A carriage horse became “agitated” and got loose in Manhattan on Sunday afternoon — darting toward the West Side Highway and dragging its operator behind, police said.

The 15-year-old runaway horse named Gunner collided with four parked cars before it slipped and fell during its mad dash through Hell’s Kitchen around 3 p.m., authorities and animal advocates said.

The horse initially broke free when its driver tried to fix a malfunctioning canopy and the animal became “agitated” near West 55th Street and 11th Avenue, cops said.

The horse dragged the operator toward the West Side Highway before it became detached from the carriage, but was still connected to the harness without the operator.

After Gunner fell, two off-duty NYPD officers with the mounted unit sprang into action to help the horse and load the animal into a trailer, according to police.

The horse suffered injuries to the legs and cuts to its body, but is in stable condition. It was taken to Clinton Park Stables for further evaluation.

“This is another prime example of why New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams and Mayor Eric Adams must take swift action to fast-track and pass legislation to remove cruel and unsafe horse carriages from Midtown streets,” Edita Birnkrant, executive director of animal advocacy non-profit NYCLASS, said in a statement.

The horse appeared “terrified and in a state of distress” as it barreled down city streets, NYCLASS said. The group wants Gunner released to an animal sanctuary.

“Forcing horses into Midtown traffic is a clear public safety danger as well as animal cruelty – it must end immediately,” Birnkrant said.

“The overwhelming majority of New Yorkers polled want horse carriages removed from our streets. It’s time for the NYC Council to start listening and to take action to remove these suffering horses from the street.”


First off, thanks to the NY Post reporters for this article but the word is “spooked” not “agitated.” Horses are nervous prey animals who will spook and bolt at the slightest provocation — this is one of those instances. Weighing between 1500 and 2000 pounds, they become unwitting weapons and can injure or kill themselves or passersby. The article states that the incident happened at W. 55th St. and 11th Avenue — only a few blocks from Clinton Park Stables on W. 52nd St between 11th and 12th Avenue, which is the West Side Highway.

The driver made the first mistake getting out of the carriage to check on his malfunctioning canopy. Doing this, he immediately lost control of the horse – a rookie mistake, but one which many drivers have done. In 2012, a similar accident involving a horse named Oreo occurred at Columbus Circle when the driver got out of the carriage losing all control. Horses are very powerful animals and Oreo broke loose and ended up blocks away. Luckily in both instances, no humans were hurt – just the expendible horses.

A smart, experienced driver would have called the stable and asked for help or tied his horse to a pole. But then again, a smart person would not be working in this business.

We have been advocating for a ban on horse-drawn carriages since 2006 officially but for many years before. With the current make up of the City Council and an uncaring mayor, I do not see it happening because the Transit Workers Union owns the soul of many in the Council. This is why we support a ballot initiative. Power to the People!

Nevertheless – if you are in NYC, please make a call to your Council Member’s district offce and ask them to support legislation to ban horse-drawn carriages. If you live outside of NYC, call the office of Speaker Adrienne Adams and say the same. This is the link https://council.nyc.gov/districts/

Gunner is a 15 year old mare. She will not be returning to the carriage business because once a horse spooks in such an accident, there is a good chance she will do it again. Regardless of what the PR people say about her being fine – she crashed into cars – she is not fine.

There are many sanctuaries that would gladly take her and treat her like a princess – with good food and a clean and spacious stall, and being able to romp with other horses. Will the owners send her to auction or do the right thing?