Carriage horse falls, can't get up; passersby stop to help

Image 1 of 2

A video posted on the Charleston Carriage Horse Advocates Facebook page is going viral. The video shows a carriage horse lying on its side in the middle of the street, as people come to its aid. 

The video caused an uproar online, particularly with animal rights activists. Charleston Carriage Horse Advocates posted the video along with a plea to sign a petition to put a stop to horse-drawn carriages in the city of Charleston. 

But there's more to the shocking video than meets the eye. A news story later revealed that the horse had not actually "collapsed" as the Facebook post originally said. 

The Post and Courier reported that the horse, named Big John, had actually just tripped and fallen. 

Big John is owned by Charleston Carriage Works

Dan Riccio, the city's livability and tourism director, told Post and Courier that the horse has been pulling a carriage with about a dozen passengers around 3:45 p.m. when it fell. The horse didn't try to get up until his harness was removed. 

It was Big John's first tour of the day, and the incident did not appear to be heat related, Riccio said. 

Once his harness was removed, the horse sat up and was helped to its feet by local firefighters. Carriage company employees then walked the horse back to the barn.


Charleston Carriage Works told FOX 13 News that the horse simply tripped, and that it was a minor incident and Big John is just fine. 

A video posted on the Palmetto Carriage Works and Palmetto Tours Facebook page shows Big John walking around the day after the incident, doing great.  They also said in the post, "We spoke with his owner and can confirm that yesterday's slip was not due to the heat or from being tired as some claim. It looks like he just tripped -- like we all do sometimes!"

While the original video of the horse lying helplessly in the street caused a big outcry of concern, the owners assure he is just fine. Luckily, plenty of kind strangers and employees of the carriage house were quick to come to Big John's aid with water and love. 

According to Riccio, Big John's only injuries were some scrapes to his leg from the fall. The horse will be taking some time off until a veterinarian clears him and files the report with the city. 

In case you're wondering how the passengers in the carriage got home, they were a group of high school students and they helped push the carriage back to the barn. 

Thanks to the good citizens and tourists in Charleston, a bad situation turned out to be not so bad after all.