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La propuesta de Riaño contempla coches eléctricos para paseos en el centro. Foto: Instagram
Riaño's proposal contemplates electric cars for riding downtown. Photo: Instagram 

The dilemma of Cartagena's carriage horses

For decades, hundreds of citizens have opposed the work of horses in the city. Today, there is an electric alternative becoming more real every day.

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One of the favorites for tourists visiting Cartagena, Colombia is to ride in a horse-drawn carriage through the Historic Center of the city. It creates a romantic scene, accompanied by the moonlight and the stories the driver narrates about the 'Corralito de Piedra.' 
 
However, the reality is that many of the animals used to pull the cars face poor living conditions, and often show signs of exhaustion, and collapse in the middle of the street. 
 
Several episodes like these have occurred over the years in the city. The most recent case that became known through social media, was provided by the Colombian comedian Alejandro Riaño, who published a video in which one of the horses of the city is seen lying on the ground from fatigue after an afternoon of work. The video shows the animal being lifted and again tied to the carriage to continue with the tour.
"Look for a solution to all the people who for years work in a dignified way handling these floats, but the animal does not have to suffer this kind of work and less bad food, and mistreatment by some of them," said Riaño in the description of the video shared on Instagram.
 
After expressing his discontent for the treatment of horses in the city, Riaño opened a fundraiser to make the city's first electric carriage, where tourists will be able to enjoy a ride through the Walled City without having to subject a horse to hours of work. 
 
In less than 24 hours, Riaño, with the help of his followers, managed to raise the money to provide the city with the first electric cars as test models in this process.
 
Riaño showed his followers a small model of what the seven-person cars would look like.  
"As of today we start our full-scale prototype. A car with capacity for seven passengers. With charging at solar panel stations. With an autonomy of 120km per trip. Currently they can only travel 40km with animal-drawn cars. In two months we will be delivering the first electric car to the city of Cartagena," said the comedian through his social networks. 
 
Despite reports and complaints, the pesebreras (those who drive the carriages) have not had any type of regulation imposed on them, and the animals continue to show health problems. Although there are alternative ventures such as electric cars, they still have not obtained the traffic permits required to circulate within the Historic Center of Cartagena.
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