I was pleased to see that the D.C. Council has finally decided to offer at least some relief to city carriage horses {"Council Drafts Bill on Horse Carriages," District Weekly, Dec. 20}.

As any commuter knows, even a brief venture downtown is no joyride. Take away heat, air-conditioning, protection from exhaust, a motivation to get somewhere and add instead a heavy harness and a cart loaded with passengers, and there you have the lives of many horses in the District.

Is a 30-minute gratuitous journey into the past really worth subjecting these naturally grazing animals to a lifetime of continuous modern-day traffic, noise and pollution?

Sarah Davies, owner of a horse carriage company, says in the article that carriage horses educate people about our heritage. Surely visitors and Washingtonians alike can obtain a far superior education of our heritage by visiting our many fine museums and monuments.

We have before us an opportunity to show that our nation's capital is not completely lacking in compassion and common sense. Regulating this industry, at taxpayers' expense, only adds to the bureaucracy and to the half solutions Washington is loathed for. This industry should be banned. Horses simply don't belong in traffic.

FRANKLIN MAPHIS Silver Spring