Coachman Charged With Animal Torture After Horse Collapses, Is Euthanized

A 54 year-old coachman was hit with a slew of charges after his carriage horse–popularly known as Ryder–collapsed on W. 45th St. last August. After a veterinarian discovered a host of preceding illnesses, the horse eventually had to be euthanized.

| 17 Nov 2023 | 07:01

A coachman has been charged with animal torture, after his long-suffering carriage horse collapsed on W. 45th St. in the summer of 2022. The steed, known as Ryder, eventually had to be euthanized.

Ian McKeever–45 and a resident of Long Island–has been hit with a slew of misdemeanor raps, including: overdriving, torturing and injuring animals, and failure to provide proper sustenance.

On August 10, 2022, McKeever had reportedly been piloting a 26 year-old Standardbred named Ryder down W. 45th St. at around 4:45 p.m. Bystanders that spoke to prosecutors claimed that Ryder appeared visibly frail and overworked. Considering the 84-degree weather, the D.A.’s office believes he may have been overheated as well. They had been out trotting since 9:30 a.m., and Ryder’s tongue was reportedly lolling out the side of his mouth when he collapsed.

According to the D.A.’s office, McKeever failed to tend to his equine companion after he collapsed. He kept the harness on the animal, yanked on his reins, and even allegedly whipped him.

Members of the NYPD’s Mounted Unit, including Sergeant Vincent Fontana, noticed the struggling animal. In a bid to save him, officer Michael Keegan removed Ryder’s harness and doused him in ice water. The injured horse was finally able to stand around 45 minutes later, before being transported to a stable on W. 28th St. McKeever reportedly told Fontana that he had been on his way to take Ryder back to his barn.

Dr. Laura Niestat, a forensic veterinarian with the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, later observed Ryder and gave him a “2” out of 9 on the Henneke Body Condition Score Scale. The horse apparently had longstanding dental issues, a low white blood cell count, and diminished platelets.

It further appeared that Ryder had heart disease, cancer, and free fluid in his abdomen. Niestat could not exactly pin down which ailment caused his collapse.

Ryder was euthanized shortly thereafter.

“As alleged, Ryder should not have been working on this hot summer day,” said District Attorney Alvin Bragg, adding that “despite his condition, he was out for hours and worked to the point of collapse.” He thanked the NYPD’s Mounted Unit for their efforts to save the dying horse.

”All animals deserve to be treated with the utmost care and the type of abuse that Ryder allegedly suffered is unacceptable,” he added.

According to a report in the New York Post, McKeever proclaimed outside the courthouse that he believed the case was a “political hit job.”

Raymond Loving, his defense attorney, could not be reached for comment by Straus News at press time.