Santa Clarita Nonprofit Organization Unveils ‘Horseless' Carriages

When automobiles were invented over a century ago they were nicknamed “horseless carriages” because that’s exactly what they were.

Well, more than 100 years later, horseless carriages are back but for a very different reason. 

The Gentle Barn in Santa Clarita is on a mission to take horses off the streets.

“This is an electric carriage and we are so excited about it,” Ellie Laks, founder of the Gentle Barn said. 

At the Gentle Barn in Santa Clarita they have unveiled what they hope is the future of travel.

Not for here on the ranch, but for a place a little busier: Central Park in Manhattan.

“We want to bring the electric carriage to New York City and offer a solution to the horse carriage industry,” Laks said.

“It has all the magic and fairytale of a carriage without exploiting an animal,” Laks said.

While a horse carriage ride through Central Park remains a top tourist attraction… calls to end this longtime tradition continue to grow following this video of a horse collapsing on the streets of manhattan.

That’s where Ellie Laks steps in. 

She’s the founder of the Gentle Barn, which rehabilitates animals in Southern California, Missouri and Tennessee and they’re now raising funds for a New York location about an hour from Central Park. 

“Horse lovers, horse rescuers and animal activists alike have really cringed at the sight of these horses with traffic rushing by on either side, standing on concrete, pulling on concrete and living in concrete buildings,” Laks said.

That’s why the Gentle Barn developed this all-electric carriage featuring heating and air conditioning, even a stereo.

They say they don’t want to end the industry, they want to help the carriage owners…

“The drivers can surrender their horse to be rehabilitated and retired at the new Gentle Barn in New York,” Laks said. “And in exchange, get an electric carriage that will not only ensure their livelihood, but will most likely make more money.”

 “I think when you talk to people who are going to NYC, that’s one of the things that they say, that they wanted to take a carriage ride through Central Park,” Chauncey Trask, a former New York resident, said. “All you have to do is look at those horses to know that they’re absolutely miserable.”

That’s something Laks hopes to change. 

“Can you imagine this in Central Park? Just moving along silently. It’s just a good feeling all the way around — magical, beautiful, and harms no one.”