Australian tourists Nathan and Kelly Thompson were enjoying a gentle horse and carriage ride around the popular tourist spot of Central Park yesterday when driver, Mehmet Dundar, tried to merge into traffic at Colombus Circle, witnesses and law enforcement sources told The New York Daily News.
The black and white horse, named Oreo, became spooked by the heavy traffic, bucked, got loose from the carriage, and ran free.
Dundar, 34, of Brooklyn, and the Thompsons, both 32, spilled into the street, witnesses said.
As the horse galloped away, it struck an object, which split the carriage in two parts and freed the horse to run unthethered, CNN reported.
“I saw the horse at a full gallop with either people or a person in the carriage,” said CNN’s Soledad O’Brien, who watched the incident unfold in front of the network’s New York bureau.
“Then the carriage separated and the horse ran up Broadway."
The horse was eventually caught and had suffered minor scratches to his mouth.
The New York Post reported Dundar was taken to hospital with a possible broken leg. Nathan Thompson was cut on his heel and was seen bleeding in the middle of the street, witnesses said.
The incident has reignited the debate in New York about carriage horses. CNN Local quoted Scott Levinson, of New Yorkers for Clean, Livable & Safe Streets, saying: “With every month that goes by people realize that a horse is meant to be in pasture and not meant to be on city streets."
“When a horse gets spooked, you just don’t know what they’re gonna do. It’s really an industry whose time has come and gone.”