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CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) But recently after a video of a horse lying on the streets downtown came to light, there have been questions surrounding the industry and if the animals are equipped to handle the growing city.couldn imagine them not being here because they always been here, Tamara Brown said. Brown has lived in the Summerville area nearly her entire life and has been around horses since she can remember.decided it had been like 20 years since I had been on a carriage tour and I wanted to see what it was about. And see if there was any foundation for what was being stirred, Brown added. there any reason these horses needed a study or should people think they being abused or starved like we seen on social media? is talking about comments like these on social media to a post from a Charleston carriage horse advocacy group’s account:”This is animal abuse to the fullest people need to learn to walk putting those beautiful horses thru this makes me sick [sic]””Stop the abuse!!!!!!! [sic]”A reason she went to the Old South Carriage Company 65 acre plantation, Sugah Cain, on Johns Island, 10 miles from their stable downtown. The horses are consistently rotated to Sugah Cain where they stay from one to several days. Workers say it depends on what the animals need.really personalized to that horse and kind of the situation that he in and that also has to do with shoes and things like that with what they need worked on them and so it just depends, Derek Evenhouse, Old South Operations Manager, said.Old South has 30 horses and up to 10 can be kept downtown overnight. In winter, when there are fewer tours, the horses may spend more time at the plantation. But spring is one of the busiest seasons.still trying to keep these guys to around five days. They can be six. But even on those days, a horse can spend it morning out here with feed, hay, grass things like that,” Evenhouse said. The horses that are going to stay downtown for that night, those are still rotating. It very situational. of Old South horses come from Amish working farms in Ohio. Evenhouse said they would pull plows and big wagons, through dirt, all day long very different from the cobblestones and asphalt streets of downtown Charleston. In addition to a getaway, the plantation is where Old South trains their horses. That includes training them to handle noises or situations that could scare the animals, a big concern for Charleston Animal Society.”The prevalence of these horses being spooked, it’s really an unknown, Joe Elmore, Charleston Animal Society’s CEO, said.Like surveillance video from a few years ago which showed a spooked horse running down the street. He stopped when he crashed into the market. Two years ago, one of Old South horses was spooked by a cement truck and fell down on East Bay Street. In February, a horse was spooked by bagpipers at King and Queen streets. All situations Old South prepares its horses for before they leave the farm.terms of driving these guys around,
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taking them past things like construction equipment, dogs, other horses, people, loud noises things that could be as scary as a plastic bag on the road. We kind of have that out here or try to get them past that, Evenhouse said.And when they not fazed by loud noises, they ready, and out to the streets they go. Between tours, horses at Old South Barn near the market, get at least a 15 minute break with water. There are large fans throughout the barn to keep the air cool. The horses temperature is taken before and after each tour, regardless of the temperature outside.In fact, on April 29, on the second tour of the day, the internal temp of a horse named Sammy reached more than 103 degrees. Workers gave him a cooling blanket and hosed him off to bring his temperature down. He was also pulled from duty for the rest of the day. This coincides with the City of Charleston heat ordinance regarding carriage animals.Last month, the city made an amendment to a part of that ordinance involving the temperatures the animals can be out in. They must go in when the temp reaches 95 degrees outside or when the heat index rises to 110 degrees.The Charleston Animal Society is calling for an independent study to measure how Charleston carriage animals are treated and if the regulations in place are best for the animals.not just about the heat, it about all of those stressors and how they interrelate to each other,” Elmore said. “Rest periods is a big one. Nourishment. Heat. Load. Congestion. All of those things create stressors and that why a scientific study would really address this once and for all. Charleston Animal Society proposed the study to the City of Charleston Department of Livability and Tourism in late April. That’s the department that oversees the tourism industry, including the carriage companies. But, the commission concluded the proposed research was not specific enough and the chair stated he would have liked for the society to give a better understanding of the legal, financial and operation impact the study would have. This is not something that must be approved by council, however, in order for it to happen.The organization can conduct the study anytime they want, and the carriage companies agreed to the study, but will not let their animals be tested. The animal society insists that the only way the test can be done in order for accurate results.As for the heavy load, Old South Operations Manager said these horses can handle it.matter what the weight is on the carriage, that weight isn on the horse at all,” Evenhouse said. “To get it moving the more weight you have back there the more it does take to get it moving and slow it down. But relative to their body size and relative how much force it actually takes to get that carriage moving is low. veterinarian also confirmed that, because these horses roughly weigh 2,000 pounds, moving a carriage is fairly easy.those horses that is nothing. It really is very easy for them. And those carriages, even though they look big and heavy, they moved around by the barn workers. They actually very light, they roll very easy. And even loaded down with tourists, it easy work for them, Justin Miller,
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with Charleston Equine Clinic, said.The carriage industry maintains its open door policy.just walked into the barn one day and said, ‘Hi, I Tamara Brown and I signed up for a tour, and can I see your barn?’ And they just embraced me because they love people who can appreciate their love for what they do, she said.Brown encourages everyone to take advantage of seeing behind the scenes of an industry that helps make up the ambiance of our historic city.

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