This weekend was Clip Clop NYC 2015. Clinton Park Stables hosted an open house and stable tour. I spent a couple of hours at the stables soaking up the excitement. It was great to see so many people checking out the horses. I was thrilled to meet members of CONA, the Carriage Operators of North America in town for their annual convention.
No one could spend two hours in the stables and not see the truth…these are animals who love to work, and are well cared for in excellent conditions. Here is a little peak inside Clip Clop.
Steve Malone, spokesperson for the Horse and Carriage Association opened the day. He was my group’s tour guide through all three floors of the stables–they are clean, airy and well maintained. I have gotten to know Steve over the last year, since my first visit to the stable and he is a wonderful ambassador and educator for the world of carriage horses.
When I first arrived the temp outside was 18 degrees. The horses cannot go out in temps below 19 degrees. But as the sun warmed up the city, the word came that the horses could go to work, so we got to see many horses and their drivers gear up and head out to park. As I was watching all the hub bub with lots of folks all over the stables, how calm and relaxed the horses were, and the interactions between the groomsmen, drivers and visitors, I was wishing the Mayor would come by and see the magic these great animals bring to our city.
I have become a passionate participant in the fight to save the carriage horse industry. Perhaps an unlikely one, since I am not someone who rides, nor grew up around horses. I have taken only a handful of carriage rides.
But maybe that is the very point—the carriage horses are an integral part of my neighborhood and my day-to-day life. They add a magic, a music and the soulful beauty of working partnerships between horses and people. The message I heard from CONA members from across the country is how fearful they are, that if we loose this fight in NYC, they are next.
I hope you will join me and send a message to your Councilmember that we deserve to live in a city that honors these horses, and values an industry that is hundreds of years old, that employs several hundred people and one that keeps a connection with horses, with working animals alive in our city. For if working horses can’t work, then they are not long for our world! And that would be a profound loss.