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Comment Archives: Stories: News+Opinion: Guest Columnist

Re: “It's time to give up the carriage tour gimmick

What hubris? It's time we rid our society of pompous elitists whose anthropomorphic ideology is doing more damage to animals and those who actually care for them then we can possibly imagine.

1 of 1 people like this.
Posted by Johnathan Lee Iverson on September 29, 2016 at 12:36 AM

Re: “It's time to give up the carriage tour gimmick

Lots of pro carriage tour people in this thread, which is kind of funny. The people who keep utilizing this industry are the obnoxious fat-ass tourists wearing chunky white New Balances and cargo shorts who hail from Ohio and that in literally every other circumstance, everyone claims to loathe.

0 of 1 people like this.
Posted by Ron Liberte on September 28, 2016 at 10:41 PM

Re: “It's time to give up the carriage tour gimmick

Could not agree more. Carriages were charming at first, now they are a major headache for residents (and have been for years), and MANY tourists as well find the sight of these horses groaning under the weight of too many people an absolutely deplorable sight. They cause traffic problems and it's cruel and harms the reputation of our city---why on earth would we continue them? And as to those who think losing a hoof is nothing: what about the many carriage horses that have been gravely injured over the years, and had to be put down? What about the resident who was killed in a carriage accident several years ago, and the many others who've been injured? The cars that have been totaled? Is it worth it? Not to these victims.

3 of 12 people like this.
Posted by Lynn McBride on September 28, 2016 at 5:50 PM

Re: “It's time to give up the carriage tour gimmick

Wow!!! Here's you're point...I think....with change comes change. I love the horse drawn carriages! But YOU through THIS piece you wrote opened my mind and my heart allowing me to ask myself the question....if the goal is touring and nostalgia both of which I love, is there an alternative other than more cars...of course there is! So thanks for your article, I get it! Let's invite the city's leaders to consider new possiblities while honoring the past...something done pretty well here😊 One last thing...consider referring to the Red Sox as opposed to that other team....yea.....I know....Deb

1 of 4 people like this.
Posted by Cuttsy on September 28, 2016 at 5:42 PM

Re: “It's time to give up the carriage tour gimmick

The problem we in the carriage industry face is that those that seek to end our industry don't know the facts nor do they care to. They believe that feelings equate fact and that's simply not true. You may feel that you are doing something positive by ending the carriage industry but the reality is that you are dooming the animals you claim to be fighting for.

We rescue them from auction and provide them with a second career. These animals are not considered adoptable and are born and raised to be working animals. When you remove them from a work environment you place them in a bad situation. What do you think will happen to these animals when the industry is no longer allowed to care for them? Slaughter houses in Canada and Mexico love draft horses and mules because they have more meat on them. They attend the same auctions we do. If you remove the animals from our care they will likely end up back at auction without us to save them.

There has also never been a heat related incident or death in Charleston. We monitor the animal's internal temp after every tour and react to any elevation in temp. People fail to realize that what would be considered "heavy" for you and I to move is not heavy for a draft horse or draft mule. Also learn what friction coefficient is and how it reduces the effect of the weight on a carriage with wheels.

Concerning traffic in Charleston; carriages are not the problem. Impatient and rude vehicle operators who think their timeline is more important than pedestrian and equine safety are the problem. They speed through town, cut corners turning onto road and into alleys, and honk the horn at anyone that slows them down. They are dangerous not the 3mph carriage.

10 of 14 people like this.
Posted by JPoole1485 on September 28, 2016 at 3:42 PM

Re: “It's time to give up the carriage tour gimmick

Thank you Mr. Cohen for your article. You are correct, it's time for a change, it's time to evolve and decide which options work best for everyone. Walking tours,PediCabs, electric cars and maybe even a dedicated Horse Park. There are several solid options. The Post & Courier poll indicated that 60% of the people who took the poll wanted to ban the Carriages completely and 37% were not in favor of a ban. I wonder if the 60% who wanted a ban would be willing to compromise? Your words "gimmick" and "bush league" are very descriptive and it does feel that way when I see the daily Carriage tours. Historically speaking, when a society begins to shift it's views on an issue with injustice or other emotional concerns at it's core, there is no turning back. Resistance is to be expected, but it doesn't last forever because one person at a time starts to question the status quo and somewhere in that process they are educated and make their own choice. With a casual "search" I can count 200,000 people across the world who are calling for a stop to the Carriage Tour gimmick. Their signatures and comments come from every corner of the planet. Will those 200,000 people still want to come visit Charleston if they are uncomfortable with the perceived "exploitation" of the horses? I support your article.

