Saturday, March 30, 2019

Hotel Henry’s carriage rides well-received

By Brittany Edward and Kaitlyn Mayrose
Buffalo Review West Reporters        
            A horse and buggy was a common source of transportation until the early 20th century and since then, has turned into a tourist attraction.
            Horse and  carriage rides became a controversial subject circa 2013. Images and videos of horses collapsing in Central Park, New York had surfaced the web and angered civilians. Since then, many people have been very vocal regarding their disapproval of carriage rides.
            Opponents say that horses are not meant to be used as a means of transportation in the New York City urban setting. However, the environment in Buffalo differs greatly from New York City.
            The Hotel Henry Urban Resort Conference Center, 444 Forest Ave., offers carriage rides every other Sunday until April 28. There was a waitlist in February for the carriages, which showed the popularity of the rides in Buffalo.
            Hotel Henry has collaborated with Banner Farm WNY in Perrysburg for the carriage rides. These rides generate revenue for the coachmen to provide everything necessary that is needed to take care of their horses.
            “Our collaboration with Banner Farm puts money towards feeding and caring for the horses, as well as supporting the horses’ mental and physical stimulation,” Jessica Mancini, digital marketing manager at Hotel Henry, said.
            The carriage rides at Hotel Henry have been popular. The  people who work with horses, and are educated on the proper needs horses require, are happy  to see a local company supporting a local farm.
            Although the carriage rides have been popular,  the hotel has received some negative comments about the concerns of animal abuse. However, Hotel Henry and Banner Farm take these comments as an opportunity to educate people on the topic.
            “We respond saying, ‘We understand your concerns. These horses are very well fed and taken care of, and are in no way being abused’,” Mancini said. 

Banner Farm WNY Coachman Jonny O’Loughlin:

            The horses used to pull carriages are referred to as Clydesdales. These horses are actually bred to work, and if they do not work their bodies could potentially suffer mentally and physically.
            “It wasn't that long ago that horses were the main mode of transportation, moved goods, and were inextricably linked to people's lives,” Erika Abbondanzieri, owner of Banner Farm, said.
            The farm does not only take care of horses that pull carriages, but it is also home to a few retired racehorses, a rescued wild-caught mustang and a pony that came from a neglectful home.
            Banner Farm has 120-acres of farmland for the horses to live on. The horses have 24/7 access to a large pasture, fresh water, shelter and hay.
            “Every six weeks they go to the farrier to have their hooves trimmed or their shoes reset, and when horses need it, we have the chiropractor out to be sure they are in tip-top shape,” Abbondanzieri said. 
            The Buffalo area is not as familiar with carriage rides as New York City is. In Central Park, carriages line up waiting to give pedestrians a ride around the city, among the busy traffic within the urban area. The scene is different in Buffalo, which is the reason why horse-drawn carriage rides are not seen as a top priority with the SPCA Serving Erie County.
            The SPCA faced a few issues regarding horse-drawn carriage rides and abuse back in 1867, which took part in the creation of the organization. However, since horse-drawn carriages have made a fresh comeback to the Buffalo area, the SPCA does not have much experience dealing with this controversial issue.
            The SPCA’s mission is to create a “caring and kind community that encourages fair and humane treatment of all creatures.”
             If we receive a report on local carriage horses being mistreated and abused, it will be investigated without question,” Gina Browning, SPCA chief communications officer, said.