Disturbing images have been revealed showing a New York City carriage horse collapsed while carrying tourists through Central Park.
The horse can be seen lying limp on it’s side whilst looking seemingly exhausted.
Animal rights group NYCLASS are now demanding an investigation into the incident.
Witnesses claim they saw the horses breathing heavily before it collapsed on the ground near Tavern on the Green around 10 a.m last Tuesday.
“Horses don’t just collapse,” a NYCLASS spokesperson said. ” Something happened – and the city should get to the bottom of it and make sure it never happens again,”
The carriage driver Chris Emanus put the horse, named Max, back to work on Monday, claiming he had been cleared by a vet.
“I’ve been doing this for 20 years, and it doesn’t happen that often, but it does happen,” Chris explained.
The owner claimed the horse had simply tripped because he was wearing horse shoes for the first time in eight months since returning to the city from a farm.
“For eight months he was walking around with no shoes,” he said. “The day it happened, he tripped on a little crack in the pavement. That happens sometimes, they trip on a crack. He tripped and went down, but not hard.”
After the fall, Max was unhooked and then got up “without a scratch on him”.
The horse was evaluated at the scene and he was taken back to his stable where a vet was then called.
“On Friday, they said he was good to go once the blood work came back and said that everything was fine,” Chris said. “Today is his first day back. We gave him the weekend off.”
Despite being given an all clear by the vets, NYCLASS are still concerned about the welfare of the animal, claiming that when a horse trips they don’t collapse on their sides, but kneel on the ground and then stand back up.
A spokesman said: “They should conduct an immediate investigation into the health and whereabouts of this horse, including allowing an independent vet to examine the animal.”
Christina Hansen, a spokesperson for the carriage industry has accused the animal rights group of making “something out of nothing.”
“[The horse] tripped and fell, and he was examined by three mounted officers at the park and was cleared to return to the stable pending a vet exam,” she said. “He was found to be completely uninjured and absolutely fine.”