(c) Bart Boterman

Tinka, the Bruges carriage horse, collapses and dies on the job

Coachmen in Bruges are in shock after the sudden death of Tinka a carriage horse on the Burg, one of the central squares in the tourist hotspot.  Horse-drawn carriages are a much-loved sight in the West Flemish capital, but tourists taking a carriage ride yesterday certainly got more than they bargained for.

Tinka, had just had four days off, as tourism is still starting to pick up in Bruges after the recent lockdown.  The horse was making its first ride of the day, when it collapsed and died.

Coachman Mark Wentein, the president of the Flemish horse-riding federation, told VRT: “I’d seen Tinka in the morning at the daily medical.  She has notched up ten years of experience on coaches in Bruges and was one of our most reliable horses.”

“She passed by at walking speed with a number of customers.  Nothing seemed out of the ordinary.  Five minutes later she had collapsed.  There’s no explanation.  All horses had a full medical in April.”

17-year-old Tinka could not be rescued and the fire brigade had to be called to move the 700-kilo cadaver that was taken to Ghent University for a PM.

Tinka’s coach driver and owner are both in shock too and the paying customers in the carriage were dreadfully cut up.

“We need to know the cause of death.  Was it heart failure or had she eaten something unfortunate in the meadow when she was resting?  We don’t know.  It wasn’t her age.  Some of our horses are still working at 25” says Wentein.

Heat can’t have caused it either.  It was only 18°C tops in Bruges yesterday.


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