A horse drawn carriage has become a holiday tradition—and the demand for rides is high. But a group is asking how much the horses can really handle.
KANSAS CITY, Mo. - One man's petition to ban horse-drawn carriages at the Country Club Plaza is quickly catching on.
Every night you can hear their gallops as thousands take the joy ride each year. But if the horses could talk, what would they say?
"I want to be the voice that they don't have," Ryan Rhodes said.
Rhodes thinks he knows what they would say.
"You wouldn't want to be out here in 25 degree weather, standing around and waiting for people to pull around the Plaza," he said.
He's set up a petition on change.org to ban horse-drawn carriages from the Plaza. It's already gotten more than 100 supporters.
"Hopefully some local legislatures will see it and take a stand," Rhodes said.
Kelly Johnson offers carriage rides on his farm in Pleasant Hill, Mo.
"The horses are made to work," he said.
Johnson keeps a close eye on his 20 horses and said he's never had one get sick.
"The people that drive them, the people that own them, they watch and they give off signals and if they see something wrong they're going to stop and they're going to deal with it," he said.
The two companies on the Plaza have to comply with city regulations which won't allow them to take horses out in weather below five degrees and more than 90 degrees.
For Rhodes, that isn't enough.
"It's not okay for us to be using these horses as entertainment so we can bring in money," he said.
The owner of Kansas City Carriages said he takes his horses to the vet at least every 90 days to ensure they are in good shape.