The secret of Charleston’s charm and beauty has long been out. In 2016, Charleston was named “The Best City in the World” by readers of Travel & Leisure Magazine. As a result, hotel and other construction is booming, while growing traffic congestion on city streets continues to pose challenges. In July 2015, a horse named Blondie collapsed on the hot asphalt while pulling a carriage full of tourists. It took more than three hours to get Blondie off the hot pavement. He was apparently spooked by a nearby cement truck. In the weeks prior to Blondie’s accident, there were two other horses spooked by city congestion, as reported on by the Charleston Post & Courier:
Two other horses were scared by construction equipment in the weeks before Blondie fell down, according to the (police) reports.
On March 6, a horse was spooked by a front-end loader coming toward him on Cumberland Street. He jerked around and damaged the hood of a parked car. On July 14, just three days before Blondie’s incident, a horse was spooked “over a piece of machinery” on Queen Street and the tour guide thrown to the ground.
The Post & Courier also discovered 9 other incidents involving spooked horses, but the newspaper reported the City only keeps these kinds of records for three years. In April 2017, the Post and Courier wrote this article about the growing number of congestion related carriage incidents.
In April 2014, a horse pulling a carriage with passengers bolted out of control on city streets. The horse was spooked near the City Market, ending in a crash into the brick walls of the market.
Several other incidents have occurred over the years, and Charleston Animal Society is in the process of compiling a complete list. But perhaps the most tragic was the death of Eugenia Smith in October 1984. A spooked horse ran through the market killing her, where she worked as a market vendor.