Carriage Driver Ian McKeever Charged in Death of Horse, Ryder — Details Here

Anna Garrison - Author

Nov. 16 2023, Updated 4:15 p.m. ET

The Gist:

  • In August 2022, footage of a New York City carriage horse named Ryder being beaten before collapsing in exhaustion went viral.
  • Tragically, in October of the same year, Ryder was euthanized allegedly due to medical conditions and old age.
  • Ian McKeever, the carriage driver who was responsible for Ryder's mistreatment, has been charged with "one count of overdriving, torturing, and injuring animals and failure to provide proper sustenance."
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Animal rights activists and residents of New York City were horrified when a video of carriage horse Ryder collapsing in exhaustion went viral. They were even more horrified to see the driver of the carriage, Ian McKeever, cruelly beating Ryder until he collapsed, urging him to get back up.

In October 2022, Ryder was euthanized, allegedly due to underlying medical conditions and old age, despite previous evidence that he was malnourished. In November 2023, almost a year later, McKeever has been charged with "one count of overdriving, torturing, and injuring animals and failure to provide proper sustenance," as per The New York Post. Here's what you need to know about the situation.

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A horse drawn carriage in New York City.
Source: iStock

Former carriage driver Ian McKeever has been charged following horse Ryder's death.

On Nov. 15, 2023, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin L. Bragg, Jr. charged Ian McKeever with "one count of Overdriving, Torturing, and Injuring Animals, Failure to Provide Proper Sustenance," which is a Class A misdemeanor, as per the Manhattan District Attorney office.

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"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."

According to The New York Post, McKeever's next court appearance is Dec. 20, 2023.

As a result of Ryder's viral collapse and subsequent death, activists and elected officials banded together to create Intro 573, or "Ryder's Law," that would ban horse-drawn carriages in NYC and replace them with electric carriages only. The legislation was formally introduced by New York City Council member Robert Holden of District 30.

If you are a NYC resident, you can contact your Council Member and ask them to co-sponsor Intro 573.

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Animal rights activists are thrilled that McKeever is facing justice.

NYC-based animal political advocacy group Voters For Animal Rights (VFAR) hopes that McKeever's misdeeds will bring an end to the use of horses for entertainment in New York City. Nathan Semmel, Lead Organizer and Strategist for the organization, shared the following statement about his charges with Green Matters:

"From falsifying records to mask Ryder’s actual age, to failing to provide Ryder with proper care, to working him in excessive heat, to depriving him adequate nutrition, to whipping and attempting to rush him off the scene to cover up those misdeeds, Mr. McKeever’s actions are a symptom of a cruel industry that uses horses as a vessel for profit with a callous disregard for their needs."

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Edita Birnkrant, Executive Director of animal rights legislation group NYCLASS, issued a statement on behalf of NYCLASS:

"We commend the Manhattan DA for pressing charges against Ian McKeever for his criminal abuse of Ryder. Ian McKeever still profits today from the horse carriage industry as an active owner in the business and this is unacceptable. However, these charges are not enough to end the suffering of so many other horses continually forced into traffic 10 hours a day while elderly, injured and unwell — just like Ryder was."

The statement also urged Mayor Eric Adams, Speaker Adrienne Adams, and TWU (NY Transportation Union) Local 100 President Richard Davis to support passage of Ryder's Law.

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