6 of 16 people like this.
Posted by Lacey on September 28, 2016 at 3:01 PM

Re: “It's time to give up the carriage tour gimmick

And by the way, carriage tours were here long before 1972. Ask Joe Riley. So about the only "fact" in your article is wrong. I would say you should leave the writing to writers. You clearly don't have the chops for it.

5 of 9 people like this.
Posted by Carl Percheron on September 28, 2016 at 2:54 PM

Re: “It's time to give up the carriage tour gimmick

Wow. How did your editor approve this tripe? We've become the darling of the world, so let's get rid of everything that made Charleston a success? Did you even bother to visit one of the stables? Did you do any research on the capacity of horse rescues? Did you bother to read the recent articles on the 44,000 horses that will be slaughtered by the BLM? I would guess that you are just trying to get into the pants of some pale vegan chick and you thought this might seal the deal. What a self-righteous pile of garbage.

6 of 11 people like this.
Posted by Carl Percheron on September 28, 2016 at 2:22 PM

Re: “It's time to give up the carriage tour gimmick

While i believe this writer is a douche whose total exposure to horses probably consists of rides on the electronic ones in front of kmarts there is a valid concern.
I own horses and have for many years and i am familiar with the anatomical design
of a hoof. If in fact that "Hoof" was bleeding then that animal has a real injury hoofs don't bleed unless they have lost a huge chunk of it. (liken it to breaking a nail as opposed to ripping one out from the nail bed)
If that's the case then that animal will require months of care on that foot and lots of pasture rest.More likely the shoe tore off and the horse stepped on it puncturing the area known as the frog with the nails used to secure it to the hoof. Still a bad thing but not as bad.
The former may indicate pour nutrition or sloppy farrier work, the latter is an unfortunate accident that comes with owning a horse that must be shod.
Regardless if it isn't already a daily part of the caregivers routine it should be implemented as policy and procedure to check the hooves daily by someone who understands what they are looking at. That requires some training as it not as easy as it sounds. You can get the shit kicked out of you if you don't pay attention. So its easy in the heat of summer to want to overlook this but as the saying goes "no hoof no horse"
Ii Believe that these animals are loved and respected by the owners and caregivers two of which (owners) i know personally. They are dedicated to proper care of these animals without which they would be defunct.
Its expensive, its labor and time consuming but its super rewarding to be their friends(the horse). Industry people know this to be true. That is why they do it, why else would you own a 1500 lb animal that generates as much as thirty lbs of poop and 5 gals. of urine a day. lol
In summary i feel badly for the horse but closing down an industry over an unfortunate accident is as stupid as implying the owners of these animals don't care about there welfare.
(i do however believe that they should not use these animals in the intense summer heat, emphasis on intense)

5 of 9 people like this.
Posted by bigideal0904 on September 28, 2016 at 2:00 PM

Re: “It's time to give up the carriage tour gimmick

About baseball teams and "gimmicks" - wouldn't it be nice, though, if a major league team did keep some of those community-oriented activities for their fans? Having dog night or 10 cent beer night may be done to draw in people, but that does not mean they are meaningless gimmicks that everyone is better off without after the team grows. They are good in themselves, giving the team personality and creating a connection between the team and its fans. Sure, the major league team may be able to stop doing these things and just "sell out every night all season long" - but is that the point? To just sell out? I don't think Charleston will last if we say, well, we've made it to the top, and that's all that matters. As long as we have tons of tourists flowing in and paying us their money, what else could matter? That's just not Charleston. The carriages have long contributed to the personality of our city and helped to tell our story. They are not a "gimmick" any more than our good food or our beautiful buildings or our hospitality are - they are our way to encourage visitors to take a step back, slow down, enjoy our city, and get to know it.

As for the animals, you recommend we "remove" them from Charleston so they can be saved from car fumes, heat, and weight, and so we can find parking spots quicker. Remove the horses and mules? What happens to them? We do not breed these animals for use in the industry - they are purchased later in life and enabled to work (only 152 days per year on average at Palmetto Carriage, I might add) for ample food, safe housing, incredible medical care, and a whole lot of loving. The saying goes that you don't throw the baby out with the bathwater - that is easier said than done when it comes to horses and mules. An important question to ask, then, is why throw out the bathwater at all if it isn't even dirty? I'm just saying, if the water's going to be thrown out, it had better be dirty and you had better have some clean water to fill the tub again.

