Call Collett: Horses pulled from carriage tours as temperatures soar

Charleston County News

Charleston, SC The quaint sight of horses pulling carriages is a throwback to our history.  It also makes a lot of people uncomfortable to see the horses working in the South Carolina heat.

The City of Charleston Director of Livability and Tourism, Dan Riccio, says the horses are pulled from work when it’s too hot. The threshold was set by a committee of stakeholders.

“It was a collaborative vote with the committee,” Riccio explained to Count on 2.

Two years ago, the group of residents, animal advocates, weather experts, and vets devised new thresholds for when horses are pulled from their work. At 95 degrees or 110 with the heat index, Riccio’s team starts a series of readings.

“Four readings of that temperature, and we pull the horses,” Riccio explained.

The new standard took effect two years ago and lowered the previous threshold of 98 degrees or a heat index of 125.

The carriage companies are required to check horses body temperatures in even cooler weather. 

“When the ambient temperature reaches 85 degrees, the animal’s internal temperature is checked after each tour,” Riccio explained. “That’s even more of a precaution for the welfare of the animal.”

The City of Charleston ordered carriages off the street Tuesday and Wednesday.

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