February 2018 Issue - page 1

LANC., PA 17604
Formerly Pennsylvania Equestrian
February 2018
Vol. 25 No. 2
New federal regulations affect some
horse transporters … pg. 4
Dan Patch awards are dominated by
PA and NJ standardbreds … pg. 20
Minis showcase CATRA’s therapeutic
work at the PA Farm Show … pg. 18
…and much more!
Our annual Barns, Arenas &
Footing feature! Pgs. 8-16
(Continued on page 19)
By Amy Worden
For Patrick, Tucker, Freaky
Pete and seven other ex-Phil-
adelphia carriage horses, the
days of dodging traffic, traveling
several miles a day on asphalt
and living in an old warehouse
are over.
The horses arrived at a
sanctuary in Maryland early
last month after the owner of
one of the city’s remaining two
carriage companies agreed to
close her doors and give up the
Han Hee Yoo, who operated
Philadelphia Carriage Tours, was
facing citations and fines related
to repeated building code vio-
lations and for the substandard
stabling conditions for the horses
in her care.
After months of negotiations
with city officials Yoo agreed to
relinquish the horses to the city,
which placed them with Gentle
Giants Draft Horse Rescue in Mt
Airy, Md., which specializes in
rescuing large breed horses from
On a recent frigid weekend
morning in Maryland, the small
herd was finishing breakfast be-
fore ambling about two spacious
pastures in their winter blankets.
The horses who toiled on city
streets for years are enjoying the
freedom of pasture life so much
they are becoming reluctant to
return to their stalls at night,
said Christine Hajek, founder of
Gentle Giants.
“There’s been a lot of
running, bucking and partying
in the field,” said Hajek, whose
rescue cares for 120 horses on
250 acres.
Philadelphia Carriage
Company was billed as one of
the oldest carriage companies in
the country, having operated in
Philadelphia for almost 40 years,
offering tourists guided tours of
Philadelphia Shuts Down Carriage Company, Sanctuary Takes Horses
the city’s famed Independence
Park and surrounding neighbor-
Since summer 2017 the
company had repeated run-ins
with city inspectors for failing to
meet minimum standards for horse
care. Inspections of the centu-
ry-old converted warehouse by the
city’s Department of Licenses and
Inspection, along with the Animal
Care and Control Team (ACCT)
found horses were housed in tie-
stalls and unable to lie down, stalls
had inadequate and dirty bedding
and the building had poor ventila-
tion and rodents. In addition, the
old exercise area for the horses
was eliminated by a condominium
Inspectors also discovered
some horses being worked when
they were supposed to be resting
and recovering from illness.
Officers with the Pennsyl-
vania SPCA had responded to a
number of complaints about the
carriage company over the years
and visited the stables but saw no
evidence of animal cruelty under
the statute, said Nicole Wilson,
the PSPCA’s director of humane
law enforcement.
“The citations that were filed
were based on code violations in-
volving the structure, the tie stalls
and lack of exercise, not criminal
acts of cruelty,” she said.
Last fall the city filed an
emergency injunction seeking the
immediate forfeiture of horses
DaVinci, Little Blue and Tucker,
and the closure of the business.
But there was concern among an-
imal advocates about what would
happen to the horses if the city
shut down the operation.
That’s when the city turned
to Gentle Giants, which has saved
hundreds of draft horses from
slaughter, including many Amish
plow horses, carriage horses and
ex-show horses.
Yoo’s lawyer Barry Penn told the
Philadelphia Inquirer that Yoo had
struggled to care for the horses since
her husband died nine years ago.
“I think [the settlement is]
a good solution for everybody,”
Penn told the newspaper.
Former Philadelphia Carriage Tours horse Patrick is living the good life at Gentle Giants Draft
Horse Rescue in Mt. Airy, MD with the help of GGDHR volunteer Jessica Hunter-Hinsvark. Since
the carriage horses were removed from tie stalls “there’s been a lot of running, bucking and party-
ing,” said GGDHR founder Christine Hajek.
Photo credit: Lauren Nation
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