A little over three months after an accident involving a horse carriage occurred at Ogden Point, a second incident unfolded at the same location last week.
On Friday, Aug. 17, a horse-drawn trolley owned by Victoria Carriage Tours (VCT) collided with a parked van in front of a crowd of cruise ship passengers at around 7 p.m.
Cathy Heronemous, a tourist visiting from Delaware, told Victoria Buzz that she was waiting to board a shuttle bus with about 200 other people when she saw the trolley run into the van.
“It all happened very quickly,” Heronemous said.
While she didn’t see what startled the horses, Heronemous was able to take several photos of the aftermath. The photos show damage to the van’s roof, passenger windows, and passenger doors. The horses are seen standing with part of their harness inside the van itself.
“From where I was, I couldn’t see anything wrong with the horses. But [being] as violent as it was, I was very worried,” Heronemous said.
Both the horses and the trolley’s driver calmed down right away. “I was surprised given the velocity of everything,” Heronemous said.
The horses were later guided back to their stable.
Carriage company says equipment issue behind collision
In an email statement, Victoria Carriage Tours said an “unforeseen equipment issue” caused the horses to startle.
“The driver had the instinct to direct the horse to find the closest barrier in order to stop and prevent the incident from escalating thus allowing for the health and safety of horses and passengers,” the company said.
In a subsequent phone call to Victoria Buzz, VCT owner Tom Walker said reports of the horses’ hooves getting onto the roof of the van were “physically impossible.”
Damage to the roof was due to a part of the horse’s harness called the ‘tree’ coming in through the side window and up through the roof, Walker said.
Despite appearances, Walker said the horses were checked out by a veterinarian, and were found to be unharmed.
“Accidents, they happen,” he said, adding that compensation for damages has been worked out with the van’s owner.
In June, the BC SPCA recommended that the City of Victoria implements a ban on horse-drawn carriage tours following an accident in May.
A second carriage tour company, Tally-Ho Carriage Tours, said there was “no basis” for such a ban.