Some people may feel concern for the well being of the animals pulling around these carriages full of smiling tourists. I mean, sure its great to hop on a carriage and be transported to a different time, but how do we really treat these horses behind the scenes? This is certainly a valid question, and we totally get it! We’d like to take this opportunity to tell you up-front just how life is for these big guys.
First, you should know, that each member of our herd is cherished and loved greatly. Each horse has a very distinct personality as do their human counterparts. They want to be treated with respect and love and honesty, just like people. There is just no way that any of us could make a 2000lb plus animal to do something unless they wanted to…..so we ASK them, respectfully. Our drivers and barn-men are very much family members to these horses and know each little idiosyncrasy that tells us how a horse is feeling on a given day.
Every horse has access to “free-choice” hay (orchard grass imported from Kentucky) and water 24 hours a day. They are are fed top of the line grain with a balance of quality fat & protein. And of course horse muffins, their absolute favorite treat!
Because we take our work so seriously, and know that there is some misinformation out there, we’d like to take this opportunity to dispel 5 common myths about our industry.
TOP 5 MYTHS ABOUT CARRIAGE HORSES
- MYTH – They are abused.
Our professional horse-care begins with diet. Over the years we have cultivated an excellent feeding program that addresses each individuals needs, as far as volume and particular supplements. Our horses receive optimal grain, beautiful hay imported bi-weekly from Kentucky, any medical care necessary with regular veterinary visits. They receive tons of time & attention, grooming, any needs addressed & their favorite treats, German horse muffins in abundant supply!
The fact is, our horses have human care, contact & interaction on average 18 hours a day. That is more time than most of us spend with our own pets!
- MYTH – The horses are working against their will.
Horses are very intelligent, kind animals. They enjoy the relationships they have with humans, as is evident through their cooperation & excitement to do their jobs. These “jobs” are opportunities for enrichment, which the horses need. You cannot make animals of this size participate against their will. We take significant time to get to know them & understand their form of communication. Horses & humans have been partners for literally thousands of years, and it is one of the most beautiful partnerships in history.
- MYTH – Retired carriage horses are sent to auctions & slaughter.
This is 100% false propaganda used by those who are anti-carriage to push an agenda. Our horses live on our farm when they retire, with everything they can possibly need. Murphy, our 22 year old Belgian even has two miniature horses, Wyatt & Willow, as his companions. Right now Murphy is also raising a 7 month old filly who was bought at auction with her mom for rehabilitation. She and momma will never be carriage horses, but will live with “Uncle Murphy” in their now safe, stress free farm environment.
- MYTH – The carriages are too heavy for the horses to pull.
There have been many studies done to this affect which describe in detail what a horses capability is, pulling a wagon with wheels. Our carriages are never loaded anywhere near what their capabilities are. There are countless articles that state the same. See article below:
- MYTH – Carriage horses experience high levels of stress & are frightened.
While some horses do not have the temperament to work in a town setting such as ours, that is not true of all horses. They adapt to their surroundings rather well & develop a significant amount of trust with their caretakers & drivers. That trust cannot be faked or falsified in any way, and it allows them to feel at ease. Today I watched a horse take a nap in City Market while a bucket truck was replacing a light fixture next to him. They trust their humans & know we would not put them in danger. See article below:
- For more on how we care for our own horses here at CTOS, please watch some of these videos about the horses and their care.
- Video – Summer Days
- Video – Savannah Carriage Horses staying cool in the summer-time