Do tell your driver what you would like from your carriage ride experience. If you want a tour say so, if you want to snuggle quietly with your date say so. If the kids want to just ride and sing let us know!
But please do not:
Do not ask your driver to step off of his drivers seat to help someone into or out of the carriage or to take a picture for you from outside the carriage. If there is a second person with the carriage on the ground they can assist or take that photo. It is never safe to ask a driver to exit the carriage for any reason while you are seated inside it. The possibility of a ship set to sea without a captain at the helm is a dangerous situation.
Do not pet the horse without the drivers permission, and make sure to ask where the horse prefers to be petted if you do.
Do not ask to sit in the drivers seat. This is the most vulnerable seat on a carriage sitting higher and with the least amount of protection in an accident.
Sometimes people get ideas that are not safe or sometimes even possible. If your carriage driver is not comfortable doing something you have requested and they refuse, take that no as the final answer.
We promise your carriage operator wants you to have a great experience and fond memories. Nothing would dash that more than an accident from attempting something they thought better of.
Typical things carriage operators often refuse are:
Operating during firework displays in close proximity.
Driving the carriage through crowds of people standing or sitting
Driving over bridges or any other structure with unsafe footing for the horse
Driving onto piers over water, or onto any structure that is in question for weight capacity.
Up any ramp or incline that backing back down is the only way to exit.
Operating during or near rioting, looting, or gunfire.
* this is an incomplete list offered simply to serve as an example.
While most carriage services do a great job just like with any profession there will be those that do not. Be it a sore lacking of safety protocol, a skinny horse with a shabby unkempt look, a carriage missing paint all over the wheels, and/or a driver not dressed for the occasion its probably not what you pictured for a carriage ride.
Carriage rides are about beautiful pictures, a comforting and relaxing ride, and memories that will last a life time. B.E.S.T. carriage operators understand this and work hard to ensure you get what you paid for.
We advise everyone taking a carriage ride to first look with your eyes. Pay attention to what you see and if it looks like its lacking it probably is. Vote with your eyes and then with your wallet. If it doesn't stack up to what you envisioned then take your money elsewhere. You may pay more but you will be glad you did. B.E.S.T. operators pledge to bring you a fantastic turnout every time.
Always listen to direction from your carriage driver. That said sometimes in panic situations a driver may be too preoccupied to remember exactly what to do. Here we are going to touch on this very rare but still possible scenario.
Anytime you are dealing with a live animal with a mind of its own, a heart and lungs, a natural instinct to flee danger, and typically weights a couple thousand pounds the possibility that something could go astray is always there.
There are a number of situations where the best thing to do is safely exit the carriage. Always do so if the carriage driver instructs you to. Also do so if the horse has tripped and fallen to the ground or street. Stay back out of the carriage drivers way and let him/her deal with the horse.
The information here is just common sense reminders for you to consider before you embark on a carriage ride. Be if for the first time or just one of many times the content here is not meant to discourage you.
Please patronize the horse drawn carriage industry. The people that offer it are sharing with you a labor of love for their horses and very low profit margins. It is a high cost low return business and will only survive as long as people enjoy taking carriage rides.
So just take a moment until that driver is seated and lets step up into the carriage and enjoy a trip back into a time long gone. A time when the pace was slower and you can relax to the sound of your horses clip clopping hooves and enjoy your ride!