A carriage horse on the job near Columbus Circle got spooked and took off heading west on 59th Street, with its carriage and operator in tow on Thursday afternoon.
Some tourists had just boarded the carriage when the horse stormed off.
A witness said the horse's driver tried desperately to keep the animal under control but ended up getting dragged.
Along the way, the carriage struck a few cars before flipping over and breaking apart.
The startled horse got loose from the wrecked carriage and kept going. Several police officers managed to catch the horse and get it into an NYPD trailer.
By early evening, the horse, named Oreo, was returned to its stable.
A spokesperson for the ASPCA, which monitors the conditions of carriage horses, said Oreo would be kept off the job until cleared by a veterinarian.
EMTs took the carriage operator to a hospital for treatment.
In a statement, a group called New Yorkers for Clean, Livable and Safe Streets, or NYCLASS, said this incident shows that "the time of the horse and buggy has come and gone." The group is calling for a ban on horse-drawn carriages in New York City.
A volunteer with NYCLASS shot video of the aftermath of the incident.
A photo by Ow.ly user bgershon from the scene shows a red and white carriage tipped over.