Dec 142003
 
Authors: Jamie Way

Every year around this time, Fort Collins’ holiday spirit begins

to show.

White lights brighten Old Town, shoppers can be seen bustling

around the streets and for the second year, B&R Services’

carriages can be seen taking passengers for a ride around downtown.

Though many people find these rides enjoyable, others do not think

it is an acceptable form of entertainment.

Amanda Miller, event coordinator of the Downtown Business

Association, 19 Old Town Square, said she believes a variety of

people could enjoy the carriage rides, such as kids and

couples.

“I think it’s just a wonderful time…” Miller said. “It adds to

the holiday experience down here.”

Not everyone agrees that carriage rides should be an enjoyable

time. Ruth Goldstein, spokesperson for American Society for the

Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, believes that other things should

be taken into account.

“We’re opposed to the act of taking people around in carriages,

in an urban area especially,” Goldstein said. “It’s a completely

inhumane form of entertainment.” Goldstein says a variety of

concerns arise out of the horses being in an urban setting. She

said that the horses breathing exhaust, their stable conditions and

potential motor vehicle accidents are all problems. The ASPCA,

based out of New York City, campaigned to keep the carriages solely

within City Park.

“It’s just not an appropriate environment,” Goldstein said.

Jim Rice, owner of B&R Services, disagrees. He said his

company’s wagons are equipped with turn lights, lanterns, rubber

tires and hydraulic brakes. He said they also re-shoe the horses

regularly.

“Some people don’t agree with using horses for work,” Rice said.

“(The) teams of horses we have really love to work.”

Rice and his partner Doug Barnes drive the two carriages. To

care for them they provide them with water approximately once an

hour and give them treats sporadically. They provide approximately

nine hours worth of rides.

“We switch our teams out about every two hours,” Rice said.

According to Rice, the horses are very gentle and passengers

have had a very positive response.

“A lot of people get engaged on our carriages in December,” Rice

said.

Rice said many people enjoy the carriage rides, because of the

reminiscent feel they bring to the community.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Rice said. “It brings back the old days of

Fort Collins.”

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