The union that represents horse carriage drivers said that the horse seen collapsing on a busy New York City street in a viral video has been retired to a private farm upstate.
WNBC, the local New York City NBC affiliate, reported that the Transport Workers Union said the horse, named Ryder, has been transferred over to new owners who are caring for him as he is treated for a neurological parasite called Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis (EPM) — an infection caused by possum droppings.
“The neurological effects of the EPM caused the horse to stumble and fall as the carriage driver is trying to change lanes and turn here on 45th street on the way home,” Christina Hansen, a spokesperson for the carriage drivers’ union, told WNBC. “And once he was down, he had difficulty getting up again from the neurological symptoms of EPM.”
The animal is now also on a course of antibiotics, the union said, and the farm's owners and veterinarian are planning on additional care.
The outlet said the union told them a vet estimated Ryder is about 26 years old — despite a previous report that said the horse was an estimated 13 to 14 years old. And in his advanced age, Ryder is too old to be licensed as a carriage horse in New York.
After the video of Ryder collapsing on the street went viral — with the driver of the horse shouting "Get up! Get up! Get up! C’mon, get up" and seemingly whipping the animal — there were renewed cries to ban or reform the controversial tourist attraction.
At the time, Voters For Animal Rights called the incident “horrifying,” while People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals tweeted: “Horses don’t belong in big cities where they’re put in constant danger because of cars, humans, weather, and more.”
Hansen told the local station that Ryder was in “rough shape” when he came into their program after being used as a buggy horse for a Pennsylvania farmer.
At the time of the incident, the union told NBC News that Ryder had been a carriage horse for four months.
WNBC reports there are 130 active, licensed carriage horses in New York City.
The Transport Workers Union notification also said the safety protocols at the city's stable will shift to include biweekly medical checks of the horses' heart conditions, WNBC reported. The union also formed a committee dedicated to health and safety.