The do’s and don’ts of safe commercial carriage operations
Here we show you unsafe situations that no responsible horse-drawn carriage service should engage in.
Unfortunately, we see these things way too often. It is all dangerous. Never is it worth the brag for a photo of a customer in the driver’s seat. Not only does the photo depict this without a competent driver next to her but without a header as well. Ignorance taken about as far as it can go is an infant sitting high upon a draft horse hooked to a carriage sitting on the lines.
The below photos show an incredible lack of understanding of harness fit. This not only is uncomfortable for the horse this is dangerous as well. We see a breast collar way too low. Sagging traces without keepers just waiting for a horses hind leg to get hung up while innocently swinging a leg at a fly on its belly. Breeching low enough to push a horse’s back legs out from under him going down a hill. Hames on a collar many sizes too big and a serious risk of coming dislodged. None of these photos were staged and all were actual commercial carriage companies photos taken from the internet for their educational value.
It seems that discussing this subject should not even be necessary, but sadly it is. These risky practices are indeed being committed and all one has to do is a bit of surfing around on a few carriage service websites to find them. We here at B.E.S.T will never endorse a company that engages in this kind of practices. Our professionals know better, they know why such risky habits as: unattended horses, passengers in a carriage without a driver in the box, customers in the drivers seat, customers handling the lines, customers on the horse, not knowing how to properly harness, etc. are by our standards unacceptably risky to both the customers, the carriage horse himself, and even the future of the industry.
There really is no excuse for not knowing how to properly fit your horse’s harness, and there certainly is no excuse to be offering rides to the public until you know how. Some of the other things seen here are unfortunately caused by pushy customers demanding that you recreate some photo they saw online or just something they have dreamed up as “cute” Our next topic will be how and when to “Just say no” to dangerous and/or unreasonable customer requests.