We in the carriage industry are not just "worried about [our] jobs and businesses" - we also worry about the animals' welfare, about Charleston's history and ensuring it is kept alive, about our city's millions of visitors, about our way of life. Our horses, stables, and carriages are not just "overhead" to us. They are our coworkers, our home, and our tools. You can keep your air conditioning and your 150 horsepower - we'll stick to coastal breezes and 1 or 2 horse and mule power as long as we can.

17 of 22 people like this.
Posted by Marina Hart on September 28, 2016 at 1:17 PM

Re: “It's time to give up the carriage tour gimmick

Too add to the already many great rThe "author" is very much comparing apples to oranges with the comparison of Charleston to Ghettysburg. Ghettysburg battle field is just that... It's a large open loosely defined area with more space than there is stuff to look at. Monuments here and there, but so spread out a vehicle makes sense. Downtown Charleston, densely populated, small streets, the last thing needed are more cars... Let's say, you replace each carriage in the city with the approximate number of cars needed to accommodate the number of people going out on the carriages. One carriage holds the capacity to carry 16 adults plus 1 driver. In my experience (a decade of it in the industry) on average the carriages carry 13adults and 2 kids+1 tour guide which equals 16 people. (Of course those numbers fluctuate but for the sake of the argument...) at 15 guests, that would break down to a private setting with 2 sedans: 4 guests and a guide and a small van :7 guests and a guide. That means 3 vehicles for every carriage you take out. Given we have between the 5 companies a minimum of 35 carriages working on a single day, we would need 105 extra vehicles. Those extra vehicles driving around town would be doing so slowly, like the carriages so people can get a good look at everything. Or pulling over so frequently using up gallons and gallons of gas. 105 extra vehicles may not seem like a whole lot, but it is in such a small space. I, like Mark said, think you should really dig into the industry before judging it. Why don't you go to the companies and ask how things operate. How we are regulated and operated by the city. You'll see it's not just an integral part of Charleston's history or economy, but also its spirit. There are so many tours you can take, besides carriage tours. And if someone just wanted to take a "tour" they'd find a different way. People WANT to take a carriage tour. As a friend once pointed out. Whenever Charleston appears in a nationally published article on coming "first" in the nation for whatever reason, there is almost always a carriage photographed on our beautiful scenic streets. Carriages are not just a "thing" for Charleston, they are part of its Identity.

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Posted by bippy007 on September 28, 2016 at 12:46 PM

Re: “It's time to give up the carriage tour gimmick

Denise Burke, what makes you think that the care of the horses or their stables are currently inadequate? The carriage business in Charleston is a thriving, popular, humane business just the way it is.

17 of 23 people like this.
Posted by Christina Hansen on September 28, 2016 at 12:32 PM

Re: “It's time to give up the carriage tour gimmick

I read this column's headline and was so hopeful to find an insightful suggestion as to how the carriage companies can adapt to catch up to the Charleston we locals know now, perhaps to upgrade the entire approach so that visitors can truly grasp the history AND present of our great city. New routes, updated and REAL topics in the guides' oh-so-tired, empty, rehearsed speeches we all hear as the carriages amble past. (If I hear one more guide tell a group of tourists they haven't truly been to the south until they've enjoyed a moon pie and an RC cola, I'm going to go ape shit, so help me god.) But proposing guides hop in people's cars to show them around? You've got to be kidding me. The absolute last thing we need here is more cars on the streets of downtown. The carriage companies should change for the better, just as Charleston has; but they do not need to be replaced by more vehicle traffic.

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Posted by pedicabby on September 28, 2016 at 12:31 PM

Re: “It's time to give up the carriage tour gimmick

What about peddle carriage tours?? http://www.savannahslowride.com/

Perhaps the horse carriages should not frequent high traffic areas ... maybe limiting their use to below Broad ??

This is a important conversation .... perhaps we can aid the carriage tour owners by providing better stabling and higher ticket prices? This could potentially compute to a better environment for the horses ...

Let's keep talking about it.

Thanks for keeping the tone calm in your article ...

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Posted by Denise Burks on September 28, 2016 at 12:17 PM

Re: “It's time to give up the carriage tour gimmick

I am all for change in Charleston. But, instead of giving up the horses, how about stop building on the peninsula and make downtown only for bike cabs, carriage rides, trolleys, and pedestrians? I dont know if downtown could fit another million on the streets.. getting rid of the horse and carriage tours will make room for more traffic.. and I also highly doubt that would be a good enough reason for the carriage company owners to give up their lifestyles and reputations as the horse and carriage dudes.. In Charleston if you have a title linked to history..you will do anything to die with it.

