Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg has charged carriage horse driver Ian McKeever with abusing a horse. Ryder collapsed on 9th Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen in August 2022 after working for hours in an 84-degree heat. 

New York Carriage Horse Ryder is attended to by NYPD on 9th Avenue.
New York Carriage Horse Ryder is attended to by NYPD on 9th Avenue as driver Ian McKeever looks on. Photo: Paul Devlin

McKeever, 54, of Long Island, is charged with one count of overdriving, torturing and injuring animals, failure to provide proper sustenance, a Class A misdemeanor.

“As alleged, Ryder should not have been working on this hot summer day. Despite his condition, he was out for hours and worked to the point of collapse,” said District Attorney Bragg. “All animals deserve to be treated with the utmost care and the type of abuse that Ryder allegedly suffered is unacceptable.” 

Ryder was stabled on W38th Street between 10th and 11th Avenue. He was euthanized several months after the incident due to his poor medical condition. 

Court documents show that on August 10, 2022, McKeever had been working with Ryder in Central Park since 9:30am. Ryder was observed to be very thin and frail – clear signs of an unhealthy body condition, based on standard health measures. He was also seen walking slowly while panting with his tongue hanging out of his mouth. 

The collapse, which made news worldwide, happened at approximately 5:10pm on 9th Avenue near W45th Street as the horse was returning to stables. McKeever repeatedly tried to force Ryder to stand by pulling on the reins, yelling and using a whip. At no point did McKeever provide any water to Ryder while he was on the ground, despite the 84-degree weather. The driver initially kept Ryder attached to the carriage harness while he was lying on the ground. NYPD officer Michael Keegan eventually removed the harness, allowing Ryder to fully lie down. The police officer then put ice and cold water on Ryder for 45 minutes until he was finally able to stand up. 

New York Carriage Horse Ryder is attended to by NYPD on 9th Avenue.
New York Carriage Horse Ryder is attended to by NYPD on 9th Avenue. Photo: Photo: Naty Caez

In a court statement, Sergeant Vincent Fontana of the NYPD Mounted Unit said that McKeever had stated at the scene: “This horse is named Ryder. He is a 13-year-old standardbred carriage horse. We’ve been out since 9:30 this morning working in Central Park. We were on our way back to the barn and he collapsed.”

It was later determined that Ryder was 26 years old and suffered from a variety of significant health issues. He was eventually euthanized due to his overall health and medical conditions. 

New York Carriage Horse driver pulls his carriage without Ryder on 9th Avenue.
New York Carriage Horse driver Ian McKeever pulls his carriage back to the stables without Ryder on 9th Avenue. Photo: James Anthony

In a statement this afternoon (Wednesday), DA Bragg thanked the NYPD Mounted Unit, especially Sergeant Fontana. He also thanked the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) and Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine for their work on the investigation. 

The charges in the misdemeanor complaint are merely allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. All factual recitations are derived from documents filed in court and statements made on the record in court.

New York Carriage Horse Ryder is attended to by NYPD on 9th Avenue.
NYPD attends to New York Carriage Horse Ryder on 9th Avenue in August 2022. Photo: Naty Caez

Councilmember Erik Bottcher told W42ST this afternoon: “I am pleased to see that justice is being served for Ryder’s death. This tragic event is a prime example of why New York City should phase out the horse carriage industry, and I’m proud to be a co-sponsor of the legislation that will do just that. We have a duty to protect the welfare of animals and to do everything we can to prevent similar tragedies from happening again.”

We will update this story…

Join the Conversation


  1. Thanks to DA Bragg , Edita Birnkrant and Mike Petrelli for justice being served. Now hope this monster gets what he deserves

  2. Related question, why is eating horse meat taboo in the US, when it is common in much else of the world?

    1. It is not common in “much else of the world”. It is consumed in a few countries and illegal in most places.

      1. Not trying to start a debate. It is important to be factually accurate, and culturally sensitive. I would encourage anyone to lookup the statistics on global horse meat consumption.

        China, Mexico, Russia, Italy – and Eurasia – and more, are all consumers. Is there some research showing that horse meat is more sustainable than bovine?

        But we should all take off our collective horse blinders and focus on getting cars off the roads – the horses were here first.

    2. Whoever you are you show no compassion for this old and overworked, sick horse. Your only concern being your desire to consume horse flesh, I find you contemptible.

