The Most Protective Horse Laws in the US

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The carriage horses of NYC are protected by some of the most comprehensive equine ordinances in the country. The laws laid out in NYC Administrative Code Title 17 Chapter 3 Subchapter 3, Title 19 Chapter 1 Subchapter 2 and Title 20 Chapter 2 Subchapter 21, and elaborated upon in the Rules of the City of New York are very specific in their protection of horses, and were further strengthened in 2010 by the passage of Intro 35A.

By law, carriage horses have restricted working hours. They may not work more than 9 hours in any 24-hour period, and may not work for more than 2 hours straight without a 15-minute break.

By law, carriage horses are prohibited from working in adverse, extreme or dangerous weather. Carriage horses may not work in temperatures above 89 degrees or below 19 degrees, and must return to their stables when the temperature exceeds these limits. Carriage work may also be suspended during blizzards, storms or torrential downpours. Further, carriage horses are required to wear rain sheets in rainy weather below 55 degrees and horse blankets while waiting in the stands when it’s below 40 degrees.

Carriage horses all have box stalls at least 60 sq. feet, most of which are significantly larger.

All carriage horses take a mandatory minimum 5-week vacation outside the city, where they must have daily access to pasture.

It takes four licenses to offer a single carriage ride in Central Park: the driver must be tested and licensed by DCA, the carriage must be inspected and licensed by DCA, the horse must be inspected and licensed by the DOH, and the stables must be licensed by the DOH and DCA.

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About Author

Christina Hansen is a New York City carriage driver and a spokesperson for the carriage industry. She is a proud member of Teamsters Local 553.