Riders thrown from Stanley Park carriage after horses spooked
Published Monday, November 7, 2016 12:25PM PST Last Updated Monday, November 7, 2016 6:25PM PST
A group of horse-drawn carriage riders in Vancouver's Stanley Park were taken on a wild ride after the animals became spooked by a car horn and bolted.
About a dozen people were on a scenic ride through the park Monday around mid-day when they came up behind a group of people protesting the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion, ahead of an announcement at the HMSC Discovery about oil spill response by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
That's when someone sounded a car horn, and the horses ran off the parkway and onto the adjacent pedestrian seawall – taking out a traffic sign in the process.
"Somebody blew his horn and the horses just took off," a man who jumped off the carriage told CTV News.
"[It was] right beside the horses and of course the horses spooked. It's not the horses' fault," another rider said.
The driver fell out onto the grass before the out-of-control carriage slammed into a park bench, destroying it, as the animals galloped away.
Another four people were thrown off or jumped off the moving cart on their own as it steamed down the seawall.
Thankfully, the passengers did not suffer any major injuries.
A passerby was able to stop the horses a short distance away, and the remaining passengers disembarked.
A tourist who escaped unharmed said she "had to hold on for dear life" when the car started "going every which way."
The horses were not injured but they will be off work until they are checked out by a veterinarian.
Following the incident, the Vancouver Humane Society issued a statement calling for a ban on carriages in the city's largest park.
The VHS said it opposes horse-drawn carriages in the city because of the dangers that come with proximity to traffic. It is also against carriages in urban areas because the horses are exposed to noise, pollution and all weather conditions for long hours.
"This incident shows why horse-drawn carriages don't belong in urban areas," VHS spokesperson Peter Fricker said.
"It could have been much worse. The carriage could easily have gone over the seawall."
Reports of several people injured after horses spooked by Kinder Morgan pipeline protest bolt onto Stanley Park seawall. pic.twitter.com/0eCvdMfjOw— CTV Darcy (@darcynews) November 7, 2016