  3. DA going full force on the driver, which is fine, however beating a human and robbing them get criminals 3 hrs in jail. How many people are assaulted, robbed and not including the major crimes in all the stores just be blantantly robbed. People would always tell me NYC has gotten “disneyfied” and it lost it’s soul from the good old days? Well if you missed crime, rampant drugs, prostitution, graffti, getting your car broken in, muggings and record breaking crime overall…. You got your wish Welcome back NYC of the 80s…. We NEED a New “Taxi Driver”

  4. This man is a monster. Even days before this event I had seen this frail horse made to run in the heat with this driver. That day was unforgettable and traumatic to watch. They need to end this animal abuse in plain sight. It’s archaic now. Out this man in jail as an example and end this industry of abuse!

  5. By the way, what happened to the proposed bill to outlaw horse carriages in NYC? For some reason, I thought this was a done deal.

  6. This is great news! They’re all disgusting humans that abuse these poor animals working them to death day in and day out. It is a shame that in 2023, this is still a practice that occurs in NYC when most other places have banned it. Shame on NYC for allowing the Transport Workers Union to continue to openly abuse animals and bully the city into continuing to allow it.

  7. Alvin Bragg is a hell of a D.A. He goes after a carriage driver full-on, but all types of felony criminals get a free pass; slap on the wrist.

    This Bragg is the same fool who jailed a bodega worker for defending himself against a thug.

  8. This is a deeply troubling and tragic situation. It’s unacceptable for any animal to be mistreated, especially in such a vulnerable position as a working horse in the city. I am glad to see that the driver responsible has been charged with animal abuse. It’s important for us to take steps to protect our animal friends and ensure that they are provided with the proper care and treatment they deserve.

  9. For years some of us have been protesting this cruel industry, can we finally pass the bill to shut it down. What May have been considered a mode of transport in the 18 th and 19 th centuries is now obsolete. The streets are filled to capacity with motorized and electric vehicles, it is beyond inhumane treatment to force horses to pull carriages through these mean streets.

  10. I know this will not be a popular comment. Yes!!! This man deserves everything thrown at him!!! Absolutely an irresponsible owner and driver! But , please consider, he does not represent the whole. If you have questions regarding the treatment of the horses, I implore you to walk over to Central Park and respectfully talk to the drivers themselves. They are very friendly and would be more than happy to talk with you and answer questions with regards to the horses and their treatment.
    I also ask you to take a minute and consider the location of the stables. I spoke with a driver several weeks ago. The stables occupy valuable real estate. I wonder what is the concern here? Is it truly the horses or is it all about real estate? I hope it’s about the first but in today’s world the second seems so much more likely I find the PediCabs to be way more obnoxious and dangerous than a horse and carriage. And while we can be concerned with the health and treatment of horses, can we not also be concerned with the health and treatment of pedestrians by these petty cab drivers who do not operate by any kind of traffic laws. I can’t begin to count how many times I’ve nearly been taken out by one of them. As someone with a visual impairment, it is much more concerning. Thank you for your time.

    1. Horses do not belong on NYC streets along side fire trucks, ambulances, cop cars, taxi’s and now bikes in every direction. After working long days they go back to concrete building. If the “owners/operators” were so caring they would have tried to get a stable in Central Park, people could visit, volunteer, etc….these horses are not cared for at all. I’ve seen many too skinny, with open wounds. Electric cars were preposed to the drivers so they had a job lined up when horse carriages were to be banned. They will not lose out at making a living but the horses need to stop working.

      1. There used to be stables in the west 70’s and 80’s but I believe those were for the horses for horseback riding. Stables in the park would have been an awesome idea!!! Was it ever considered? I agree the horses don’t need to be on the streets. But they only travel through the city to get to the park. Stable on W38 btw 10th and 11th. One on W52 at btw 11th and WSH. The horses don’t really live in the stables. They only work two days a week and stay out on a farm in Jersey/Pennsylvania. They live better than most of us. Also, please consider, removing the horses, (some who are actually retired and would be “put out to pasture”) would be job losses for everyone involved. weed out the bad drivers and owners. I love the idea of stables in the park more and more. Snd designate the existing structures as historical. The one on W38 is going to be gobbled up by Hudson Yards the minute the horses go away. That’s what is really at stake. That stable in particular. Why not ask “when is phase 2” of Hudson Yards n being built?

  11. How is this still alowed? Where are the laws protecting animal’s rights?
    This is disgusting!!!


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *