Summer heat is tough on calèche horses


Québec City’s famous calèche horse rides through Old Québec

This summer's long heat wave combined with abnormal levels of smog and humidity has affected affected everybody from human beings to . . . horses.

In a recent letter sent to the Quebec Chronicle-Telegraph on June 23rd, a British tourist reported, as her group was touring the city, that a horse collapsed while pulling a carriage or calèche filled with passengers. The tourist mentioned in her letter that she believed the incident was related to heat exhaustion.

She also noted that, normally, calèches are hitched with two horses instead of one, according to what she she said has seen elsewhere in countries such as Austria and Poland.

There are two small businesses operating calèches here in Quebec City.

The first one listed in the phone book responded to a message, the owner promising to call back, and has not return our call before press time.

The second one agreed to talk only under condition of anonymity.
The man said he finds it ridiculous to assume that two horses should be used to draw calèches. The regulation in Quebec City states clearly that a calèche can only be drawn by a single horse.

City Hall verified that the regulations clearly state that only one horse can draw a calèche around the city.
The calèche owner also denied there ever was an incident related to the collapsing of a horse due to heat exhaustion.

"Horses can slip from time to time but it has never been brought to my attention of any collapsing incident," he said.

"Regulations are applied regarding daily visits by a veterinarian to check on the animals to make sure their working conditions are good and that they are in good health. If a horse is sick or unable to work anymore, it is simply taken back to the stables," he added.

"And a horse will not be allowed to work when temperatures reaches 32 Celsius. These regulations are strict; horses can only work in the morning and at night with that kind of heat."

"Would be better if we did not have any," he said of the city's regulations, "but the ones in place are OK."


RELATED ARTICLE: AUGUST 14, 2010 - Caleche horse, Jim, is euthanized in the streets of Old Quebec


RELATED ARTICLE: July 23, 2010 - Calèche horse collapses in apparent exhaustion


It has been reported in the August 9 edition of Le Soleil, that on July 28, the day the QCT published this article a Caleche horse named Jim, had to be euthanized in the street in Old Quebec.  We are investigating further the situation.