," she could be heard screaming on the video.

Warning: Strong Language

Shaver described the whole episode as a "traumatic" experience and was incensed to see that shortly after the incident, the carriage driver allegedly had the horse in line to pick up new passengers.

"You put him back to work after he drops to the ground twice?" she asked the driver seen on the YouTube video.

Shaver said something terrible could have happened given what she perceived to be the horse's poor condition.

Back home in upstate Baldwinsville on Thursday, Shaver said she still hasn't gotten over the incident.

"I'm changed forever. My view on it is changed forever. I was actually afraid for horses on the way out. I didn't want to get near the carriages," Shaver told CBS 2's Marcia Kramer.

However, a spokesman for the Horse and Carriage Drivers Association, Ian McKeever, said Shaver is "crazy" and overreacted.

Warning: Strong Language

McKeever said the horse just tripped like a person might trip and was "absolutely fine." He said the horse was returned to the stable to be checked and returned to work only on the following day.

"We followed proper protocol, we brought the horse back to the stable -- made sure the horse was fine.  And the horse was fine," McKeever said.

Kramer found Bill Sac, the carriage driver during the incident, on Central Park South on Thursday with a different horse.

"It could happen sometime. It could happen. They always risk," Sac said.

Dr. Pamela Corey, Director of Equine Veterinary Service for the Humane Law Enforcement Department of the ASPCA, said the horse was "spooked by a pedicab and fell down."

The driver claims that Shaver left her purse in the carriage and he was waiting with the horse in the hack-line for her to return to collect it, Corey said.

The incident comes on the heels of a recent push by animal rights activists and lawmakers to ban horse-drawn carriages in New York City. Supporters of the movement claim it is abusive to the animals.

"This is definitely a safety issue safety, meaning it's a safety issue for the horses and it's a safety issue for people," said Elizabeth Forel of the Coalition to Ban Horse Drawn Carriages.

Drivers said an investigation isn't necessary.

"The truth of the matter is that they're very well cared for. There's much oversight of this industry. These guys love their horses and take good care of them," Demos Demopoulos said.

Did the woman overreact or does she have a good reason to feel traumatized? Should horse-drawn carriages be banned? Share your thoughts in the comments section below...

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