Charleston Carriage horses set a pace for all

Two weeks ago I truly enjoyed a weekend visit to Charleston, SC with members of the South Carolina Farm Bureau. Without question one my most enjoyable experiences was visiting with a couple of horse drawn carriage operators. We own 35 horses on our ranch in central Nebraska. We enjoy raising, training, driving and riding horses on a regular basis.

That is why I was completely disheartened with the recent article written in their local paper posing the question “Is it time to revisit the banning of horse drawn carriages in Charleston?”

The answer is NO. I repeat NO!

For most people the highlight of a trip to this city is to slow life a great deal, jump in a carriage and see the city in whole new light.

There are those that say horses do not belong in the city because it is too dangerous. I contend that horses under the care of carriage owners have the lowest risk of all horses in the nation. 

For example, in our herd that never sees a stable or a barn, most of the injuries they suffer are from another horse. Horses are pecking order animals and the boss will always be proving himself/herself as the leader. In the Nevada desert where 30,000 BLM horses roam, a stud fight will leave a horse suffering a long, cruel, miserable death on a DAILY basis.

In fact, the most safe environment for any horse is quite possibly the under protection afforded to the horse by the carriage owner who has invested thousands of dollars to keep the horse healthy and safe. If you look at the history of the industry, you must go back several years to even find reports of scattered incidents of injury to either horse or human.

The article references NYC and its foiled attempt to ban the beautiful creatures from the streets but leaves out a couple of key facts. In the past 10 years, a couple dozen horse have been injured on the job and one died. Yet in 2012 alone, more than 15,000 New Yorkers were injured in traffic accidents not involving a horse and 155 of them were killed.

Another fact that must be considered and is too often forgotten is that accidents do happen. It is reported that nationwide that riders make approximately 75,000 horse related visits to emergency rooms every year and most are just from people working with their own horses.

People need to look at the facts and the safety record of the horse and carriage industry in Charleston before they even think about considering this discussion. The horse owners care more about the health and well-being of their own animals than any animal rights zealot ever will.

And bear in mind that it is the “ownership of animals” that these animal rights people are really working to achieve, not simply removing these beautiful horses that offer visitors to their fine cities a relaxed view of the area.

Fortunately I took the time to visit with Broderick Christoff, owner of the Charleston Carriage Works while I was in Charleston. I would encourage you to spend 6 minutes listening to what genuine animal welfare sounds like when you actually care about the animal.

Trent Loos is a 6th generation United States rancher in Central Nebrasksa. To contact Trent email or just call his cell phone 515 418-8185. More information can be found at