A couple of tourists went for the ride of their lives when their carriage horse spooked and sent them flying onto the street near Central Park today.
The two unidentified visitors had just begun their leisurely ride near Columbus Circle at around 4:20 p.m. today when the six-year-old animal named Oreo became frightened.
Reports vary on what scared the animal, with some saying a collision with a car and others saying a horn honk, but whatever it was, the horse bucked itself free of its driver and pulled its passengers for a terrifying journey.
‘All of a sudden, it sounded like a car crash,’ said one witness to NY1.
The New York Post reports that the horn of a car scared the animal and sent it into a rampage around 60th Street.
Other publications report that the driver hit another car, startling the animal.
Witnesses told the Post that the driver had been outside the carriage, holding the horse by it’s reigns, and was trying to direct the horse around when it fled.
The driver gripped the reigns as tight as he could, but the horse was too strong and pinned him against the wall.
The animal galloped along the sidewalk for several blocks in the direction of its stable before it crashed into a parked car.
The horse was eventually stopped by a parked town car near West 57th Street and an officer shot it with a tranquilizer dart.
The two passengers were rushed to the hospital where they were found to be uninjured.
‘The driver sustained leg tendon injuries,’ Eva Hughes, vice president of the Horse & Carriage Association of NYC, told the MailOnline.
The horse was found to have ‘superficial injuries’ to it’s face, an ASPCA spokesman told the MailOnline, and will not return to work until it undergoes a thorough veterinary exam.
The incident has reignited the passionate campaign to halt the decades-long tradition.
‘It is a very inhumane and unsafe trade, particularly to be practiced in such a busy and congested city,’ Elizabeth Forel, President of the Coalition to Ban Horse-Drawn Carriages, said to the MailOnline.
‘[It is] unsafe to pedestrians, the passengers and the horse.’