The longstanding and traditional carousel has been given many different face lifts since the first one was built by the Danish carver, Charles I.D Looff in 1876, but all follow a typical form of a revolving platform and wooden seats often carved in the shape of decorated carved horses. This is a standard American and Europe design however this is not the case in China. There has been news reports of how a shopping center has created a Carousel with a twist.
A carousel in China has been filmed, going round with real horses rather than the standard wooden ones and has come under fire by many organisation who have viewed this. The bizarre twist of the traditional fairground ride was found in the Shunagliu Wanda Plaza shopping center in the city of Chengdu and features four live horses harnessed to metal frames around the center pole of the carousel and made to walk around on the motor driven platform. Consumers are charged £5.60 for a four-minute ride.
The ride is advertised as “Different from traditional wooden horses, you can really experience the fun on horseback and let your child indulge. Let you and your child be brave.”
The ride has reportedly received criticism from a number of animal cruelty organisations who have said that it is unethical to use the horses for this. However according to the Equestrian Club who owns and operates the ride they have trainers onsite at all time and the horses only ride for four hours which gives them plenty of exercise. The horses are harnessed correctly to ensure peoples safety and ensure the horses don’t run wild.
The carousel has received mixed reviews with some shoppers saying that its worth its money and the experience of riding actual horses makes the fairground ride come alive. Some however have reacted in horror stating that you shouldn’t normalise animal abuse and justify it to make money out of mistreating animals and that if you want to experience riding a horse then you can go to a professional riding stable where the animals are treated freely.
This is similar to the uses of horses back in the day when they were used to pull horses and carts and in the agricultural field. Horses are a lot stronger than we imagine and can be trained to carry out a heavy workload, so maybe allowing them to be rode for four hours a day isn’t too strenuous on the horse, as long as they are being cared for properly and given the opportunity to be free and have space to run around outside of their carousel duties. Alternatively the traditional carousel with wooden horses has always been more than popular and maybe this real makeover is not needed and due to the backlash this has received I feel that other carousel owners will not be adapting their ride to using real horses.