Venue Owners

  Venue Owners

  • Obtaining proof of liability insurance
  • Keeping your property clean and safe
  • Keeping your Guests safe
  • Know what questions to ask
  • Things you should not see happening
  • Accept no as an answer to certain requests
  • When to ask a horse-drawn carriage service to leave your premises
  • How to spot the BEST Operator(s)


Venue Owner

  •  Proof of liability

The first thing any venue owner should ask for before having a horse drawn carriage service onto their property is ask for a copy of the companies proof of liability insurance. The next thing you should do is call the number and verify that it is in force.

  • Keeping your property safe and clean

Find out what the carriage company does to keep things safe. We recommend all special event services employ two people with each carriage, a driver and footman/groom/header. The footman is a person that assists the driver with the horse. He/she may stand at the horses head (why they are sometimes referred to as a header) in addition to the seated driver to make sure nothing moves. Some companies have them assist with helping passengers in or out of the carriage. Footmen can take photos for passengers, carry water to the horse, empty a diaper bag or any other request the driver asks of them. Some special event services will employ three people the last one for moving the truck and trailer to an end destination should it be down a busy road requiring police escort or trace car. We can’t stress enough the importance of a second attendant with the horse, especially if children will be present. A trained header can allow people to pet the horse with safe supervision. Even people in wheel chairs are safe to enjoy a pet with an aware and trained header or footman at the horses head.

Keeping things clean. A horse is a large animal and most carriage horses are very large horses. Manure can happen. Commercial carriage services may employ a discrete bag that attaches to the horses harness to catch any manure. Disinfectant sprays and a bucket of water will take care of the possibility of urine. Nobody wants to worry about their guests having to wade through a horse pile in their nicest clothes, especially a bride in an expensive dress. Ask the company that will be providing the carriage service at your venue what there manure/urine clean up plan is.

  • Keep your patrons safe

We have already discussed the importance of a second person in addition to the carriage driver to keep an eye on people and keep things safe when petting or touching the horse. Discuss any issues the customer may be requesting of the carriage company while it is on your property and make sure both you and they are comfortable with it. After all it is your property and your reputation on the line should someone get hurt. If anything makes your eyebrow raise do not hesitate to speak up. This could be due to anything from planned fireworks around the horse, lit sparkers, or simply people throwing stuff too close to the horse. Your carriage operator should know what his or her horse will or will not tolerate.

If a carriage operator is uncomfortable with something you clients are requesting always back up the carriage operator. They will know what they should or should not attempt.

  •  Pay attention to the turnout, it reflects on you too

Turnout refers to a clean carriage free of missing paint and tattered and/or ripped upholstery. The horse should be bathed and clean and obviously well fed. A clean horse will not emit any offensive odors. The horse’s hooves should look well kept. The driver and footman should be formally dressed to fit the occasion. Street clothes and t-shirts are not acceptable wear for a wedding or formal event. Short sleeve matching polo’s are ok for children’s parties and other less formal jobs. i.e. festivals, school events, etc. Listen to your gut instincts. When you see the carriage are you feeling “wow” in a good way, or “wow” in a bad way.

  • Know what kind of questions to ask

Knowing what kind of questions to ask can be very helpful in determining if the horse drawn carriage service is going to be a good experience. Ask them about their experience. Ask if they have ever had an accident or insurance claim. If the answer is yes ask what happened. Ask if they use a header or footman. Make sure you get a copy of their liability insurance. You can also ask if they walk away from their hitched horse, and whether or not they will allow passengers in the driver’s seat or for guests to load up before the driver is up. The answer to all three of those questions should be no.

  • Accept no as an answer to certain requests

Your carriage operator should know what his or her horse(s) will or will not tolerate.

If a carriage operator is uncomfortable with something you clients are requesting always back up the carriage operator. They will know what they should or should not attempt.

  •  Things that should never happen

Horses should not be left alone hooked to a carriage. The driver or footman should always be with the horse and have the horse under direct hand control at all times. Riders should never be allowed to enter the carriage unless the driver is seated and holding the horses reins. Customers should never be put up in the driver’s seat and never allowed to touch the horse’s reins. People including children should never be hoisted up onto the back of a horse attached to a carriage. Children should be supervised at all times when near the horse. Horses should not be fed anything from anyone’s hands.

  • When to ask a carriage service to leave your premises

While most carriage horses are very calm and tractable animals they are still animals. We hope in the case of a misbehaving horse the carriage company will know that they should leave your property. We for the sake of being safe will not assume that here though. If a horse is extremely fidgety and dancing around constantly it is not a safe situation for people to be taking carriage rides. If the horse is rearing in harness doing the “hi hoe Silver” like the Lone Rangers horse it’s not a safe situation. Likewise a kicking, bucking, striking or biting horse is expressing his high level of displeasure and should not be giving rides. If you notice any of these behaviors and the operator seems to ignoring it you can and should ask them to remove the animal from your property. If they are committing the “things that should never happen” you do not have a safe operator servicing your event.