Horrifying videos of a carriage horse collapsing near New York City's Ninth Avenue and 45th Street have gone viral across the internet.

Around 5 p.m. in Manhattan Wednesday, Ryder the horse collapsed in the middle of a busy road.

Warning: Video may disturb some sensitive viewers.
NYPD Mounted officers responded to the incident, but not before the horse's carriage driver was captured abusing the poor horse on video by pedestrians.

The driver, Ian McKeever, was caught on camera by bystanders whipping the horse and brutally pulling at its bit and slapping it while yelling.

"Get up! Come on! Get up! Get up!" McKeever yelled as the horse dropped its head.

The horse appears visibly malnourished and exhausted in the summer heat.

When NYPD officers arrived, they used a hose to cool down the horse before it could be transported for veterinary care. According to ABC7 New York, the horse was alert as of Wednesday evening.

"The NYPD takes the health and well-being of our four legged friends in New York City very seriously, and are glad that our trained equestrian officers were able to assist," officers told PEOPLE.

Yet the incident sparked backlash online as the videos circulated, with many people calling for horse-drawn carriages to be banned in the city.

Voters For Animal Rights on Twitter called it "absolutely horrifying."

"Times Square NYC horse collapsed from heat exhaustion after working in 90° heat all day. She’s already malnourished to begin with. Stop supporting carriage rides. Stop supporting animal abuse," Grace Channel, who posted one of the videos with over 800 thousand views, wrote on Twitter.

Voters For Animal Rights also called out the driver for the "irony" after the incident, writing, "Oh the irony. The carriage horse driver is exhausted after after having to pull his carriage back to the stable after nearly killing his horse yesterday."

After examination from a vet, Christina Hansen, a carriage driver union representative, told NBC New York that Ryder's preliminary diagnosis was Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis (EPM), a neurological infection caused by possum droppings.

The results of the blood test have not yet confirmed the diagnosis, but Ryder seemed to be on the mend as the horse ate hay and carrots at a local stable, according to the Transport Workers Union.

Meanwhile, PETA and other organizations called for the ban of carriage horses.

One person wrote a thread of information on horses and heat exhaustion, malnourishment, and EPM, ending with: "Short version - Horse is very thin. Heat was brutal. urging horse to try to rise is critical. Underlying disease may have caused collapse. Bottom line. Shouldn’t have been working. We can HELP!!!"

NYCLASS, an organization specifically dedicated to ending carriage horse abuse, wrote, "@NYCCouncil @NYCSpeakerAdams @NYCMayor - the world is watching. This horse may die, like many others. We must pass Intro 573 to end this abuse!"

 

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