Pictured Above: A deal to reduce and move New York City carriage horses is not imminent, says Stephen Malone, carriage driver and industry spokesman.

By American Farriers Journal Staff

A deal to reduce and move New York City’s horse-drawn carriages isn’t as close as recent reports suggest.

“On our behalf,” carriage driver Stephen Malone told CBS New York, “a deal is not imminent, not imminent.”

According to several reports, the bill aims to reduce the number of horses from 220 to 75 and move them from their Hell’s Kitchen stables. The city reportedly had agreed to pay for the construction of new stables in Central Park.

Malone says the carriage drivers not reached an agreement on reducing the stable of horses.

“It would be very crippling to our industry to lose any horse,” he told 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck. “We’re fighting tooth and nail to make sure that every horse, every job and driver is preserved to maximum protection.”

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio says discussions are ongoing.

“We think some good discussions are happening,” he says. “We don’t have an agreement yet.”

When campaigning for office in 2013, de Blasio vowed to “quickly and aggressively move to make horse carriages no longer a part of the landscape in New York City. They’re not humane. They’re not appropriate to the year 2014.”

A number of equine veterinarians and organizations including the American Association of Equine Practitioners, American Veterinary Society, the New York State Veterinary Medical Society, Dr. Sarah Ralston and International Equine Veterinarian Hall Of Fame members Dr. Harry Werner and Dr. Stephen O’Grady all dispute the claims of abuse and poor living conditions.

Lancaster County, Pa., farrier Aaron Hoover, who shoes about 40% of all the carriage horses scoffs at the notion that the animals are abused.

“I think the horses get treated better than I do,” he told American Farriers Journal. “There’s a law that every horse gets 5 weeks of vacation. They’re not allowed to work when the temperature is above 89 degrees or below 19 degrees. I’m lucky if I get 1 week of vacation a year.”