If you have ever been to Cozumel you will have seen the carriage horses lined up on the main road, by the Ocean down town, waiting to give rides to tourists - mostly from the cruise ships. I feel very bad for these horses, as they are often mistreated.
Anyway yesterday I was sitting in my car (watching buffy the vampire slayer on my ipod) waiting for diving clients when a horse carriage in front of me toppled over, spilling its passengers onto the sidewalk. The carriage landed on it's side on top of the poor horse, who's body was pinned betwen the two wooden posts which attach the horse to the buggy. I jumped out of my car and over the overweight tourists on the pavement to see how the poor horse was. Obviously in distress he had the whole weight of the carriage on top of him. Luckily about 6 of the cab drivers from accross the street rushed over and helped lift the weight of the cart off the horse, while the driver tried to keep him calm and held his head. After much struggling the horse was released from it's harness. There is no quick release on these harnesses so the carriage had to be pushed further on to the horse to get the buckles undone.
My heart was in my throat as I watched the horse struggle to get up. The first attempt failed and he hurt his back slipping onto the poles. The second time he made it. What a lovely animal. He stood calmly while the driver re-arranged the harness on his head and then allowed himself to be led over to a tree to be teathered while the carriage was righted and the damage assessed.
It seemed like the horse escaped unscathed, although he really did not walk far enough for me to see if any of his legs had been lamed. Ofcourse the driver reharnessed the horse to pull his carrige back home.
I would ask any visitors to Cozumel to think twice about taking these carriage rides. Take a cab or a nice long walk around town. Here is an article written by the Cozumel Humane Society on these animals.
People can be so heartless when it comes to animals - it really makes me sick.