Hot Horses: City leader proposes limiting carriage horse work time in summer

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – With heat indexes reaching well over 100°, many Savannah neighbors worry downtown’s hardest workers need a break from the scorching temperatures.

“It’s more of a humane thing for me,” said Alderman Tony Thomas. “When you see these horses clopping down the street with foam and everything out of the mouth, I don’t think that’s the image that Savannah wants to portray.”

Thomas took to Facebook this week and posted that he thought the city should reconsider how many hours carriage tour companies can work horses during the hot summer months.

“I’m not saying that they don’t care about their animals,” he said. “But there should be more than just chasing the dollar.”

But Historic Savannah Carriage Tours tour guide Sarah Wagner told News 3 extra precautions are taken for the horses in weather like this.

“We’re going to be giving them more electrolytes to make sure they’re hydrated,” said Wagner. “Usually if it’s winter time we have the water bucket halfway through the tour and that’s going to be about good enough, but in the summertime we do make sure to hose them off as well as offering them water every 30 minutes.”

Wagner has been a tour guide for more than a year, studied animal science in college, and grew up around horses, and said she knows what to look for if a horse is getting too hot.

“They’re going to be more sluggish, they might be weaving a little bit, they’re gonna be having a hard time catching their breath so that’s a big one, catching their breath,” she explained.

Wagner also said the the tour company will bring the horses inside long before temperatures get to the maximum they’re allowed to work in.

But Thomas isn’t completely convinced, and has already reached out to the rest of the city council to have the topic put on their next workshop agenda.

Stay with WSAV for updates.

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