Skip to content

Building a Retirement Home for NYC Carriage Horses

New York politicians have long promised to do away with carriage horse rides. An animal sanctuary wants to step in either way.

A carriage horse eats near Central Park in New York City.

A carriage horse eats near Central Park in New York City.

Photographer: Spencer Platt/Getty Images North America

Tucked between northern Westchester’s golf courses and Tudor-style mansions, an 18-acre patch of land in South Salem, New York, could soon transform from a riding stable into a sanctuary for Manhattan’s carriage horses. On a recent Monday, Ellie Laks and Jay Weiner — who run The Gentle Barn, a nonprofit — tended to the first animals to be housed there: two draft horses that Weiner purchased in November at an auction outside New York City.

The horses, who are currently being cared for by the riding stable as the property remains in contract, are temporarily known as “Good Boy” and “Smart Boy” as the sanctuary awaits a big donor who might want to name the pair. While hauling buckets of water to the paddock and loading the pair up with carrots, Laks and Weiner said they believe the horses would have been headed to a slaughterhouse — a common fate for such animals.