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Posted by Amber Smith on September 28, 2016 at 11:47 AM

Re: “It's time to give up the carriage tour gimmick

In case the writer of this article doesn't realize it, there already are driving tours of Charleston, private cars, buses, etc ... and oddly enough, more than 70% per cent of folks who choose to tour, choose a carriage, simply for the open air, intimate exeprience. As a tour guide I have given every kind of tour in Charleston (buses, prvt. car, walking and carriage) and by far, the carriage is the most rewarding. Please come take me tour and then judge.

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Posted by wickedmark on September 28, 2016 at 11:26 AM

Re: “It's time to give up the carriage tour gimmick

All other feelings aside, I support the Carriage Tours. I have lived in the area since 1993 and thought I had absorbed all the History. I was of the belief that the Carriage tours were for "Tourists." Two years ago I reluctantly took a tour with visiting family, all but resolute that I would not enjoy it and that I was being dragged along. I could not have been more wrong. I learned so much about the Historic areas downtown and the History, for example how much avoiding the British tariffs had an effect on Charleston architecture. It really opened my eyes. Without these tours, so much of this History would be lost and the educational opportunities it presented would be squandered. We did see the great efforts that were in place to safeguard the welfare of the Horses. The guides had a genuine concern and a valid relationship with their horses and their welfare was tantamount.

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Posted by markfullercot on September 28, 2016 at 10:54 AM

Re: “It's time to give up the carriage tour gimmick

There are children that love the sight, smell and clip clop of horses in cities like you once did. Remember yourself then and ensure that other children get access to these wonderful animals and people that care for them.

It is not just about tradition, it is about ensuring the bond between humans and horses live on through us.

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Posted by Bernadette McCulloch Kelly on September 28, 2016 at 10:49 AM

Re: “It's time to give up the carriage tour gimmick

Used to see a lot of guides working on my corner in New York City. Guys would drive in all the way from New Jersey just to tour my (not historic, not pretty) block in their SUVs.
Seriously, Bush League — does ANYONE drive two, four, eight hours to Charleston so they can drive around some more, staring out their own car window and looking for parking spaces? And has any MLB team had a 10 Cent Beer night since Cleveland in 1974? (BTW, our 2nd place NLE Mets still have "Bark at the Park" every spring. We bring our dogs to the game and we LOVE it because we LOVE animals.)

18 of 20 people like this.
Posted by Jil Derryberry on September 28, 2016 at 10:48 AM

Re: “It's time to give up the carriage tour gimmick

Where DO people like you get the idea that they should be allowed to chart the course of someone else's life and "propose alternatives" just because THEY don't like what they do? By your own admission, the incident of a horse losing a shoe was promptly attended to...and as horse owners know, is a fairly common and insignificant occurrence, on a par with a woman having one of her "press on" fingernails come off. Yet, based on that incident, among others that you obviously lack the equine knowledge to understand, YOU have decided that simply because YOU feel it is "unnecessary" for horses to live and work in Charleston, you and others of your ilk should have the legal right to destroy lives and end a loved and thriving attraction that many others obviously enjoy. It costs a lot of money to feed and care for a draft horse...that the carriage companies are doing enough business to provide top notch care (and by your own admission, the incident that has you up in arms was cared for promptly and professionally, with the horse suffering no ill effects) for the horses, owners and staff proves that yours is an outlier opinion. And..."get rid of the horses"? REALLY? Have you failed to consider that people who have chosen to spend their lives working in partnership with animals are highly unlikely to consider them as "disposable" as you obviously do? Do you simply "get rid" of your pets (if, in fact, you have any) when they become "inconvenient" for you to keep? I sincerely hope that Charleston officials will take a long hard look at Mayor Bill DeBlasio's ill advised and futile attempt to shut down the thriving NYC horse carriage business...and unless they too are willing to commit political suicide, will ignore your suggestions with the contempt they deserve. Finally...suggesting that horsemen and horsewomen with decades of equine experience should be willing to trade their careers that they love for a job as a "tour guide", something more suited to a college kid earning extra money; is so breathtakingly arrogant that I can only respond to that by suggesting that YOU trade your "career" as a writer and do the same. I'm sure tourists will be more than willing to allow you to squeeze into their cars with them and point to attractions they can peer at through the car windows. The carriage rides are about the HORSE...something you even admit you enjoyed as a child, but are willing to deny to a new generation.

31 of 44 people like this.
Posted by Victorena Minchew on September 28, 2016 at 10:05 AM
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