Horse-drawn carriage industry booming in Memphis

After a horse-drawn carriage crash with a car in New York City, a national organization is pushing to pull the reins on the picturesque rides.

The horse-drawn carriage industry is thriving in downtown Memphis. Some say they add whimsical flair.

"I think it's romantic," said Carla Fraze, a tourist from Missouri.

Others think carriage rides on bustling, narrow streets are a dangerous combination.

"If they get scared by something and spooked the horse can rear up. It can hurt itself, it can hurt the people in the carriage," explained Ginger Morgan of the Memphis/Shelby County Humane Society.

Scott Williams of Cindarella's Horse and Carriage says drivers take good care of their bread and butter. They fit their horses with blinders to block out commotion and rubber hoofs for extra cushion.

"Here in Memphis I would say that even my competitors, who I disagree with sometimes, on taking care of the horses they do do a good job," explained Williams.

He says his horses work just four days a week and that they rest in a pasture the rest of the week.

Horse-drawn carriages are banned in cities like Las Vegas and Palm Beach, Florida. The city of Memphis says that the few complaints that have been filed were from tourists who then left town.

"Of course the city would be concerned because usually that's people that say I'm not coming back there," explained Phil Snyder of Memphis Animal Services.

He encourages locals to report any problems they encounter.

"Horses that the people feel are being overworked or maybe forced to pull carriages in 100 degree temperatures, humid weather. Improper shoes for operating on the pavement," he said.

Local animal rights advocates would like more frequent and random checks of the horses. But while some say city streets are no place for horses, no local organization is pushing to put an end the story book image brought to life.