A Horse in the U-Bahn?

Columns | Dardis McNamee | April 2007

The Viennese are accustomed to the pet-friendly policies of the city’s public services. Thus it did not entirely surprise me to come across the following in the Mar. 22, 2007 edition of Der Standard: A request had come into the customer desk of the Vienna Transit Authority (Wiener Linien) from a woman who was planning to take her horse for an outing to the Prater, in the 2nd district. To do that, she would have to use the U1 Subway.

Was a horse (Pferd), like a dog, required to wear a muzzle in the U-Bahn?

In short order, she received the following answer from the Transit Supervisor for the Eastern Region:

"If it’s a large horse, like a Lipizzaner, Haflinger, Mustang, or Flusspferd (hippopotamus), no permission can be given for its conveyance. However if the horse in question is a Shetland  or Icelandic pony and can be carried in a box, as hand luggage, a permit is theoretically possible.

"Sea horses can also be taken along – with no muzzle requirement – as long as the aquarium is of unbreakable glass, as might be used in a military tank.

"For a Steckenpferd (hobby horse), in the physical sense, there is likewise no rule; other metaphorical Steckenpferde (playthings) can of course be brought along spiritually, in unlimited numbers.

"We hope," concluded the Wiener Linien, "that we have, in this way, been able to be of service to you."

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