A Charleston carriage horse that was photographed Monday afternoon lying on the pavement on Queen Street — setting off a flurry of concern on social media — simply decided to take a break, according to its owners.
The 7-year-old horse named Bud, owned by Palmetto Carriage Works, was pulling passengers with partner Buck when Bud went down in the street about 4 p.m. The carriage was stopped at the time, according to a report filed with the city.
"He was calm, breathing was normal, no sign of distress," according to the driver. "He remained down until detached, then easily rose to his feet."
Bud walked back to the Big Red Barn in the City Market area and was examined by a vet.
"His physical exam was within normal limits and there is only a small superficial abrasion on the outside of the left knee,” Deidre Huff with Edisto Equine Clinic said in a statement.
He was cleared for work with no restrictions.
“We’re pleased to hear that Bud has been given a clean bill of health by the veterinarian after he decided to lay down during yesterday’s tour,” Palmetto Carriage Works General Manager Tommy Doyle also said in a statement. "We take all incidents very seriously and thankfully yesterday’s was very minor."
Several incidents of horses tripping and remaining down until their tack was removed have been reported. Invariably, the incidents renew accusations that the horses are being overworked and shouldn't be pulling people through the streets of Charleston. A photograph of Bud lying in the street that was posted on Facebook had been shared nearly 1,000 times Tuesday afternoon, with most of the comments expressing sympathy for the horse.
The accusations are met with counterclaims that the critics don't know much about horses. Charleston Carriage Horse Caretakers and Supporters and Charleston CARES posted a video of Bud walking around the barn not long after the incident looking fine.