Horse Collapses After Pulling Tourist Carriage In Heat

Horse collapses in street
Distressing footage shows the moment a horse collapses on the street after pulling a wagon full of tourists in hot weather.

The clip was shared on social media by an animal rights activist last week (June 22), and shows two adults attempting to free the horse and trying to get the animal to drink water.

The incident happened in Charleston, South Carolina, where temperatures are expected to exceed mid-30°C’s later next week.

You can watch the moment it happens below (warning, distressing content):

In the footage posted by Julie Marie Cappiello, members of the public – as well as the Charleston Fire Department – can be seen rushing to the horse’s aid as it lies motionless on the hot tarmac.

A woman narrating the video can be heard saying: ‘Children on the carriage. The horse is down. He should not be working. Unbelievable’.

As people attempt to free the horse from its restraints, the people who were previously sat on the wagon the animal was pulling get off, leaving the carriage empty.

While doing so, an unknown person can be heard shouting: ‘take a car, take a f*cking car,’ to which one of the crowd shouts back: ‘f*ck y’all’.

Horse collapses in street 
As well-wishers pet the horse in an attempt to comfort it, the woman narrating the video urges them to stop doing so and leave it to cool down.

The video ends with the horse still lying in the middle of the road, unconscious as people attempt to detach the animal from its restraints.

So far, the video has been shared almost 70K times, with thousands commenting and labelling the incident as ‘disgraceful’ and wishing the horse well.

A spokesperson from the RSPCA told UNILAD:

This is a very distressing video which highlights the dangers to horses of hot weather and the importance of protecting these animals from overheating. Working horses will be particularly susceptible so owners should pay special attention to their wellbeing in hot weather and avoid subjecting them to additional stress.

However, The Post and Courier reports that Charleston Carriage Works, the company with whom the horse was pulling the wagon, is suing the Charleston Animal Society and Charleston Carriage Horse Advocates for libel, defamation, and conspiracy.

Horse collapses in street
The complaint, filed last month, alleges that the two groups knowingly put out false information to discredit the carriage operators – including claims that a horse had collapsed and died from heat exhaustion.

The company states the horse simply tripped and laid still until the tack was removed – as it was trained to do – although Charleston Animal Society CEO Joe Elmore says the group ‘are prepared to stand by everything we have said’.

The RSPCA offered some advice for horse welfare in the heat, adding:

In hot weather, horses sweat a lot so to avoid them becoming dehydrated, they should be given constant access to clean fresh water and shade. Taking them out during the hottest time of the day should also be avoided Signs that a horse may be suffering in the heat include lethargy, fast shallow breathing and heavy blowing from the nostrils when exercising, elevated heart rate, decreased appetite and decreased drinking, decreased urination and dark urine, muscle spasms, poor ridden performance. If a horse shows any of these signs a vet should be contacted for advice. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke can lead to unsteadiness on the feet, collapse, kidney, liver and muscle damage, laminitis and could even be fatal. Emergency first aid for horses suffering heat exhaustion and heat stroke includes moving them to a shaded, cool area, and pouring large amounts of water over the body; if a horse is available use that. It may take 15 minutes of such action before any effect is visible.

Meanwhile, Charleston Animal Society has been calling for an independent study to determine how well the animals tolerate pulling passengers in the hot weather and humidity.