The death of Ryder — a New York City carriage horse who went viral in August after collapsing during an incident caught on video — could lead to change for other carriage horses.
The Gentle Barn, a non-profit animal sanctuary with four locations around the U.S., is fast-forwarding plans to open a rescue for retired carriage horses because of Ryder's struggle, according to a release from the organization.
"It is only a matter of time before the next horse falls," said Jay Weiner, Gentle Barn's cofounder. "We must act now by getting old and injured horses to a safe space where they can be rehabbed and live their best lives, and in the long term, we must replace horse-drawn carriages with electric ones."
A fundraising campaign was recently launched for the retirement home sanctuary, which The Gentle Barn plans to open outside New York City in Westchester, New York. The Gentle Barn hopes the new project will become a "verdant, quiet, and peaceful haven for the horses as well as visitors from New York."
"While we work toward the transition to electric carriages — the ideal solution for the horses, the drivers, the environment, and New York City tourism — we can offer the horses a humane and loving retirement plan," Weiner explained in a statement.
"At our new facility, we are prepared to mitigate the uncertain fate and less than healthy conditions that carriage horses face while also giving horse owners a new option and encouraging compliance with retirement age rules," he added.
In August, Ryder was found "lying in the middle of the roadway in distress," the New York City Police Department told PEOPLE of the animal's collapse at 45th St. and Ninth Ave.
A video of the moment obtained by NBC News showed Ryder's carriage driver Ian McKeever attempting to pull the animal up and hitting it, yelling, "Get up! Come on! Get up! Get up!" as Ryder stayed on the ground and dropped his head.
The video renewed calls for an end to the carriage rides in New York's Central Park and other large cities, with celebrities like Billie Eilish and Kaley Cuoco signing an open letter through the Animal Legal Defense Fund stating in part, "this is not the way animals should be treated."
"Ryder is an individual, but his situation is not unique," the letter continued. "Tragic outcomes for horses haunt New York City's history, as well as other cities across the country. Horses, carriage passengers, pedestrians, cyclists and others are put at risk by this cruel and reckless industry. We say: No more."
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Lea Michele is also trying to raise awareness for the inhumane treatment of carriage horses. She's currently featured in a taxi-top ad campaign calling for an end to horse-drawn carriages.
The PETA campaign is in support of a proposed ban — called Ryder's Law — on the horse-drawn carriage industry, which PETA says forces horses to pull oversized loads in heavy traffic and extreme weather.