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Carriage horse's fall in James Bay stemmed from harness malfunction: owner

A long-time opponent of the horse-and-carriage business accused the company of downplaying the incident
A file photo of tourists on a Tally-Ho carriage tour on Belleville Street in downtown Victoria on Sept. 2, 2021. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

An incident in which a horse pulling a carriage slipped and fell in James Bay on Sunday was the result of a harness malfunction, says the owner of Tally-Ho Carriage Tours.

It started when the carriage driver noticed a problem with the harness when stopped at an intersection. The driver got off to try to readjust it, Donna Friedlander said Monday.

As the driver led the carriage in a circle at Menzies and Superior streets, the horse bucked, she said.

The carriage caught on a lamp standard and stopped. The horse slipped and fell but got up quickly, she said.

The harness was removed, the carriage was unhooked and passengers got out, she said.

The horse was checked at the scene and again later and determined to be fine, said Friedlander, adding a close examination of the harness was planned for Monday.

Jordan Reichert, a long-time opponent of the horse-and-carriage business and a member of the Victoria Horse Alliance, accused the company of downplaying the incident, which he called serious.

He said eyewitnesses reported that the horse had spooked and bolted, “running fearfully around the intersection” before falling.

But Friedlander said the Shire horse, Maggie, was not tangled in anything and was never loose.

Maggie has been used for 2 1/2 years without any issues, Friedlander said.

Tally-Ho is one of the city’s oldest companies, dating back to 1903 when stagecoaches were used for transportation in the region.

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