We received a number of letters -- by post, email and the web -- in response to “Back in the Saddle in Central Park” (Aug. 13), our interview with Brianne Goutal, a professional equestrian. In the interview, Goutal expressed her opposition to carriage horses in Central Park. A selection of reponses follows:
Brianne Goutal’s comments on the plight of carriage horses in New York City echo the sentiment of those New Yorkers who, though perhaps not as knowledgeable about horses as she, share her compassion and agree that these horses do not belong on the streets of New York City.
Jacqueline St. James
I come to NYC every three months and take a carriage ride each time. I just took a ride yesterday with Natasha and Blackie. The ride was relaxing. Blackie is in amazing shape - clean, well fed, relaxed. Natasha is proud of Blackie and the carriage (also in great shape). I saw other drivers I have come to know - Steve, Paul, John. All greeted me with a hug. Their horses are also beautiful and well cared for. Obviously, asking a person whose only acquaintance with horses is riding/jumping and who pays others to care for them so she doesn’t have to is guaranteed to produce an inaccurate opinion rather than fact about carriage horses and their drivers. I bet she has never deigned to speak to a driver or ask about his or her horses. They are more than a vestige of the past. They are a very proud tradition. Susan D. Smith
How dare Ms. Goutal make those unjust and untrue statements concerning the NYC carriage horses. I have owned and shown horses for over fifty years and know for a fact that the NYC carriage horses lead a much more stress-free life, do much easier work, and are far less subject to abuse and injury than are horses shown as show jumpers. ( I own show jumpers). For her to say the carriage horse’s living and working conditions are “atrocious” is simply not true. She speaks from complete ignorance as to how they live and are treated. Shame on you, Ms. Goutal for making such inflammatory and false statements. Tom Neese