Horse Collapses After Pulling Carriage Full of Tourists in Heat

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As anyone will agree, working hard on a boiling hot day only makes the working day that much more intense and difficult. In hard-labor jobs, in particular, working in the heat is extremely tiring and can be dangerous for someone’s health. This is why laws are often put in place to ensure suitable working temperatures and allocated breaks in order for people to rehydrate themselves and take rest.

So why is this not the case for working animals?

Recent footage has emerged showing the dangers of forcing exhausted and unfit animals to work tirelessly in extremely unsuitable temperatures.

Read on to find out the heartbreaking consequences of human action against these poor unwilling animals.


Animals began working with humans for agricultural purposes, with dogs being one of the first working animals with our hunter-gatherer ancestors.

Once trained, we could get animals to work numerous jobs in our aid. For instance, dogs have been domestically trained for years to assist on farms. Horses have been trained to help transport people, and, today, to race – there’s a lot of money in horse racing.

Despite the use of animals in work environments being pretty common practice, animal rights activists have slammed the use of animals in many fields for years.    

With thanks to the work of PETA, practices such as using animals in circuses, using horses and donkeys to pull carriages full of people, and allowing individuals to sit on their backs and ride them, have been criticized heavily and bans have even been put in place. For instance, many circuses have now prohibited the use of live animals in their performances.

It is unknown as to when, exactly, horses became domesticated, but the clearest evidence of the earliest use of a horse as a means of transport is from chariot burials dated to c. 2000 BCE.

Despite cars now taking over horses’ original job, horse and carriage rides are still very popular and are more than often used as a tourist attraction in which people pay to enjoy a horse and carriage ride.

There have been countless incidents in the past of horses becoming physically exhausted from pulling carriages, especially when they are full of people. Horses have been known to collapse to the floor out of exhaustion, and they don’t get regular breaks for food and water.

NYCLASS (standing for New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets) is an animal rights organization that fights for the ethical treatment and rights of all animals. They have partnered up with PETA in the past to protest the usage of horses for human convenience, especially in crowded cities such as New York.

Horses are still subjected to the streets every day to carry out their unfortunate duties of pulling heavy carriages full of excited tourists over and over again.

The shocking footage was filmed in Charleston, South Carolina, on the 22nd June by an animal rights activist, and was shared via Facebook by Julie Cappiello, who captioned the video: “Horses deserve better than being stuck in traffic, overworked in extreme temperatures, and stuck lugging tourists for 8+ hours a day. Please don’t take carriage rides.”

There has been a heatwave in recent weeks, and the heat has clearly proven way too much for one unfortunate horse who was strapped to a heavy carriage. The footage (see the full video below) sees two onlookers rushing to the horses’ aid – who was named Big John by the company – by loosening its straps and getting it some water.

As members of the public and firefighters who attended the scene attempted to tend to the horse, a woman in the video can be heard saying: “Children on the carriage. The horse is down. He should not be working. Unbelievable.”

The carriage was still full of people when the horse was lying motionless on the ground. People (eventually) began disembarking from the carriage, and a member of the gathered crowd shouted: “Take a car, take a f*cking car!”

People were stroking the horse, petting it in attempt to comfort the animal. This was not helpful, however. The horse really needed space to breathe and cool down, rather than having people crowd around it and raise its body temperature even more.

The footage has received thousands of comments, and the company that owns the horse, Charleston Carriage Works, had received a lot of backlash. Thousands have expressed their opinions that the horse shouldn’t have been working on such a hot day, with many thinking that horses shouldn’t be working at all.  

Charleston Carriage Works has spoken out, and what they said is not what people expected at all

According to local newspaper, The Post and Courier, the carriage company has opened up a lawsuit against Charleston Animal Society and Charleston Carriage Horse Advocates. The carriage company alleges libel, defamation, and conspiracy, as well as a violation of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, a federal law that stops others interfering with animal enterprises such as Charleston Carriage Works.

The lawsuit alleges that the activist groups have “used social media to create an environment of hostility, designed to intimidate the plaintiff’s managers and employees, ruin its business, and encourage others to undertake physical acts against the plaintiff’s managers and employees.”

It has been reported that the employees of Charleston Carriage Works now live in fear after receiving death and arson threats from those who are angry about the situation. Despite the fact that it’s incredibly unfair to make animals work day in and day out, it’s wrong that those who are simply trying to earn a living are being punished.  

It’s understandable for Charleston Carriage Works to fight for the name of their company, however, the most important things in this situation are the horses involved. These horses work hard, pulling carriages daily, especially working in a busy city; it’s a stressful experience for horses who get spooked easily by loud noises.

The upsetting footage has very quickly gone viral, and outrage has clearly been caused. This will potentially encourage some change to happen in the treatment of not only horses kept for work, but other animals that spend their entire lives working under the control of us humans. Watch the video here – but we want to issue a warning, the video is upsetting.