Meet the animal lover who uncovered where Ryder the horse was hidden.
The story of Ryder, the carriage horse who collapsed last month in Midtown has swept up the city in a tale that has had more twists and turns than a novel. From alleged abuse to a startling discovery that found Ryder to be far older than originally claimed, the story seemed to end when he was quietly taken out of the city to an upstate farm.
However, the fury that was sparked throughout the five boroughs and beyond wasn’t going to settle so easily. Horse and animal lover Kevin Dever was deeply moved and dismayed by the emotional video that saw Ryder laid out on the city street and took it upon himself to discover the embattled horse’s whereabouts after the carriage industry remained tight-lipped.
To understand why Dever took on the investigation he first spoke on why animal welfare is so important to him. The journey began with a cancer diagnosis and the unyielding love of his pet dog.
“When I was sick with cancer my girlfriend left me and he stayed with me. All the nights sick and vomiting on the floor the dog never left my side,” Dever told amNewYork Metro. “We were very close, and I love animals.”
Concerned that the industry was merely waiting for the media buzz to die down before allowing Ryder to meet a bitter end, Dever sought to find where Ryder was being held in hopes of both keeping the story alive and in hopes of saving the horse, which he believes to be in danger.
Dever joins critics in citing concern for Ryder at his current location at the Clover Hill Farm in Wallkill, but it was Dever who first discovered where Ryder had been taken.
“They kept on saying he was going to upstate New York, so I was like okay. They must have a contract with somebody,” Dever explained, asking to keep some of the finer details private. “I know people in the industry, so I asked around where these horses go.”
After some stellar detective work that saw Dever exhaust all his efforts to find Ryder including calling the farm through which he said owners inadvertently admitted to having the horse. Dever revealed to amNewYork Metro that he went one step further by investigating the farm firsthand.
“I went there one day before I contacted them looking to rent a storage space for my horse because I want to go on vacation in upstate New York. I got a tour of the place and that’s when I saw him.”
Dever also said he is skeptical of the released photo of Ryder at the farm. The picture depicts the horse with his head obscured inside a feed bucket, something the Dever finds fishy.
“There’s no way in 15 days that horse’s ribs disappeared and he put weight on. It just doesn’t happen,” Dever said.
Like many across the state and even across the country, Dever explained that he is fearful for Ryder’s fate, concerned that with the passage of time and the story losing its fizzle, Ryder may quietly become a casualty of the war for the carriage industry.
Others, however, feel that Dever’s claims are not accurate. Amy Mccambridge CEO of The Unbridled Heroes Project says that she visited Clover Hills Farms where she saw Ryder and believes he looks to be getting healthier and is happier with more barn space and interactions with other horses.
“He is happy, has plenty of room and two new mini horse friends. The whole place has a beautiful energy about it and the animals are mostly rescues that are there. He is getting seen by the very best and despite what people are saying about Marcy, she is really an incredible person who does love her animals and is giving Ryder the best care. We have access to him and will be following his care. But he is genuinely happy and healing,” Mccambridge told amNewYork Metro.
amNewYork Metro reached out to the horse carriage industry for comment and is awaiting a response.